Friday, November 30, 2007

This morning Rabbi Moshe Levinger suffered a stroke at his home in Hebron. He was hospitalized at Hadassah Ein Karem hospital in Jerusalem, where he was operated on for several hours for removal of a blood clot in his brain. Doctors report that the next 48 hours are critical. He is being kept in the intensive care unit of the hospital.
The public is requested to continue praying for the speedy recovery of Rabbi Moshe ben Tirza HaLevi

(and also
for Yosef Shabtai ben Rachel Glika)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

TANYA [for the last day of the year]

Kuntres Acharon, Essay 9

הוכח תוכיח את עמיתך, אפילו מאה פעמים

[It is written,]1 “You shall surely reprove your comrade” — “even one hundred times,” add our Sages,2 taking up the hint offered by the repetitive form of the Hebrew verb.

ולזאת לא אוכל להתאפק ולהחריש מלזעוק עוד, בקול ענות חלושה

Therefore, writes the Alter Rebbe, I cannot contain myself and cannot refrain from crying out yet again, in a voice betraying [pained] weakness.3

במטותא מינייכו ברחמין נפישין

I plead with you out of deep compassion,

חוסו נא על נפשותיכם, והשמרו והזהרו מאד מאד על התורה ועל העבודה שבלב, זו תפלה בכוונה

have pity on your souls. Take care, be extremely vigilant, concerning the study of Torah and the service of the heart, which is prayer4 with proper intent.

להתחיל כולם יחד כאחד, מלה במלה, ולא זה בכה וזה בכה, וזה דומם וזה משיח שיחה בטלה, ה׳ ישמרנו

All should begin [the prayers] in unison, as one, word by word, not one person here and another elsewhere, one mute and the other idly chatting, may G‑d protect us.

ועיקר הסיבה וגרמא בנזקין, הוא מהיורדים לפני התיבה

The main cause and instigator of [this] damage comes from those leading the services.

שהוא הפקר לכל הרוצה לפשוט רגליו החוטף אפרתי

That office is abandoned to whoever wishes to stride forth and snatch the honor,5

או מחמת שאין גם אחד רוצה כו׳

or because not even one desires it..., so that ultimately the prayers are led by someone inappropriate to the task.

ואי לזאת, זאת העצה היעוצה ותקנה קבועה, חוק ולא יעבור עוד, חס ושלום

For this reason, this is the counsel offered, and a regulation established as law not to be violated further, G‑d forbid.

דהיינו, לבחור אנשים קבועים הראוים לזה, על פי הגורל או בריצוי רוב המנין

That is, choose fixed individuals fit for this office of leading the prayers, by lot or by consent of the majority of the worshipers.

And who, indeed, is fit for this office?

דהיינו שמתפללים מלה במלה, בדרך המיצוע, בקול רם

These shall be men who pray word by word, at a moderate pace, aloud,

ולא מאריכים יותר מדאי, ולא מקצרים וחוטפים, חס ושלום

neither overly prolonging the prayers, nor racing intemperately, G‑d forbid.

ועליהם מוטל החובה לירד לפני התיבה, כל אחד ואחד ביומו אשר יגיע לו

Theirs is the duty to lead the prayers, each on his day as determined.

ולאסוף אליו מסביב סמוך כל המתפללים בקול קצת על כל פנים, ולא בלחש ולא חוטפים, חס ושלום

He shall assemble close around him all those who pray audibly, at least, neither whispering nor rushing, G‑d forbid.

וכמבואר בתקנות ישנות בכמה עיירות

This is amplified in age-old communal regulations in many towns.

ועתה באתי לחדשן ולחזקן ולאמצן, בל ימוטו עוד לעולם, חס ושלום

I come now, writes the Alter Rebbe, to renew them, to strengthen and invigorate them, never again to be weakened, G‑d forbid.

גוולד6 גוולד7

(8The following two words appear in Yiddish9 in the Alter Rebbe’s original manuscript: Gevald! Gevald! — an outcry of agonized consternation.)

עד מתי יהיה זה לנו למוקש

How long will this be an obstacle for us?10

How long will we burdened by praying without proper intent?

ולא די לנו בכל התוכחות והצרות שעברו עלינו, ה׳ ישמרנו, וינחמנו בכפלים לתושיה, ויטהר לבנו לעבדו באמת

Have we not sufficient reproofs and troubles that have overtaken us? — May G‑d protect and console us with redoubled support,11 and purify our hearts to serve Him in truth.

חזקו ואמצו לבבכם, כל המייחלים לה׳

Strengthen and fortify your hearts, all who hope in G‑d.12

(Sabra: I cut some out here. Read full lesson here.)

ולהיות מחמת חלישות הדור, אין כח בכל אחד ואחד להתענות כראוי לו

Moreover, since, due to the frailty of our times, not everyone is capable of fasting as he ought,

In Iggeret HaTeshuvah15 the Alter Rebbe cites the classical works of Mussar as to the number of fasts prescribed for each major sin, so that a penitent will be able to render himself as acceptable to G‑d after his repentance as he was before sinning.

לזאת עצה היעוצה, כמאמר רז״ל: כל השומר שבת כהלכתו, מוחלין לו על כל עוונותיו

the counsel offered follows the declaration of our Sages, of blessed memory,16 “Whoever observes Shabbat according to its law, is forgiven all his sins.”

כהלכתו דייקא

The term “according to its law” is used advisedly, for the Shabbat cannot be properly observed without a knowledge of its laws.

לכן מוטל על כל אחד ואחד, להיות בקי בהלכתא רבתי לשבתא

It is therefore incumbent upon every individual to master the “great law” of Shabbat.

The term “great law” echoes the expression in the Gemara17 regarding checking one’s clothes before sundown on Friday in order not to transgress a prohibition later. The laws of Shabbat thus not only inform us of what is prohibited, but also of how to avoid transgression.

וגם יזהר מאד שלא לשוח שום שיחה בטילה, חס ושלום

Also, be most careful [on Shabbat] not to indulge in idle chatter, G‑d forbid.

בהיות מודעת זאת ליודעי חכמה נסתרת, כי בכל המצות יש פנימיות וחיצוניות

For, as is known to the initiates in the mystical wisdom [of Kabbalah], all the mitzvot comprise an internal and an external aspect — the spirituality of the mitzvah, and the physical act which it requires.

וחיצוניות מהשבת היא שביתה מעשיה גשמיית, כמו ששבת ה׳ מעשות שמים וארץ גשמיים

The externality of the [mitzvah of] Shabbat is the cessation of physical activity, just as G‑d ceased making the physical heaven and earth.

ופנימיות השבת היא הכוונה בתפלת השבת ובתלמוד תורה, לדבקה בה׳ אחד

The internal dimension of Shabbat is one’s intention in the Shabbat prayers and during one’s Torah study, to cleave to the One G‑d,

כמו שכתוב: שבת לה׳ אלקיך

as it is written,18 “It is Shabbat to the L‑rd your G‑d.”

Underlying the cessation of labor on Shabbat is the concept of elevation. When a person rests from his labor at any time, the energy that had been vested in it rises and returns to its source within the soul. So, too, the cessation of labor and resting on Shabbat means that the soul, which during the week had been immersed in mundane activities, is uplifted “to the L‑rd your G‑d.”

וזו היא בחינת זכור

This [internal level of the mitzvah of Shabbat] is the element of “remembering”.

The Shabbat comprises two elements, “remembering” (zachor) and “observing” (shamor),19 “Remember the Shabbat day, to sanctify it,” and20Shabbat day, to sanctify it.” Elevating the soul on Shabbat through proper intent (kavanah) during prayer and Torah study, is an act of “remembering”. reflecting the two commandments, “Observe the

ובחינת שמור בפנימיות, היא השביתה מדיבורים גשמיים, כמו ששבת ה׳ מיו״ד מאמרות שנבראו בהם שמים וארץ גשמיים

The inner dimension of the element of “observing” is refraining from speech about material affairs, just as G‑d ceased from the Ten Utterances through which the physical heaven and earth were created.

The external aspect of “observing” is refraining from active labor; the internal aspect of “observing” is refraining and resting from speech about material affairs.

כי זה לעומת זה כו׳

For21 “one opposite the other...” — speaking about material affairs on Shabbat is the inverse of the rest and elevation that a Jew secures on Shabbat, through prayer and Torah study.

FOOTNOTES (scroll down to the bottom or rather foot of the page)

Elucidated by Rabbi Yosef Wineberg. Translated from Yiddish by Rabbi Levy Wineberg and Rabbi Sholom B.Wineberg. Edited by Uri Kaploun.
Lessons in Tanya is Published and Copyright by Kehot Publication Society

~ ~ ~





(end of Hayom Yom, 18 Kislev)

Monday, November 26, 2007

You were slumped on the bathroom counter. You were moaning. pleading. groaning. persuading.

O how I wish I could be convinced.
Convinced it is really you.
O how I wish it could be true.
I really really do.

I do.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A year and a half later...

Tes Kislev. From Tes Sivan.

(You should remember the song from here)
buying a glass and gold ring from Venice = good idea
drumming on the wooden seat in front of you during a concert = good idea
drumming on the wooden seat in front of you during a concert while wearing ur glass ring from Venice = bad idea

(patient half-sigh. yes.)
I was at the Mitteler Rebbe's kever in Niezhin.

Let the jealousy begin!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

"just a week and a day ago he left a single...and today he returned a half."


He-llo. This is brilliant and NOBODY is commenting. I quit.

Terror in the Mid East

[a video]

Friday, November 16, 2007

A nice* Dvar Torah on Parshas Vayeitzei by Rabbi Yossi Jacobson

*Whew, I'm so relieved and grateful that I got to use this word now because I heard that it will be soon taken out of the dictionary. Along with 'cliche' and a couple others.
At this moment doctors are struggling to bring up Ruchama Aliza’s temperature. Her condition is deteriorating rapidly and she needs our tehillim immediately. Please daven for Ruchama Aliza Sarah Chana bas Esther Liba and ask everyone you know to do the same.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"And now, all the Shluchim that went out from 1994 until today, please stand up!"

And that is your answer.

(heehee. no current domestical implications here; fear not, friends.)

"Elokah" is wrong

Ought to be pronounced "Elohak". (think "Noach", "Magbiah").

"Our grandparents were too busy trying to survive to worry about grammar" -RS
"You really ought to learn how to drive."
"No, really. I see that you write 'to do lists' for yourself. So nu, write down 'learn how to drive' and then you'll learn."

Edit Your Profile

adding my new favorite book would make me lose


"Morah, if you pick me up to the ceiling, I'll be your bestest teacher!"

Gimmel Kislev (the return of the sabra's seforim)

Well, some of em anyhow.
1. Dear Brothers, by Haggai Segal
(Received en route from Frankfurt to Brunoy)
2. Forevermore by Shlomo Kalo
(Purchased in The Pletzel, Paris)


And while we're on the subject of books, here are some of my favorites from "the fat girl"-

"..because I turned to the director and said, "Let me tell you a little secret, fat girls don't keep candy on the desk, they keep it in the drawer. So if you want to have candy on someone's desk, put it on the skinny girl's desk, and I promise I'll give it a little glance every time I walk by."

[Cammy (ed ducks!) uses some pretty colorful (read: curse) words when she hears that she's been nominated for an Emmy.] "Then came the soothing voice of reason. "Yes, it's true. Isn't it fantastic? Congratulations, Camryn. You deserve it. " Jeffrey swears a lot less than I do."

"It reminded me of the time that I was walking down the street in New York and these three high school girls were walking toward me. One of them was a little plump so we shared that I'm-chubby-you're-chubby glance, that smile of commiseration. Then just as we passed each other, she turned to me and said, "Gd, and I thought I was fat!". Though temporarily in shock that one of my own would turn on me, my survival skills kicked in and I wasted little time before retaliating. "You are fat. Just because I'm fat doesn't make you any less fat." "

"Apparently there was a big game of Telephone going on out there....But my all-time favorite was "Good evening, I would like to reserve six tickets for the Friday performance of I Woke Up and I Was Fat." Imagine that. You go to sleep skinny and you wake up fat. Now, that would be an interesting one-woman show.

November 8th...

...came and went

(and today i got a thank you for it p.s.)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

jonathon pollard etc

Last night I went to a Jonathon Pollard rally. After, I took a home huge poster and protested on the streets and explained to some people who he is. Sickening how so few people know bout him. The rally was so something, I can't think of the word. His wife Esther spoke and the guy next to me knew how to whistle really loudly and I bought a bracelet even though I have the same exact one in a darker color and I bought a pin even though it was expensive.

There's this one guy that is often on my bus whom I told he's stalking me cuz we always bump into each other (ach, not literally you silly) and he was so surprised and like started apologizing and I'm like dude I'm jokin hehe. Americans. What are we gonna do with them. The only thing they're good for is tofutti ice cream. So I was in the health food store (lookin for healthy techina cuz the blood donatin person aka mada volunteer told me to get it so I can raise my hemoglobin level) and I saw 30 calorie fudge pops and I almost fell to the floor. Not so much from excitement but cuz they were sponga'ing. On the way back to the apartment someone was coming out of a store and he rammed right into me and it hurt and he didn't say sorry and I was so shocked and surprised and annoyed that I just yelled at him without thinkin (yea, that happens often-the not thinkin part..) "You're gonna go to jail for that, you know!" and I stomped off and felt a bit better.

So the other night I was at the bus stop and bitachon comes over to me and gives a hearty shalom and I answer back a lil cautiously cuz whats with this friendly welcome and then she's like you dont remember me and of course I don't and after a few minutes I do. She had been at the tachanat harakevet, train station, in Lod and boy did she remember me from all the times I passed through there and my terrible Hebrew and the way I used to talk and how I used to always say 'hi' to her so anyhow she's my new friend. Her name is Mari. Not like the American "Mary", but the Etiopi way, roll the reish and say it with a guttural kushi accent. I brought her vegetable soup after cuz she was so cold. I'm part of the bitachon chevra now and it's a really nice feeling.

Talk bout nice feelings-a few days ago my boss calls me at work and asked me to go to the post office. No prob. I love errands. Especially in Israel. Especially when I'm getting paid for it. So i merrily go on my way and it's merrily drizzling till I get off the bus and need to walk 5 minutes, then it starts to merrily rain quite hard and I consider running but quickly disregard that idea for a number of reasons, one being I didn't wanna slip. So I walk. Merrily. Head held high. And then it starts to pour. Not so merrily. I continue walking casually, happy that I'm wearin boots not so happy that they're suede. I start to quietly hum a (merry lol) niggun. I start to get lotsa looks. I guess they ranged from shocked to confused to jealous to disapproving to admiring. Most were admiring (of course of course). So I finally get to the post office (stopped off on the way in some food place just for shelter) and I try to be as inconspicuous as possible cuz remember how I'm stage fright and hate a hundred people lookin at me at once, so yea, try being inconspicuous when your literally dripping wet, you're tracking in water, you're makin lil squeaky sounds when you walk. I mean your shoes are, not you, and you bring in all the frost, fog and wind. Hehe. Not a winning situation, eh? Wait it gets better-the letter that the Rabbi needed wasn't even there. Yay. So then I went back. But I hate the feeling of wet plasticy materical on my skin so I took off my jacket and now people were really confused. It's ok, it keeps the relationship spicy (don't know between what and what or who but that's for another time). I made friends with real sabra lady at bus stop-told her she can't complain about weather cuz she's Israeli and they love and need and depend on this rain but I could cuz I'm American. So she's like-yes I like it and need it but only when I'm home. And we started discussing/arguing and then I'm like -what the heck, I'm also Israeli now so I guess I love it and we both laughed and joked and everyone else was just standing.

Please behave urself and go to

O and I met the coolest soldier who taught himself Arabic and goes to the Dome of the Rock golden place behind the Kotel and dresses like Arab and no one's allowed to go there, even Mishtara, and I ask him with mock sternness-"Does your mother know what you do every day!?" and he looks at me as if I fell off the moon (please no dirty comments on that one, thank you) and answers "Are u crazy!? For sure not!!"
Point of the story is simply that I know something that an Israeli mother doesn't.

(our conservative rabbi)
Clothes don't "make the man". Rather, clothes express and reveal the man.

(yesh hevdel*)
*emphasis on 2nd syllable
The head of the person (the Rosh) gives chayus to all of the body, to every limb.
The head of the year (Rosh Hashona) gives chayus to all of the year, to every month.
The head of the month (Rosh Chodesh) gives chayus to all of the month, to every day.
The head of the week (Shabbos) gives chayus to all of the week, to every day.

Aha, so why is Shabbos not called "Rosh Hashavua"?

"Elokeinu V'Elokei Avosainu"
Shouldn't it be written in the opposite order? Chronologically, it would only make sense!
But no, first there was Hashem. And only Hashem. His Light filled the world. All of the world. Then there was the Kav of Tzitzmum (see the letter 'vav' tis a straight | ). And then afterwards, we can have Elokei Avoseinu (Ima and Abba..Chochma and Bina)


Same with "Shma Yisroel Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad". First 'havaya', elokeinu, second 'havaya'.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

What don't Calvin, Chava and Roark have in common?

Monday, November 05, 2007

"In material matters one should always look at he whose situation is lower than one's own, and thank the good G-d for His kindness to him.
In spiritual matters one should always look at he who is higher than oneself, and plead with G-d to grant him the intelligence to learn from the other, and the ability and strength to rise higher."

--Hayom Yom of November 5, 2007 (24 Cheshvan)

(and then 30 Sivan says--In material matters, one who is "satisfied with his lot" is an individual of the highest quality. A person possessing this trait will, through avoda, attain the highest levels. In spiritual matters, however, to be satisfied with one's lot is the worst deficiency, and leads, G-d forbid, to descent and falling.)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Yigal Amir

"The brit mila of Yigal Amir's baby will take place in prison in his father's presence on Sunday, [ed-November 4,] the 12th anniversary of the day Amir shot and killed prime minister Yitzhak Rabin...."
Personally, I don't feel entirely comfortable with the end of that sentence ("Amir shot and killed prime minister"), cuz of these reasons.
O and let it be known that yah, david rutstein and I go wayyyy back (we met at uzi's place)

Gush Katif

(write down e/t that comes to your mind...anything, k?)

#1 (c)

#2 (s)
העם עם גוש קטיף
magen david shul
noga cohen
n've dekalim
"zeh kfar darom zeh kfar darom"
heat houses
mishpachat yitzchaki
bnei akiva

#3 (s)
"zeh kfar darom zeh kfar darom"
pizza shop
all americans on the bus
curls, white shirt, big pants, massive uzi (ooooh)
late to bus (last minute!)
getting off waiting for family
seminary girls
soldiers on bus (usually acting hyper)
nice apartment for ourselves
blue flowy skirt

#4 (r)
Something that started out small, but soon as it gets nearer to the day we're all dreading-everyone will know about it and it will become huge. However, there will be no war!! Why?! B/c Hamas is looking to take control over that Arafat has died-If Sharon understands that they are going to take Jews out of this land-then turn them over-the land-into the hands of Hamas-a terrorist group-Gd willing he'll change his mind.

#5 (a)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Please pray for Nadav Chaim ben Lea Monik
who was critically injured in Gaza earlier this week

Laughing With The Times #2

She* was introducing the letter 'ches' to her students in Hebrew School. She asked if anyone could tell her a holiday coming up that starts with the letter 'ches'. All at once the kids shouted, "CHALLOWEEN!"

They couldn't understand why 'Hanukkah' became 'Chanukkah' and 'Halloween' doesn't become 'Challoween'....

[ma, ya, what?]

*individuals privatized to protect the name of the change