Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Baruch Hashem!!

Baruch Hashem Yisborach (and bli ayin hara), there has been definite improvement reported in the conditions of both HaRav Shteinman shlit"a (HARAV AHARON YEHUDA LEIB BEN GITTEL FEIGA) and the Vizhnitzer Rebbe of Monsey shlit"a (HARAV MORDECHAI BEN MARGULIA).

They of course, though, still need your Tefillos (prayers) and anything else you can do for them.

Thank you so much for everything and please continue praying to Hashem!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Tefillos Needed!

The Kaalov Rebbe of NY is in need of a Refuah Shleimah, and it would be very much appreciated anything you could do for him.  Davening.  Tehillim.  Learning or doing Maasim Tovim, etc.  The Rebbe's name is HaRav Moshe ben Raizel.

Thank you everyone and Kol Tuv!

Photo courtesy of

Friday, December 1, 2017

Parshas Vayishlach Messages 5778

Parshas Vayishlach: 

The Sages Say: 

And Esav ran towards him, and he hugged him and he fell upon his neck and he kissed him and they wept.’ (Bereishis 33:4) 

In a Torah Scroll, there are dots over the word ‘וישׁקהוּ -- and he kissed him’:  Quotes Rashi HaKadosh, there is a debate in a Baraisa of Sifri about this:  Some interpret the dots on top of the word to mean that although Esav kissed him, he did not kiss him with all his heart.  However, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (zt”l) holds that at that time, he actually kissed him with all his heart. 


A Helpful Hint: 

With Lavan I have sojourned [עם לבן גרתּי], and I have delayed until now.’ (Bereishis 32:5) 

גרתּי, quotes Rashi HaKadosh (from Bereishis Rabbasi -- and the Baal HaTurim says this as well), has the same Gematria (numerical value) as the word תּרי"ג (a mnemonic for 613), i.e. like the 613 Mitzvos.   

Yaakov Avinu was trying to tell Esav, they explain, that although he sojourned with the evil Lavan, he still kept the 613 Mitzvos 

(NOTE:  Although the Torah was not given yet at this time, we are told that #1, the Torah was created before the world, although not given to the Jews yet, and #2, the Patriarchs and some other good people around that time and before somehow learned it and kept it.)   


Chassidishe Vort: 

And Yaakov asked, and he said: “Tell me, please, your name.” And he [the Angel] said; “Why is this that you ask for my name?” And he blessed him [Yaakov] there. 

Explains the Kedushas Tzion (the second Bobover Rebbe -- Rebbe Ben Tzion Halberstam zt”l); the Yetzer Hara (whom this Angel, who is explained to be the Angel of Esav -- the Satan, represents), didn’t want to say his name, because his strength is when he is concealed and people do not know that he is there.  After all, nobody desires to listen to the Yetzer Hara who is trying to harm us.   

But the Yetzer Hara tries to deceive people and tell them that an aveirah (transgression) is a Mitzvah (or just an okay thing to do).  And people aren’t aware that he is the one giving the counsel, Rachmana Litzlan!  His strength comes from his ambiguity.  

(Quoted in Meoros HaParsha) 


Mussar Message: 

And Esav said; “There is to me much”’ (Bereishis 33:9) 

And Yaakov said… “There is to me everything.”’ (Bereishis 33:10-11) 

With these two words (i.e. the word difference between what Esav and Yaakov said), says the Chofetz Chaim (HaRav Yisroel Meir HaKohen Kagan zt”l), the Torah expresses the Hashkafos (views) of the two of them (i.e. Yaakov Avinu and Esav) on This World:   

Esav said “There is to me much”, meaning that yes, he had much, but ‘when one has one-hundred, they (if not careful, will) want two-hundred’. (And Esav was the embodiment of this).  But Yaakov Avinu said; “There is to me everything”, meaning, continues the Chofetz Chaim, “I lack nothing”.   

Esav put his eyes in the money and the pleasure of the world, he concludes, while Yaakov Avinu was satisfied with what he had.

(From Chofetz Chaim al HaTorah) 


Chazak V’ematz: 

And Yaakov was left alone, and a man [Angel] wrestled with him until the break of dawn.  And he [the Angel] saw that he was not able to overcome him [Yaakov], and he touched in the ball of his thigh, and the ball of Yaakov’s thigh became dislocated in wrestling with him [the Angel].  And he [the Angel] said to him [Yaakov]; “Send me away (i.e. “let me go”), for dawn has broken…’ (Bereishis 32:25-27)  

Who was this Angel?  Rashi HaKadosh quotes that our Rabbis say it was the Angel of Esav, (whom is said to be the Satan). 

We learn a huge lesson from this story for our own lives:  Rachmana Litzlan, the Yetzer Hara (whom the Satan can represent) is almost always trying to attack -- or wrestle -- us.  If not in one way then likely in another.  But of course, we fight back.  And we are stronger than the Yetzer Hara, and with the Help of Hashem, we overcome it.  So what does the Yetzer Hara sometimes then do when he sees ‘that he cannot overcome us’?

He ‘strikes the ball of our thigh’.  And the wonderful Mussar book Orchos Tzaddikim says that the pelvic bones and thighs represent the foundation.  

So what does the Yetzer Hara do?  It tries to strike at our foundation -- our Emunah (faith in Hashem and His Truths), the very foundation of all of our good deeds, etc.  It tries to give us questions in our faith.  

But then what can we do to beat it?  How can we “heal” the strikes of doubt that the Yetzer Hara throws at our Emunah?  Doubtful questions struck at our faith are tough to deal with and overcome, and it is a tough fight against the Yetzer Hara!  The Torah alludes to us the answer:  When did the Satan have to go?  When dawn broke -- i.e. it became light.  And there is no greater light than from Hashem and His Torah.  

Learning Torah and trying to connect to Hashem are two extremely important steps to beating the Yetzer Hara.  And not only that, but the Gemara (Shabbos 33b) quotes the verse (33:18) ‘And Yaakov came whole…’ and says: “And said Rav:  Whole in his body…” On that, explains Rashi HaKadosh that Yaakov Avinu had healed.  Meaning that through our Torah learning, any blow that was, Chas V’Shalom inflicted upon us by the Yetzer Hara can also be healed. 

The Light of Avodas Hashem (Service of Hashem) and Torah is always there, ready for us to illuminate our lives with it, ridding away the darkness of the Yetzer Hara and his schemes.
(Tal U’Matar)


Maaseh B’Rabbi…

When the Klausenberger Rebbe zt”l was in Auschwitz, he once asked a bachur (young unmarried man) if he knew what tonight was.  The bachur replied that he did not.  The Klausenberger Rebbe, even in the concentration camps, was, Baruch Hashem able to keep track of days and he told him that it would be Sukkos, and he wanted to know if he wanted to help him build a Sukkah.  The bachur answered that he did, but how were they going to be able to?   

The Rebbe told him that he had seen some sticks on the side of the barracks and they could use them for it, and he asked the bachur if he wanted to help.  The bachur answered that he did. 

So a little later, the two came over to where the sticks were and began to try to set a Sukkah up.  

Not even a minute in, however, a Nazi guard saw them, and pointed his gun at the Klausenberger, and asked what they were doing.  But the Rebbe looked straight at him, and with confidence in his voice, told him that they had to build a Sukkah for Sukkos and that he -- the guard -- would even help!  Wonder of wonders; the guard was so impressed with the look of the Rebbe and his confidence that indeed, he put down his gun and began to build the Sukkah for them!!!  And while he was building it, the Rebbe encouraged him, telling him that he would get great reward for this, and that one day, he would have the Mitzvah of Sukkah (see the Gemara in Masechta Sukkah).  And the Klausenberger blessed him that he should survive the war.

 After some time, this guard was drafted into the front lines, and sent to fight against the Russians.  The group he was in contained around 10,000 men and in the end, only two survived of them -- and he was one of them.  The guard realized that this was because of the Klausenberger’s beracha (and Hashem’s intervention, of course.  How else does a beracha come to fruition?). 

So one day some time later, the Klausenberger Rebbe was having a tish (a gathering with words of Torah, food, drink and singing, dancing and more) when a Jew with a beard, hat etc. walked in, and he asked the Rebbe if he knew him.  The Rebbe looked at him, and asked who he was and why he was familiar.   

The man told him that he was the guard who had built the Sukkah for him and the bachur.  And he told him about how he survived because of the Rebbe’s beracha, and he was so affected by this that he converted to Yiddishkeit (Judaism), and moved to Yerushalayim -- but when he was over here in the USA for a bit, he wanted to stop by.  

(Heard from my Rebbe, HaRav Binyomin Goldstein shlit”a).


A Gut Shabbos to all!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Parshas Vayeitzei Messages 5778

Parshas Vayeitzei: 

This edition of Shabbos Sparks is dedicated as a merit for complete Refuos and Yeshuos sent to the Gadol HaDor, HaRav Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman shlit”a (Rav Aharon Yehuda Leib ben Gittel Feiga) and to the Vizhnitzer Rebbe shlit”a of Monsey, (Rav Mordechai ben Margoliah), bi’soch sh’ar cholei Yisroel. 

The Sages Say: 

And he encountered the place, and he stayed the night there, because the sun had set; and he took from the stones of the place and he put [them] at his head, and he lay down in that place.’ (Bereishis 28:11) 

The stones began to quarrel with each other, each saying that the Tzaddik (i.e. Yaakov Avinu) should lay his head on them.  Immediately, Hashem made them all into one stone (so that they could all have Yaakov Avinu rest his head upon them together).  This is why it is stated (verse 18) ‘and he took the stone that he had placed at his head’, (i.e. in the singular). 

(Rashi HaKadosh from Gemara Chullin 91b)  


A Helpful Hint: 

And he encountered the place (ויפגע בּמּקוֹם), and he stayed the night there, because the sun had set; and he took from the stones of the place (מאבני המּקוֹם) and he put [them] at his head, and he lay down in that place (בּמּקוֹם ההוּא).’ (Bereishis 28:11)  

Three times in this verse, the Baal HaTurim notes, the word ‘מקוֹם -- place is used.  This alludes to the Shalosh Rigalim (Three Festivals -- Pesach, Shavuos, and Sukkos), when his children, (i.e. the Jews) would go up to that place (Har HaMoriah, which is where the Beis HaMikdash would later stand). 


Chassidishe Vort: 

And behold I am with you and I will guard you anywhere you go…’ (Bereishis 28:15) 

The Baal Shem Tov (Rebbe Yisroel ben Eliezer zt”l) said that when a person remembers Hashem, no bad can befall them.  

Says the Yetev Lev (Rebbe Yekusiel Yehuda Teitelbaum zt”l); this is alluded to in the above verse. (I.e. because if we believe that Hashem is with us, then He will guard us wherever we go).   

(Quoted in Meoros HaParsha) 


A “Lamdanishe” Insight: 

For I cannot rise before you because the way of women is to me.’ (Bereishis 31:35) 

Rachel Imeinu had stolen Lavan’s idols and hid them in her saddlebag (see Rashi HaKadosh to 31:19, however, who brings that it was to keep Lavan from serving them).   

But when Lavan came, she of course, couldn’t get up, because then he would find the idols right under her!  So she told him that she was a Niddah at the time.  But as far as we know, she wasn’t!  Was she lying?    

Says the Vilna Gaon (HaRav Eliyahu Kramer zt”l); no.  Rachel Imeinu was not lying, Chas V’Shalom.  Rather, the Gemara (Shabbos 82) says: ‘Avodah zarah makes impure like Niddah.’  Thus, he explains beautifully, when Rachel Imeinu sat upon the idols, she came into a state of tumah (impurity) almost like she was Niddah. 

(Quoted in Maayanah Shel Torah)

Mussar Message: 

And Yaakov awoke from his sleep, and he said; “Indeed, Hashem is in this place…!’ (Bereishis 28:16) 

A person who awakens from sleep, says Rebbe Meir’l of Premishlan zt”l, it is upon them to strengthen themselves like a lion to the service of the Creator, His Name is Blessed, as is explained in the beginning of Shulchan Aruch.   

And this is like what it says in the (above) verse, he explains: ‘And Yaakov awoke from his sleep, and he said; “Indeed, Hashem is in this place…!’ -- immediately when Yaakov Avinu woke up from his sleep, he turned to the Service of Hashem.

(Quoted in Vi’karasa L’Shabbos Oneg)


Chazak V’ematz: 

And he lay down in that place.’ (Bereishis 28:11) 

Explains Rashi HaKadosh from Midrash Bereishis Rabbah:  The fact that it says ‘in that place’, means in this case he lay down onlyin that place’.  Because for the 14 years that he served in the house (Yeshiva) of Ever (and likely Shem), he didn’t lie down at night because he was engaged in Torah study.   

Although this is not necessarily a recommended thing to try in our own lives, it shows us a great thing:  We all have such incredible potential, so much so that we do not even know the extent of it!  A person would probably not even think that they are capable of not sleeping for a few years, let alone fourteen.  But here we see that Yaakov Avinu did so!   

This amazing potential, capability, and willpower is within us all, and we can hardly imagine the heights we can reach and the things we can do and achieve.  

HaKadosh Baruch Hu has endowed us all with such power, and if we put in our own effort, and with His Help of course, we can do amazing, amazing things and reach the highest heights.   

(Tal U’Matar)


Maaseh B’Rabbi…

The Midrash relates a story that there were once a lot of non-Jews and one Jew traveling on a ship together.  The ship arrived at an island and the non-Jewish travelers gave money to the Jew to go buy food, etc.   

The Jew asked why he should go; after all, he was a stranger on the island as well!  And he didn’t know anyone there…

 The others replied that this was not true:  He wasn’t alone.  Hashem is with him.  As the Torah says (Devarim 4:7), ‘For who is a great nation that G-d is so close to it, like Hashem our G-d is…’ Hashem is always close to him, so therefore, he should go.   


A Gut Shabbos to all!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

URGENT: Tefillos Needed!!!!

URGENT:  Tefillos needed for the Gadol HaDor, HaRav Aharon Yehuda Leib ben Gittel Feiga, as well as the Vizhnitzer Rebbe of Monsey, HaRav Mordechai ben Margulia, bisoch sh'ar cholei Yisroel. 
Rav Shteinman shlit"a picture courtesy of Wikipedia                        Vizhnitzer Rebbe of Monsey shlit"a picture courtesy of