Friday, December 29, 2017

Parshas Vayechi Messages 5778

Parshas Vayechi:

The Sages Say: 

And he [Yaakov Avinu] expired, and he was gathered to his people.’ (Bereishis 49:33)

[It says that Yaakov Avinu expired], but it does not speak of death.  Our Rabbis of blessed memory (Taanis 5b) said that Yaakov Avinu did not die.

(Rashi HaKadosh)

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A Helpful Hint:

And Yosef said to his brothers; “I am going to die, and G-d will surely remember [פּקד יפקד] you and take you up from this land to the Land that He swore to Avraham, to Yitzchok and to Yaakov.”’ (Bereishis 50:24)

Says the Baal HaTurim two beautiful things:  1) What Yosef HaTzaddik was saying is that he is only flesh and blood; today he is here, and tomorrow [i.e. at some later time] he will be in the grave.  But HaKadosh Baruch Hu, the Living and Eternal King, He will remember them [and take them out of Egypt].

2) With the two פs (in פּקד יפקד), he alluded to them that just as he reigned [in Egypt] for 80 years, so too a redeemer who was 80 years old would come for them [i.e. Moshe Rabbeinu.  He is a redeemer in the fact that through him Hashem redeemed the Jews].

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Chassidishe Vort:

And Yaakov called to his sons and he said, “Gather and I will tell to you what will happen to you in the End of Days.”’ (Bereishis 49:1)

There is a very famous vort (lit. word -- usually a short Torah thought) that many bring from this verse:  Yaakov Avinu was trying to give his sons advice -- if they would gather together in unity and have Achdus (oneness), then that will bring the End of Days, i.e. Mashiach will come.  Indeed, may Hashem help us to do so, and send him very swiftly in our days.  

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A “Lamdanishe” Insight:

And he [Yaakov] blessed them [Ephraim and Menashe] on that day saying, “In you will Israel bless, saying: ‘May G-d put you like Ephraim and like Menashe’”’ (Bereishis 48:20)

Asks HaRav Shlomo Bloch zt”l; what did Yaakov Avinu see to set the blessing that Jews should be specifically like Ephraim and Menashe?  

And he answers; we find that Yaakov Avinu said to Yosef (earlier in this parsha -- 48:5), “Your two sons who were born to you in the land of Egypt… they are to me; Ephraim and Menashe like Reuven and Shimon they shall be to me.” When Yaakov Avinu said this, it was testimony and determined firmly that even though it is the way of the world (after Adam and Chava ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad) that there is Yeridas HaDoros -- that each generation is on a lower spiritual level than the previous one, with these two, [i.e. Ephraim and Menashe], they were on the same level as the sons of Yaakov themselves.  They would literally be equal in level to Reuven and Shimon, and Yeridas HaDoros would not apply to them.  

Says Rav Bloch zt”l, therefore there is no more beautiful a beracha (blessing) than this, to bless someone that Hashem make them like Ephraim and Menashe (to whom Yeridas HaDoros did not apply).  

(Brought in M’Shulchan Govoha)

(NOTE:  Although as we spoke about, the spiritual level goes down from generation to generation, the Alter of Slabodka -- quoted in Sparks of Mussar -- tells us that nevertheless, we are still created in the Image of Hashem, and we have the ability to regain former heights.)

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Mussar Message:

And Yaakov called to his sons and he said, “Gather and I will tell to you what will happen to you in the End of Days.”’ (Bereishis 49:1)

Yaakov Avinu called his sons together right before he passed away, and blessed each one of them.  Each with an individual blessing.  On the other hand, he alluded to them (see Chassidishe Vort above) that they should come together in unity.

This is a lesson for us all:  We are all individuals, with unique abilities, gifts, etc. But on the other hand, it is our responsibility to be one with our fellow Jews.  We can both be individual and also together.  And what a beautiful thing this can be -- us all being so unique, and yet in unity.

Yet, if we look into the Jewish World, we can see that there is, Rachmana Litzlan, a lot of dissension; a lot of non-oneness.  But I think it in large part comes back to an interesting and important point:  

I was once speaking to one of my dear friends about two certain things in Judaism that are very different.  And I was saying how they aren’t really that different in my mind and they can be together.  My friend, however, said something very profound: He said to me that just because things are different doesn’t mean they are contradictory.  

And I think this is the message:  Many people, when they see others holding differently than them -- different customs, etc. they look at it as contradictory.  For example Chassidus and Mussar.

However, we must realize that it is not:  As my friend said, we are all going towards one goal.  And that is to serve Hashem.  We are all unique, but yet together as the Children of Hashem.  And when we take this to heart, and, B’Ezras Hashem, put it into practice, then we will see Mashiach very speedily.  May it be so.

~~*~~

And there is another lesson on this which my mother, the Rebbetzin shetichyeh explained:  The sum is greater than the parts:  We all have individual powers and strengths, but when we come together as a People, the strength and greatness is much bigger than if we just measured all individuals alone.

And she compares it to a town:  You need a baker, a shoemaker, etc. etc. Everyone plays a part to make the town a town.

(Tal U’Matar)

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Chazak V’ematz:

And the days of Yisroel came close to die’ (Bereishis 47:29)

The Zohar asks; why does it say ‘days’ in the plural?  Doesn’t a person die on one day and furthermore at one moment?  So seemingly shouldn’t it have said ‘And the day of Yisroel came close to die’?

Answers the Zohar; when Hashem takes a person from this world, all the days of the person’s life come up before Him, and there is an accounting.  Fortunate [alt. praiseworthy] is the portion of a person, says the Zohar, whose days come close before HaKadosh Baruch Hu without any disgrace or shame… and therefore it is written with Tzaddikim (righteous people) that their days ‘came close’, because their days come close before Hashem without any shame [i.e. because the righteous used them well].  And that is why, explains the Zohar, it says ‘the days of Yisroel’; because it is not talking about the day of death, but rather about when a person’s days come before Hashem for an accounting [of how they were used].

Based upon what the Zohar says, we may get into a deep concept:  We are all given a certain amount of days -- and minutes -- of life.  And we have an obligation to try to use them well, i.e. for the Service of Hashem.  

But, time passes.  And we end up looking back at all the days in our past that are seemingly now gone… What can we do, though?  The past is the past and once a day -- or a moment for that matter -- is over, it’s gone, right?

The answer is no.  At least not necessarily.  The time that we squander on trivial things -- that is lost.  But the seconds, minutes, hours, etc. that we use to serve Hashem and for good things are never gone and never lost.  They all stay with us.

But what about the time we misused in the past?  Can we ever get it back?... The answer can be found in the Gemara (Yoma 86b): ‘Reish Lakish said: “Great is repentance for [through it] intentional sins become unintentional sins…” [Asks the Gemara], didn’t Reish Lakish say that ‘great is repentance for [through it] intentional sins become merits’...?  There is no difficulty; here [i.e. in the first place he was speaking of repentance] from love [of Hashem] and here [the second place] from fear [of Hashem].’

From this beautiful Gemara we can see that even time which we, Rachmana Litzlan, did not use properly in the past, we can almost transform into time well-used with Teshuva (repentance) from love for Hashem!  May we try to always use our time properly and thus take it all with us -- and upon the time that we didn’t use as well in the past, may we do complete Teshuva from Love of Hashem and get it back.

(NOTE:  Although this is true, we certainly cannot, Chas V’Shalom, use time on bad things and/or do bad and just think to ourselves that we will do Teshuva later, whether from love or fear.  Someone who does that has severe consequences -- see Mishnah Yoma 8:9).

(Rays of Light:  Adar -- based on many things)

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Maaseh B’Rabbi…

At Yeshiva Kesser Torah’s recent Hachnosas Sefer Torah, the Rosh Yeshiva, my Rebbe, HaRav Elyakim Rosenblatt shlit”a related a beautiful story that happened to him while he was studying in Beis Midrash Govoha under HaRav Aharon Kotler zt”l:

He was once walking through the Yeshiva, and he passed Rav Aharon’s office, which had glass on the outside that you could see through.  What he saw with his own eyes a person would hardly believe; Rav Aharon, who was sitting and learning, stood up and began -- for some unknown reason -- to dance!  

Rav Aharon soon noticed young Rav Rosenblatt and motioned him inside.  He told him to call Reb Chaim Epstein (now zt”l) -- who was one of the best talmidim (students) in the Yeshiva.  Rav Rosenblatt complied, and brought Reb Epstein.  He came in, and now, Rav Aharon and him sat down and began to learn for a little while!  

When they were finished and Reb Epstein left, Rav Rosenblatt, extremely curious, ran up to him to ask what was going on.  Reb Epstein told him something amazing:  There was a Beiur HaGra (commentary of the Vilna Gaon zt”l) that Rav Aharon had been struggling over for 25 years.  And at that moment (the moment when Rav Rosenblatt walked by and saw him) he had finally understood it!  So he got up and began to dance.  And as for why he asked in Reb Epstein to learn, it was apparently to share the solution with him.  

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Chazak Chazak V’Nischazeik!

A Gut Shabbos to all!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Last Sicha given in public by Maran HaRav Shteinman zt"l!

YeshivaWorldNews shows this beautiful, clear video with Hebrew subtitles.  Maran HaRav Shteinman zt"l speaks clearly and teaches us a beautiful lesson... 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Parshas Vayigash Messages 5778

Parshas Vayigash: 

The Sages Say: 

All the souls [כּל הנפשׁ] coming down with Yaakov to Egypt…’ (Bereishis 46:26) 

Says Rashi HaKadosh:  I found in Vayikra Rabbah:  Esav, six souls there were to him [i.e. six people were in his family], and the verse (36:6) calls them ‘the souls of his house’, in a plural language, because they served many idols.   

Yaakov, seventy were to him [i.e. seventy people were in his family], and the verse calls them ‘soul’ (הנפשׁ -- in the singular), because they served one G-d. 

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A Helpful Hint: 

And G-d said to Yisroel in visions of the night, and He said, “Yaakov, Yaakov.” And he (Yaakov) said, “Here I am.” And He (Hashem) said, “I am the G-d, the G-d of your father, do not fear from going down to Egypt, because for a great nation I will put you there.  I will descend with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up [אעלך גם עלה]…”’ (Bereishis 46:2-4)  

עלה is written is a ה, notes the Baal HaTurim.  Hashem hinted to Yaakov Avinu that after 5 (the numerical value of ה) generations, He would redeem them [bring them up from Egypt].  Those 5 generations were Yaakov Avinu, Levi, Kehath, Amram, and Moshe Rabbeinu. 

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Chassidishe Vort: 

My master asked his servants, “Is there to you a father or a brother?”’ (Bereishis 44:19) 

Sometimes, Chas V’Shalom and Rachmana Litzlan, we might (even for a bit) forget Hashem and/or others.  But we need to ask ourselves the question in this verse:  Do you have a Father or a brother?  Remind yourself:  You have a Father in Heaven and you have brothers -- i.e. fellow Jews!  And this can help you to not get to involved in thinking about yourself only -- or if you already are, Rachmana Litzlan, it can snap you out of it, with the Help of Hashem.

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And there is another lesson here:  There are times when you might feel very lonely and not loved.  But the Torah reminds you ‘ha’yeish lachem av oh ach?’ (‘is there to you a father or a brother?’) -- you have a Father in Heaven Who will always care about you, will always love you and will never desert you.  And you have brothers (fellow Jews) out there who also care about you.  You are never alone…  

(Tal U’Matar) 

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A “Lamdanishe” Insight: 

And they (the brothers) went up from Egypt, and they came to the land of Canaan (Israel), to Yaakov their father.  And they told to him saying, “Yosef is still alive!” and that he is the ruler in all the land of Egypt; and his (Yaakov’s) heart changed, for he did not believe them.  And they spoke to him all the words of Yosef that he had spoken to them, and he saw the wagons that Yosef sent to carry him, and the spirit of Yaakov their father was revived.’ (Bereishis 45:25-27) 

Says the Bostoner Rebbe of Yerushalayim (Rebbe Mayer Alter Horowitz shlit”a); there was something in Yosef's words in conjunction with the עגלוֹת -- 'wagons', which triggered something in Yaakov Avinu and enabled him to overcome his disbelief.  Rashi HaKadosh references the Midrash which explains that Yosef relayed that the last Torah ideas which they had discussed together were about עגלה ערוּפה (lit. decapitated calf; see Devarim 21:1-9) which was alluded to by the עגלוֹת 'wagons' (the root words of עגלה and עגלוֹת are very similar). The Rashbam and others explain that Yaakov could discern that the wagons belonged to the royal government of Egypt, which proved the brothers’ story.
Over Chanukah, says the Bostoner, I thought of another explanation:  The Torah reading throughout Chanukah comes from Parshas Nasso, consisting of the Korbanos (offerings) of the Nesiim (princes) of each Tribe during the inauguration of the Mishkan.  Each day of Chanukah, we read about a different Nasi (prince) and his offering, except for the eighth day when the reading continues until the mention of the Menorah in Parshas Behaaloscha.  On the first day of Chanukah we also read about the twelve oxen and six wagons that were brought for use by the Leviim to transport the various materials of the Mishkan.  Each Nasi brought one ox, and together two Nesiim brought one wagon.  As opposed to the individual Korbanos of the Nesiim, these oxen and wagons were all brought together during the opening day ceremony of the Mishkan. 

It would seem, thus, he explains, that עגלוֹת, 'wagons' of transportation are a symbol of Achdus (oneness) and unity between the Tribes of Yisroel.  Perhaps, seeing the wagons gave Yaakov a subconscious sense of unity between his sons and revived his spirit.


(Bostoner Torah Insights)

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Mussar Message: 

And Yosef said to his brothers, “I am Yosef, is my father still alive?” And his brothers were not able to answer him, for they were in shock before him.’ (Bereishis 45:3) 

The Midrash states: ‘Abba Kohen Bardela says: “Woe to us from the Day of Judgement, woe to us from the Day of Rebuke [i.e. when we go up to Heaven and get our final Judgement]... Yosef was the youngest of the Tribes, and they were not able to stand in his rebuke.  It is as it is written, ‘And his brothers were not able to answer him, for they were in shock before him’.  When HaKadosh Baruch Hu will come and rebuke each one according to what he is… how much more so! 

Asks HaRav Shimon Yosef Meller shlit”a; what rebuke was Yosef giving that left his brothers speechless with alarm?   

And he answers:  When he said to his brothers, “I am Yosef,” they suddenly realized that they had been living with a false belief for decades.  All of their calculations, their decisions to kill him, to sell him, etc. -- it had all been in error!  Even in the present, they had believed until this moment that they were speaking with an Egyptian ruler.  All their strategies were based on this “fact” -- and suddenly they learned that this “Egyptian” before them was none other than Yosef, their brother.   

This is the greatest rebuke a man can receive, says Rav Meller beautifully; when he is shown that he has been living under a mistaken assumption… and all his plans and actions have been based on falsehood.  

(From The Torah of Brisk and Other Gedolim:  Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur) 

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Chazak V’ematz: 

And Yosef said to his brothers, “I am Yosef [אני יוֹסף]”’ (Bereishis 45:3) 

In the duration of time since they [the brothers] first came to Egypt to buy grain, says the Chofetz Chaim zt”l, and Yosef had recognized them and spoke with them harsh words and suspected them of being spies, they asked each other many questions -- what is this, and why is this, and they sought advice and they placed blamed on one another.  And similarly with the second time they came, he says, they wondered and they asked, “What is this that G-d has done to us?”  

But this was all until they heard these two words (in Hebrew) from their brother: “אני יוֹסף -- I am Yosef.  And immediately, all questions, wonderment and doubts turned away, and the thing was clearly illuminated to them.

 So will it be, says the Chofetz Chaim in his wonderful way, when the world will hear the two words “אני השׁם -- I am Hashem.  It will answer all the questions and the wondering on how the world is run, and it will make clear all matters, and all flesh will see together that the Hand of Hashem did everything for our benefit.  

(From Chofetz Chaim al HaTorah) 

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Maaseh B’Rabbi…


It was a cold, snowy winter afternoon in Mezibuzh, Ukraine, and the Holy Baal Shem Tov zt”l was with his students when he made this very strange request:  "Get the wagon ready -- I want to go down to the lake." 
No one dared question their holy Rebbe's intentions, and they quickly readied the wagon and rode down to the lake.  As they approached the ice-covered lake, they could see children playing on the ice.  As they got closer, they saw that the children were etching a big image of a cross into the ice. 
The Baal Shem Tov departed the wagon and sat down to watch the children playing.  The Chassidim couldn't understand why their holy Rebbe wanted to sit and watch a bunch of children etch a cross into an ice-covered lake!  But still, they dared not question their Rebbe's intentions.
After a few minutes, the Baal Shem Tov signaled that it was time to leave and they all boarded the wagon and rode back to town.  At this point, one of the students had the nerve to ask, "Rebbe, what was that all about?!" The Baal Shem Tov simply replied in a very somber voice, "When a Jew is icy-cold, it doesn't take long before a cross is etched into his heart."
(From a Dvar Torah of my Rebbe, HaRav Binyomin Goldstein shlit”a).

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A Gut Shabbos to all!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Now open for requests for FREE Gedolim Pictures

Hello everyone.  Freilichen Chanukah.  I wanted to let you know that upon request, I am willing to do FREE Gedolim pencil drawings. (You see, I am an aspiring amateur artist.  Although the work might not be as good as others', it should be okay at least.  You can look at a sample of my work -- keep in mind I'll get better -- in my previous post).

So if anyone wants or needs a Gedolim picture, please simply put in the request and the specifics in comments, or send me an email at aishkodesh611@gmail.com.

Thank you everyone and I look forward to seeing your requests!

Frelichen Chanukah to all.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

(Mostly)-Pencil Drawing of Maran HaRav Shteinman zt"l

Maran HaGaon HaRav Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman zt"l

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Maran HaGaon HaRav Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman zt"l

When I saw the report, I was... just so saddened.  Our beloved Gadol HaDor, the zeide of Klal Yisroel, Maran HaGaon HaRav Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman zt"l, has passed on.  Baruch Dayan HaEmes.  Although I did not know him personally, he meant so, so much to me, and my eyes have filled with tears as I wrote this.

There are not many things I can say.  For such a Gadol like this, I am much too lowly to speak.  

But my dear brothers and sisters!  I think that what we can do is try to take along his legacy.  Take Rav Shteinman with us.  His message of Torah, Mitzvos, middos and Achdus -- and overall, the effort, even in weakness, to serve HaKadosh Baruch Hu the best we can.  Indeed, in his will he said that anyone who wished to help him should learn a chapter of Mishnayos each day for the 12 months (for women to do, 10 chapters of Tehillim each day).  

What he did at his advanced age shows us just how much we can do with Hashem's Help.  Yehi zichro Baruch.  May his memory be for a blessing.

Here are some videos and pictures of Maran in his memory.  

Photo courtesy of kuvien
Photo courtesy of israelnationalnews

Photo courtesy of Yeshiva World News

Photo courtesy of VozIzNeias

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

Photo courtesy of SmugMug

Kol Tuv and a very, very Freilichen Chanukah to you all and your families, my dear readers.

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 loveisthemotive.blogspot.com

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. 

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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.)   

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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) 

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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) 

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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)

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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).

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A Gut Shabbos to all!