Friday, March 30, 2018

America’s Forgotten Posek - Rav Henkin

rabbi Mintz

jewish press

He was the Gadol haDor in the United States prior to Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l. And, unfortunately, his rulings and his seforim have, by and large, been completely forgotten.
Walk into any shul or Seforim store and you will be hard-pressed to find a sefer written by Rav Yoseph Eliyahu Henkin zt”l. Open up a contemporary Halachic work and you will rarely find a ruling quoted in his name.
Rav Henkin studied in Yeshiva Etz Chaim in Slutzk, Russia under Rav Isser Zalman Melter zt”l. He received Smicha from Rav Boruch Ber Leibowitz, the Ridbaz, and the Aruch HaShulchan and served as a Rav in Russia. He arrived in this country in 1923, and eventually founded and headed the organization called Ezras Torah. Rav Henkin issued tens of thousands of rulings and wrote responsa to Rabbonim across America and beyond. He published three Seforim. Yet somehow, Rav Henkin has become “America’s Forgotten Posek.”
How did it happen? How did America’s leading Posek fall into such halachic obscurity?
This author’s theory is that there were three factors. Firstly, Rav Henkin spent most of his time dedicating himself to others, through the vehicle of his remarkable organization Ezras Torah. He did not make photo offset copies of his letters or rulings or write them again for posterity because he gave every spare moment to raising much needed funds for Torah scholars. Secondly, Rav Henkin lived in a time quite different from ours. Then, the Torah scholars were refugees, suffering in misery and distress. They could barely put food on the table. Who thought to put out Seforim? Even those that eventually were issued rarely had the name of the recipient of the letter. Finally, Rav Henkin did not have a Yeshiva or an official Rabbinic Shteller like other great Rabbis and Torah leaders. He was the Gadol HaDor and headed Ezras Torah true, but without a natural constituency demanding the Seforim, it was difficult to bring them to the printing house again. Boruch Hashem, this sad reality will soon be addressed.
With the encouragement of his Rosh Yeshiva, Moreinu HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky, a Torah scholar with prodigious talents, Rav Daniel Osher Kleineman, has taken upon himself a remarkable project. Reb Daniel has started the painstaking task of reissuing, or rather newly issuing, Rav Henkin’s incisive and groundbreaking rulings that have been almost lost to oblivion.
Reb Daniel has carefully scoured the letters and archives found in the inner recesses of university libraries across the country for Rav Henkin’s letters. He has called nearly one thousand people from Maine to Los Angeles in his search for correspondences.
At times he has struck gold, finding a cache of letters back and forth from descendants of Rabbis who were active in the 20’s. 30’s and 40’s. Most of the time Reb Daniel comes up empty-handed, but he does not give up.
He has done a fantastic job in putting together the extant material. He has organized Rav Henkin’s writings in the order of the Shulchan Aruch, and has gathered all that is available in print. He has gathered material that has not been printed from Rav Henkin’s family and has found over 100 additional letters in his search.
He is now in his last stretch. This project needs our assistance. If anyone out there is a descendant of a Rav who may have corresponded with Rav Henkin zt”l, now is the time to speak up. If anyone has any such letters in their possession, please reach out to Reb Daniel at or by calling him at 732 370-0995.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

science as false news how accurate is history of science?


The philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend once said that "success in science depends not only on rational argument but also on a mixture of subterfuge, rhetoric and propaganda." John Waller has brought together the historical evidence to support this hypothesis, presenting science as a series of "powerful human dramas in which naked ambition has at least as big a role as technical virtuosity".

In the battle for scientific progress, he argues, "unalloyed objectivity" is often the first casualty. Waller cites six scientists, including Louis Pasteur, the management science guru FW Taylor and the astronomer AS Eddington, who manipulated their data "to fit their preconceived notions of how things really are".

Eddington was already a believer in the general theory of relativity when he set off in 1919 to test Einstein's ideas. It was, he said, "one of the most beautiful examples of the power of general mathematical reasoning". The plan was to photograph the stars near the sun during an eclipse to determine whether light was bent to the degree predicted by Einstein. But eclipse observations are notoriously hard to assess and technical difficulties were compounded by cloudy weather.

The resulting photographs, says Waller, were of "embarrassingly poor quality". The expedition should have been a failure, but "under Eddington's hand, the eclipse results were subjected to extensive cosmetic surgery until they matched Einstein's prediction." As a result the expedition was unjustly hailed as a triumph for both the scientific method and Einstein's theory. "No doubt the prize was great," Waller writes, "but buttressing woefully inadequate data with personal prestige, power, and influence is too high a price to pay for it."

The urgent question that emerges from these fascinating case histories is how widespread such malpractice is in science. Unfortunately Waller admits that it's not possible to say "how typical such behaviour really is". One astronomer may have allowed his enthusiasm for Einstein's theory to affect his judgment, but 10 years later another, Edwin Hubble, had no qualms about overturning part of this same theory, the cosmological constant. It was, said Einstein, the biggest blunder of his life. Although in the short term ambition or authority may sway opinions, it seems that in the long run truth will out.

Waller's book follows on from Harry Collins and Trevor Pinch's controversial but important study The Golem: What You Should Know about Science (1993), which covered some of the same ground. Collins and Pinch argued that there is a circularity in the logic of science and that scientists often see what they want to see. Science itself regards these forays into its past with suspicion. But scientists, of all people, should appreciate the importance of destroying myths and Waller shows how it should be done.

Waller also criticises the tradition of casting scientists as heroes in the struggle for knowledge. Science biographies, he complains, often leave "the historical truth trailing in the wake of legend".

Alexander Fleming, credited with discovering penicillin in 1928, is a case in point. Waller neatly dismantles the myth surrounding Fleming's role: "Had the accolades for the discovery and development of penicillin been allocated on merit, Fleming would not have made the short list." But Waller is pushing at an open door here. Nowadays popular studies of science, such as Judith Hooper's recent Of Moths and Men, show a sophisticated understanding of the social, institutional and psychological pressures in science. For better or worse, today's more sceptical reading public is more likely to believe a scientist is a sinner than a saint.

Of course, the danger of reducing science to a series of power struggles and ego trips is that you lose sight of its astonishing intellectual achievements. It is this that Rupert Lee celebrates in The Eureka! Moment. From Hans Berger's discovery of the electroencephalogram (EEG) for monitoring brain waves in 1929, to Dolly the cloned sheep and the ozone hole in the 1990s, Lee summarises the 20th-century discoveries that have transformed our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

Each entry is reduced with haiku-like concision into under two pages - quite a feat in itself. Interestingly, not one discovery in the book came out of the USSR. Although keen on prestigious research institutes, the Soviets "did not sufficiently encourage original thinking by individual researchers". Delightfully simple in conception, Lee's book is an invaluable quick reference guide to the scientific ideas that shaped the last century.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Chomsky and Krauss

Kids With Autism Are Less Likely to Be Vaccinated


Doctors say that there is no scientific evidence suggesting a link between vaccines that infants and young children receive in the first few years of life and the risk of autism, but that has not stopped parents from questioning the connection — and in some cases, forgoing vaccinations for their kids.
In the latest study published in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers led by Ousseny Zerbo, from the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center, found that children diagnosed with autism are less likely to receive additional vaccines, and that their younger siblings are less likely to receive the full schedule of childhood vaccinations as well, which doctors say could put them at higher risk for the diseases that the shots protect against.
The study included more than 3,700 children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and more than 590,000 children without the developmental condition. Zerbo and his colleagues analyzed health records and immunization data from a database collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and eight sites in the U.S. Autism is usually diagnosed when toddlers are around two or three years old, so Zerbo focused on the immunizations that are recommended when children are four to six years old, and 11 to 12 years old. That way they could get a better understanding of how an autism diagnosis might affect vaccination rates. They found that children diagnosed with autism were 13% less likely to be fully vaccinated after the diagnosis than children who did not have autism.

Heroic French officer who swapped himself for hostage in terror attack dies

times of Israel

France’s top security official said Saturday that a heroic officer who swapped himself for a hostage during an attack on a supermarket has died of his injuries.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb wrote in a tweet  that Col. Arnaud Beltrame had “died for his country.”

Beltrame offered himself up unarmed to the 25-year-old attacker in exchange for a female hostage. He managed to surreptitiously leave his cellphone on so that police outside could hear what was going on inside the supermarket. Officials said once they heard shots inside the market they decided to storm it, killing the gunman.
Beltrame was grievously injured, and his death raises the toll from the attack to four.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Rav Yakov Horowitz How can you slander a sex offender?- Tomorrow, we'll find out

Convicted sex offender Yona Weinberg is suing me for slander, because I warned Har Nof residents of the danger he poses to their children in 2015. You can read more about it in yesterday's Rockland Journal Newshere: and there are more links below. 
It's honestly a bit surreal, as I never imagined the lawsuit would ever go this far without being tossed out by some judge along the way. 
But here we are, and the stakes are very high. One way or the other, there will be a precedent set for future cases. If Weinberg wins this lawsuit against me, child-safety advocates, health professionals, teachers. law enforcement officers and even your average next door Israeli neighbor will likely be inhibited and think more than twice before informing others about the presence of a sex offender in the area, for fear of being sued for slander.
I am in Israeli court because securing the rights of our children to be protected from known sex offenders is a battle worth fighting, and we will defend that right to the very end. 
I will use this email list keep you posted about tomorrow's developments.  

Today we found out

I would like to thank our readers for their outpouring of emails and other forms of communication, digital or otherwise, supporting the rights of all of our children to be protected from child abusers. 

A significant part of today's proceedings - which set October 25th as the date for the next hearing - centered around this attached letter (see below) we recently obtained from the New York City Police Department which clearly states that Yona Weinberg IS a fugitive from justice in the USA. 

This is important because one of Weinberg's main claims to have been slandered was that I tweeted that he fled America to avoid additional charges, which he said was incorrect. To prove this point, Weinberg submitted a letter (early in the proceedings) from one of his attorneys who claimed that a New York City police officer had said that Weinberg is not a fugitive. 
And although Weinberg's lawyer keeps saying that Weinberg, "wants to be left alone," and, "has served his time," they cannot dispute the fact that he is a level-3 sex offender. Hence, a main point of Weinberg's slander claim is based on the "fugitive" issue. 
Today, the judge  listened to arguments from both lawyers regarding the admissibility of the New York City police department letter - since the officer who wrote it won't be available for cross examination in Israel. She will accept input from the two lawyers and give her ruling in 30 days.

Bottom Line - regardless of the long and winding road this lawsuit has followed, we are deeply committed to continue fighting for the safety of our children - namely that their parents be warned when convicted sex offenders move near them without fear of retribution from their predators. 


Yated the right not to knowזכות הציבור שלא לדעת – יתד היום

אנשי מקצוע העוסקים בבריאות הנפש, טוענים כל העת כי דיווחים בנושאים שונים, כמו בנושאי אלימות או
התמכרות, גורמים נזקים בלתי הפיכים לאחרים, בשל הפיכת הנושאים הללו ל"לגיטימיים" בעצם הדיווח עליהם ולעיתים ביחס אל המבצע, והסיקור הנרחב לו הוא זוכה
העיתונות הכללית אמונה על הכלל האומר "זכות הציבור לדעת". על פי כלל זה היא מדווחת על כל אירוע, גם אם ברור לכל שהדיווח עלול לגרום נזק למדינה, לחברה, לילדים או לכל גורם אחר. הנזק שייגרם אינו מהווה כל שיקול בהחלטה לדווח. אנשי מקצוע העוסקים בבריאות הנפש, טוענים כל העת כי דיווחים בנושאים שונים, כמו בנושאי אלימות או התמכרות, גורמים נזקים בלתי הפיכים לאחרים, בשל הפיכת הנושאים הללו ל"לגיטימיים" בעצם הדיווח עליהם ולעיתים ביחס אל המבצע, והסיקור הנרחב לו הוא זוכה. בנורבגיה בוצע לפני כשנה טבח המוני של נערים, כאשר משפטו של הרוצח זוכה לסיקור נרחב בתקשורת העולמית. בארה"ב בוצע טבח המוני בסוף השבוע, כאשר לדעת פסיכולוגים, המבצע הושפע מעמיתו בנורבגיה.
אלו הם הנזקים החמורים של התקשורת ההמונית, זו הכתובה או המרצדת על המסך, הגדושה במעשי אלימות מתועבים, בפשעים למיניהם, בתת-תרבות ביבים, ובכל פגע רע. גם התומכים הגדולים ביותר בדמוקרטיה ובליברליות, מודים בפה מלא, כי השפעת התקשורת בעיקר על בני נוער, היא הרסנית. אגב, סקר שפורסם בימים אלו, מגלה כי בני הנוער הישראלים הם "שיאני העולם" בהתמכרות לתקשורת לסוגיה, מה שמסביר כנראה את הצבתם אי-שם בתחתית הרשימה בהישגים לימודיים של ממש. אבל איש אינו מנסה לבלום את התקשורת, ולהציב לה מחסומים. זה אנטי-דמוקרטי, מתאים לאיראן, ושאר הקלישאות המעדיפות את ההידרדרות המוסרית אל פי השאול, מאשר הצבת מעצורים על התקשורת ההרסנית שיש לה חלק בלתי מבוטל באותה הידרדרות.

אנשי מקצוע העוסקים בבריאות הנפש, טוענים כל העת כי דיווחים בנושאים שונים, כמו בנושאי אלימות או התמכרות, גורמים נזקים בלתי הפיכים לאחרים, בשל הפיכת הנושאים הללו ל"לגיטימיים" בעצם הדיווח עליהם ולעיתים ביחס אל המבצע, והסיקור הנרחב לו הוא זוכה
העיתונות הכללית אמונה על הכלל האומר "זכות הציבור לדעת". על פי כלל זה היא מדווחת על כל אירוע, גם אם ברור לכל שהדיווח עלול לגרום נזק למדינה, לחברה, לילדים או לכל גורם אחר. הנזק שייגרם אינו מהווה כל שיקול בהחלטה לדווח. אנשי מקצוע העוסקים בבריאות הנפש, טוענים כל העת כי דיווחים בנושאים שונים, כמו בנושאי אלימות או התמכרות, גורמים נזקים בלתי הפיכים לאחרים, בשל הפיכת הנושאים הללו ל"לגיטימיים" בעצם הדיווח עליהם ולעיתים ביחס אל המבצע, והסיקור הנרחב לו הוא זוכה. בנורבגיה בוצע לפני כשנה טבח המוני של נערים, כאשר משפטו של הרוצח זוכה לסיקור נרחב בתקשורת העולמית. בארה"ב בוצע טבח המוני בסוף השבוע, כאשר לדעת פסיכולוגים, המבצע הושפע מעמיתו בנורבגיה.
אלו הם הנזקים החמורים של התקשורת ההמונית, זו הכתובה או המרצדת על המסך, הגדושה במעשי אלימות מתועבים, בפשעים למיניהם, בתת-תרבות ביבים, ובכל פגע רע. גם התומכים הגדולים ביותר בדמוקרטיה ובליברליות, מודים בפה מלא, כי השפעת התקשורת בעיקר על בני נוער, היא הרסנית. אגב, סקר שפורסם בימים אלו, מגלה כי בני הנוער הישראלים הם "שיאני העולם" בהתמכרות לתקשורת לסוגיה, מה שמסביר כנראה את הצבתם אי-שם בתחתית הרשימה בהישגים לימודיים של ממש. אבל איש אינו מנסה לבלום את התקשורת, ולהציב לה מחסומים. זה אנטי-דמוקרטי, מתאים לאיראן, ושאר הקלישאות המעדיפות את ההידרדרות המוסרית אל פי השאול, מאשר הצבת מעצורים על התקשורת ההרסנית שיש לה חלק בלתי מבוטל באותה הידרדרות.

PHOTOS: Thousands Of Israeli Yated Ne’eman Newspapers Set Ablaze, Causing Shutdown At Kikar Shabbos

accused abuserMalka Leifer to remain in jail


מעצרה של המנהלת החרדית הוארך עד תום הליכי ההסגרה

‏לאור החשש להימלטות, בית המשפט העליון קיבל ערר שהגישה פרקליטות המדינה והורה על מעצרה של מלכה לייפר - המנהלת לשעבר של ביה"ס באוסטרליה החשודה בביצוע מעשים חמורים 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

rav Shmuel Kaminetsky and Rav Nota Greenblatt acquiring Torah

understanding Rav Shmuel Auerbach and other creative people

dealing with sexual assault

Open Orthodoxy Update, Parshas Tzav

  • cross-currents

  • Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg revokes semicha of musmach who 

  • attended Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. Says he “acts not in accordance to Torah Law by becoming a rabbi from Chovevei Torah.”
  • While admitting it “sounds heretical,” R. Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz (YCT graduate), says “Torah was deeply incomplete,”before incorporating modern feminist values.

america rosh yeshivos who mistakenly think they understand Israel

הוא ידע היטב כי גם בקרב יהודים נכבדים, יש קולות ודעות שסבורים כי קיים הבדל מהותי בין 

השאיפות בארה"ב לאלו שבארץ הקודש, כי לדידם התורה עלולה להיות "מוחלפת" על דעת המקום ועל דעת הקהל. הוא ידע שבגלל שחומות הבידול לא גבוהים דיים, יש הנותנים לגיטימציה של "לכתחילה" לא לשאוף להיות בן תורה במלוא מובן המילה ואין הכרח להתמסר לתלמודה – ולכן הרחיק לכת. גופו היה באמריקה, אבל רוחו היתה בשטעטעל האירופי במחיצת הצדיקים מדורות קדומים, או בהיכלי הישיבות ואהלי צדיקים בארץ הקודש. הוא לא קיבל את הלך הרוח שהתמסרות לתורה היא ענין של גיאוגרפיה ותלויה במקום ובמדינה. הטענה כי בארץ ישראל, כשיש יהודים שלומדים קצת ועוסקים הרבה בעניינים אחרים, נוצרת אצלם "קרירות", ואילו אמריקה "מחוסנת" ולכן יש בה יהודים יראים ושלמים שלמרות עיסוקם בפרנסה בענייני גשמיות לבם בתורה כל הזמן – נדחתה על סף מפתנו של כ"ק האדמו"ר זצוק"ל. הוא הטמיע בשומעי לקחו את השאיפות להתמסרות מוחלטת להיות "יששכר חמור גרם" ולא לשאוף להיות "זבולון לחוף ימים ישכון". על אף שאמריקה מושתתת על גשמיות, הוא סרב להסכים שדי להיות תמכין דאורייתא. הוא תבע את האמת המושלמת, את המקסימום הרוחני – ללא הנחות. הוא לא ראה היתר לשינוי בשאיפות בין דייר אורח-בגולה, לבין תושב קבע בארץ הקודש. בעיניו סדנא דארעא חד הוא, והוא פעל לעצב דור "כמו פעם", כאילו לא נחצו ימים והשתנו היבשות.

הגרא"י סולובייצ'יק: "ה'עידית' של אמריקה כמו ה'זיבורית' של ארץ ישראל"

"אתם מבינים מה שקורה? היכן הם כל היהודים הללו? היכן הם? הם מנהיגים ישיבות, יש בחורים, לומדים מוסר, עושים כל מה שיש בעולם. מורידים מישהו מ"הררי קדם", לישיבה שם, שימסור דרשה ביארצייט. נו, אתה נעמד לפני ציבור כזה גדול של בני תורה, תאמר להם, תגיד להם משהו, תן להם מוסר, שייצאו ויחשבו מה לא בסדר אצלם. אתם יודעים מה הוא נעמד לדבר? הוא נעמד לדבר, שבארץ ישראל מה קורה, המצב הוא בארץ ישראל שנבנה איזה מזרחי חדש 

בארץ ישראל, את זה צריכים הבחורים האמריקאים לדעת? זה מה שמדברים להם? תדבר, תדבר להם מוסר, שהם ייצאו ויכו על חטא, לא שכל אחד ייצא משם ויכה "על חטא" של ארץ ישראל... תדבר להם מה שצריך. הם לא מתביישים? על ארץ ישראל הם מדברים? בארץ ישראל הולכים לעשות ליב"ה, הולכים לעשות ליב"ה. הם יודעים כולם מה זה "ליבה". ה"ליבה" הכי גדול שיעשו כאן, לא מגיע למה שעושים בבית ספר הכי טוב באמריקה".

"על ליבה אתם מדברים? אתם הרי יש לכם תיכונים (היי סקול) עם כל לימודי החול, יש כאלה ישיבות שם שאפשר ללכת לקולג' בלילה. הם מדברים על ארץ ישראל? צועקים: ארץ ישראל! ליבה! אקדמיה! אקדמיה! את כל השמות הנרדפים הם יודעים. על מה אתם מדברים שם? אם יהיה שם יהודי שיחפש שידוך לבן שלו כאן, הוא יצטרך לקחת בחורה שאין לה בגרות, ישחירו אותו שם, דבר ראשון הוא לא יקבל כזו, ואם הוא כן אחד כזה שיחפש אחת כזו, הוא כזה נידח שאף אחד לא ירצה להסתכל עליו". 

Monday, March 19, 2018

R kaminetsy and vaccination

The Vaccine Choice Coalition
Thank you for joining The Vaccine Choice Coalition, a coalition of parents who believe that vaccines should be a choice in frum Jewish communities. Your participation enables us to join together and b'ezras Hashem help the many pro vaccine-choice families amongst us. By joining the coalition you agree to have your name and personal information added to our private database. Your information will never be released or revealed to a third party without your permission. If the coalition should find it necessary to release your name in the course of assisting its members you may receive an email requesting your permission.The Vaccine Choice Coalition is endorsed and backed by HaRav Shmuel Kaminetzky shlit"a, HaRav Malkiel Kotler shlit"a, HaRav Elya Ber Wachtfogel shlit"a and HaRav Shmuel Meir Katz shlit"a. If you have any questions or concerns please don't hesitate to contact us at 732-806-7739 or

Sunday, March 18, 2018

hespedim for Rav Shmuel Auerbach at Yeshiva Chaim Berlin - didnt happen for Rav Shteinman - Why not?

לרגל חתונת תלמיד ישיבת פוניבז' הרב אהרן קוטלר בנו של הרב שרגא קוטלר רו"מ ישיבת לייקווד, הגיע ראש ישיבת פוניבז' הגאון הגדול רבי שמואל מרקוביץ שליט"א לביקור בזק בארה"ב, במהלכו נשא מדברותיו בהיכלי התורה הגדולים ובעצרות המספד שנערכו לזכרו של מרן הגר"ש אויערבאך זצללה"ה.
ראש הישיבה מסר שיעור כללי בהיכלה של ישיבת לייקווד, בסוגיית צרת סוטה במסכת יבמות הנלמדת בישיבת לייקווד, בהשתתפות אלפים מבני ואברכי הישיבה, ובראשם ראשי הישיבה הגאונים הגדולים: רבי אריה מלכיאל קוטלר שליט"א, רבי ירוחם אלשין שליט"א, רבי דוד שוסטאל שליט"א ורבי ישראל ניומן שליט"א.
כמו כן נשא את המשא המרכזי בעצרת המספד הגדולה שהתקיימה בישיבת רבינו חיים ברלין בפלטבוש, שבראשות הגאון הגדול רבי אהרן שכטר שליט"א, בהשתתפות אלפים ובראשם הגאונים הגדולים: רבי אהרן שכטר שליט"א, רבי מלכיאל קוטלר שליט"א, רבי אלי' בער ווכטפויגל שליט"א ורבי אשר קלמנוביץ שליט"א ראש ישיבת מיר.
בנוסף נשא שיחות מוסר בהיכלי הכוללים והישיבות הקטנות בעיר לייקווד. בסיום הביקור הקצר שערך יומיים בלבד, שב ראש הישיבה ארצה.

Brisker Rav and Chazon Ish

see page 19
אולם כמדומה שאצל רבינו זצוק"ל החסד וההטבה לתלמידיו היתה בבחינה אחרת. לתלמיד שסירב לקחת ממנו תמיכה כספית, התבטא פעם, למה אתה מתאכזר עלי ומונע ממני את ההנאה הזאת? הוא פשוט נהנה לתת ולהעניק. היה 'חפצא' של משפיע ונותן. כדמות של מעלה. ו בתקופה האחרונה בשנים האחרונות, נפלה בגורלי הזכות להיטפל לעושי מצוה, מוסדות החינוך בבני ברק. תחילה בבנין התלמוד תורה 'תפארת יעקב', אח"כ בהקמת סמינר 'אהל רחל', ולבסוף בסיוע לבית יעקב המרכזי על טהרת הקודש ורשת הגנים שעל ידה. בתוקף הנסיבות נזדמן לי לשמוע ממנו פעמים רבות בעניני השעה. אצטט כאן במדויק דברים שנחרתו בי עמוקות בשני הזדמנויות שונים. בשנה האחרונה, אירע שנכנסו אצלו אברכים חשובים לדון בעניני החינוך בגנים, שאלם שוב ושוב על סיבת היעדרותי. לכששמעתי שהוא דורש אחריי, הבנתי שבכוונתו לקרוא לי, הגעתי למחרת, והסחתי בפניו את מר לבי, כי מרוב עיסוקים מעין אלו אינני זוכה ללמוד אפילו כאברך פשוט, תלמודי קשה עלי כברזל מחמת רוב טירדות וחוסר שקיעות, ומה בצע בכל עמלי. לאחר שהכביר במילים על גודל הזכות והשכר, ועל כך שלפום צערא אגרא, התבטא בכאב: ואני, מה אני יגיד, בכל העסק הזה נהרסו לי החיים, אני מתבייש לומר את זה, ובודאי אתה לא תאמין לי, אינני לומד מילה. ומיד הסביר, אולי אני חוטף פה ושם, אבל איננו נחשב אצלי. ומיד הוסיף, אבל עושים את מה שחייבים לעשות... פעם בעת רצון שאלתיו, אולי יש לקוות ולהמתין לעתיד טוב יותר מבחינת כל מצב האידישקייט בדור והקרירות וכו'. השיב בשלילה וביאר, בשבעים שנה האחרונות קם כאן עולם התורה מפואר ומבוצר. ברוך שמסר עולמו לשומרים, מרנן החזו"א והרב מבריסק והרב שך וכו', שהקימו ובנו ועמדו על המשמר. ממש מעשה נסים. הרי יכול היה להיות אחרת. הלכו והרסו הכל בשנתיים. מה כבר אפשר לצפות, שיחזירו את הכל אחורה? אזרתי עוז ושאלתי, ניחא, אז אין מה לקוות על בין אדם למקום, אבל אולי בבין אדם לחבירו וכל המצב שלנו יהיה טוב יותר. והגיב: בזה תמיד היה הכל רקוב, עכשיו רק נתגלה החוצה. באחת ההזדמנויות שבלא משים נודע מני על רדיפה איומה לאחד מתלמידיו בניו הקרובים. לקח הדברים מאוד ללבו במשך כמה ימים, אולם לא פסק מלמלמל חליפות, אבל אסור לדבר על זה, זה מעורר קטרוג. נורא למתבונן. בכל הפעמים האחרונות שבקרתי אצלו התלונן כי גם המבינים אינם מבינים אותו, והוסיף, לא שאינם מבינים אלא שאינם רוצים להבין מחמת כל מיני תירוצים ואמתלאות.

בס"ד, י"ז אדר תשע"ח מילין זעירין מאת זעירא דמ"ן חבריא פתיחה ככלות ימי השבעה, בשובי זה עתה מחלקת מחוקק ספון

 18  . *** נתן אמון מלא בתלמידיו, ונסך בהם את הבטחון, 'תעשה כפי שתראה לנכון בשיקול דעת'. ומרגלא 17 בפומיה בשם הרב מטשעבין זי"ע שכל מנהל במוסד שלו הוא 'רשכבה"ג', כי א"א לשאול על כל פרט, ומקבלים רק את רוח הדברים, והערום יעשה בדעת לדמות מילתא למילתא. ויפה הגדירו, תמיד הציב בפנינו את הסולם, אבל אף פעם לא החזיק בידינו בעת העליה, לטפס צריך לבד בכוחות עצמו. בהדרכות אישיות כמעט אף פעם לא אמר, עשה כך, או אסור לעשות כך. השאיר את הבחירה ביד השואל. כידוע דבר זה בלט מאוד בשנים האחרונות בצורת ההנהגה עם ה'מבינים בעם'. תקופה לאחר נישואיי הגעתי אליו בשברון לב, כי קשה עלי מאוד תקופת המעבר, וההתנתקות מלחסות בצילו ובצל הישיבה הק' ]כפי שכבר צפה זאת מראש[, ואמרתי לו 'נפשנו יבשה אין כל'. וממש נעל את הדלת בפניי, ואמר שהכל תירוצים ועצת היצר, וצריך לתפוס את עצמו בידים. פעם התבטא בהתפעלות על התופעה, כי מבקשי ד' מצאו תמיד את דרך האמת בעבודת ד', ואף 18 שהגיעו ממקומות וחוגים רחוקים מאוד. 

Stephen Hawking and Time

Saturday, March 17, 2018

R kaminetsky should review this vayikra 4:22

אֲשֶׁ֥ר נָשִׂ֖יא יֶֽחֱטָ֑א וְעָשָׂ֡ה אַחַ֣ת מִכָּל־מִצְוֺת֩ יְהוָ֨ה אֱלֹהָ֜יו אֲשֶׁ֧ר לֹא־תֵעָשֶׂ֛ינָה בִּשְׁגָגָ֖ה וְאָשֵֽׁם׃

אשר נשיא יחטא — The word אשר is connected in meaning with ‎‎‏אשרי “happy”. Happy is the generation whose prince (king) takes care to bring an atonement sacrifice even for an inadvertent act of his; how much the more certain is it that he will do penance for his wilful sins (Sifra, Vayikra Dibbura d'Chovah, Section 5 1; Horayot 10b)

אשר נשיא יחטא. ידוע הפי׳ דנשיאתו גורמת שיהא עלול לחטא. וכ״כ הספורנו. והנה עוד יש במקרא לשון שאינו מדויק כלל. דכתיב אשר לא תעשינה בשגגה. והכי מיבעי ועשה בשגגה אחת וגו׳ אשר לא תעשינה ואשם. והכי כתיב ביחיד אלא מרומז דהנשיאות גורמת לחטוא בעבירות חמורות כ״כ אשר לא תעשינה בשגגה. שאין דרך לחטוא בהם אפילו בשגגה:

Thursday, March 15, 2018

rabbi pelvovitz

the following was written by Rabbi Yair Hoffman for the Five Towns Jewish Times:
He was the dean of the Orthodox American Rabbinate. A graduate of Yeshiva Torah VaDaas, and a Talmid of Rav Shlomo Heiman zt”l, he served as the Rav of the White Shul in Far Rockaway for decades. He lived in the Far Rockaway community for six decades. The Torah community mourns the loss of a remarkable Rav – Rabbi Rephoel Pelcovitz z”l.
Rabbi Pelcovitz loved people. He loved his congregants. He loved people that he encountered on a day to day basis.  He was a great Talmid Chachom. He was an author.  He was a translator. His translation of the Seforno is truly a Torah classic and will remain thus for centuries to come. The footnotes in this translation demonstrate his profound erudition and understanding.
Rav Pelcovitz prompted people to think and to re-examine aspects of their lives.  He had a warm infectious smile which helped in this task of his. He was also an accomplished speaker with remarkable content.
I was privileged to see his remarkable Shabbos parsha notes. The published sefer of his drashos are only a small part of it. The unpublished notes are a treasure trove for any Rav.
Rav Pelcovitz always had a tell-it-like-it-is style. I sat with Rav Pelcovitz to hear what he had to say on contemporary Jewish society.  He felt that we are not emphasizing the role of Eretz Yisroel in our Yiddishkeit and our need to support it even more.  He was very saddened that Torah Jews are not taking a greater role in helping combat the BDS movement, for example.  Below are some more of his thoughts:

Rabbonim should increase how they address the area of the Ben Odom lechaveiro.  Who is a frum Jew?  How do you define and how does one reach a point where he is entitled to the title that he is a religious frum pious person?  What are the yardsticks?  The current yardsticks re skewed, wrong or incomplete.  When a secular person asks how could a religious Jew be so unethical, so immoral?  Is it not important to teach ourselves that the simplest answer to that question is that it is wrong.  He is not entitled to that title as a frum Jew.  Keeping Kashrus, tzitzis and Shabbos does not entitle him to be called a religious Jew if in fact he is dishonest or immoral.

The Yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs and other schools – Are the Yeshiva Gedolos today teaching derech eretz to their students?  Can you tell, looking at a young man or woman in public, whether he or she is a Talmid of a seminary or a Bais Yaakov or could he just as well be a student of any college or secular high school?  I have noticed that too many of these young people, especially the boys, lack simple basic fundamental behavior of derech eretz.
Derech eretz to an older person, to a teacher or a Rav and to their companions – their chaveirim.  Some claim that because we live in a relatively affluent society – one of entitlement – where the average youngster has never really been confronted with any kind of challenge when it comes to their lifestyle.. They have never gone hungry been denied a new suit or dress.  They enjoy many of the luxuries which they do not even consider luxuries.. Has this spoiled them and affected their personalities and character?  Are parents sensitive to this lack in their children?  If so, might it be that they themselves are insensitive in this area.  Is the kavod that a student once had for a teacher, fifty years ago or 100 years ago in Europe or in this country – is that still operative today?  It would be interesting to ask this of many Rabbonim and teachers and compare it with what old-timers would say.

Monday, March 12, 2018

rabbi Azriel Auerbach opposed his brother's demonstations


The Jerusalem Faction announced on Wednesday night that it will be staging its first demonstration since Shmuel Auerbach’s death last month, following the arrest of a yeshiva student associated with the group for failing to cooperate with the IDF to obtain his military service exemption.   

But in a recording obtained by the Haredi Line news service, Azriel Auerbach said he has always been against the frequent demonstrations staged by the Jerusalem Faction and that he does not believe yeshiva students should fight with the police. 

The recording is particularly embarrassing for the Jerusalem Faction since Azriel Auerbach is Shmuel Auerbach’s brother but was recently named as one of the four leading rabbis of the group’s new Council of Sages of the Torah World, the rabbinic body that has supposedly taken up the mantle of leadership from Shmuel Auerbach. 

“I, from the beginning, was against all these demonstrations,” said Azriel Auerbach genially. 

“I don’t think that its good for the yeshiva students, for sure I was not of the same opinion as Reb Shmuel for whom the fire burned inside of him,” he continued with a chuckle.

“From the beginning of the journey I was not in favor, I told them that I do agree to do [demonstrations] in front of the prisons and study, [The protesters have a good point], but in the streets?” the rabbi questioned. 

“The clashes begin, we don’t need yeshiva students fighting with the police,” he concluded in a disapproving tone of voice. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

another foolish rabbi - Rabbi David Grossman defends accused Australian abuser without evidence or beis din

rabbi grossman realizesbhe made big mistake and withdraws stupid offer

The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a woman wanted in Australia on 74 charges of sex abuse, including rape, while teaching in a Jewish school, to be kept in police custody in a medical facility while it considers moving her to house arrest.
Australia wants the woman, whose name is gagged in Israel by court order because she has not been accused of committing a crime in the country, to be extradited for allegedly sexually abusing children in a local school, Adass Israel.

Israel’s state prosecution says she is feigning mental illness to avoid extradition. Last week, a court said that it would delay consideration of whether to extradite her until a psychiatrist can review her case.
The woman’s lawyer, Yehuda Fried, told the court Thursday his client was not a flight risk.
He said: “She has nowhere to go. She is wanted worldwide.”
The prosecution had appealed after a lower court decision that would have seen the woman freed from police custody on Friday and sent to house arrest with a prominent rabbi who vouched for her.
Rabbi Yitzchak Dovid Grossman, well-known among mainstream Israelis for his philanthropic work, served as a character witness for the defendant in the Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday, saying that “for her to be in custody is a humiliation.” He offered to host her in house arrest at his home, adding that if she left the house “for even a second, we will take her straight to the police immediately,” according to the Brisbane Times.
The initial court decision to release the woman prompted harsh criticism from an activist who wants to see her extradited to Australia and held to account.
The woman “has been released on bail based on some random rabbi’s testimony that he will supervise her,” Dassi Erlich, who has accused the teacher of abusing her when she was a pupil, charged on Facebook. “If Rabbi Grossman can have a voice, someone who is not a part of this case at all, where is our voice?!”
Grossman received the Israel Prize in 2004 and the Presidential Medal of Distinction in 2013 for having rehabilitated tens of thousands of disadvantaged children through his educational work, which began in 1972. He was twice offered the position of chief rabbi of Israel, but declined in order to focus on his position as head of the Migdal Haemek yeshiva.
Fried said last week that the court ruled the woman should be dealt with “in the realm of mental illness.” Fried said that likely meant a years-long process before her extradition can be reconsidered.
But Israel’s Court Administration later said that the court will convene again on March 28 after a psychiatric evaluation has been carried out, indicating an extradition decision could be taken sooner.[....]

Friday, March 9, 2018

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Trump plans on dividing Jerusalem?


Two days after EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini warned the US against taking “false steps” on the peace process, the pan-Arab Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported Wednesday that the Trump administration’s plan to jump-start peace talks calls for east Jerusalem as the capital of a demilitarized Palestinian state whose borders do not match the pre-1967 lines.

According to the Saudi paper published in London, Arab states are unhappy with the framework and are trying to change it before it is presented.

Biegel The Holy ז"ל A Purim Eulogy for the Hero of the Florida School Massacre

guest post


Beigel The Holy


Y.Y. Bar-Chaiim Adar 5778 / Feb. 2018


How great are Your deeds, O’ G~d;
All of them with wisdom have you made;
the earth is filled with

Psalm 104

This is going to be hard.
I have never met Mr. Scott Beigel. Nor do I know much about him. I don’t even understand why his last name is different from that of his parents, the Shulmans. And really now – doesn’t the difference between those names sum up the difference between religious and cultural Judaism to a tee? You know – bagel, that soft round bread nosh associated with Western Jewish culture, versus shul, the Yiddish name for Synagogue?
Bridging those worlds has been a task which many a more talented Jew has struggled to achieve.
Yet the truth is I know all I need from a few news accounts of how Mr. Beigel was murdered by a rampaging young psychopath this last February 14th, in a suburbian American high school with a relatively large Jewish population, along with two other members of the teaching staff and fourteen students (14!), and how his heroic sheltering of more fortunate students was remembered by them and his family. These tidbits have fired my soul with deep love for this simple Jew who, like his name, never lost the sacred space within his middle.
Still, who am I to eulogize him? I was in the midst of writing about an audacious new hasidic high school educating for what I call Three Dimensional Judaism when I read the news on Mr. Beigel. Could there be a connection?
Let me begin this daunting task by following King David’s lead, as he sings “As for me? I am my prayer” (Ps. 69:14). This writing is one long prayer seeking to tap into the kind of selfless love that not only drove the heroine of the Purim story to risk her life and soul to save the her nation, but also a humble American public servant to do his version of what boils down to a similar act. It’s a spiritual quest to understand why the latter eerily mentioned to his fiancé, after watching a report about an earlier school shooting this year (as reported in the New York Post): “Promise me if this ever happens to me, you will tell them the truth — tell them what a jerk I am. Don’t talk about the hero stuff!”
Scott, I am hereby identifying with your cause. I mean, what kind of a j-e-r-k would play with a tragically murdered man’s name like I have?! Only one who believes there must be deep meaning driving someone who prophetically senses how he’ll leave this world to insist on his memory being associated with that fascinating term.
A few weeks before the massacre was the yahrzeit, anniversary of the passing, of one of the early leaders of Hasidism, the Jewish spiritual renewal movement from 18th century Eastern Europe. His name was Rebbe Avraham HaKohen from Kalisk, known today as the Kalisker. He became a legend in his own time in that he was a great religious scholar who had once been associated with the opponents of Hasidism and then suddenly switched camps to become one of its most colorful adherents. It all began when he heard that the leader of the movement at that time, known as the Maggid (storyteller) from Mezritch, was electrifying Jews everywhere with his critical view of the reclusive ways of Torah scholars like him. So the Kalisker sent his good friend, Rabbi Aharon, to meet the Maggid and flesh out his ideology.

Rabbi Aharon returned to find the Kalisker immersed so deeply in study that he didn’t even notice him standing nearby. So he leapt in front of the Kalisker and boomed: “There is such a light shining in Mezritch, enlightening the entire world, and you seclude yourself from it all??” Then he gave over the Maggid’s spin on the last line of the psalm which heads this article. It normally reads:
The world is full of Your (G~d’s) acquisitions

But the Maggid taught it should be read:
The world is full of ways (for us) to acquire You
Hebrew can be interpreted from multi contextual angles like that. The word in question, kinyan-ekha, is a compound of the words “acquisition” and “yours,” but it’s not clear which acquisitions and why the Infinitely Sovereign One would be associated with acquiring anything. One only acquires something he doesn’t have! So the Maggid offered a brilliant new take and the Kalisker was so deeply moved that he sprung to his feet and insisted on going to Mezritch.

The rest is history.
But now let us ask: Was the underlying idea really so novel? Surely it was known to the Kalisker, as per the famous verse (Prov. 3:6): “In all your ways know Him.” In the study hall, the forest, the bathroom, the store – wherever you are, seek to be in line with your Creator. So what’s so different about the call to acquire G~d everywhere?

The answer, according to a teaching I heard on that yahrzeit from Rav Moshe Kapolovitch in Elad, Israel, is that the Maggid’s reading was reflecting the general hasidic orientation of “uplifting this world” as the ideal of Judaism. This is in stark contrast to the ideal of the normative Judaism of that time: Withdrawal from the world as much as is feasible for basic survival and Torah observance, and save all your passion for Torah learning.

The reason why hasidic Jews shifted their passions into much more this worldly activity, the Rav explained, is that they believed it was the best means for building a palpable relationship to G~d, which is the essence of Torah observance, as per the verse (Deut. 10:20): “And to Him you shall cleave.” The power of mitzvos, Torah Commandments, they believed, is in their causing us to ACT for G~d. When that happens, we liberate the divine sparks embedded within the forces used for that action. They are no longer trapped within the upper worlds of the mind and heart. Such liberation makes those sparks so thankful, so to speak, that they immediately join our spiritual war efforts to constantly cleave to Him.

In other words, Rav Kapolovitch concluded, the rule of war is that when you enter enemy territory you’re in grave danger. Even if you have a powerfully victorious momentum, all it takes is one slip and you’re surrounded. But if you have behind you a whole camp of reinforcements, you have the opportunity for recovering and re-advancing. And that’s why we bless the performance of each mitzvah: Barukh… asher kidshanu b’mitzvosav, Blessed be … He who makes us holy through His mitzvos.

Blessed be the Provider of holy war reinforcements.
In the Book of Esther we learn the origin of Jewish holy war. It took place when the clandestinely Jewish Queen Esther approached the clownishly anti-Semitic King Akhashverosh, at a time normally forbidden for doing so, in order to plead for her people about whom he had just decreed genocide (Est. 4:11). Her bravery was not just in risking the death penalty if he’d reject her unconventional timing or the actual audacious request, but in risking her spiritual well-being to assure her success. She did that by conveying to the king that she deeply desired his intimacy. As the Talmud delicately puts it (Megilla 15B): “Until now she came to him under duress, but now she did so with will.”
In light of the Maggid’s teaching and the amazingly vibrant piety movement that emerged for over two hundred nears now, we can understand that the Talmud is teaching us about the passion she poured into that marriage, even though she was repulsed by it! That is, her nature was repulsed, but her soul knew differently after being guided by the saintly leader of the Jewish People at that time, Mordecai, to do everything possible to cancel that decree. In a flash, she realized that by engaging this extremely non-holy man’s intimacy with all of her holy being, she’d be making kinyanekha, an acquisition on her relationship with G~d through that normally very forbidden marriage, liberating myriads of divine sparks to rush in as powerful reinforcements for the overwhelmingly beleaguered Jewish war effort of that time.
The novelty of this spiritually-uplift-or-bust orientation cannot be understated. Never before had it been achieved on a completely unified, national level. Moses had come close in his response to the Golden Calf fiasco by grinding up the calf and having the former idol worshipping Israelites drink it, and then praying with them for forgiveness on that first unbelievable Yom Kippur (cf. the classic teaching about this day being merely K - a lesser version of - Purim). But as we know, many Israelites were lost in the civil war which preceded that. In contrast, Esther’s entire generation succeeded in accepting, for the first time in Jewish history, the Torah through love (Talmud, Shab. 88:A, Rash”y).
The Nesivos Sholom, the contemporary hasidic classic (Maamrei Purim, pp 46-51), offers us psycho-spiritual context. There are three dimensions, it explains, through which to serve G~d.
Teva, disciplining nature; reverence
M’al HaTeva, transcending nature; love
M’al U’m’al HaTeva, Uplifting nature; selfless love
The second category requires Mesiras Nefesh, sacrificing our physical needs. The third requires Mesiras Ruakh, sacrificing our spiritual needs.
Historically, the patriarchs worked primarily through the first dimension, which is what is meant by G~d’s declaring to Moses (Ex.2) that He had made Himself known to the forefathers through the name E-l Sh-dai – the divine force guiding nature. They respectively stood out for serving Him through acts of social kindness, digging wells, raising children, etc. Of course we all know of their unparalleled ventures into dimensions far above nature, but it was in the first dimension where they made their biggest impact.
In Egypt, however, as that verse comparing Moses to the patriarchs goes on to announce, the Israelites were being guided into the second dimension, indicated by the extensive usage in the Exodus narrative of the main Divine Name – Yod-Hei-Vav-Hei – which we reverently refer to as HaShem, THE Name. THE dimension within which the Jewish people, as a nation, were born. This dimension is all about Mesiras Nefesh, proving the limitations of physical nature in the face of spiritual truth. Which is what our Passover retelling of our newfound faith at that time is all about. It’s not that the Israelites had lost and regained mankind’s most basic faith in the existence of the Creator. Rather, they suddenly learned an entirely new dimension of how He facilitates our connecting with Him.

Serving Him through nature is only the beginning.

Alas, before we knew it, this brand new two dimensional faith hit its limit as well. The Israelites were hemmed in between the sea and their pursuant tormentors. So they did all they knew how to do – cry out to the trans-natural One. His response (Ex.14:15): “Why cry to Me? Go forward!” Of course this couldn’t mean that G~d doesn’t value prayers. He had explicitly answered their prayers in Egypt (Ex. 3:7, 4:31)! Rather, the Nesivos Sholom carefully explains, He was nudging this nation uniquely chosen for their capacity to learn how to fully serve Him, beyond “Me.”
Beyond all agendas.

The Israelites took Him up on it. They would cross the sea with only love in their hearts. No panic nor desperation nor comfort-seeking of any sort. Only pure, unadulterated desire to cleave to their Creator especially through this world.

This is what the saintly Rebbe Shmuel Weinberg (1849-1915, author of the Divrei Shmuel hasidic commentary on the Torah and holydays) etched into eternal relief when he asked on his death bed why the Israelites sang as they crossed the sea (Ex.15:2): Zeh E-lee v’anvehu, “This is my God and I will glorify Him.” How could anyone claim the Creator is his?, the dying saint beseeched. “Only when you give up everything to serve Him!”
E-v-e-r-y thing. Even your spiritual agendas.

His disciples suddenly understood the story within the story of the Exodus. The greatest miracle was not that a menacing body of water split for rescuing distraught victims of a cruel empire, but that those “victims” danced and sang and savored every single step through the journey! No rush, no hysteria. Only unbelievably joyous service. As the Noam EliMelekh hasidic commentary teaches on the verse (Ex.14:29): “And the children of Israel walked on solid ground within the sea”– they entered the sea with the intention to never stop walking, even once they got to solid ground, with the same joy and gratitude as they were experiencing through the muddy sea bed!
That’s called spiritual transcendence.

Three dimensional Judaism.
And yet, it didn’t last. What happened? Doesn’t reaching the highest dimension assure eternity? Nope. The forces of this world never relent in their counter attacks. Our only hope is to maintain and continually supplement our reinforcements. Mitzvos, divine Commandments, at every opportunity. Of which at that moment, before receiving the Torah, the Israelites had woefully few.
But Esther’s generation was different. Centuries had passed since receiving the Torah, entering the Land and building the Temple. She knew that the Jewish people had a humongous arsenal of mitzvah-merits upon which to draw. And so she famously sent word to the entire nation to pray for her as she prayed E-lee, E-lee … (Midrash on Ps.22:2).
Why twice, when only one E-lee at the sea was sufficient?
Because the Israelites needed only one kinyan, acquisition, for making it faithfully through the sea. But Esther’s Jews needed one on the king and one on the subsequent war which they had to wage entirely on their own against the king’s subjects who had not been directly affected by Esther. Unbelievably, this totally non-military, outrageously persecuted minority stepped up to the plate, Warsaw ghetto style, and without anyone explicitly leading them, nor outright miracles of any sort, totally succeeded in that war.
V’nahafokh hu / And all was upside down !
(Est. 9:1)
That three dimensional war effort caused an unbelievable turn around, within and without. As the Book of Esther concludes (8:16): “The Jews had light and happiness and jubilance and glory.” It’s alluding to specific mitzvos (Talmud, Meg. 16B):
Light = Torah,
Happiness = Holydays,
Jubilance = Circumcision
Glory = Prayer-focus (tefillin from the root tefilla)

They now “had,” in the sense of acquisition, a stable cleaving to their Creator through these mitzvos.
But wait. Didn’t we say that there’s a difference between Torah learning and action mitzvos? Indeed, the metaphor of Light is intrinsically different than the others, which are human experiences. It therefore stands to reason that their “having” Light is referring to how we approach the Torah, as expressed through these representative mitzvos.
Happiness/Holydays = mitzvos within nature.
Jubilance/Circumcision = mitzvos transcending nature.
Glory/Prayer-focus = mitzvos uplifting nature.

They had become Three Dimensional Jews.
Back to Scott Beigel.

How did this sweet, all-American Jew manage to muster up such selflessly responsible thinking at such a totally panicky moment? He must’ve had a whole slew of mitzvos behind him. I have no idea which they are, but I do know this: They revolved around the attitude he seared into the heart of his fiancé.

“A jerk; not a hero!”

Dr. Stephanie Sarkis wrote on the Psychology Today website, back in 2012, a refreshingly real-life article called 6 Reasons Why You're a Jerk. Those reasons are subtitled: 1) You only talk about yourself, 2) You use offensive language, 3) You’re pushy and intrusive, 4) You’re mean, 5) You disrespect other opinions, 6) You whine. She gives some great examples, which in my view all come down to the idea of cavalierly screwing up a good situation. Talking about yourself to someone who wants to hear does not make a jerk. Being pushy to those who could care less doesn’t either. A bona fide jerk is the guy we had presumed is cool, kind and caring and then he j-e-r-k-s our sensibilities to the contrary.

Oy yoy yoy, dear Scott. I know that issue. How often does our Maker do for us a kindness and we repay Him as jerks? Pushing our agenda over His Torah. Disrespecting His multi-dimensional reality and then trying to make ourselves out as heroes for being so “independently” minded.

I hear, loud and clear, that your soul knew something very deep when you asked that of your beloved. A jerk is not naturally heroic. He needs mitzvos. In contrast to those typically hailed as heroes, who are trumped up to appear wired as such from birth. It just doesn’t work that way. Truly heroic acts are caused by jerks who never stop seeking mitzvos.

Thank you, Mr. Beigel, for teaching me, and perhaps many others, that.
May your family be comforted this Purim when we all celebrate as holy beigels! When we relish how even the biggest jerk in history – King Ahashverosh – could come around to serve G~d without even knowing it.

It’s because he made sure, in his own bizarrely clownish way, that he too had a sacred space wherein Divine light could enter when it counts.

A faith opening through which three dimensional religiosity could sprout and thrive.

1983 -2018

May His Memory Be
for a Blessing

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