Midnightrabbi inspires with Inspirations from friends!

Mrs Rachaman has dedicated this blog to Brendan David Ben Carmel. Who passed away 8th August, and Tisha B’Av is the 9th. So mourning is even more accessible in these 3 weeks.

Join and like our fan page lol so we can spread the light 267318573284484?sk=info

Please enjoy todays inspiration from inspirational people and please feel free to add yours in the comments or email . If its really umuse613@gmail.com inspirational we can post it in the Blog! Have a week of inspirtation and remember from darkness we can see the light brighter and turn it all around now!~

Does G-d Know?

This question keeps coming up. Does G-d know what we are going to choose, and if so, are we really free to choose what we want? If He already knows what is going to happen, aren’t our choices already set? If so, how can there be free will!

A prophet might know the future. For instance, he could know that Israel is about to fail at something, and G-d has sent him to warn us. But if he knows that we are going to fail, why bother to warn us? If he knows that it is going to happen, then it is already set, and we cannot do anything about it. This seemingly proves that we do not have free will!

This is, in fact, the Eastern belief of karma. They say, whatever you did in the past must come back to you. Therefore, they conclude, do not do anything!

This is not the Torah’s teaching. Yes, the Torah teachesmida keneged mida (portion across from portion), that what you do will come back to you; but the Torah also teaches that we have free will. We are taught that no matter what is set to come, we, with our deeds can reverse that decision and turn our future to the good. This is why G-d sent prophets to warn us.

So, even though G-d knows what is set to come, and He knows what we are going to choose, still, we are free to change our minds, and most importantly, our deeds and choose to do something else instead. And, of course, G-d knows that we were going to make that change, too.

How does this affect our lives today? Why hasn’t the Redemption come? Obviously, its time has not yet come. But if we have to wait for its time, why do anything to try to bring it? If it is set for a certain date, shouldn’t we just sit back and wait peacefully.

No. The Redemption is set to come by a certain date, and no matter what, it will not come a second later than that moment. But… it could come earlier. If we use our free will, and do the proper deeds, then we can make it happen now. This is our free will, and it is one of the many differences between the Torah and the East.

The practical aspect of this difference is, since they feel that they cannot change anything, they say, “Let go… detach.” And since we know that we can change the world, we say, “get involved… make the world a better place.” Not only will you enjoy yourself more, and not only will you reduce suffering, you might even add that tiny drop that was needed to bring the final Redemption right now!

Thanks to Gutman Locks for this inspiration and please read on!

Crash Landing
An airliner was having engine trouble, and the pilot instructed the cabin crew to have the passengers take their seats and get prepared for an emergency landing.
A few minutes later, the pilot asked the flight attendants if everyone was buckled in and ready.
‘All set back here, Captain,’ came the reply, ‘except one lawyer who is still going around passing out business cards.’
The Great Crisis
On the ninth of the month of Av in the year 70 CE (next Tuesday, August 9th) the Roman legions in Jerusalem smashed through the fortress tower of Antonia into the Holy Temple and set it afire. In the blackened remains of the sanctuary lay more than the ruins of the great Jewish revolt for political independence; it appeared that Judaism itself was shattered beyond repair.Out of approximately four to five million Jews in the world, over a million died in that abortive war for independence. Many died of starvation, others by fire and crucifixion. So many Jews were sold into slavery and given over to the gladiatorial arenas and circuses that the price of slaves dropped precipitously, fulfilling the ancient curse: “There you will be offered for sale as slaves, and there will be no one willing to buy” (Deuteronomy 26:68). The destruction was preceded by events so devastating that from an objective perspective, it seemed that the Jewish people had breathed its last breath.
This is what amazed a philosopher like Nietzsche, a fierce and fateful critic of the Jews, as it has so many other thinkers throughout the ages. In Twilight of the Idols and The Antichrist the German philosopher wrote: “The Jews are the most remarkable people in the history of the world, for when they were confronted with the question, to be or not to be, they chose, with perfectly unearthly deliberation, to be at any price … They defined themselves counter to all those conditions under which a nation was previously able to live … Psychologically, the Jews are a people gifted with the very strongest vitality … The Jews are the very opposite of decadents.”
How did the Jews achieve this indeed?
The Cherubs Embracing
The Talmud relates a profoundly strange incident that occurred moments before the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple:
“When the pagans entered the Holy Temple, they saw the cherubs cleaving to each other. They took them out to the streets and said: ‘These Jews … is this what they occupy themselves with?’ With this, they debased [the Jewish people], as it is written: ‘All who had honored her have despised her, for they have seen her nakedness (1).’”
The meaning of these words is this: The innermost chamber of the Jerusalem Temple, the most sacred site in Judaism, was known as the “Holy of Holies” and seen as the spiritual epicenter of the universe. Two golden cherubs – they were two winged figures, one male and one female — were located in the “Holy of Holies.” These cherubs represented the relationship between the cosmic groom and bride, between G-d and His people.
The Talmud teaches (2) that when the relationship between groom and bride was sour the two faces were turned away from each other, as when spouses are angry with each other. When the relationship was healthy, the two faces of the cherubs would face each other. And when the love between G-d and His bride was at its peak the cherubs would embrace “as a man cleaves to his wife.”
Now, the Talmud is telling us, that when the enemies of Israel invaded the Temple – during the time of its destruction in the Hebrew month of Av (3) — they entered into the Holy of Holies, a place so sacred that entry into it was permitted only to a single individual, the High Priest, and only on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year. There they saw the cherubs embracing each other. They dragged them out of the Temple and into the streets, vulgarizing their sacred significance (4).
This seems bizarre. When the enemies of Israel invaded the Temple to destroy it, the relationship between G-d and His people was at its lowest possible point, for that was the reason for the destruction and the subsequent exile. The Jews were about to become estranged from G-d for millennia. The manifest presence of divinity in the world, via the Temple in Jerusalem, would cease; Jews and G-d would now be exiled from each other.
Yet, paradoxically, it was precisely at that moment that the cherubs were intertwined, symbolizing the profoundest relationship between G-d and Israel. How are we to understand this (5)?
Preparing for the Voyage
The most daring explanation was given by the heir to the founder of Chassidism, Rabbi Dovber, known as the Magid of Mezrich (d. in 1772). Quoting the injunction of the sages that a man ought to consort with his wife prior to leaving home on a journey, the Maggid suggests that G-d, prior to His long journey away from home, expressed His intimacy with the Jewish people. Prior to the onset of a long exile, the cherubs were intertwined, representing the intimacy preceding the journey (6).
What the Chassidic master was conveying through this dazzling metaphor – and it is a central theme in Chassidic thought — was that it was at the moment of the destruction that a new relationship between G-d and His people was beginning to develop. The greatest moment of crisis was also a moment of intimacy. As the Temple was going up in flames, and with it so much of Jewish life and history, G-d impregnated (metaphorically speaking) a seed of life within the Jewish soul; He implanted within His people the potential for a new birth.
For two millennia, this “seed” has sustained us, giving the Jewish people the courage and inspiration to live and propser. Judaism flourished in the decades and centuries following the destruction of the Temple in an unprecedented fashion: The Mishnah, Talmud, Midrash and Kabbalah were all born during those centuries. The very tragic conditions of exile became catalysts for unparalleled rejuvenation. The closing of one door opened many more.
Many empires, religions and cultures attempted to demonstrate to the Jewish people that their role in the scheme of creation has ended, or that it has never began, luring them into the surrounding, prevailing culture. But the “intimacy” they experienced, so to speak, with G-d just moments before He “departed” from them, left its indelible mark. It imbued them with a vision, a dream and an unshakable commitment. Throughout their journeys, often filled with extraordinary anguish, they clung to their faith that they were in a covenant with G-d to transform the world into a divine abode; to heal a fractured world yearning to reunite with its own true reality.
Birth
This grants us a deeper understanding into the ancient Jewish tradition (7) that the Moshiach (Messiah) was born on the ninth of Av. At the moment the Temple was about to be engulfed in flames, the dream of redemption was born. There was an intimacy in the flames and it produced a hidden seed that would eventually bring healing to a broken world. Think about it: The very possibility for the rabbis of those generation to declare that Moshiach was born on the ninth of Av, was nothing but testimony to the intimacy that accompanied the milieu of estrangement and exile.
Now we are finally ready for the birth (8).

We are currently in the three week mourning period, where we mourn, primarily over the destruction of the Temples, and spirituality in general. During this period various physical restrictions have been imposed upon us. What is the nature of these physical restrictions; are they some type of punishment?

At the culmination of the three weeks, on 9 Av, in additional to the physical restrictions, we also have spiritual restrictions, in the form of a prohibition of learning Torah subjects not related to the day and in the delaying of wearing tefillin and reciting some prayers. But on the contrary, one would have assumed that this should be the day when we do indulge in spirituality and learn as much Torah as possible?

A few years ago, when ‘Grandma Hilda’ (my wife’s grandmother) passed away in the hospital, only two of her granddaughters were present. They did not know that in Jewish law when a person passes away, a light is supposed to be lit and the windows should be opened.

But two very strange events happened in the hospital room…

Firstly the light to call the nurse mysteriously kept coming on. Despite the nurse’s continuous efforts to switch it off, it kept switching itself on.

Later on, realising that the room was very cold, they attempted to close the window – but to no avail. Despite their attempts to force the window closed, it would simply not move.

And so, without even being aware of it at the time, the appropriate laws were observed at the time of passing.

The soul has a very powerful drive simply to do the right thing.

Sometimes however, a connection to physicality prevents the soul from fulfilling its desire.

During the three weeks, we attempt to somewhat suppress the physical side, which hopefully in turn [1] makes us more sensitive to spirituality.

Therefore on the 9th of Av, at the end of the mourning period, in addition to the physical restrictions, specifically at the time when we are most connected to spirituality, it is forbidden to freely indulge in spirituality! This is to make usrealise what we have lost [2].

This is what we must learn from this three week mourning period, taking with us the desire to connect to spirituality… hopefully experiencing this mourning period for the last time, for next year may we rather celebrate in the third Temple!

Have a consouling 3 weeks,

Dan. “Leeman” <dhl@netvision.net.il>,

We need Moshiach super fast.

While Hamas is busy renewing missile attacks on the south of Israel today, the IDF top brass reacts by removing Hashem’s name from the army Yizkor prayer.

If the IDF top brass is kicking Hashem out of the front door, then Emuna Outreach will not let up in continuing to bring Hashem through the back door; better yet, we’re trying our best to bring emuna right down the hatch of every tank and ATC on the Gaza border.

Emuna books that have been stashed in the hold of an IDF armored troop carrier; emuna right down the hatch!

Earlier this week, I spent the day with a platoon of Golani soldiers on the Gaza border. Next week, G-d willing, , but in the meanwhile, there are a few glimpses… Moshaich Now!

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14 thoughts on “Midnightrabbi inspires with Inspirations from friends!

  1. From: RabbiShlomo Price

    Subject: Shabbos Nachamu-3

                                                              Shabbos Nachamu

     

    Everybody knows that the Shabbos after Tisha B’Av is always Parshas VaEschanan and it is called, “Shabbos Nachamu.”

     

    This is because the Haftorah-portion of he Prophets read after he Torah portion is from Yeshaya 40:1 and begins, “נחמו נחמו עמי יאמר אלוקיכם-‘Be consoled, be consoled my nation,’ says your G-D.”

     

    In the sefer Mayana Shel Torah-Wellsprings of Torah, by Rabbi Alexander Zushia Friedman, he brings that  the Dubner Magid asks why is the word “be consoled,” repeated twice?

     

    He explains that the biggest pain of the Jews in exile is that the Gentiles say that we were abandoned by G-D and He doesn’t want to know us anymore. We will never be able to return to Him.

     

    Therefore the biggest consolation for us is that Hashem tells the Prophet to tell us that He is going to console us and He is still our G-D. This is the greatest consolation for us which will strengthen us.

     

    This is what the Prophet is saying, “Be consoled-this alone should already console you,” that “be consoled my nation,’ says your G-D.” That Hashem is sending you words of consolation and is proclaiming that He is your G-D. This is the biggest consolation in the exile.

     

    The Dubner Magid, who is famous for his parables, then proceeds to explains this with a parable.

     

    Two husband left their wives and traveled far away.

     

    One, who was poor, had to travel far away to find sustenance for their home.

     

    The other, who was quite wealthy, could not live in peace with his wife, so he left.

     

    After not hearing from their husbands for a while, the wives sarted to inquire from the incoming merchants if they heard anything about their husbands.

     

    Finally a big merchant came and said that he spoke to their husbands and had regards for them. He even had letters for them. However, he requested to rest one day from his tedious journey before unloading his packages and finding the letters.

     

    The wife of the wealthy fellow left with complete satisfaction.

     

    However, the wife of the poor fellow kept begging the merchant to give her the letter immediately.

     

    The merchant asked her, “Why are you more impatient than the other woman?”

     

    The woman replied, “The other woman is not lacking for anything. She was only worried that her husband had abandoned her and would never return. The moment she heard that her husband sent regards and even a letter she was satisfied and wasn’t so obsessed to see what was actually written in the letter. The mere fact that he sent a letter was enough to console her.

     

    But I have no food and clothing in the house and I am very curious to know what my husband wrote in the letter about finding a source of sustenance.”

     

    So too over here. The Prophet is saying, “Be consoled-this alone should already console you,” that “be consoled my nation,’ says your G-D.” That Hashem is sending you words of consolation and is proclaiming that He is your G-D. This is the biggest consolation in the exile.

     

    I heard a beautiful insight about this point from Rabbi Yissochor Frand about the destruction of the second Temple.

     

    The Gemoros in Taanis 26a and Baba Basra 121a-121b discuss the great Yom Tov-Festival of Tu B’Ov-the 15th of the month of Ov.

     

    There are different opinions as to why it was such a Yom Tov.

     

    The Gemoro in Baba Basra 121b brings the opinion of Rav Masna that it was the day that the many victims of the great city of Beitar massacre merited to be buried.

     

    In fact, Rav Masna says that on that day they were buried, they instituted the fourth blessing of Grace After Meals- “Hatov VeHameitiv-“Who is Good and Who does Good.” “Hatov-that the bodies didn’t decay. “VeHametiv-that they merited burial.

     

    Rabbi Frand said that this Gemoro always perplexed him. He said, “Imagine the Jews come in to Beitar and find hundreds of thousands of bodies [according to the Gemoro in Gittin it was 4 million] lying there in the open field massacred by the Romans. For this you make a Blessing?! For this you make a Yom Tov?!

     

    “The pshat-explanation is,” Rabbi Frand answers, “is that this was right after the destruction of the second Beis HaMikdash and The Jewish people thought that Hashem had abandoned them. [As if He was saying] That’s it! You’re divorced! I don’t want to have anything to do with you!

     

    The Beis HaMikdash was destroyed, thousands of people were killed, they’re marched off into exile, an exile that we are still in today.

     

    The Jewish People threw up their hands and said that Hashem has had it with us! It’s over!

     

    Then they came into Beitar and saw these bodies and they realized that far from Hashem divorcing them, He  made a miracle for them that the bodies didn’t decay as they should have normally, and they were allowed to be buried..

     

    They thought to themselves that This Master of the World, we thought He abandoned us. But, look at that, an open miracle-they didn’t decay and they were allowed to be buried.

    So the Jewish People came to the conclusion that Hashem hasn’t abandoned us! We’re still His nation and He still loves us.

    And that is an occasion for a Yom Tov. For that you create a blessing, because we are not alone.

     

    We are taught to emulate Hashem. So we have to apply what Hashem did for us to how we deal with others.

     

    One of the worst feelings that one could have when things are going wrong is the feeling of abandonment. When one thinks that no one cares about him.

    That’s why it’s important to try to help someone when he’s down; even if you don’t succeed, you at least show him that he’s not alone.

     

    Rabbi Frand also brought a Gemoro Moed Katan 21b,

     

    “מעשה ומתו בניו של רבי עקיבא.נכנסו כל ישראל והספידום הספד גדול. בשעת פטירתן,עמד  ר’ע …ואמר….מנוחם אני מפני כבוד שעשיתם.”                                                         

     “There was story that the two children of Rabbi Akiva died and all of the Jews came and made a great eulogy. When they left, Rabbi Akiva stood up…and said, ‘I’m comforted because of this great honor that you have done.’”

    Rabbi Frand asked, “What words of comfort did they provide for Rabbi Akiva? What can you say to a person under such circumstances?”

     

    Rabbi Frand answered, “You know what I think, they didn’t have to say anything, but they came. They showed that they cared and that’s the greatest

    נחמה-comfort.”

    In fact, he brought a story with Rav Avraham Pam, ztl., who went to comfort a family who lost a child. He sat down with them and started crying. He cried for twenty minutes then he got up and said the traditional words said when leaving a mourner,”HaMakom Yenachem esechem….May the Omnipresent console you….” and left.

    Those parents commented afterwards that that was the biggest consolation that they received.

     

    Rabbi Frand concluded, “And that is an important lesson, that sometimes it’s not important what you say or if you say anything. It’s to show the person that you’re there.”

     

    I saw a moving article on Aish.Com, from Rabbi Benjamain Blech about consoling the mourner that concurs with this point.

     

    He writes, “That’s why I’ve come to a personal conclusion about what it is that makes a condolence call best fulfill its function. In three words: just be there. What mourners need most is the gift of you.

    Words often miss their mark. They may hurt as often as they heal. What leaves no room for misunderstanding, however, is a simple hug, a shared tear, the language conveyed by our presence.

    It is a truth I came to best realize in one of the most remarkable shiva visits I ever witnessed. The mourner was a young widow, a mother of four, who had suddenly and without warning lost her husband, a brilliant Talmudic scholar and revered teacher of hundreds of devoted students. We came to the shiva house, colleagues, friends and disciples. None of us knew what to say. Nervously, we attempted some conversation. All eyes suddenly turned to the door as we noticed the arrival of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, of blessed memory, one of the greatest rabbinic luminaries of the generation.

    We held our breaths in anticipation. What would this great scholar have to say to the widow? What wisdom would he be able to impart to ease her suffering? What could we learn from the way he handled the situation?

    Rabbi Feinstein started to tell the mourners what a great man the deceased was, how learned, how pious, how righteous. But after no more than two sentences the rabbi choked up and could say no more. He wept, tried again — and then remained silent. He sat for about 20 minutes all the while making clear his grief. He then rose and offered the traditional words recited for the occasion: “May the Lord comfort you amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.”

    And after he was gone and for many days thereafter the widow would tell everyone how much she had gained from that visit.

    No, it was not the words that mattered. None of us will ever find words comforting enough, wise enough, profound enough to undo the tragedy or to minimize it. It was simply fulfilling what Jewish law teaches us to do at a time such as this. We are to show by our presence that we too are affected by the loss. We are to demonstrate by our sorrow that we share in some measure the pain of the mourners. We are to illustrate by recounting our memories of the departed that the life that is no more will continue in our minds and in our hearts, offering a measure of immortality to the deceased. We are to make clear to those who suffer that we will always continue to be there for them because we are part of a greater community that understands that all of us are responsible one for another.

    This is why shiva, when properly observed, has the power to console and to comfort countless generations.”

    May Hashem help us to learn these lessons and apply them.


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  2. There isn’t a single one of us who doesn’t have a problem that hurts – some have health problems, others have financial difficulties, many have marital issues, quite a few have grief from their children. Some couples don’t have children at all, and still others long to find their soulmate and are lonely in the meanwhile. If I haven’t alluded to your particular problem, simply fill in the blank. We all have our ills, whether physical, emotional, spiritual, or interpersonal.

    Most of us think that an “ointment” of a raise in salary, a new toy, a night on the town or relief of our localized problem will end our ills. Wrong. The root of all our ills is Jerusalem – the lack of our Holy Temple and the Divine Presence within our midst.

    We sorely need the tamidim, the daily sacrifices on the altar, and especially the monthly se’ir chata’at, the sin offering that atones for all of Israel. We don’t realize how badly are souls have withered, for we’ve never heard the sublime melodies (in this reincarnation) of 24-part Levite harmony or the magical strains of a Levite’s flute and harp – one song or prayer in the Beit HaMikdash would be enough to send our souls in orbit, leaving the disgust of the gross material world that so many of are attached to.

    Like those born in caves that have never seen the light, we don’t know what we’re missing.

    Since Jerusalem is the heart of the Jewish people, we have an acute national cardiac ailment. The root of the all our pain is in the heart of Judaism – Jerusalem and the Beit HaMikdash, the Holy Temple. Hashem wants us to wake up before 9th of Av – this Monday night and Tuesday – to ponder the meaning of the Holy Temple’s destruction, not merely from a historical perspective, but from a very pragmatic contemporary perspective as well.

    When we think about all that’s lacking in our lives a Torah-observant people – High Priest, the sacrifices, the Levites, mitzvoth that can only be performed in the context of the Holy Temple, the Sanhedrin, true spiritual purity and true spirituality – only then do we begin to lament the Temple’s destruction with any semblance of sincerity. But rather than crying out to Hashem, we are tacitly agreeing to the dissection and ultimate surrender of Jerusalem, the heart of the Jewish people. Have we asked Hashem even once to prevent the dissection of Jerusalem? Or are we more concerned about our new ceramic floor in the bathroom? We want new furniture and a remodeled kitchen, but are we aware that Hashem’s Divine Presence is homeless? Isn’t it time we built a home for Hashem?

    With the Divine Presence within our midst, there is a limitless blessing of abundance for health, happiness, and everything we need. Our sages say that if we don’t rebuild Jerusalem and the Beit HaMikdash in our generation, it’s as if we destroyed it, Heaven forbid. Raise your voice now – skyward. Hashem is listening. Redemption could be no more than a heartbeat away. Your prayers could tip the scales for Moshiach and the full redemption of our people, and maybe we won’t have to fast this week, amen.

  3. From: RabbiShlomo Price

    Subject: Parshas Vaeschanan-3

                                                 Parshas Vaeschanan

     

    I heard a short but penetrating point about the Ten Commandments that had a great impact on me. It all started a couple years ago. I was in the USA and Canada for a nephew’s wedding and Sheva Berachos.

     

    At one of the Sheva Berachos, my cousin, Jonathan Siegel, said over this point in the name of Rav Binyomin Levine, grandson of the famous “Tzadik In Our Times,” Rav Aryeh Levine. When I asked him for the source, my cousin promptly sent me this link.

    The Essence of Judaism
    (also known as “How Aryeh Levine Prepared for Rosh Hashana”)
    download:35meg high quality or 8meg (lower) (right click,save as)
    by his grandson Rabbi Binyamin Levine

     

    It was a beautiful inspiring sicha about how to relate to another human being, which also included this point.

    I would suggest that you all listen to it. Anyways, I will summarize part of what he said including, of course, the point on the Ten Commandments.

     

    Rav Binyoin Levine explained that his father and his family lived in the USA. He would spend summer in Eretz Yisroel with his famous grandfather, Rav Aryeh Levine. He went intending to take notes on all the special things that this tzaddik woud do. He did not see anything special except in how he related to other people.

     

    On Friday night he was looking forward to spending the Shabbos meal with his Grandfather. He thought it would be so spiritual he wouldn’t forget it. It would be full of Limud  Torah and Zmiros an experience he wouldn’t forget.

    The meal was by Rav Aryeh’s daughter, as his wife had already passed away. Rav Binyomin was disappointed with how short the Shabbos meal was. It had a few Zemros and Torah but it went very quickly.

     

    When his Grandfather saw his disappointment he asked him why. When he heard why, he said that his daughter has a very big family. It’s very hard for her the entire week but let’s go in to my room and we’ll have a cup of tea and I will tell you a story.

     

    Rav Aryeh said over a famous story about Rav Yisroel Salanter[I heard it differently, but the lesson is the same].

     

    Rav Yisroel Salanter zt”l was once invited by one of his talmidim (disciples) to the Friday night Shabbos seuda (meal). He told his talmid that he doesn’t eat out without first knowing how the meal is going to be run. His talmid proudly told him that everything in his home is done strictly according to halacha (Jewish law). “The meat is glatt kosher and is bought from this particular butcher. The woman who works in our kitchen, the widow of a scholar, is very trustworthy. Even so, my wife is always in and out of the kitchen, making sure that everything is being done properly. Between every course, words of Torah are discussed and Shabbos z’miros (songs) are sung. We also have a class on halacha taught during the meal. The seuda, being very beautiful and meaningful, continues until late in the evening.”

    After hearing all of these details, Rav Yisroel agreed to come.

    However when he came he rushed the meal and it was shortened by many hours. One course was brought quickly after the other, and before an hour had passed, they were ready to bentsch (say the grace after meals).

    The talmid, unable to contain himself, turned to his Rebbe and asked what had been wrong with his normal way of conducting the meal. Instead of answering directly, Rav Yisroel summoned the widow who had done the cooking and serving. He turned to her and said, “Please forgive me for rushing you so much this evening. I know you are accustomed to having a nice, long break between each course.”

    The widow said, “I wish you would come every Shabbos!”

    “Why?”

    “Because I get up at 5 in the morning for all the preparations. By the evening I’m falling off my feet. I can’t take it anymore. I wait so long to finish what I have to do and go to sleep. Now you came, Rebbe, and finished in such a short time. Now for the very first time in a long time I can finish what I  have to do and I can go to sleep like a  mensch.”

    Rav Yisroel turned to his talmid and explained that his normal seuda schedule was very beautiful, but you should not be a very fine person on someone elses cheshbon-expense.

     

    Rav Binyoin Levine concludes, “My Grandfather taught me, that this is the essence of what the Torah is all about.

     

    You can learn Torah for years and be an odom gadol-sage. But it’s not learning the Torah but what the Torah has taught you. What the Torah has made you. And if as a result of learning, you lose your sensitivity to other people around, and you don’t have a feeling for a widow who is standing on her feet for a whole day because you’re sitting and learning, then there is something wrong with the way that you are learning. Because the Torah has to teach you how to relate to other people.

     

    I always say that first word of the Aseres HaDibros-Ten Commandments is “Anochi-I” and the last word is LeReecho-Your Friend.” The entire Aseres HaDibros is sandwiched in between the words Anochi –Lreecho-how do I relate to another human being.

     

    My first lesson that Rav Aryeh taught me was how do you relate to another person. “My daughter works hard and I’m going to spend a few hours when she’s falling off her feet and she worked hard all week!?” That was the sensitivity he had for other people.” [Till here is from Rav Levine]

     

    I saw a similar point in a book called, “City On Fire,” by Sorah Shapiro. This amazing book is about the “Twin Tower Tragedy.” She brings there from Rav Shlomo Brevda, Shlita, what he spoke about “Derech Eretz”

    [Having sterling midos (character traits) and the ability to behave like a mentsh (fine human being)]

     

    He spoke about the difference between an animal and a Man. Man was given a Neshomo-Soul, the mental capacities of a human being, superior to 

    animals. Obviously Hashem demands that every action of a human being should portray that he is a mentsh not an animal. The clear difference between a mentsh and animal is Derech Eretz.

     

    The character and personality of a animal is to be an extremely self-centered, egoistic, selfish being that takes into account nothing besides its desire

    at the moment. Nothing surrounding this animal matters to it, only its desire.

     

    For example, an animal sees food 300 yards away in a garden and being hungry, rushes forward to consume it. Along the way it uproots 25 fruit trees and trampled on a whole vegetable garden.

     

    It could have avoided the needless destruction and still have obtained its food by making a detour around the vineyard and vegetable garden.

     

    Rav Brevda visualizes as if he’s on the scene interviewing the animal.

    He asks the animal why he had to cause so much destruction to get its food when it could have made the detour and gotten its food without the destruction?

    The animal says, “I don’t know what you are talking about. All that exists in this world is me and my lunch, that’s all. What is this talk of fruit trees and vegetable gardens and destruction? It doesn’t fit into my psyche one iota. I don’t think about anything except myself.”

    What Hashem wants from a human being is total consideration of his or her environment 24 hours a day, never causing destruction, never causing harm, sorrow, distress, pain, never! Constant consideration.

     

    Rav Brevda stresses that even when doing a Mitzvah you have to be considerate of others. He gives an illustration.

     

    A fellow is up till two in the morning learning and goes to his dormitory room to sleep. Two of his roommates are already sleeping. It’s dark and he wants to put on the light to find his way. Rav Brevda comments,

     

    “Don’t you dare put on the light. Don’t you dare awaken any of the others from their sleep. Bash your head, but don’t bash anyone else’s head. You’re a mentsh. If you’re an animal, switch on the light and don’t care about anyone else’s pain.”

    He also stresses that this is what  Hashem wants from every human being, total consideration of his fellow man and his environment always.

     

    From the Jewish people he wants more-someone who encourages, helps, uplifts and brings gladness of heart to every other Jew.

     

    He ends off with what Rav Chaim Volozhiner would often say to his son, “The purpose of a man in this world is to live, not for his own purposes, but rather to benefit others, in every possible way!”

    I will conclude with another story that shows how sensitive the great people were to other people’s feelings even when it was detrimental to them.

    Rabbi Paysach Krohn, in his book, “Echoes of the Maggid,” p. 83 relates a story that he heard from Rav Asher Arieli, the renowned Rosh Yeshiva in Yeshivas Mir of Jerusalem.

    He told about when Rabbi Meir Chodosh (1898-1989), the late Mashgiach of Chevron, was in the hospital with his final illness. His room was usually full with the many visitors who came to see him every day.

    One day a young intern came into the Rabbi’s room to draw blood from his arm. Before the intern could start, the Rabbi sent everyone out of the room. This was surprising, because Rabbi Chodosh usually appreciated when his family and close friends were present during doctors’ visits and medical procedures, so they were up to date on his medical status. The visitors tried to dissuade the Rabbi from being alone, but he emphatically asked them to leave.

    A while later, after the intern left with a small vial of blood, the Rabbi explained to his returning visitors, “It is very hard for any doctor drawing blood to find the veins in the arms of an older person. Usually the doctor must stick his needle in a few times until he finds the appropriate vein. It can’t be a good feeling for the doctor. For a young doctor, however, the problem is compounded; first there is his inexperience in drawing blood from any patient regardless how old he is, and secondly, my being an ‘old man’ makes it harder for him to locate the proper vein.

    It would have been very embarrassing for him to have to pierce me numerous times in front of you until he found the vein. That is why I had to ask you to leave-to spare him shame.”

    “Imagine,” said Rabbi Arieli in amazement. “Rabbi Chodosh is being poked and stuck numerous times and each time it is painful. But his pain is not what disturbs him. It is the pain of the young doctor’s humiliation that disturbs him. That’s his concern! Where do you find such people? And how does one become such a person?” he sighed.

    Rav Sholom Schwadron (1912-1997), the venerable Maggid of Yerushalaim, would have given a one-word answer to that question- “[the study of] Mussar!-Ethical works”May Hashem help us to internalize these lessons to be considerate of others and then, not only will we live a happier life but everyone else as well will live a happier life in this world and the next.


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  4. Rebuilding the Beis Hamikdash in your home
    By having sons and daughters and raising them properly, it is actually a form of rebuilding the Beis Hamikdash. We don’t mean that as a mashal or metaphor: that is actually the binyan Beis Hamikdash. If people get married with the intention of raising big families, big frum families, they are the ones who are entitled to weep for the churban Beis Hamikdash, because they mean business.

    There’s a woman with ten children, all frum. She gave her life to raise those children. She was cooking all her life, she nursed them, she washed diapers for them, she cleaned the house for them, she saw to it that her husband went to learn, didn’t sit in the house in the evening.

    She encouraged her sons to go to learn. The little boys had to know the Chumash, and when they came home, she said take out the gemara and learn. Her daughters dressed with tznius, helped in the house, and kept every detail of the halachos: no muktzehs, no lashon hara. Everything was done with kashrus, with tznius. People who are raising such sons and daughters are, not al pi mashal, but actually, rebuilding the Beis Hamikdash in their days. (Tape 559)

    Growth with action: Once a day think and then say an encouraging comment that will increase an awareness to the fulfillment of mitzvos in your home.

    • Remembering Rav Shlomo Brevda

      A Tribute to Rav Shlomo Brevda zt”l

      Remembering HaRav Shlomo Leib Brevda zt”l on his second Yartzeit on Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Va’era 5775.

      Remembering the day, Two years ago when Tens of Thousands mourned the passing of HaRav Sholom Brevda zt”l all over the world. HaRav Brevda zt”l passed away on 26 Teves 5773

      The Levaya that evening in Cong. Beis Yehuda in Boro Park. The Maspidim were HaRav Malkiel Kotler, HaRav Matisyohu Salomon, HaRav Dovid Shustal, HaRav Gershon Weiss, HaRav Chaim Eliezer Blau, his son HaRav Aharon, and others.

      The Aron arrived in Eretz Yisroel next afternoon. The weather in Eretz Yisroel was stormy the entire week with snow predicted that evening, but when the Aron was taken out for Kevurah the snow suddenly stopped till it was fully covered then it continued snowing. Thousands of people met the Aron at the airport and there were a few Hespedim said there. Then the Aron proceeded to Yerushalayim to Yeshiva Torah Ore. Thousands filled the Beis Medrash dining room and several other large rooms in and out of the building which were set up with loudspeakers.

      Because of the difficult weather that made it exceedingly difficult to get to Yerushalayim, a parallel Hesped was conducted in the Beis Medrash of the yeshiva Knesses Chizkiyahu in Kfar Chassidim and on Kol HaLashon etc. at the same time that the Levaya in Yerushalayim was going on.

      The first speaker in Yerushalayim was HaRav Yitzchok Ezrachi, Rosh yeshiva of Mir Yeshiva. HaRav Ezrachi said that HaRav Brevda was a man of blessing and even though he met him many times throughout his life he does not remember any time the he met him that he did not give him a blessing. He also said that HaRav Brevda was against the way that some people serve Hashem Melumodoh, through force of habit and only with their outward actions. HaRav Brevda spoke against this and was very effective with his Pikchus and his depth. As did many of the Maspidim say, he said that the Vilna Gaon would be expected to greet him since he dedicated so much effort to spreading his works.

      The Mashgiach HaRav Don Segal said that he was like Eliezer the servant of Avrohom who dipped and distributed the Torah of his master to all.

      His second son HaRav Velvel said that his father was dedicated to the Emes, truth, or, as he once put it, “Emes, Zichrono Livrochoh” meaning truth to a degree that is not found nowadays. He gave an example, that when his father finished high school in America, everyone, without exception, went to college. Someone suggested that he try something new called a “Yeshiva” so he joined the Mir Yeshiva for Elul and Yomim Noraim right after they arrived in NY. He was very impressed and won over. For the first time he saw how older men who seemed to be good people cried and worried over the Heavenly Judgment, Davening with tears.

      For Succos of that year he went back home to Crown Heights. His family Davened in a Shul of 800 As the only yeshiva Bochur in the Shul, something that was exceedingly rare in America, they asked him to say a few words. It was the first of thousands of speeches he gave throughout his life. The headline of his speech was”College Rachmono Litzlan.” (College g-d forbid) He said that when people grasped what he was saying they started throwing things at him and he had to hide under the table to save his life! Until they ran out of things to throw. Then he got up and finished what he had to say. His son also said that his father was full of Simcha when he praised his grandchildren who dress to the fullest extent of Hilchos Tznius, even dressing with a Shaul and a head covering (outside) as they did in Yrusalayim when Rav Brevda arrived there over 60 years ago, Rav Brevda blessed his grandchildren twice saying, that in the Zechus of their Tznius they will greet Moshiach in the near future.

      Part of HaRav Brevda’s Biography:

      HaRav Shlomo Leib Brevda zt”l was born in America on 5 Adar 5691 (1931) His father Rav Moshe Yitzchok z”l from Baranovitch was a Cheder Rebbe. His mother Miriam o”h was from the Kantrovitz family from Zhettel. The Chofetz Chaim also came from Zhettel as did HaRav Zalman Sorotzkin who was the Rov there.

      His father Rav Moshe Yitzchok was the seventh generation descendant Ben Acher Ben (from his father’s side) of the Admor HaRav Chaim Chaikel of Amdor (in Lithuania) who was the author of the Sefer Chaim Vechessed and a Talmid of the Gra then from the Maggid of Mezritch. His mother was also a descendant of HaRav Chaim Chaikel of Amdor. Her father was HaRav Efraim Mordechai Halevi Epstein zt”l from Novgrodek near Minsk who was the author of Meiro Dachya on Pirkei Ovos, Machane Efraim on the Maharsha, and Gevuros Ha’Ari, a biography of his ancestor the author of HaPardes HaRav Aryeh Leib Halevi Epstein zt”l who was the Rebbe of the Yesod Veshoresh Ho’Avodoh. HaRav Efraim Mordechai Halevi Epstein was also descended from the Levush, the Maharal of Prague, the author of Ma’asei Hashem and Yosef Lekach, the Mahari Mintz and other Gedolei Doros from this well-known family.

      Rav Moshe Yitzchok had a special talent from teaching Torah and giving it over to his young students. Even though that at that time in America most of the younger generation abandoned their traditions when they grew older and did not even remain Shomrei Shabbos,whoever learned by Rav Moshe Yitzchok remained a Shomer Torah and Mitzvos. This was very unusual and it is attributed to his emphasis on the sweetness of the Ruchniyus and his patient teaching of each child in his special way. Therefore his students did not abandon his teaching when they grew older.

      Every place where Rav Bevda learned as a child his Rabbonim and Chaveirim thought very highly of him. From the beginning he was dedicated to searching for Emes, both in learning Torah and in Avodas Hashem.

      When the Mir Yeshiva reached America after the end of the War, they continued to run it as it had been run in Mir and Shanghai. At first they did not want to take in Bochurim who had grown up in America because they thought that in general they did not fit in well with the atmosphere of the yeshiva whose tone was set by mature Chachomim who were very advanced in Torah and Yiras Shomayim, as it had been in Lithuania in the earlier days. Hashgocho Elyona saw to it that one day they decided to change this approach a bit and to take in seven selected Bochurim from America including Rav Brevda. From then he became permanently attached to his Rebbe Muvhak, Maran Hamashgiach, HaRav Yechezkel Levenstein zt”l, who made a special Vaad for that group of American Bochurim where he taught them the basics of Yiras and Avodas Hashem. In later years the Mashgiach said that when he’ll come up to the next world and they might not find him worthy to enter Gan Eden he’ll tell them that his Talmid is Rav Shlomo Brevda and that will be a Zechus that will help him get whisked into Gan Eden right away.

      When the Mashgiach went to Eretz Yisroel, the Rav Brevda went to learn by HaRav Aharon Kotler zt”l in Lakewood. His learning and his holy Hanhogos made a big impact on the yeshiva, and when he told HaRav Aharon that he was thinking of going to learn in Eretz Yisroel, the Rosh Yeshiva asked him not to rush into doing that since his presence in Lakewood added a lot to the atmosphere. Rav Brevda once told his oldest son that his great interest in the Torah of the Gra he got from HaRav Aharon. It is well known that HaRav Aharon studied the Torah of the Gra and in his Shiurim he used to discuss what the Gra said and he used to praise the Gra and his Torah. This is what brought HaRav Brevda to dedicate himself so much to the study of the Torah of the Gra.

      Throughout this period he used to correspond with his Rebbe the Mashgiach zt”l, who eventually told him that he should come to learn in Eretz Yisroel and withdraw from the materialism that was rampant in the United States.

      When HaRav Brevda reached Eretz Yisroel and went in to see the Mashgiach, who at the time lived in Yerushalayim, the Mashgiach told him that he should go immediately to the Chazon Ish and to the Brisker Rov. HaRav Brevda developed a strong and close relationship with both of these Gedolei Hador. He would travel to Bnei Brak to speak with the Chazon Ish in learning. Sometimes when he asked the Mashgiach something, he would send him for an answer to the Chazon Ish. One time after HaRav Brevda came out from speaking with the Chazon Ish, the Chazon Ish told one of his companions, Der Bochur Ken Lernen (That Bochur knows how to learn Torah) and offered HaRav Brevda to stay with him in Bnai Brak and be his daily Cavrusa, but at that point he was already in Brisk.

      HaRav Brevda would tell some of his Chidushim to the Chazon Ish. The Chazon Ish enjoyed the Chidushim tremendously that HaRav Brevda told him. One time he even got up and kissed him after he had told him a particular Chiddush.

      One time HaRav Brevda asked the Chazon Ish about the Derech Halimmud. The Chazon Ish answered, “Lema’aseh, everyone has to choose the way of learning that he feels is best for him. But my complaint is against those who say that one particular Derech is Emes and they say that every other Derech is Posul. We should not make a banner and write upon it, `I am searching for Emes,’ and thereby invalidate, Chas Vesholom, everyone who does not follow this particular path.”

      At the advice of the Mashgiach, he would also go to the Brisker Rov and tell him over his Chidushei Torah. One time the Brisker Rov told him that he wants his son HaRav Yosef Dov Ber to begin saying Shiurim, and he wants HaRav Brevda to be his first Talmid. Therefore the Brisker Rov wanted to talk to him to see if he is truly worthy of this, and he made an appointment to do so. When HaRav Brevda arrived for the appointment, the Brisker Rov told his son HaRav Refoel to leave the room and to close the door behind him. The Rov sat down opposite him and drew close to him and told him several things in confidence. After that the Rov decided that he was worthy of being the first student in his son’s yeshiva. From then HaRav Brevda would learn with a Chavrusa in Mir, and go to hear the Shiurim of HaRav Berel Soloveitchik. He would also go to the Shmuzen that the Mashgiach used to say in his home for a select group of Bnei Aliya.

      In Tammuz 5714 he married Hinda Leah Tichye, the daughter of HaRav Avrohom Boruch Greenblat zt”l of Yerushalayim, who had moved there from Brisk where he had learned in the yeshiva of the Imrei Moshe. Together they built a true Torah home, founded on Torah and Chesed to the Klal and to the individual.

      Right after his marriage he learned in the kollel of Kamenetz in Yerushalayim, but later he moved to Bnei Brak where he learned in Kolel Chazon Ish and heard Shmuessim from the Mashgiach who had moved there to be in the Ponovezh yeshiva. From time to time he would go to Yerushalayim to speak with the Brisker Rov. It was during this period that he began to put special emphasis on the Torah of the Gra.

      On the orders of his Rebbe the Mashgiach zt”l, he used to be Marbitz Torah in Eretz Yisroel and in Chutz La’aretz. The Mashgiach always asked if he listened to him and gave Droshos in public, speaking from his heart to arouse his audience to grow in Torah, Tefillah and pure Yiras Somayim.

      Once the Mashgiach asked HaRav Brevda to tell him over a particular Droshoh. The Mashgiach listened to the whole Droshoh with great seriousness, following every word. Anything that he did not hear clearly (the Mashgiach was hard of hearing in his later years) he asked him to repeat. At the end, when he had finished saying over his Droshoh, the Mashgiach’s face was radiant with Simchah and Nachas and the Mashgiach said to him: “I see that you are successful. I bless you that you should continue to be Matzliach.”

      In 5717 (1957) the Mashgiach sent him to New York and he gave him amazingly detailed instructions on how to be Mekarev Yidden. He followed the Mashgiach’s instructions and indeed he was successful and saved many many souls from falling to the pits and helped them along to the paths of righteousness and Kvishas Hayetzer.

      In 5721 (1961) he returned to Bnei Brak and to Kollel Chazon Ish, as well as to the Mashgiach with whom he was very close for the next six years. He gave Droshos of Chizuk, as his Rebbe insisted, and he advised Bochurim and Avreichim that the Mashgiach send to him.

      In 5723 there was a special Kinus for Chizuk of the Kollelim at HaRav Brevda’s home in Bnai Brak, with the participation of about 26 Gedolei Yisroel ztvk”l and Shlita, led by HaRav Shach and the Steipler Gaon. One of the main themes of the Kinus was the importance of learning through toil, and after the Kinus HaRav Brevda was charged with publishing the Sefer Ameiloh Shel Torah that developed this subject. Gedolei Yisroel sent him articles on the subject that were included in the Sefer. The Gedolim who participated in the Kinus, where effusive and praised the Kinus and the great benefit it brought to the cause of learning with toil and effort.

      Over the years HaRav Brevda used to go to HaRav Shach to speak over Divrei Torah and Hashkofoh. One time HaRav Shach visited HaRav Brevda on Chol Hamoed when he was not feeling well, and he heard from him an explanation of something the Gra said. HaRav Shach was overjoyed at the explanation, and he told his Talmidim, “Whoever has not heard and explanation like that one does not know what Simchas Yom Tov is.” HaRav Shach wrote him a wonderful Haskomah for his Sefer Eifoh Shleimoh on Tefillas Channah and Chad Gadya.

      In his Hesped, his son Reb Velvel said that when his father had finished that Sefer, he went to Maran HaRav Shach for a letter. HaRav Shach said that it was not a good time to write a letter. HaRav Brevda returned several times over a few months and each time HaRav Shach said that it was not a good enough time to write a letter for the Sefer. Suddenly, late on Erev Yom Kippur, there was a knock at HaRav Brevda’s door. It was HaRav Shach. He said that now is a good time to write a letter for a Sefer such as HaRav Brevda’s and proceeded to do so.

      In part the letter read, “The Rav HaGaon HaRav Brevda worked and toiled and he was successful and his efforts bore fruit. He has great knowledge of the sayings of the Gra and he knows how to uncover hidden things and hints in the writings of the Gra. May Hashem help him to publish and to enlighten the world with the brilliant sayings of the Gra zt”l. And may the Zchus of the Gra stand for him so that he will see the coming of Moshiach Tzikdeinu and Binyan Ariel.” HaRav Shach also gave him $1,000 towards the expenses of the Sefer, saying that he wanted to have the Zechus be a part of it.

      In 5728 the Mashgiach sent him to London with his family where he had to undergo a difficult operation for one of his kidneys. The Mashgiach suddenly told him that he should leave as soon as possible and take his family with him. The Mashgiach did not explain why, but he of course followed the advice. When he arrived in London he had the operation right away and the doctor said that if had waited much longer it would have not been possible to save the kidney. About two weeks later it became clear that he was not finished with the ailment, but would have to remain in London for treatment. The Mashgiach advised him to stay in London and to spread Torah there. At that point it became clear why the Mashgiach told him to take his family with him. He spent around 13 years in London and had many great Talmidim.

      In one of his letters, the Mashgiach wrote that although he should stay in London for now, “Your future is in Eretz Yisroel.” However, as long as the Mashgiach lived he did not give him permission to return to Eretz Yisroel and only several years after his passing HaRav Brevda asked Maran HaRav Shach zt”l who said he could return. In 5739 he returned to Eretz Yisroel, fulfilling the words of the Mashgiach.

      HaRav Shach told him that he must continue to give his Droshos, and the Steipler was also very insistent. The Steipler said that in earlier generations there where Maggidim in almost every Shul, but now one does not hear a good word of Chizuk. So he must continue speaking about Yiras Shomayim even in Eretz Yisroel to the Bnai Torah.

      When he used to talk about the Avodoh of the Cohen Godol on Yom Kippur, he made his audience feel like they were participating. When he spoke about Yetzias Mitzrayim, the audience used to feel like they were going out. He did this for many times in the year, including Purim, Chanukah, Aveilus for the Churban and Yomim Noraim.

      Many thousands changed their spiritual path after hearing his Droshos. He spoke from his heart but with his mind. Talmidei Chachomim and simple Jews eagerly came to hear him. The Emes was always the light that guided him. As his son said in a Hesped, he once called it “Emes, Zichrono Livrochoh.” Such a consistent and complete commitment to Emes is not common these days.

      He used to give out hundreds of thousands of shekels a year from the donations of friends and followers to needy and deserving families. He once said that he could do more in this area but his Rebbe the Mashgiach had made it clear that his main purpose in This World was to infuse spirituality into the souls of the Jewish people.

      He wrote many Seforim that are admired and used, including, Amoloh Shel Torah, Leil Shimurim, Yiboneh Hamikdosh, Yemei Rotzon, Lehodos Ulehaleil, Kiymu Vekiblu. Since his passing his sons have been writing more of his Droshes, Seforim by the name “Lev Shlomo” the editor in chief is his son Reb Aharon Shlit”a. The climax of his Torah publications was his series of Eifoh Shleimoh on the commentaries of the Gra. Six volumes were published so far: Tefillas Channah and Chad Gadya, Sefer Yonah, and Four volumes on Shir Hashirim. He carefully determined the correct readings, and also gathered cross references and parallels from the Gra’s many writings that shed light on his meaning.

      In 5748 Maran HaRav Shach advised him to seek treatment from doctors in the United States and since then he spent most of the year in the US, where he continued to spread Torah. He used to spend most of the Yom Tovim in Eretz Yisroel, and on occasion he would be able to spend other time in Eretz Yisroel as well. Whenever he was in Eretz Yisroel he would be extremely busy saying Droshos all over the country, usually four to seven each day.

      The last time he came to Eretz Yisroel was in Shvat 5772. In Adar he became very sick and he had Yissurim in several places in his body. On the 26th of Teves 5773, he suddenly suffered a fatal heart attack.

      He is survived by his wife Leah Tichye, who was dedicated to him, his sons HaRav Chaim Chaikel, HaRav Yeshaya Zev Velvel, HaRav Aharon, his sons-in-law HaRav Yosef Yosolovsky, HaRav Yaakov Yitzchok Altusky, HaRav Osher Druk, many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and thousands still bereft and listeners to his Droshos on Kol HaLoshon etc. for Chizuk looking for real Emes.

  5. Why is the loss of the Beis Hamikdash the cause of such grief?

    It’s a mitzvah to mourn for the destruction of what we call the Beis Hamikdash. But it’s actually more than the Beis Hamikdash, it’s an entire collection of institutions and circumstances that went lost from our people. The Beis Hamikdash symbolizes them all.

  6. Does the tragedy of Tisha B’av span the generations?

    We have gone through very many churbanos. Tisha Ba’av, if we want to do a good job, we have a great deal of work to accomplish. To look back on our glorious history and see what we once possessed and lost afterwards.

  7. Devarim 5771

    “The great and fearsome wilderness which you saw…” (1:19)

    You saw how Hashem protected you even in the midst of the most perilous circumstances. Therefore, after enumerating some of Hashem’s benefits to the people, now Moshe brings up the matter of the Spies as a great rebuke.

    “Rebuke brings to Repentance; for when we make known to a man his sins and we put him to shame, he becomes repentant, as is written in the Torah! ‘Remember, do not forget that which you angered Hashem’ (Dvarim 9:7); ‘You were rebellious.’ (ibid.); ‘Hashem did not give you the heart (i.e. mind) to know.’ (ibid. 29:3); ‘unworthy nation and unwise’ (ibid. 32:6).” (Rambam, Laws of Teshuvah 4:2. )

    These quotations are from Dvarim; thus it is evident that they are said in order to shame our nation for the purpose of improving them. Thus they are not reproaches to express disdain; on the contrary, they demonstrate the superlative excellence of the nation and Hashem’s great love for them: “For, just as a man chastises his son, Hashem your G-d chastises you” (see 8:5 below). “For whom Hashem loves does He correct” (Mishle 3:12).

    Other nations are not so sharply criticised, but eventually are entirely destroyed. Because of these bitter reproofs, Israel endures forever. (From Fortunate Nation)

  8. What was the happiness of the Bais Hamikdash ?

    Hashem openly declares in the Chumash, I took you out of Mitzrayim for one purpose, not merely you should be a frum nation and keep the Torah. It was for “v’sha’chanti bishocham–My Shechina should live among you.” That’s why it’s called a mishkan, so I should dwell among you.

    If the Shechina comes among us that’s the highest form of happiness a person could experience in this world. There is no ecstasy like that of the Shechina.

  9. “These are the words which Moshe spoke to all Yisrael beyond the Yarden; in the
    wilderness, in the Aravah, over against Suf, between Paran and Tofel, and Lavan,
    and Chazteros, and Di-zahav.”2
    Rashi writes: “‘These are the words’—Because they are words of rebuke and he listed
    here all of the places where the Jewish people angered Hashem, Moshe spoke
    cryptically and only alluded to the incidents in order to protect the honor of the Jewish
    people. ‘To all Yisrael’—Had he only rebuked some of them, those who were in the
    marketplace [not present at the time of rebuke] would have later said [to those who had
    heard], ‘You heard such things from the son of Amram and didn’t answer back? Had we
    been there, we would have answered him.’ For this reason, Moshe gathered them all
    together and said, ‘You see that all of you are here. If anyone has an answer, let him
    give it.’”
    We need to understand the deeper meaning of why Moshe saw fit to say to the people
    that if anyone has an answer, let him give it. His words [in Devarim] were his way of
    rebuking the Jewish people before his death; what would be the purpose of offering
    them to provide an answer? And why did Moshe think that those who were “in the
    marketplace” would have said, “Had we been there, we would have answered him.”
    1 This lesson was delivered in the holy city of Tzfat on Shabbos Parshas Devarim, 5769.
    2 Devarim 1:1
    D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah Parshas Devarim
    4
    Organizing the Mind
    It is well known that the main goal of avodas Hashem in this world is to become
    worthy of the light of Kesser. Rebbe Nachman of Breslov explains that there are two
    aspects of the light of Kesser: the first is that the person races to attain more and more
    [closeness to Hashem], always driven forward toward Hashem’s infinite light. Every
    single Jewish soul has the capacity for this driven striving or Hashem. The second
    aspect of the light of Kesser is the ability to constrain this racing forward, and this is the
    power of settling and organizing the mind—the restraining force of Kesser. [The Kesser
    is simultaneously a “surrounding light” which indicates always seeking the next level,
    while it also assumes the form of a boundary, just as a crown is a closed circlet.]3
    When the two forces of the Kesser—its propulsion and its restraint—come
    together, the nine chambers [ è’ äéëìéï ] are formed. In the language of the Arizal, this is
    also known as î”ä and á”ï within the Kesser of Reisha d’lo Isyadah. [As Rebbe
    Nachman explains in that lesson, the nine chambers are formed by the collision of the
    mochin—three times three yields nine. Reb Nosson adds in his marginalia that these
    levels are above and beyond all intellectual grasp, that “are not known and cannot be
    known,” as the Arizal states. This refers to levels within RDLA, the “head that is not
    known.” The î”ä and á”ï aspects are associated with the lower levels of Yesod and
    Malchus respectively, and at every level there are holographic expansions of the sefiros
    which then assume the form of “Yesod within …” and so on. In this case, it is Yesod and
    Malchus within Atik.] The î”ä aspect embodies the power of racing forward to
    apprehend G-dliness to a greater extent at all times. The á”ï aspect embodies the power
    of restraint, the force that promotes order and constraint so that the person does not try
    to reach beyond his ability to grasp. In parallel terms, this is called “running and
    returning,” or .øöåà åùåá
    On the one hand, a person must pursue the apprehension of G-dliness in the
    manner of the 45-Name, while on the other he requires the power of bitul, of the willing
    3 Likutei Moharan I:24
    D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah Parshas Devarim
    5
    acceptance of the constraints of Hashem’s will as expressed in the way in which
    Hashem orchestrates his life. When these two forces come together, one merits all of the
    nine chambers, all of the levels that are possible. The restraint is also manifest in the
    way in which a person is joyous and fulfilled in the fulfillment of mitzvos on the simple
    level, that he rejoices in the fact that he wants to begin to serve Hashem even if he did
    not succeed to the extent that he would have liked.
    The Flaw of Adam HaRishon
    Reb Nosson of Breslov explains that even Adam HaRishon in Gan Eden fell
    because he was completely at the level of running and had not mastered the art of
    practical mitzvos. Hashem commanded him not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge;
    Hashem did not want Adam to attain the level of the Tree of Knowledge, rather he was
    intended to master the art of self-nullification before Hashem’s will. Although Adam
    HaRishon ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge with the loftiest of kavanos and with
    great dveikus, nevertheless because he was lacking the aspect of á”ï , of simple joy in the
    fulfillment of mitzvos, he caused damage to himself and all the worlds. The simply joy
    of mitzvos is essentially that a person feels happy regardless of how Hashem deals with
    him; he accepts that whatever Hashem does is his tailor-made tikkun for that point in
    time. Adam HaRishon was immersed in the level of î”ä within Atik, but he could not
    really apprehend G-dliness because he lacked the complementary aspect of restraint and
    acceptance. He needed to have been able to say, “If it is not Hashem’s will that I merit
    to reach the lofty level of being like Him, then it is just not my level right now.”4
    If he had been able to wait and only then have eaten from the Tree of Life, he
    would have merited the greatest levels of all and really been “like Elokim.” But it could
    only happen if he had bound himself also to the power of restraint, and not only the
    power of racing ahead. And this is contingent on feeling joy in fulfilling mitzvos, as
    Rebbe Nachman explains in Likutei Moharan I:24. This process is alluded to in the
    4 Likutei Halachos, Nefilas Apayim #4
    D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah Parshas Devarim
    6
    verse from Shir HaShirim: “Who is this that rises [ îé æàú òåìä ]…leaning upon her
    beloved…”5 The aspect known as æàú —Malchus—must be uplifted to the level known
    as î”é , which is the state of rejoicing in simple fulfillment of the mitzvos and in the way
    in which Hashem runs the world.
    Begin Again Now
    “These are the words which Moshe spoke…” The word for “these”— àìä —is
    an acronym of the phrase: àäéä ìäúçéì äéåí —“My future existence begins today.” This
    is the main form of avodah—to begin today, which is expressed by the Divine Name
    àäé”ä which the Kabbalistic sources say means, “I am prepared to be.” One must learn
    to forget everything that came before, and this is what Hashem really wants from us—to
    learn to rejoice and begin again now by realizing that Hashem is constantly providing us
    with new opportunities to connect with Him. This is the main force of the ëç äîòëá , the
    restraining force within Kesser, that one does not consider what was or what will
    become of him, but rather rejoices in the essence of the point through which he can
    serve Hashem at that moment. This is what is meant by the Name á”ï rising to the Name
    ñ”â ; through joy in the moment of mitzvah, Malchus rises to Binah.
    The Arizal taught that within the level of Atik there are the aspects of î”ä and
    á”ï , and when it comes to the light of emunah shining forth—and this is the light of
    Reisha d’lo Isyadah [which is faith beyond knowing]—the levels of á”ï and î”ä have
    both inner and surrounding lights, and they exist in relationship to one another. The
    inner light of î”ä is the racing after G-dliness, while the inner light of á”ï is joy in
    mitzvos, and that latter light is actually a surrounding light to the inner light of .î”ä
    What this means in avodah is that the simple joy in fulfilling Hashem’s will is actually a
    higher form of closeness with Hashem than the seeking of levels. When they join
    together, the light of emunah shines forth. When one can access high levels, he runs
    forward and doesn’t know anything else; but if these levels are denied him and he
    5 Shir HaShirim 8:5
    D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah Parshas Devarim
    7
    rejoices in Hashem’s mitzvos anyway, he enters into the state of, “a woman surrounds a
    man,” [the àåø ôðéîé of á”ï acts as a î÷éó to the àåø ôðéîé of î”ä ] and he merits the
    loftiest chambers. [Note: This unifying of the two lights is in a manner that we would
    not expect, and it is known as the first of the “questions” in RDL”A. The Ramchal
    explains that the Arizal’s discussion of the ” ñôé÷åú áøãì”à ” is meant to clarify a
    particular basic point, which is that whenever we find that there is an unexpected
    relationship or dynamic within the Partzufim, we are to know that it is rooted in one of
    the “questions” in Reisha d’lo Isyadah.6 These “questions” form the roots of sometimes
    surprising results that have ramifications throughout all of the worlds, as we will see.]
    The Gentile Barber
    The sages taught: “When a Jew has the hair of his head cut by a non-Jewish
    barber, he should check in the mirror so ensure that the non-Jew does not kill him.”7 The
    Rama MiPano explains that this “barber” who encircles the Jewish head with his razor is
    the symbol of the klippos that prevent one from performing his avodas Hashem. He
    must therefore look in the mirror which reveals that which is above one’s head—he
    must glimpse the “surrounding light” which is above his head, because it is this
    surrounding light that has the potential to purify him. This is the restraining element
    within the Kesser. Even though a person is sure to strive to apprehend G-dliness,
    nevertheless when he feels that the “gentile” is hounding him and clinging to him, he
    must look into the mirror, the aspaklaria, which is Malchus [the simple acceptance of
    the King’s will]. When he looks into the “mirror” he sees that which is above his head,
    that the inner light of á”ï has become a makif that protects and purifies him. Even if he
    sees that his yetzer hara is trying to kill him, he can still rejoice through the action of
    this surrounding light, because he then realizes that even his lack of success in avodah is
    a manifestation of Hashem’s providence and will, and he rejoices in every little thing
    6 Ramchal, Kalach Pischei Chochmah #86
    7 Avodah Zarah 29a
    D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah Parshas Devarim
    8
    that he can manage to do for the Creator. He thanks Hashem for every good point, and
    this is the perfection of the purifying effect of the Name .á”ï
    The Rama MiPano uses this concept to explain a statement of the sages. When
    the Jewish people stood at Sinai, Hashem said to them: “If you accept the Torah, well
    and good. And if not, here will be your grave.” If you accept the Torah, if you succeed
    in your efforts in avodah, then good—you will have attained the inner light of î”ä . And
    if not, then take the mountain that hovers above you like a makif and which symbolizes
    Malchus [the humility of Sinai] and follow that path. “Here will be your grave”—bury
    yourself in emunah, make yourself an expert in the path of “returning.” Nullify
    yourselves to Hashem’s providence and begin your existence anew.
    When the Jewish people merit to gather together as one to hear the rebuke of
    Moshe Rabbeinu, they shouldn’t be making excuses that exonerate them completely as
    if they are without flaw. Rather, they must come together and nullify themselves before
    Moshe and accept that they are nothing—the value of á”ï is the same as áäî”ä , the
    dumb animal—and through this they will be able to realize that even if they are nothing,
    they still can rejoice in having opportunities to come closer to Hashem, and begin again.
    [As Rashi brings, Moshe Rabbeinu said: “Whoever has a teshuvah should answer”—but
    “answer” can also be read as “return.” He should seek the path of ùåá , of bitul,
    acceptance, and joy.]
    Traveling to the Tzaddikim
    In Likutei Moharan II:62, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov brings the Midrash that,
    “These are the journeys of the children of Yisrael” come to rectify the sin of, “These are
    your gods, Yisrael,” the sin of the golden calf. [Again, we have the word àìä which
    indicates the fresh beginning— àäéä ìäúçéì äéåí .] The travels of the Jewish people serve
    to purify them from the stain of idolatry, which is not only the literal worship of idols but
    also any instance where emunah is flawed. As the sages taught, when idolatry is rectified,
    Hashem’s fury is mitigated in the world. The mitigation of Divine anger means that there
    is a revelation of His mercy, and the highest revelation of Divine mercy is found in the
    D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah Parshas Devarim
    9
    verse, “And G-d Almighty will give you mercy.” [ à”ì ùã”é éúï ìëí øçîéí , the initials
    spell éùøàì , Yisrael.] The highest manifestation of Hashem’s mercy is when He gives the
    Jewish people the power to dispense mercy. This is because Hashem’s mercy is
    sometimes an admixture of harshness, because sometimes the greatest act of compassion
    is to temporarily prolong a person’s suffering for a higher purpose. So when it comes to
    revealed mercy, it is actually the Jewish people’s dispensing of Divine mercy that is
    greatest, since when it comes to the suffering individual, the natural human response is
    simply to remove the cause of suffering regardless of any higher calculation. This is what
    is known as “simple mercy.” It is a very high revelation of mercy, without the admixture
    of harshness even for the best of purposes.
    A flaw in one’s faith makes it impossible to arouse Divine mercy, but when a
    Jew forces himself to travel to the tzaddik even though it is difficult—“These are the
    journeys of the children of Yisrael”—he attains the level of Yisrael, à”ì ùã”é éúï ìëí
    øçîéí , and he can draw down mercy in the way that he sees fit. This is what happens
    when the there is a different dynamic between the avodah of the Jewish people and the
    revealed will of Hashem. Avodah parallels the level of î”ä while acceptance of the
    Divine will parallels the level of á”ï . But when the Jewish people are beset by obstacles
    and their avodah is interrupted, then what would normally be the lower light [ [á”ï
    assumes the form of a higher light that surrounds î”ä . Then they have the ability to
    draw down the highest revelation of Hashem’s mercy. This is a manifestation of the first
    of the “questions” within Reisha d’lo Isyadah.
    The name îùä has the same value as the Name à”ì ùã”é . When we uplift the
    light of á”ï so that it becomes a makif, when we learn the art of beginning fresh with
    simple joy in mitzvos in the merit of the true tzaddik, we are able to mitigate all harsh
    judgments so that only simple mercy is drawn down upon the Jewish people. The
    tzaddik embodies the light of Kesser—he is the “head of the Jewish people” [ øàù áðé
    øáé = éùøàì ]—and he provides the Jewish people with the consciousness of how to
    begin again and restrain all other thoughts while focusing on feeling joy in how Hashem
    D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah Parshas Devarim
    10
    runs the universe. Then, à”ì ùã”é éúï ìëí øçîéí —the light of the true tzaddik will shine
    into us and we will be able to bring about every yeshuah that we need.
    Every Jew must have confidence in himself, that he does have the potential to
    reach this level, because the name éùøàì is also an acronym of the phrase —éù øì”à
    “there is the 231”—each Jew has within him the key to the 231 gates of heavenly
    salvation. The main focus of the side of evil is to cause a Jew to forget his great
    potential. But the truth is that it is awe-inspiring, and every mitzvah that he performs
    and bit of Torah that he studies makes him stronger and stronger. Hashem and His
    Torah and the Jewish people are all one; really, all of the worlds rest in our hands. All of
    the letters with which the heavens and the earth were created are ours. We must
    encourage ourselves with an awareness of our potential for holiness and our ability to
    overturn all harsh decrees.
    This is the nature of the avodah of going to pray at the grave of the true tzaddik.
    We resolve to follow in his holy ways, to yearn for G-dliness endlessly, and express our
    commitment to do all we can to serve Hashem every day of our lives and do teshuvah all
    over again every single day. We resolve never to be complacent but rather to arouse
    ourselves to repair our deeds and chase after holiness all the time. On the other hand, we
    bind ourselves to the Name á”ï , such that even when we confront obstacles and we
    cannot fulfill our resolutions, we nevertheless rejoice in Hashem’s providence and in the
    fact of our Jewishness, and in the simple practical mitzvos that Hashem provides us with
    at every moment. From this light we then make a makif, and it winds up being loftier
    than the highest light of avodah that we could have attained in the way of the Name
    î”ä . Then, G-d will grant us mercy—He will give us the power of mercy, to arouse His
    simple mercy upon all of the Jewish people. In this way, we rule over all of the worlds
    by virtue of the true tzaddik.
    The Arizal taught in his meditations on the bedtime Shema that all of the
    abundance both spiritual and physical that descends to the world comes down in the
    merit of the true tzaddik. The meaning of this is that the tzaddik draws all of the lights
    D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah Parshas Devarim
    11
    down to Beriyah, and he himself is bound up with Reisha d’lo Isyadah, and in this way
    all rectifications in the world can come about because the tzaddik remains always bound
    up with the pure light of emunah, the root and source of faith—the inner light of á”ï that
    becomes a makif to the inner light of .î”ä
    The Bitul of the Tzaddik
    In discussing the order of the “questions” within Reisha d’lo Isyadah, the
    Arizal presented them through a series of allusions or hints: ‘ 8.à’, à’, â The first ‘ à
    represents the inner light of á”ï ; the second ‘ à represents the inner light of î”ä ; and the
    â’ represents the concept that the “behind-lights” of Chochmah and Binah rise.
    Although this sounds very lofty and abstract, it has a practical application to our
    personal avodah. When a person enters into the form of Divine service of á”ï and ,î”ä
    he must do so with total bitul to Hashem. Even though part of what he can do is uplift
    the vessels of Chochmah and Binah, he must not think that he can do it himself. While
    on the one hand Hashem gives us all of the strength that we need to perform great
    avodah [the light of î”ä ], we must also be constantly in a state of self-nullification and
    acceptance of Hashem’s will [the light of á”ï ], and know that His ways far transcend our
    understanding. This degree of bitul is what uplifts the vessels of Chochmah and Binah
    [since the person is developing absolute dependence on Hashem and acceptance of His
    will, transcending all understanding].
    The true tzaddik is engaged in this avodah constantly; no matter what level he
    attains, he always nullifies himself before Hashem completely. Even though he is aware
    that Hashem has given him all of the power in the world, he nevertheless constantly
    makes use of the power of bitul even though that degree of bitul is really more fitting for
    tzaddikim who are on a lower level than he is. Nevertheless, he uses that vessel of total
    bitul—this is his way of uplifting the vessels of Chochmah and Binah [which are really
    below his level] to Kesser.
    8 Eitz Chaim, Sha’ar 12, Chapter 4
    D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah Parshas Devarim
    12
    May the Merciful One uplift the falling sukkah of Dovid for us; we must uplift
    Malchus until it reaches the level of the sukkah—the surrounding light of àäé”ä , simple
    rejoicing in Hashem’s G-dliness, in every way that He runs the universe.
    The Greatness of the Arizal
    Our master, the Arizal, revealed the secret of his greatness to the author of the
    Sefer Charedim and the Alshich—that every level he achieved was only due to the joy
    he felt in mitzvos. The Baal HaTanya explained that this means that the Arizal attained
    the light of Kesser. The Arizal was not interested in which level he achieved. Even
    though he was certainly driven to pursue holiness, nevertheless his simple joy in
    serving Hashem at even the smallest opportunity was much greater than his drive.
    This is what is meant by the verse, “And eternal joy is upon their heads”9—
    specifically upon their heads, in the nature of a crown. When a person follows this
    path, there is no essential difference between his yearning for something higher and
    his bitul to Hashem’s will—every phase of “returning” gives strength to the next
    phase of “running.” His joy in Hashem’s conduct of his life empowers and enhances
    his fulfillment of mitzvos, which then propel him from level to level, from hour to
    hour. Even though the tzaddikim do sometimes fall [at their own level, in their own
    subtle way] (as the Toldos Yaakov Yosef taught on the verse, “These are the names of
    the children of Yisrael that come to Egypt”—even those who are on the high level of
    Yisrael go down to Egypt), nevertheless even in their falling they maintain their
    ability to renew themselves: “that come,” not “who came.” The verse continues,
    “…Yaakov, each man and his household, came.” Those who are on the lower level of
    Yaakov, however, are referred to in the past tense, because when they fall they fall
    and do not renew themselves. They fall once and remain in the fallen state, while the
    tzaddikim fall and immediately pick themselves up, and if they fall again it is a new
    falling that they will again immediately repair.
    9 Yeshaya 35:10
    D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah Parshas Devarim
    13
    Even though the tzaddik has the whole world before him, nevertheless he is
    constantly in a state of bitul. Like the Arizal, who was literally like the dust of the earth
    in his great humility—it was as though he was nothing at all. He knew that even the
    highest level of the Kesser [with all its light] is black as pitch when compared to the
    light of the Creator Himself. Even the great light of the tzaddik is nothing when
    compared to the Creator. For this reason, when we find that there are sometimes things
    that we don’t understand, we should realize that it is not necessarily our place to even
    want to understand them. Rather, our avodah is then to beg for Divine mercy so that we
    can draw it down upon the Jewish people—for that is in our hands by virtue of our
    connection with the true tzaddik. And the corollary avodah is absolute bitul.
    The Power of a Single Prayer
    All of this is true when attempting to draw down Divine mercy so that the
    Jewish people will have a benefit to their physical existence, and it is all the more true
    when it comes to the matter that is of the greatest import to the souls of the Jewish
    people: the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash. The Jewish people have been praying for
    its rebuilding for so many years, and it is Hashem’s will that we continue to beg for it
    for another year. Heaven forbid that anyone should make light of the additional prayers
    that are offered during this holy time. Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught that the word
    ÷éðåú [lamentations] can be rearranged as the word úé÷åï , rectification.10 All of the tears
    and suffering of the Jewish people, all of our ÷éðåú throughout all of the generations,
    will be transformed into úé÷åï . The more a person yearns for Hashem during this time,
    the more refined his soul becomes. Every single person must believe that he has the
    ability to build the Beis Hamikdash if he will throw himself into praying for its
    rebuilding. He must think about it and pray about it really and truly; then it is sure to
    make a difference. Every single person who truly suffers because of the pain of the
    Shechinah and who sincerely prays for the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash is certainly
    10 Likutei Moharan I:247
    D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah Parshas Devarim
    14
    a partner in its future rebuilding. Through his longing and prayers he repairs his soul
    more effectively than he would through thousands of fasts. It is what makes him a
    member of the King’s household.
    It is well known that the Vilna Gaon wrote regarding the prayers of Rosh
    Hashanah that during those days a Jew is praying for the building up of the Shechinah,
    and when he does so he is sure to be saved in every area of his life. Such prayers mark
    him as a member of the King’s chamber, and nothing is lacking in the King’s palace.
    This is all the more true during these days of Bein Hameitzarim.
    Rav Pinchas of Koretz taught that when a person acts for the benefit of the
    Shechinah, and when he sits on the earth [during Tisha B’Av] and connects with the
    Shechinah and knows that he has the ability to save her, he literally becomes one with
    supernal Malchus. There is no need to look upon one’s friend when it comes to this
    matter, because each person attains this level in his own way. Each person must do what
    he can, to say one more prayer and yet another about the building up of the Shechinah,
    and this will mark him as a member of the King’s household. This is the highest form of
    avodah that exists—when the Name á”ï becomes a makif for the Name î”ä . And this is
    true even if the person’s level in avodah is very weak, even if he is not even on the level
    of receiving the Torah—he feels so far from the Torah. When he is in that situation, he
    must fulfill the other part—“here will be your grave”—and bury himself in the light of
    emunah and the repair of the Shechinah. Then the makif will draw down the pnimi of its
    own accord.
    Rebuilding the Beis Hamikdash on Tisha B’Av
    The more a person begs Hashem for the rebuilding of the Shechinah, the more he
    becomes worthy of reaching all of the levels that exist. This could be compared to parents
    who are always trying to ensure that their child succeeds in his Torah studies and develops
    fear of heaven. They, themselves, take care to improve their child and do not wait for him
    to make efforts on his own behalf. When a person proves that he is a member of the
    D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah Parshas Devarim
    15
    King’s household, he finds that the Shechinah herself helps him to improve his ways and
    find the right path in his avodah so that he can truly receive the Torah.
    When a person encourages himself and strengthens himself with the knowledge
    that every single prayer makes a difference, he does not fall into the error of thinking
    that the matter of the three weeks has little to do with him personally. Quite the
    contrary; he will be inspired to study the laws of this time carefully, because the
    halachah is the kallah, the supernal bride—and the Shechinah protects her own honor.
    äìëä = äëìä] ] If a person is careful with the honor of the bride, if he observes the
    halachos scrupulously and mourns over the fall of the Shechinah, he will merit to see
    her in her joy and glory.
    And if, G-d forbid, a person was not sufficiently careful with the laws of this
    time and he fell, then he must repent his error. This itself is a form of mourning over the
    destruction of Yerushalayim. He must start fresh and apply himself to the study of the
    halachah as is proper, just as we find in the Shulchan Aruch, the Mishnah Berurah, and
    the response—one must never abandon the halachah, G-d forbid, because the halachah
    is the bride herself.
    On Tisha B’Av, Hashem builds the future Beis Hamikdash. For us, now, we
    must remember that the past is already gone, that which happened already happened,
    and it is Hashem’s will that we begin again now to reveal His G-dliness in the world and
    build the Beis Hamikdash for the Jewish people. “You will rebuild it in fire”—the fire of
    the Jewish hearts that burn for Hashem is what will cause the rebuild Beis Hamikdash to
    descend in fire from heaven. The Ramchal explains that the beginning of its rebuilding
    will certainly be in fire, but it will be continued by the Jewish people or by Melech
    HaMoshiach, as is discussed in the Yerushalmi. For this reason, it is good to study the
    tractate of Middos in the Mishnah, to fill our minds with thoughts of the Beis
    Hamikdash. Hashem told the prophet that if he studies that which pertains to the Beis
    Hamikdash, it will be considered as though he had rebuilt it.
    D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah Parshas Devarim
    16
    We must realize the great power that is inherent in our study of the matter of the
    Beis Hamikdash, each person in accordance with his level. And even if one studies that
    which concerns the first or second sanctuaries, it is still a preparation for the third Beis
    Hamikdash. And we must remember that the main way for it to be built is through the
    light of áðéï, áéðä] á”ï ], the joy that one feels in the light of the Shechinah that is drawn
    down through the simple performance of a mitzvah.
    The Ramchal taught that this was the greatness of the Avos which set them apart
    so completely. It was no only that their actions were greater than other tzaddikim; what
    made them unique was the extent to which they focused every moment on the glory of
    the Shechinah. This was why Hashem chose them—because this is the highest form of
    avodah. And when even a simple person follows this path, he is considered to have
    become one with the true tzaddikim.
    May Hashem have mercy on us during these days so that we will come to act
    for the sake of the Shechinah. And if, until now, we have not been careful to say Tikkun
    Chatzos both by day and by night, we must work to correct this from now on. We must
    work to discover our relationship with the Shechinah, and add holy actions little by
    little, in accordance with our level, and not beg off with false humility, “Who am I?”
    Every single Jew has the aspect of the “head of the Jewish people,” especially now,
    when we are binding ourselves to the Arizal [whose yahrtzeit is now]. May we merit to
    see, right away, Hashem’s return of the captives of Tzion, with the arrival of our
    righteous redeemer in mercy.
    “Let Your Soul Know Wisdom”
    This is the meaning of the phrase, ” ãòä çëîä ìðôùê åäéà ëúø ìøàùê “—“Let
    your soul (nefesh) know (d’ei) wisdom (Chochmah), and it will be a crown (Kesser) for
    your head.”11 Chochmah is spiritual vision; nefesh is the level of Malchus. We must see
    Malchus, we must look into the mirror and seek out the Shechinah. Then it will be a
    11 From the Shabbos zemer “D’ror Yikrah,” based on Mishlei 24:14.
    D’ei Chochmah L’Nafshechah Parshas Devarim
    17
    “crown to your head”—even during this time of Bein Hameitzarim, we can arouse the
    light of Kesser through combining the avodah of running and returning—especially
    returning. Then we will find that every “question” is actually a revelation of the true
    tzaddikm, who embody the light of Kesser. Then we will see, eye to eye, Hashem’s
    return to Tzion. Speedily and in our days, Amen.
    Translated and Adapted by Rav Micha Golshevsky.

  10. There was a shocking new discovery was made this week. Out of all the time during the year this discovery was made at a miraculous time. We are approaching Tisha B’av where we commemorate five tragic events amongst other calamities that had befallen our people. Two of the five tragic events are of course the destruction of two of our temples. These temples were the focal points of our faith and our holy of holies. It is where we would make sacrifices, where we congregate to, and where we pray to. Our temples were glorious complexes magnificent by sight and even more by spirit.

    The discovery is that scientists had just made is that they started locating vast amounts of treasuries they believe belonged to our temple all across the world. This discovery is alarming because they are claiming that they have identified every single block and treasure of what was taken from our temples. In addition, they claim that they are able to identify every crook that possesses even one small piece of our temple and this is even more alarming. The main criminals of the treasures and blocks of our temple are to a shock ourselves…the Jewish People.

    Our temples were a place of sacrifice; it was where we atoned ourselves, and where we were all judged equally in front of Hashem. Breaking down what our temple served us for we essentially understand that the Beit Hamikdash is what makes us happy and represents the things we need in life. It is our biggest desire, biggest happiness, and biggest sacrifice which we can ever make and at the same are all equal to each other.

    Desire=Sacrifice=Happiness

    In the same way which the Beit Hamikdash was where we obtained pure happiness so too are the blocks that it was constructed from and treasure which filled it. We too are made up on the outside of what we have inside of us. How then are we identified as crooks if it was our own temple which was looted? We are the one who have all the pieces, treasures and blocks of our temple because of the way we looked and treated our two temples. Because we all looked at each other negatively and did not work together, and established different classes and treated the poorer worse than the rich and elite. We no longer viewed ourselves equal and started seeing the negative and bad things in one another rather than the good things. We had no longer relied on the temple to sacrifice and atone and provide for us pure happiness as a whole as we started focusing on the individual happiness. With this individual happiness and self purpose is how we still live today. Today everyone is way too quick to attack each other, take from one another, slander, and gossip amongst many other sins. These sins are the result of us seeking individual happiness and thus redirect our desires and sacrifices for ourselves instead of our temple and others.

    Since the Beit Hamikdash is our temple we are then not considered to be pure thieves or crooks because you cannot steal from yourself, rather we are just borrowing from ourselves. And thus just like things that go up must come down; the things that go down like our temples must come back up. The easiest way to get out of debt is to pay back what you owe. The word build is defined as toincrease or develop toward a maximum, as of intensity, tempo, ormagnitude. As we took from our temple we have took from it the ability to sacrifice ourselves for personal gain and thus taking down our temple block by block with negativity. So by extinguishing the negativity and acting positive towards one another we can repay our loans. We can say that no longer do we need to be selfish in our pursuit of personal happiness and we do by judging everybody favorably.

    In this week’s parshat Devarim Moses begins summarizing the law for the nation of Israel in that “Hear [disputes] between your brothers and judge justly between a man and his brother, and between his litigant. You shall not favor persons in judgment; [rather] you shall hear the small just as the great; you shall not fear any man, for the judgment is upon the Lord” How is this related to rebuilding our temple though? Because this is the same verse which is given to us in parshat Kedoshim which tells us how to do Kiddush Hashem. Kedoshim goes on to tell us “You shall commit no injustice in judgment; you shall not favor a poor person or respect a great man; you shall judge your fellow with righteousness.” Kiddush Hashem means to sanctify G-d and thus any action by a Jew that brings honor, respect, and glory to God is considered to be a Kiddush Hashem . Just as the Talmudic passage in the tractate of Shabbat says that Hillel taught the proselyte the whole Torah on one leg which was, “That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it.”Hillel clearly recognized that the importance of how we treat and act with one another is the foundation of the whole torah and the underlining principle. The ultimate act of Kiddush Hashem is when a Jew is prepared to sacrifice his life rather than transgress any of God’s three cardinal sins: Serving idols, committing certain sexual acts (such as incest or adultery), or committing murder.

    Let’s all take from this week’s parsha and remember how we can rebuild our temple, how we can do Kiddush Hashem and how we can learn how to be equal with one another. Like I said before we had all been guilty and began acting for our own personal happiness. We all in one way or another have violated Hashem that he had exiled us all from the land and has still not rebuilt our temple. So since we are all guilty of acting selfishly over the years why don’t we return what we borrowed from the temple. In this week’s parsha we see that by simply judging the poor and rich alike we have pure equality. When both the poor and the rich are acting for selfish reasons they are both guilty up above, but when they both realize this and do not blame each other for one another’s problems, this is how they are able to go back to the bank and repay their loans of the temple’s sacrifice. Our sacrifice need to come back for one another, we need to put on glasses of truth and see that everyone will have their own problems and we cannot solve nor help all of them . We can all simply do our part by judging everyone the same. Hear the small just as the great; you shall not favor a poor person or respect a great man; you shall judge your fellow with righteousness; and that which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow. So the next time we look at one another and communicate know that we are all guilty of something, but we are not our own judges. We can increase our happiness by adding to someone else’s happiness. Making a personal sacrifice for someone else is what shows true justice, mercy, and equality. We have to remember Rabbi Akiva that eloquently sums up our financial responsibilities within this life stating in Mishnah 20 – Perek 3: “Everything is given on collateral and a net is spread over all the living. The shop is open; the Merchant extends credit; the ledger is open; the hand writes; and whoever wishes to borrow, let him come and borrow. The collectors make their routes constantly, every day, and collect payment from the person whether he realizes it or not.” So when you have an opportunity to interact with someone make sure you repay your debt to the temple of acting positively and sacrificing your own personal happiness for that other person’s happiness. This is the true way to bring back our temple of happiness and sacrifice.

    Shabbat Shalom,

    Bezalel

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  12. Shanti Rachaman

    Thank you and G-d bless you for your kindness to our family in remembering my brother, Brendan David Ben Carmel, today.

    May blessings be abundantly in every hour of your long and happy life!

    Shalom uverachot,
    Shanti Rachaman

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