What a Single Person Needs to Know to Get and (a married person to) Stay Married

I know many singles . Some Older. Some Younger.

I am sure they went on dates.

Why didn’t it work out? I don’t know.

The Dating Purpose

Firstly, When I would date – it would be strictly to determine if the person before me would be suitable to spend my life and raise my kids with. My intention was not to have a good time, pass some enjoyable moments together and then somewhere down the line see if we could tie the knot or not.

No the date is not like a job interview. It is a date to find out about the person who is in front of you. It is a platonic date to see if you share similar attitudes, Torah values, hashkafot / outlook, mentalities and more. Obviously it is not an intellectual exercise – but a pleasant way to honestly know if you are fit for one another.

The Dating Attitude

I’ll tell you my attitude – I don’t know if it is right or wrong.

When matched with a potential mate for marriage I would take the proposition seriously. I wouldn’t brush it off. Sometimes G-d introduces you to a person not for you to get marriage – but to learn how to better yourself. Obviously G-d doesn’t want to waste your time – provided if you yourself don’t want to waste your time either by dead end relationships.

G-d wants you married – so the people who are proposed to me are probably in the ballpark of marriage material.

I did have certain criteria. The girl would have to be from a similar cultural & Jewish  background – because similar mentalities make for a better marriage in general – so I think. In my case I wanted a Moroccan, Torah Observant Jewish Girl , that came from a good family and has good character traits (Middot) that would appreciate someone who learns Torah regularly.

So this is the attitude that I am unsure about. In general, I would try to go out with the girl until she would reject me. Unless I saw that it was totally off, I would try to continue dating until it became obvious to one of us it would not work out for marriage.

Even though in the back of my mind I thought “Who would ever reject me!?” It did happen more frequently than I would have imagined. Once I was about to marry a girl. I gave her a ring. She called me that evening and said can we see each other tomorrow. I said sure. When we met – she explained nicely that she didn’t think it would work out and gave me back the ring. No. I wasn’t devastated.

My reason for the attitude was that I knew that it is Hash-m is in control and He will help me marry the right one. The rejection was not a devastation – but G-d telling me – there is someone more suitable for me.

Obviously you have to have the proper criteria in place and discuss those criteria with a competent Orthodox Rabbi to get Daat / Guidance of Torah. But once those are in place an the person is in the ballpark – so go ahead.

In Judaism we have this concept that brings the validity to the term Soul mates. There is a soul. It is split in two – a male part and a female part. They enter two separate bodies – a male and a female. Marriage is the bringing back together of these souls that are in 2 different bodies. One reason the Torah forbids intermarriage between a Jew & a Gentile is because a marriage of souls that don’t match don’t achieve their purpose in life. Another reason is that a gentile mate might turn the children away from Hash-m / G-d and the Torah. Also it causes confusion in the children.

Recently I read that the Divorce rate among Orthodox Jews is about 10% while the Divorce rate of Intermarried couples is over 40%.

But back to the subject.

Improve Yourself Get a Better Mate

I give this advice to Jewish singles. Before you get married – reinforce yourself in Torah & Mitzvot. The more your raise yourself spiritually and in terms of middot / character traits the better mate you will merit. A man may want to chose a woman that is higher level in Torah than himself. Although men can influence woman to raise their spiritual strivings – usually a woman influences a man more than vice versa. A woman can bring up or down.

There is a story about a pious man who was married to a pious woman. They had no children. They divorced. He went and married a wicked woman. She made him wicked. She went and married a wicked man and made him righteous. To teach you that a woman influences the spirituality of the spouse more than vice versa.

Staying married

If a person has a particular attitude it may lead to an unsuccessful marriage. The attitude is “You are here to serve me.” It might reveal itself in several forms. I want you to clean the house. I want you to make the money. I am the one you should please. You are here as an object for my happiness. The attitude to marital problems.

So what is the proper attitude – Let’s serve Hash-m together. Let’s bring up a healthy family following Torah & Mitzvot. Let me do all that I can to make my wife or husband happy. I want to do things that make my mate happy. I want to spend time with them. I want to connect. I want to have peace. I must be humble.

Here are some messages I heard from Rabbis:

Attraction is Not Primary

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, zt”l – has a book on Shidduchim / matchmaking. They asked him how important is attraction. He said something to the effect – that it is secondary. I would add that as long as the person is not repulsive to you – or their looks pushes you away – it is not a reason to reject someone.

Rabbi Kanievsky wrote about Shalom Bayit / Peace at Home:

ובספר “אורחות יושר” (למרן הגאון רבי חיים קניבסקי שליט”א) כתב: “…ובאמת כל המריבות בבתים ושאין שלום בית שמצוי מאד בזמנינו רובן ככולן באין ע”י גאוה ואם כל אחד היה מחזיק בענוה ולא היה איכפת לו על כבודו ועל גאותו היה רוב המחלוקות מסתדרים בשלום דוק ותשכח שהענוה אמיתית היא רפואה בדוקה ואמיתי לרוב הבעיות שיש בזמנינו והשי”ת יערה עלינו רוח טהרה ממרום שנזכה לענוה אמיתית”.

And in the book “Orchot Yosher” (by Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky Shlita) he wrote: “… and really all The quarrels in the houses and the lack of peace in a house that is very common in our time, most of them are due to Pride. and if everyone held humility and did not care about his dignity and pride, he would settle Most disputes with peace. and forgotten is that true humility is proven medicine to most of the problems that exist in our time and Hash-mת May He be Blessed, shine upon us a spirit of purity from on High that we will merit to achieve true humility. “

Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein – on torahanytime.com he mentions that most times when couples come to see him – they say the same thing. The wife complains the husband doesn’t love her. The husband thinks that love is bringing the money home. She says “My father pays my bills also.” Love is establishing a true connection together.

The basis of the Torah is to help a person establish a connection between family, friends, oneself and Hash-m. Like R. Akiva said “VeAhavta LeReacha Kamocha” – You shall love your fellow like yourself is a foundation of the Torah.

Rabbi Yosef Palacchi on torahanytime.com brings the Pele Yoetz – a sefer book on great Torah advice – talks about having a strong love for one’s mate.

Here is a quote from the Yanuka – Rabbi Shlomo Yehuda Be’eri in a Recent issue of Ami Magazine (ISSUE 564, AMI MAGAZINE, APRIL 13, 2022, 12 NISAN 5782)

MESSAGES FOR BNEI CHUTZ LAARETZ
Again, Reb Yanky taps me on the shoulder, so I finish by asking the Yenuka for a message for the Jews in America. Throughout our conversation, Rav Shlomo Yehudah has emphasized the importance of achdus (unity) and harmony. This is something that comes through in his learning, too: he is fluent in a wide variety of limudim (Torah learning), from the writings of the Gaon through the Tanya and even Rebbe Nachman, and often tries to harmonize their teachings. The Yenuka continues now with his message of shalom (peace) and unity, saying, “People should try to look out for each other. People should help each other in business as well as in other areas.

I stress this more for bnei chutz laaretz because they live among non-Jews. The main thing is to lift your eyes toward the heavens and connect to Hashem.” Rav Shlomo Yehudah is quiet for a moment and then adds another message.

“There is a problem with shidduchim (matchmaking) today. I don’t think the hashkafah (Jewish outlook) of a boy and a girl have to be exactly lined up. For example, I am a grandchild of the Arizal and my wife is a granddaughter of the Kedushat Levi. Of course, there are gedarim (boundaries) if he wants to live a certain lifestyle and she doesn’t, then it won’t work-but it shouldn’t matter if a girl is a little more chasidic than a bachur, (young man) or if he adheres
to teachings of the Gaon and she enjoys Tanya,” the Yenuka says with a smile.
“The important thing in shidduchim is that they get along and have free-flowing conversations. If two people don’t have an easy time conversing, there is no future. An easy and comfortable feeling and flowing conversation are the things that
count.”

The Yenuka was married at 20 years of age and today has a son and three daughters. “Bachurim should get married at 18,” he says. “Waiting around creates an unnecessary nisayon (ethical trial). Some say that a bachur should get married later, that he should first learn for several years without distractions. This is only correct in a few select cas-
es. I have read the same from Ray Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg. Most boys learn just
as well when they are married. There are those matmidim who learn yomam valay-
lah, and for them, learning for longer as a bachur is beneficial. For all others, it can
cause harm.”

6 Rules for Good Relations – With Spouse, Kids & Friends

I walked in to the Inauguration Reception for HaChaim VeHashalom Beit Midrash / House of [Torah] Study. I see a Rabbi that I faintly recognize. It was Rabbi Bousu – the Grandson of the Baba Sali. He was discussing the subject of “Shalom Bayit” with some men. I listen in. “It is a positive commandment from the Torah to have peace with your spouse! It’s not enough to just do some kind things to her. You should try to assure that she is happy. If she is happy you will be happy. Think of ways to make her happy. Pray to find things and Do things to make her happy. If you do so you will have success!” said Rabbi Bousu. He mentioned why a person will have success in business, materially, spiritually and learning Torah. “Because where there is peace – the Shechina [Divine Presence] dwells. Where the Shechina dwells there is success.

I asked him the source : He said it was in Sefer Chareidim. I looked it up – but was not able to find the source he said. But I tried to figure out what it was on my one. This is what I found:

סֵפֶר חֲרֵדִים – פֶּרֶק ד – מ”ו
[תְּהִלִּים פֶּרֶק-לד-טו] סוּר מֵרָע וַעֲשֵׂה טוֹב בַּקֵּשׁ שָׁלוֹם וְרָדְפֵהוּ: – ‫דְּאוֹרָיְתָא‬‫ הִיא‬ ‫דַּאֲפִלּוּ‬ ‫בִּשְׁעַת‬ ‫מִלְחָמָה‬ ‫צִוָּה‬ ‫י‬ת’‬ ‫לְהַקְדִּים ‬‫שָׁלוֹם‬ ‫שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר‬ ‫ {דְּבָרִים כ:י} כִּי-תִּקְרַב אֶל-עִיר לְהִלָּחֵם עָלֶיהָ וְקָרָאתָ אֵלֶיהָ לְשָׁלוֹם: ‫וּמִנָּאֶה‬ ‫סְמָ”ג‬ ‫בְּמִצְוַת‬ ‫עָשָׂה‬‫ וְכָל‬ מָקוֹם ‫שֶׁיֵּשׁ‬ ‫שָׁלוֹם‬ ‫אֵין‬ ‫הַשָּׂטָן‬ ‫יָכוֹל‬ ‫לְקַטְרֵג‬ ‫שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר‬‫ [הוֹשֵׁעַ ד:יז]  חֲבוּר עֲצַבִּים אֶפְרַיִם הַנַּח-לוֹ: ‫צִוָּה‬ ‫הקב”ה‬ ‫לִמְחוֹת ‬‫שְׁמוֹ‬ ‫הַגָּדוֹל‬ ‫שֶׁנִּכְתַּב‬ ‫בְּקָדוֹשׁ’‬ ‫עַל‬ ‫הַמַּיִם‬ ‫לָשִׂים‬ ‫שָׁלוֹם‬‫ בֵּין‬ ‫אִישׁ‬ ‫לְאִשְׁתּוֹ‬ ‫וְהָרוֹצֶה‬ ‫לִזְכּוֹת‬ ‫בְּמִצְוָה‬ ‫זוֹ‬ ‫יִזְהָר ‬‫בְּמִצְוָה‬ ‫אַחֶרֶת‬ ‫וְהוּא [אָבוֹת א:ג]‬ ‫וֶהֱוֵי דָּן אֶת כָּל הָאָדָם לְכַף זְכוּת ‫תָּמִיד‪,‬‬‫מִמִּנְיָן‬ ‫תרי”ג‬ ‫‪:‬‬

Sefer Haredi – Chapter 4 – 46.
[Psalms Chapter 34:15] Depart from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it: It is a Torah Commandment that even during the time of war Hash-m commanded to start off by offering peace as it says “When you approach to a city to battle it – call out for peace.” (Devarim/Deut 20:10) And the Smag [Sefer Mitzvot Gedolot] counts this as Positive [Torah] commandments. And any place that there is peace – the Satan cannot accuse – as it says: [Hosea 4:17] Ephraim joined to idols – let him be: [Athough they were sinning – G-d said let them be – because they maintained peaceful relations] The Holy One Blessed Be He commanded to erase His Great Name written in Holiness with water [in Sota Ritual] to place peace between a man and his wife. And one who wants to merit this mitzvah – should be careful of another Mitzvah [Pirkei Avot 1: 3] “And judge every man favorably” [lit, on a scale of merit] always – from the count of 613 Mitzvot.

Rule # 1 – Be proactive in pursuing peace – meaning be yielding – seeking peace not arguments.

Rule # 2 – Judge people favorably

I heard and interview with Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein – z”l. In an interview he was asked “What is the most important thing that one should do for a healthy family?” His answer: Give them time.

The children want to connect with the parents and the spouses also want to. The greatest detriment to this is : Technology. My family wants to connect – instead I am on my cell phone, computer, watching videos. A big turn-off. They want to connect and you would rather connect with that video or whatsapp message.

Rule # 3 – Search for ways to make others happy.

Rule # 4. Give them time and be there for them.

Rule # 5 – Help out and Be present.

Rabbi Eliyahu Benhaim – said “Better than giving your wife a diamond ring – offer her to do the dishes.”

Rule # 6 – Be happy. Smile and make others happy.

Show a Bright face not a sad face. A face is part of the public domain – don’t “damage” people with your scour.

Rabbi Yissocher Frand Transcript of Speech at 12th Siyum Hashas

I was looking up the Transcript of the speech of Rabbi Yissochar Frand – Rosh Yeshiva of Ner Yisrael Yeshiva in Baltimore – he made During the 12th Siyum HaShas at MetLife Stadium in 2012. I didn’t find it. Here is one I tried to put together:

 

Birshus Rabbanan verabosai. The DAF – it’s become so common an expression that it is no longer the DAF Yomi but merely the DAF. It’s become a proper noun. It’s part of our daily manner you’re speaking. Expressions like did you do the DAF, where’s the DAF holding are part of our lexicon. But according to Mayor Shapiro, it’s so much more than a mere figure of speech.

The Gemara in, Yevomos, relates how Raban Gamliel once saw a ship sink with Rebbi Akiva aboard. He was sure that he had drowned. Rabi Akiva miraculously appeared before him. Raban Gamaliel asked him, How were you saved? Amar Li Daf Shel Sefina Nizdamen Li. The simple translation of that is that Rabi Akiva was saved by holding on to a plank [Daf] of the ship, a daf. But the word daf in the word daf. Mayor Shapiro saw clear metaphor. It’s the daf that saves so many of us from drowning as well. Maybe not in the turbulence of the sea. But the turbulence that sometimes is our lives.

Put succinctly via the haunting pasuk nigun that we know the haunting pasuk that we know, from that haunting Nigun Lulay Sorascha Shaashuai azavadi beoni. If not for your Torah that was my delight, I would have been lost in my pain. And this is what Rav Mayer Shapiro try to convey. That it is Limud HaTorah, Bichlal. And the Daf Yomy befrat that is our life preserver. It’s the life line that we all need.

And that’s very expression “lifeline” – someone wrote to me to describe his relationship with Daf Yomi. Suffice it to say that this person had had a difficult life. He was a Yasom [orphan] at an early age, she had very little money. He had several medical medical issues, and he did have an easy time socially. And here here’s what he wrote me after the last Siyum HaShas [completion of the Talmud] seven and a half years ago. I have been out of yeshiva for two years, and I had barely learned a word. I was not all that happy with myself. I would come home at night and stare at my 19 inch color companion. And I realized that this had to stop. So I tried Daf Yomi. As I sat in Madison Square Garden last Tuesday night, I was on the ail tail end of a roller coaster ride. I had not had the greatest muscle socially, job wise, city wise, and the list goes on. But what I did have was a lifeline. A constant companion on the train at the doctor’s office late at night, early in the morning a trusted companion who would never let me down even if everything else and everybody else would. All this companion asked for me is that I visit it every day for an hour or so. So I can hear what he has to say.

It’s the same message that the Gerer Reber once told it’s a tzebrachen Yid, a broken Jew who had recently lost his wife, and was very, very lonely and he cried to the Reber from the depths of his solitude. The rebbe told him Ov Yid the hot a blatt Gemara. Is a Kanmal nishta lane. If a Jew has a blatt Gomorrah, he’s never alone. Which one of us wouldn’t want such a companion?

Limud HaTorah is so much more than just another mitzvah. It is life itself. Those words “Ki Hem Hainu veOrech Yamainu” are to be taken literally which helps us explain the famous Gemara in Masechta Yuma that Hillel hazaken used to spend half of his daily wages to gain entry into the Beis Hamedrash, and one day when he couldn’t find work and had no money, he went up to the roof in the dead of winter, and listened from the skylight. Aloי venitlah veyashav al pee I Aruba kedai Sheyishma divrei Elokim Haim Mipi Shemaya veavtalion [Yoma 35b] the Hofets Haim asks, that this Gomorrah seems to contradict the well known Halakha that one should not spend more than 20% of his assets in the performance of a mitzvah. Why then did Hillel seemingly violate this halacha by spending 50% of his meager wages in the performance of a mitzvah?

I once heard the Chofets Haim himself in Likutei Halakhas alludes to this, and that is because the Gomorrah uses an expression that the Gomorrah rarely used. Matter of fact, it’s the only time in all of Shas Bavli that the Gomorrah uses this expression to describe a Shiur. And that is “kedai Sheyishma divrei Elokim Haim Mipi Shemaiah veAvtalion.” This wasn’t just a shiur. This wasn’t just another mitzvah to Hillel. This was divrei Elokim haim. This was life itself. And for life itself. There are no spending limits. To Hillel. This was his lifeline. And when he couldn’t afford it, he listened from the skylight he Hillel truly believed in those words, Ki hem Hayeynu veOrekh Yamenu.

And in some level, we all feel like this, perhaps not consciously, but somewhere in the recesses of our souls. We know this to be true.

Rabbi Aaron Paperman was a chaplain during World War Two and after the war was over, he would visit DP camps to provide for the needs of the Holocaust survivors. And he’d ask each of the survivors Vas daf dir. What do you need? And the answer would invariably come back “Ich daf a porshich”. I need a pair of shoes. Ich daf a poor Hoisan. I need a pair of pants. However, there was one Yid, his name was Mr. Seeger. He was a bobover Hasid. He had a strange request Rabbi paperman asked him “Vas Daf dir?” What do you need? His response was “ich DAF a Baba Kama”

Rabbi Paperman said to him, Y’a, y’a ober “Vas Daf dir?” What do you really need? And again, the same response ich DAF a baba Kama – until Rabbi Paperman finally realized that that is what he really wanted. And it was successful and getting him a gemara Baba Kama that he Yid knew with his entire being that besides for clothes and shelter, and food and water, every Yid needs something else he needs a Baba Kama. Ki Hem Hayeinu Ve Orech Yameinu.

And there’s another factor that motivates people to learn the DAF Yomi even in our day and age, when our Mayer Shapiro started this magnificent program. It had a natural attraction. A Jew in Europe, who toured it toiled a menial job during the day, saw learning at night as an escape from a difficult reality. This was his hour of enjoyment. This was his relaxation, a respite from a life that was full of privation. But today, there are so many distractions, so much to occupied one’s time, so much out there that dazzles the eye on the imagination. And yet, people will rise at 5am or begin at 11pm. To do what? to study a text written more than 1500 years ago, in a difficult language, which is intellectually challenging, with many arcane subjects. And this has to compete with other pursuits that seems so much more alluring. They will do this in planes In some trains and in buses, they will do this during Hasanus this waiting for the Huppa they will do this in doctor offices and in Supermarket checkout lines, they and their wives and their family and their children will bend their schedules to make this happen. Why? How do we explain the inexplicable? Perhaps it’s because people realize that Torah is real, and everything else, no matter how dazzling is just fake.

The Pasuk / passage describes mattan Torah as the Ribono Shel Olam speaking to Klal Israel Kol GadDol velO yasaf a mighty voice Velo yosaf. Rashi says that the words Velo yasaf means that the voice never stopped. But where is that voice? Have you heard it? My good friend Rabbi Jakob luban told me that he heard from his rebe rebe Elya Svae, who heard from his Rebe, Reb Ahron Kotler that that voice is the voice of the rebono Shel Olam talking to the man through the Torah and when one Yid learns Torah He still hears the reverberation of the Rebono Shel Olam. Speaking to man, that is the power of Limud HaTorah – that is how the DAF competes and the DAF Trumps.
because it is the real thing, and everything else is just fake. It is the power of the authenticity of Torah and we’re hearing another voice today.

The MedDRAsh says on Reb Yehoshua ben Levi Bekhol yom veYom bas kol, yotzat mehar horev ve omeret oy lahem la beriot me’elbona shel Torah that every day, a heavenly voice bemoans the fact that Yidden not learning enough. Well. Have you ever heard that Bas Kol? If you’re like most people, you will answer No, I haven’t. But in truth, we’ve all heard that bas koll all be it faintly the Baal Shem Tov was said that that Bas Kol is the herehurei Teschuva the thoughts of Techuva that we have from time to time, when we think I really should be learning more, or unreasonably wasting my time with this. That is that Bas Kol. But sometimes it’s too fleeting. It’s too faint. And we squelch it. And we quash it and we ignore it. But today, sitting here among 90,000 people we do hear that Bas Kol – it’s the clarion call that emanates from the stadium that shouts “learn more.”
We can’t say we don’t hear it. We hear it loud and clear. And today we cannot squelch it.

Today we must respond. And today we must leave here with a plan.
if you’ve never learned that DAF Yomi then tomorrow is the day to start. If this is your second or third time finishing shas that you ask yourself must ask yourself how am I going to do better next time around? Maybe go to a shear Iyun once a week on the Sugya of the DAF maybe learn the daf in the morning and go to shiur hazara At night. maybe be so bold as to take tests on the Daf. And if you can’t learn then a Daf a day then make it an Amud day are a daf of Mishna Berura a day or a mishna a day but something a day

But we must respond to that bas kol that we can no longer ignore and leave here with a plan. And that was the message there of Nosson Tzvi shared with the Yid named Reb Nochom Stillerman, Mr. Stillerman after retiring moved to Eretz Yisrael in honor of his 70th birthday, he finished Masechta Shabbos an accomplishment he proudly shared with Nosson Tzvi Finckel. Rav Nosson Tzvi congratulated him but told him that that’s not enough, go back and figure out a plan how you could finish Shas. He came back with a printout and figured out that by learning 10 hours a day, it would take him 23 years to finish Shas. Rav Nosson Tzvi’s reaction was “now that’s a plan.”

Mr. Stillerman, however, had a different reaction. I’ll be 93 by the time I finish, how can I undertake a plan that I cannot possibly finish? Rav Nosson Tsvi Finkel – by then afflicted with debilitating Parkinson’s disease for more than 28 years, struggled mightily from his seat. And while shaking, he reached under the table cloth and pulled out more of his plans for the expansion of the Mirrer, Yeshiva. And he turned to Mr. Stillerman. And he asked Him “and do you think I can do what I’m doing? Look at me!”

But he had a plan. And that’s what he demanded from Mr. Stillerman – a plan. And that’s what’s demanded from us today. A plan and if it’s sometimes B, B seems beyond our koachos [power]. All we have to do is picture in our mind’s eye Rav Nosson Tsvi Finkel. Mr. Stillman once had another conversation with Rav Nosson Tsvi. Years earlier of Nosson Tzvi had commented to Mr. Sillerman incredulously that maybe his Parkinson’s disease was an onesh a punishment for not learning Torah Lishma.

Mr. Sillerman sometimes sometime later offered a different approach as to why the Rosh Yeshiva had to suffer based on Yerushalmi Masechta Horayos, Yerushalmi says in Masechta Horious. That would Moshe Rabbeinu learned Torah on Har Sinai, from the Rebona Shell Olam, he would forget immediately what he learned until at the end the Rebona Shell Olam gave him the entire Torah as a gift. But why did Moshe have to suffer and endure this frustrating experience of learning and forgetting and learning and forgetting and learning and forgetting? Says the Yerushalmi – Koll Kokh lama? la haChzir es hatipshim, so that people who forget their learning won’t give up and say, what’s the use? It’s an exercise in futility. I forget anyway. MoShe Rabeinu provides the counterargument Mr. Stillerman suggested that maybe the Rosh Yeshiva had to suffer from his illness to provide living proof that one can learn even if it’s difficult, like. Like the man I heard about two nights ago, who was member of A daf yomi me in Brooklyn, but in the middle of the cycle, became blind. But he would go to the DAF every day in spite of his blindness. He was the first to come and the last to leave to learn real Torah She Be’al Peh.

Rav Nosson Tsvi leaned over and kissed Mr. Stillerman and quoting the Gomorrah in Masechta Maccos. He told him Akiva Nikhamtanu. Akiva Nikhamtanu. You have comforted me. In our generation, we had a Rav Nosson Tsvi Finkel, an American born boy, raised in Chicago, Illinois. A graduate of every crown day school who became a gadol beyIsrael. Most of us will never become a Rav Nosson Tsvi Finkle. But he taught us all something. Even if we never stepped here in the Mirrer Yeshiva. He taught us never to give up. He taught us not to say this is too hard. He taught us to always have a plan. He taught us to aim higher. He taught us to reach beyond. And he taught us that beyond your reach is really within your grasp.

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‘The Exiting from Egypt’ or ‘The Taking Out Egypt’ – Breaking a Mentality or Mindset

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The commonly accepted translation of the Hebrew words Yetziat Mitzrayim – is ‘The Exiting from Egypt’. But let’s analyze a bit. Yetziah means ‘going out’. To make it ‘the going out of‘ we replace the letter Hei with a Tav. It thus becomes ‘The Going out of’ Mitzrayim means Egypt. The Going out of Egypt. Thus it could mean people are going out of Egypt or Egypt is going out of people.

The Jews were in Egypt for 210 years. They were subjected to slavery, torture, killing of babies, psychological torment and cruel and unusual punishment. They were about to adopt a “Slave Mentality” – to save the Jews from this Mentality – Hash-m had to take them out of Egypt within 18 minutes. They were freed and Left just in time to escape that mentality.

It took them 40 years of wandering in the desert to remove this mentality properly.

They became the servants of Hash-m / G-d – when they accepted the Torah about 50 days after leaving Egypt.

If so when were they ever free? They went from being servants to the Pharaoh to the Servants of G-d.

The Answer: By the Jews accepting the Yolk of Hash-m and to Observe the Torah – that is what gave them freedom. A person can by physically free – yet a servant to their desires, temptation, habits, mindset, mentality. Torah Observance breaks all those shackles.

A person might think themselves completely free or independent but they are still the subject of their society, their upbringing, and the media they consult.

Hash-m is the only completely independent Being. His commands are the best possible commands that a person can follow. These commands make a person free. If a person follows their desires – they are a servant of their desires.

Once a person, after the army, decided to go tour the Amazon forest. He was confident – “I don’t need a guide – I hiked many forests and was able to navigate out of them.” He entered the forest and lost his way. He was lost for about 2 weeks searching for the exit. He met an old man. He asked him the way out. The man replied “I have been here for 20 years and can’t tell you the way out – but I can tell you which ways not to go. Going this and this way will bring you to a dead end. Going this way you are stopped by a river.” – The young man was completely free to do what he wanted – yet he was a prisoner of the forest.

Having the directions of the old man helped him to be slightly more free because he had more hope of getting out.

Removing the ‘Egypt’ from us

A person can break a mentality. A person can gain confidence. A person can change – but they need directions. The directions of the Torah helps him to free himself.

Let’s say a person is overweight – he or she is being addicted to food. So going on a diet will help them. But some go too far and become anorexic – that they are psychologically convinced to remain thin. So they are also controlled by their mindset of being thin. (Obviously both should seek proper help).

The Torah mentality is to follow the middle path. The Middle path is complete. This is stated by the Rambam – Maimonides in His Mishne Torah – on Human Dispositions.

As for us, we are charged to walk in these middle-paths, which are the good and straight paths, even as it is said: “And thou shalt walk in His ways” (Deut. 28 9).

Torah is the word of Hash-m / G-d who wants the complete best for us. Following his ways does not only allow us to live a better life – but allows us to be free – like it says in Pirkei Avot 6:1:

“And the tablets were the work of G-d and the writing was the writing of G-d, engraved (charuth) upon the tablets.” Read it not “charuth,” but “cheiruth” (freedom), for no one is free but him who studies Torah. For whoever studies Torah is exalted, as it is written (Numbers 21:19): “And from Matanah (the gift [of Torah]), Nachliel (‘the inheritance of the L rd’); and from Nachliel, Bamoth (‘the high mount’).”

What is Torah View of Russian Attack of Ukraine?

The Vilna Gaon – the Genius of Vilna / Rabbi Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, an 18th-century rabbinic sage – said that the Jewish people need to wear Shabbat clothes when the Messiah is about to arrive.

Rabbi Elya Ber Wachtfogel, of Yeshiva (seminary) Gedolah Zichron Moshe of South Fallsburg, New York donned Shabbat (Sabbath) clothing recently when he heard of Russian warships moving through the Dardanelles River. His based on the Zohar whose Kabbalistic teachings reveal that when the Russians will cross the Dardanelles River, it will trigger the start of a series of events before the Messiah comes.

18TH CENTURY PROPHECY: RUSSIA SAILING THROUGH GALLIPOLI

In an article of ADAM ELIYAHU BERKOWITZ he mentions that the Vilna Gaon, singled out Russian aggression as a precursor to the Messiah. Rabbi Moshe Shternbuch, a great-grandson of the Vilna Gaon, shared the full prophecy publicly for the first time during the holiday of Purim in 2014 – after being held as “a closely guarded secret” for over 200 years.

The text of prophecy was reported by Rabbi Lazer Brody, an American-born Hasidic rabbi from Ashdod. “When you hear that the Russians have captured the city of Crimea, you should know that the times of the Messiah have started, that his steps are being heard,” the Vilna Gaon told his followers just before his death in 1797.

“And when you hear that the Russians have reached the city of Constantinople (today’s Istanbul), you should put on your Shabbat clothes and don’t take them off, because it means that the Messiah is about to come any minute.”

The Vilna Gaon’s student, Rav Chaim of Volozhin, added, “When the ships of the kingdom of Russia cross the Dardanelles you should dress in Shabbat clothes because this means the arrival of the Moshiach is close.”

The Prophet Ezekiel hinted at Russia as being a leader in the Gog and Magog War, even though Russia did not exist in Biblical times.

O mortal, turn your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. Prophesy against him. Ezekiel 38:2

In this verse, the Hebrew word for ‘chief’ is רֹאשׁ (Rosh), which clearly hints at ‘Russia.’

“Purim is a time when secrets are revealed,” The holiday of Purim will take place this year on March 16.

Rabbi Elya Ber recently told one of his students, “I’ve been waiting for this moment for 70 years.”

In August of last year Rabbi Matityahu Glazerson, a renowned expert in Torah codes, – who uses special software to find hidden clues in equidistant letters in the Torah in order to reveal hints that help understand current events – found an allusion that Gog will start a war in this year.   Rabbi Glazerson discovered this graph contained within the first few lines of one chapter of Genesis. Chapter ten of Genesis lists the 70 sons of Shem Ham and Japeth who were born after the flood of Noah. The subject of the graph was detailed in the second line of the chapter:

The descendants of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Media, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. Genesis 10:2

So what to do to Survive World War III?

Teshuva (Repentance) Prayer to Hash-m / G-d, Mitzvot, Learning Torah, Teaching Torah, Aligning Oneself with Torah through attitudes and deeds and acts of loving Kindness. Gentiles – should learn and observe the 7 Noahide laws from the Torah. See also Choose Life – Surviving World War III – the War of Gog u Magog.

Mental Healing – through Judaism

I spy. Intentionally? Sometimes. People speak. Distraction draws my attention.

The House of Study

I came to the Beit Midrash / Jewish house of study. A beit midrash is not like a library. In a library – you are asked to speak quietly. A Torah Beit Midrash – you are asked to participate, give your opinions, thoughts, logic, sweat and blood to get to the truth. People speak aloud. The cacophony of voices allows you to concentrate on what your study partner is saying.

There is only Hash-m

If it is a small Beit Midrash – you may be able to dsicern a conversation on the other side of the room. I was listening to a Rabbi speaking to a group of young eager students. He happened to be talking about kidney stones. He said he knew people that were able to pass kidney stones by concentrating on the thought of “Ein Od Milevado” – There is no one but Hash-m / G-d.

Self-Healing

If you think of it Hash-m made the body in a way that it heals itself. A cut develops a scab. then the skin returns to normal. Impressive. A person gets a cold – after some rest the body is healed.

Hash-m the Ultimate Healer

Hash-m is the ultimate healer. We say it daily in the Amida – standing prayer – the 18 Benedictions – “Blessed are you Hash-m who heals the ill.” If one has enough faith and prays to Hash-m he can be healed. Obviously – one should also see a doctor and follow their recommendations – provided they make sense. But scientific studies have shown statistically that when people pray for ill people – they are more likely to be healed.

It is more prudent to pray for good health than praying for healing. One needs more merit to be healed than to be maintained with good heath.

Believe & Achieve

Ein Od Milevado – means that everything is Hash-m’s hands. He is the one running the world. The more you believe – the more you open your heart to pray and have faith and love for him and do teshuva (repent) – the greater you open the gates of heaven.

Spiritual / Body Connection

The Torah has 613 commandments – 248 action commandments and 365 prohibitions. The 248 commandments are connected with parts of the body. The 365 prohibitions are connected with the days of the year – meaning we avoid them every day of the year. If one knows the mitzvah that corresponds to the part of the body – he or she can achieve healing – if he does that mitzvah properly. I tried to research the subject – to find the corresponding mitzvot – but was not able to find all of them.

Torah Therapy

I did hear a story of a person having shoulder pain – how they healed their pain through doing a mitzvah. There is a concept called Torah Therapy.

Apparently Music can also help to heal the psychological state of a person – by uplifting the soul to a higher level.

The Victory of Hannukah – Building Yourself with Light

King Antiochus was notorious for conquering countries with a strong hand. When conquering Israel – his objective was not just physical subjugation – but mental subjugation. His war  wasn’t just a war against nations – but a war against spirituality. Spirituality is basically connecting with the Creator of the Universe – Hash-m.

He outlawed Circumcision, Rosh Hodesh / the New Month, and Shabbat. The Jews fought back and after a war lasting almost 25 years – Hash-m gave victory in their hands – they won the war. The major miracle was the Jews’ victory over the superpower of that time – Greece.

We know that in the end – when the Jews come to purify the Holy Temple / Beit HaMikdash -they find one jug of oil with the seal of the Cohen Gadol / Chief. This oil, that is supposed to last one day, lasts eight days.

G-d Loves the Sincere Efforts of the Common Man

The Rambam says that if the Mizbeach / Altar is broken – one is not required to light the Menorah. The Greeks broke the altar  So why did they want to light it? There was no Mitzvah / commandment to light the Menorah. It was just a commemoration – to remember the Mitzvah. So why did G-d make a miracle if they weren’t even doing a Mitzvah? Apparently, G-d appreciates even the small, sincere efforts that a person makes to establish a connection with him.

My friend told me a story of a woman who ordered a “Kosher” Hot Dog for her son in Manhattan on Passover. On Passover we are forbidden to eat bread. She was very adamant that the vendor not put the Hot Dog on the bun. “Don’t Touch the Bread with the Hot Dog!” I am sure that Hash-m had satisfaction from that woman’s sincere effort to avoid allowing her son to eat Hametz – leavened products on Passover.

Build What Others Want to Break

I was listening to Rabbi Shaked Bouhdana. He mentioned an interesting point. Antiochus outlawed Circumcision, Rosh Hodesh / the New Month, and Shabbat. The Jews fought hard to have the freedom to do these Mitzvot and others. It turns out that Hanukah Lasts 8 days – the same amount of time a child born waits to be circumcised. Since Hanukah lasts Eight days – it is sure that at least one Shabbat will fall during Hanukkah. There is always a New Month that falls on Hanukkah. When we fought for a Mitzvah that others wanted to outlaw – we won by having a greater level of sanctification for these three Mitzvot.

If we use our forces for the positive growth spiritually we gain in a greater way than what we originally had.

Building Your Personality

Some people are fragile. Send one word out of place – and here comes the fire. Someone asked me how to deal with difficult people. I said – we shouldn’t look at people who upset us as our enemies. Ultimately – our deeds that we sent out are boomeranging back to us.

The Boomerang Principal – Midah Keneged Midah / Measure for Measure

If we got angry at a spouse – this anger will find it’s way back. So the smart thing to do is to recognize this principal and when someone lashes out at us – realize that that might be the fruit of our previous misdeed. So if we lash back at them – it is akin to a (pardon the comparison) dog biting a stick that was thrown at him. We bite at the stick – the person who lashed at us – but we forget that we were the one who initially threw the stick.

Fight fire with water – not fire. Calm the situation. Don’t fuel the fire.

 

Elifaz is Saved by Yeshiva – The Influence of a Place of Torah

Esav / Esau – in this week’s parasha / weekly Torah reading – VaYetze – instructs his son Elifaz to kill Esav’s Brother Yaakov / Jacob. Elifaz encounter’s Yaakov and tells his uncle that his father instructed him to kill Him. Elifaz is concerned about following his father’s orders as he thinks that Honoring one’s parents – supersedes killing Yaakov.

Yaakov tells him – there is a way to accomplish both – killing Yaakov and Honoring parents. Yaakov tells him “Take all my money. A poor person is considered as if he is dead.” Elifaz learned that in the Yeshiva – either with Yaakov or Yitzhak / Issac his grandfather.

Several lessons :

Help People to Do Good

If you can help a person do a Torah Mitzvah – help him or her.

The Power of a Yeshiva / Torah Study Hall and Torah Study

The Steipeler Gaon, Zt”l – Rabbi Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky learns from this The influence of sitting in a Yeshiva has great power. Elifaz – who was ready to kill his uncle did not do so – because he learned in a Yeshiva.

Just in sitting in the Yeshiva has an influence – learning Torah there has even more of a positive influence. If a person is tempted by his or her evil inclination – bring the evil inclination to a Torah study hall. Hash-m says “I created the Yetzer HaRa – I created Torah as an elixir.”  It also says in Talmud Kiddushin (30b) :

A Sage from the school of Rabbi Yishmael taught: My son, if this wretched one, the evil inclination, encounters you, pull it into the study hall, i.e., go and study Torah. If it is a stone it will melt, and if it is iron it will break, as it is stated with regard to the Torah: “Is not My word like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29). Just as a stone shatters a hammer, so too one can overcome his evil inclination, which is as strong as iron, through Torah study. With regard to the second part of the statement: If it is a stone it will melt, this is as it is stated with regard to the Torah: “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come for water” (Isaiah 55:1), and it states: “The water wears the stones” (Job 14:19), indicating that water is stronger than stone.

Seeing the Glass Full in Life – a Torah Concept

Everything is in the Torah

In Pirkei Avot (5:22) – one of the Tractates of the Talmud – it says:

Ben Bag Bag says: Delve in it [the Torah] & delve in it & learn it for everything is in it…

When G-d gave us the Torah – he gave two Torahs – the Written Law – the Five Books of Moses & the Oral Law – Now known as the Talmud – that explains the written Torah.

I was discussing last week’s parasha – Noach – on 7 couples of clean animals & 2 unclean animals that were to enter Noah’s ark. What are clean animals? What is an unclean animal?

Later in the Torah – the Torah says – the clean animals are the Kosher animals – those that chew their cud & have split hooves – like the cow, sheep, and goat. The unclean animals are the ones that are non-Kosher. The From here we learn that Noah knew the Torah before it was given – for he knew how to distinguish between Kosher and non-Kosher animals. The Talmud further explains – what is Kosher.

In the Talmud – Ben Zoma says (Pirkei Avot 4:1)

…Who is the rich person? The one who is content with his lot as it says: “When you eat the effort of handiwork – happy are you & it is good for you” (Tehillim / Psalms 128:2) “happy” — in this world; that “and it will be good for you” – in the next world…

It is not what you have. It is how you see what you have. One can have all the luxuries & want more & be dissatisfied. One can have happy with the little he or she has.

When we internalize that all is a gift from Hash-m / G-d, we live a life of appreciation. We turn our dissatisfaction to satisfaction.

It depends only upon how we look at things. Choose Happiness!

The Best $250 I Ever Lost – Finding the Right Jewish School for Your Child

I remember “Back to School” days. I was so excited. I had fresh new notebooks, new pens and pencils in a tidy pencil case. Everything was spiffy and new. I had new clothes for the new school year. I was eager to meet my new classmates and talk with my old friends.

It was a time of innocence.

The Jew Who Started Formal Education

By the way – the person who started schooling for the general population was a Jewish sage – Joshua ben Gamla – who lived about 1900 years ago. He – the Talmud (Tractate Bava Bathra 21a) states – instituted formal Jewish education and primary schooling. Prior to this, parents taught their children informally. He instituted schools in every town and made education compulsory from the age of 6 or 7.

Consulting G-d About Your Child

Three partners are responsible for the creation of man – the father, the mother and Hashem. The man and woman provide the physical parts – and G-d provides the soul. Thus I mention that before deciding on the welfare of one’s child – they should consult all partners – meaning the Mother, the Father and Hash-m. So when a person wants to send their child to a school – they should also consult the Torah opinion – which represents the view of Hash-m – by asking a competent Orthodox Rabbi.

Difference Between Torah Day Schools and Secular School

Today’s Torah Day Schools teach Kodesh / the Holy – Torah Subjects – and Hol / the Profane – like Math, English, History, Science and the like.

Secular schools do not teach ethics, proper behavior or religion. In secular schools it may even be prohibited. Torah schools – teach Torah topics – which teaches the children to respect parents, do kindness, respect the environment, respect authority and more.

Secular schools offer free tuition. One pays tuition for children enrolled in Torah Day schools. Many offer scholarships. Even if one cannot afford the tuition – they work with parents.

Is Free Really Free?

Free is not free. The money Jewish parents save in sending children to a secular school – is lost by the lack of respect, involvement with drugs and immorality children learn in the secular schools. The secular studies in Torah day schools is of high quality – reaching or exceeding the levels of the secular schools.

Jewish Continuity and Torah Schooling

Those who enroll in a Torah day school are much more likely to adhere to the continuity of the Jewish people – by eventually marrying within the faith. A statistic from a National Jewish Population Study found that Over 95% of those that attend Torah Day schools for 12 years marry within the Jewish faith – as opposed to 30% of people who marry within the Jewish faith of Jews that never had a Jewish education.

Reward for Parents and Kids

Every word of Torah learned gives tremendous reward to the learner – so parents and kids benefit in two ways – the children become better individuals & they get rewarded for learning Torah. The parents get part of the reward because they chose to put their child in an Orthodox Torah Day school.

Better Children

Torah day schools teach – mussar – how to be a better person – but also kids learn Yearat Shamayim – fear of Heaven or of Hash-m. I heard a child develops their awe of G-d before the age of three – so it is well worthwhile to put a child in a Torah day school from a young age.

Neutrality or Partiality of Secular Schools

I heard from school faculty – that Public Schools Today are not as “Parve” / neutral as one would think. A lot of secular schools impose societies “mores & morals” on children. Many which go against Torah ideals. So today it not a neutral thing to place a child in a secular school – the schools try to indoctrinate the children with society’s values.

G-d is with You – the Importance of Yireat Shamayim – Fear of Heaven

Some will ask why is fear of Hash-m important? A person is most of the time on their own. They act the way they feel. Nothing is really stopping them from doing, saying or thinking things that are harmful to others or themselves. When one fears Hash-m – they act with more restraint – for they know G-d is always with them watching them. But it also teaches a child that they are never alone – One of their parents – Hash-m is always with them.

The Choice between Two Jewish Schools

About 20 years ago – we were trying to select a school. We had a choice between – a Traditional Torah day school and a more Modern “Jewish” Nursery School. After weighing the Pros and Cons – we decided to enroll in the Modern “Jewish” Nursery School. We paid $250 for registration fees.  We went to the orientation session. Sitting in the little children seats – the teacher was proudly explaining what they were going to teach the innocent children.

As part of the demonstration – she proudly pointed to a large Television. She said “and every day we show the kids cartoons of popular cartoon characters.” A red flag went up in my and my spouse’s mind. “What? You want children to learn Torah values – from Mickey Mouse?! What kind of Jewish education is that? Is a misrepresentation to call yourself a Jewish school and teach the children street values.”

After the orientation – we politely exited and registered in a Traditional Torah Day School – not far from our home – that was under the auspices of a well-known and respected Orthodox rabbi. We lost the $250 registration fee from the other school. If I remember correctly – the Traditional Torah Day School – waived the registration fee. We were very satisfied with the education and the Yireat Shamayim they learned there.

The Torah day school staff was kind in letting us register at such a late date. Usually – registering for a Torah day school takes place about 8-10 months before school starts. We registered last minute.

That’s the best $250 I ever lost.