12/14/09

Morainu VeRabaynu HaRebbe Reb Itch'le Kadoozy



It that time of the year again fellas...get on line at the permit office, order your exploding dreidels, and get into a sufganiyah eating contest...the annual watching of the Itche Kadoozy Chanukah Series.

We need to start boycotting Chabad to get them back...maybe even start a RRRR version? Episode 1 may need to involve a rubber chicken...

4th Anniversary of the Victory Niggun

11/16/09

Chushim Ben Dan "The Bear Jew"

They say that if you put a frog into a beaker of boiling hot water it will jump right out but if you place it in a Luke warm one and gradually raise the temperature it will boil to death. Ah the ability to adapt! We Jews have always had this koach to cope with the temperature as it begins to rise. Upon hearing esav's objection to them laying their father to rest in his ancestral burial plot, the tribes gradually got used to the idea of their father yackov's body laying out in the open sun to rot. Enter the bear Jew, chushim ben dan and he won't have it. He is deaf perhaps his battery died or he just didn't want to hear it, wasn't ready to get used to the idea of being a victim and he changed the course of history with one swing of the bat! Any tough Jew who has walked the streets of the world has him to thank. Chushim said yes as Jews we have this strength to be able to endure and adapt to any situation but were not gonna take it anymore! And when a Jew anywhere finds himself adapting to the culture around him, philosophizing away his birthright, or selling out, he must call on the bear Jew within him to awaken, cast off the shackles and slug out the demons inside who urge complacency. A Gutten Chodesh

10/30/09

Reb Shlomo Yahrzeit with Rebbe!





MONDAY NIGHT

RUBIN SHUL

8PM till the Morning Comes...

BYOK (Bring your own Musical Kelim)


10/22/09

Naamah Chana Weiss!


Mazal Tov to the Minister of Agriculture and his pioneering family on the birth of the newest Daughter of the Revolution!!!

May Naamah grow proud and strong, and learn to wield the Sword of the Revolution!

"If we can't get them out, we'll breed them out..."

10/14/09

Rebbe on Hoshana Raba



As a field commander placed deep behind enemy lines I have grown weary. How I long to return to HQ sip some warm porridge and allow my frost bitten toes to thaw. I have entrenched myself and placed fortifications around me placed land mines that have been the poor fortune of wandering elk and often feel as if I require immediate extraction. But to where can I return? The young bucks have filled the ranks and my ax has Dulled. I can no longer contend with the fresh legs and feeble minds of the revolution. And so I hunker down for the impending spiritual frost that is sure to engulf me. To whom can I turn for solice? The candle of darkness has shown brighter then ever before and I fear that my wounds will be gangrenous by winters end. But wait.... I hear my comrades voices from their foxholes! Can it be that another poor soul with whom I shared a niggun and a banana with has found themselves a similar destination? ...............
ed. note this post was not drug induced

10/9/09

Early RR Release Found in Japanese Used Record Shop

A rare look at one of our early, early LP's. This album can only be found in obscure, dusty, Tokyo back-alleys, where apparently, the Ruach Revival Band was once an international sensation, even breaking into the Tokyo Top Ten with the accordian-heavy hit, Rebbe's Everywhere, off the "Rolls Along" album, pictured below.

10/1/09

Victory at EnRebbe


Apparently Rebbe used a certain tune while leading Neilah in the Beis Midrash. Er...

9/17/09

Near Michael an Arab was sleeping… He leaned forward to contemplate the sleeper: so comfortable, so peaceful, nodding. Michael’s thoughts spoke to him: you are happy, servant of Allah. You’re probably illiterate; you’ve never heard of nuclear fission or Heinrich von Kleist. The problem of the immortality of the soul leaves you indifferent; knowing whether Hegel was profoundly religious or profoundly atheistic dos not trouble your mind. You’re happy. Allah is great, and if what he accomplishes is not, that’s his affair and not yours. You just sleep. One day is like another, one dream is like another, men repeat the same stories always, the rivers flow to the sea: why torture yourself? Why covet what your life lacks? Why run off to distant places if Allah is great everywhere, in sleep as in happiness, in joy as in forgetfulness? Right, you are right, sleep. Peace be with you, faithful servant of Allah. Tomorrow you will welcome a new day no different from yesterday. You’ll marvel at the timeless bravura of the snake charmer, you’ll come back to smoke your hookah, you’ll stare into empty space, and night will find you here again: nothing will have changed. Happy those who close their eyes: for them nothing changes.

Elie Wiesel, The Town Beyond the Wall, 104

8/14/09

Gathering.

Tuesday night. 8:30. My cave, er house.
Teaneck. Get there. 5 minute walk from Sherut.
It's not the same address. Email me.

8/5/09

“In Shir HaShirim, we find: “My Beloved is knocking.” God knocks on one’s door: one must get up and open the door. And the person thinks to himself: Now, when I’m lying in a warm bed, I have to get up? I have taken off my coat; how can I put it back on? I have washed my feet; how can I get them dirty?

A person has a choice in this situation: sometimes he gets up, sometimes not. But the next verse relates: “My beloved put his hand on the latch” – God has reached out His hand; He is coming into view! My heart thrills for Him” and immediately, “I rose up.” The individual gets up by himself; he jumps out of bed without worrying whether he washed his feet or took off his coat. There are times when a person knows that He exists, and he will make his own calculations, with arguments one way or the other. But at the moment of firsthand experience, the revelation of this One, all his personal considerations evaporate. He jumps out of bed and runs to serve God, with no patience for any inner debates.

Rav Adin Steinsaltz, Learning from the Tanya, 69

8/4/09

Are there some questions you feared asking as a youth?

Our recent trip to Sesame Place reminded me of some of the questions I was always afraid to ask the rabbeim of my youth and never found the proper setting to ask Rebbe. Some help from the chevrah please. "Ein habayshon Lamed" so if you have some questions of your own now is the time.

1) Can Elmo be Mitztaref to A minyan?
2) Is Oscar the grouch A misnagid?

7/23/09

Today I will begin to put the dread of you and the fear of you upon the nations that are under the entire heaven, who will hear reports of you and shake and be in trepidation because of you.(Devarim 2:25)

May we be zoche, this week!

No Patience


The most obvious difference between the two traditions [of the Jewish and American peoples] is that of national origins. The beginnings of Judaism are as old as history itself, whereas the sum total of American history reaches 190 odd years, a total which in Jewish history amountsto only a page and which to the Jewish consciousness is absurdly small. While it is true that America’s roots antedate 1776 and can be found in Greece and Rome, it is equally true that in conduct, thought and character, America is distinctive and unique. For despite the variegated roots of American civilization, a homogeneous national character has emerged which is peculiarly a product of the New World. And the beginnings of this national character are quite recent….

This contrasting length of the two histories accounts in part for their disparate time-view. A civilization whose past is measurable has a more restricted view of time than one whose traditions reach into pre-history. For Judaism, the future follows the way of the past, distant and infinite. In America, too, future is like past: brief, measurable and immediate. Thus we find America operating on a short, hurried time scale. It is more concerned with the here and now than the hereafter, both in the practical and the teleological sense. There is no patience for eternity. By contrast, the Jewish time scale is long and far reaching. The Jew has time. This has been celebrated in our folk lore, our humor, and even in the classic Tiddish aphorism, A Yid hat zeit. He is patient, as one who ahs come from the dawn of history and now waits for the Messiah must be patient. The objects of his authentic ambition are sacred rather than secular, and he does not think only in terms of the immediately attainable. Time is not a commodity which must be used. God himself is mekadesh Yisrael ve’ha-zemanim – He who sanctifies Israel and the seasons. Time is holy. Speed in understanding all things, rapidity of movement for its own sake, short courses in learning and scholarship – these are foreign to the Jewish tradition.

The Jew has time, and his Book is constantly expanded: Bible to Talmud to commentaries to super-commentaries ad infinitum. The American book is quickened, shortened: novels to pocket editions to abridgements to condensations. Characteristically, the Jew has carried his Book on his shoulders: Ol Torah , the yoke of the Torah. The American carries his book in his hip pocket.

Rabbi Emanuel Feldman, The American and the Jew: Equation or Encounter? (Tradition, Fall 1960)

7/22/09

The Spread

A group of hikers on their way to rock climbing sing the rebbe's niggun! The revolution is spreading! May it continue until we scale all walls!!! video

7/17/09

Not so easy to be a Working Jew...

It is told of the Vilna Gaon that he was very fond of the Maggid of Dubno and would invite him to visit from time to time.

On one occasion, he told him: "you give mussar everywhere you go; why don’t you give me mussar as well?" The Maggid became instantly ill at ease. How could he rebuke someone as revered as the Gaon? But the Gaon was insistent.

Finally, the Maggid spoke: “Rabbi, you sit at home with the shutters so tightly closed that not even sunlight can enter. Is it any wonder, then, that you are a tzaddik. Perhaps if you wandered around the marketplace all day you wouldn’t be so righteous. "

And the Gaon took his words to heart.

Geshmak

One Litvak asked one of the early rebbes, "You Chassidim and we misnagdim both learn Torah. We're makpid in halacha and you're makpid in halacha. So, sof kol sof, at the end of the day, what did chassidus really add?" The rebbe answered him that everything he said is true, but that there's one difference; after Chassidus, when one does an aveira, it just isn't as geshmak as it used to be."

7/6/09

Shira Chana Kohl!

Hodu Lahashem Kitov! Praise Hashem that I am alive and able to serve my Rebbe and my Revolution!

My Tatte looks like a smurf! Watch out it's Gargamel and his evil cat Azriel! Tatte, Were the Smurfs communists?
A new gate in heaven was opened with my birth, and the light was so intense that it engulfed my Tatte's head. Little midwestern boys of the revolution should take note if they ever try and steal my Rebbe action figure with daled minim included. (yes girls of the revolution play with Rebbe action figures too.)




Mazel Tov to the Field Commander!




Daughters of the Revolution - welcome a new sister to the fold!

6/24/09

Looking at this picture from a recent Sunday afternoon in DC, I began to lament the loss of innocence. I'm not sure exactly when it happens but I'm sure there must be a study out. Perhaps at Bar Mitzah when our evil urge kicks in , although nowadays it surely happens sooner. Ahh! the hevel shein bo cheit! When did we become twisted, crooked as question marks.
Paul Simon's bookends
Time it was oh what a time it was
It was a time of innocence a time of confidences
long ago it must have been I have a photograph
preserve your memories they're all that's left of you

In the words of enigma who sang about the return to innocence as I was losing mine, Let us all merit to the ultimate return.
Vheshiv Lev avos al banim vlev banim al avosom

6/23/09

What table are you at?




Jews,

I would like to personally invite the oi-lam to crash the upcoming Reichman-Bronstein affair with me. I think we should have an awkward meeting by the coat room where we can catch up with "stuff" and I can show you pictures of Rebbe's student-einekel

Love,
Apartment 302
For this reason, and for this reason only, a Jew is a holy being: not because the Jew is more clever, more compassionate, or more successful, but because he has the capacity to negate himself before God. The Baal HaTanya defines a Jew as one who, at a “moment of truth,” will be prepared to sacrifice his life rather than disrupt, even for a moment, his bond with God. A Jew is one in whom union with God and self abnegation to Him are implanted in his soul; should anyone ever attempt to separate him from God, this latent bond will be invoked in all its intensity, to the point of self sacrifice. From this potential for utter self abnegation, implicit even in the most wicked and sinful Jew, the holiness of the Jew derives.

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, Opening the Tanya, 164

6/22/09

Whiny Jews


A few weeks ago, this piece of self hating drivel was published in the NJ Jewish Standard. Poppa Ben-Canaan sent a response, published in last week's edition of the paper:

In response to the June 12 opinion piece “Tough love for Israel would pain pro-Israel peace camp,” Dan Fleshler claims to be in the camp that wants Obama to have the political wiggle room to take a fair, even-handed approach to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians so that he won’t have to ‘get tough’ with Israel. Putting aside what Mr. Fleshler and I believe to be the right approach regarding the Jewish communities of Yehuda and Shomron, which by the way would be complete opposites of each other, how can he believe for even a moment that Israel has any choice but to take a hard stance in the face of a Palestinian population that wishes us dead? Their leaders have never abandoned their ultimate aim of destroying us, have never taken steps to build their own state, have never honored their agreements to cease aggression, and have only adopted ever-more offensive positions when Israel has withdrawn from the territories that have been turned over to them. There is no good faith shown by them and there has never been a serious attempt to implement what has been promised to date. These facts are indisputable. Now he and his J Street chevra, in the face of rising global anti-Semitism and relentless pressure on Israel, have chosen to show their “tough love” to the Jews of the State of Israel.

Here is some tough love back to my Jewish brother Dan Fleshler: He needs to get on the right side of the street and stand with the Jews of Israel. He and his friends are seriously misguided and standing with our enemies by doing what they do at this time in our history. Even his use, in his article, of the term “occupying power” in referring to Israel and “defenseless occupied people” in referencing the Palestinians shows how incredibly misled, biased, and naïve he truly is. And while we’re at it, here is ‘an inconvenient truth’ for him to consider — his notion of “bolstering moderation” in the Middle East is a good one that could be seriously enhanced by putting his misguided efforts into trying to figure out how to disarm the Palestinians who continue to attack Israelis relentlessly. We need to show the world the maximum level of achdut (unity) among the Jewish people in the face of our enemies, not his whiny, liberal, progressive apologies for why it hurts him, a Jew, to have to give Israel his “tough love.”

Howard Ben-Canaan*
Teaneck/Modi’in

Name changed to protect the innocent from snag hate mail

Shov...

Bein Hametzarim Torah, from a brother...

6/10/09

Underground


Ratzo v'Shov.
Beards have been trimmed. Shirts have been tucked.
The RRRR has gone underground.
But we shall emerge.

5/22/09

Yom Yerushalayim Torah

From our Brother and Teacher at Jawbonevalley:

COME CLOSE TO THE WALL: In Honor of Yom Yerushalayim by Rav Judah Mischel
June 1967:
Nasser, Egypt's President, declared his intention to lead the Jihad to destroy Israel and push the Jews into the sea. Militarily, the IDF was outnumbered by a ratio of 20:1, proportionally even a larger enemy than we faced in days of the Hasmonean revolt and the battle of Chanuka. The Chevra Kadisha (burial society) in Jerusalem prepared 10,000 body bags for the expected mass civilian casualties, and contingency plans were made for Jerusalem's parks to be turned into cemeteries. Animals in the city's zoo were put to sleep for fear that they might be set free and create chaos in the streets. The Knesset archives and artifacts in the Israel Museum as well as the Dead Sea Scrolls were secured underground, preserved in shelters.

Rabbonim instructed the Tnuva factory to remain open on Shabbos to make sure that they would produce enough milk to feed the population during war time. Thousands volunteered to fill sandbags; talmidim of the Mirrer Yeshiva were instructed by Rav Chaim Shmulevitz to leave the Beis Medrash to assist in the effort. Israel was in a state of emergency, understanding that the dire situation threatened the very existence of the State.

"Yeshuas Hashem k'heref ayin": What took Yehoshua Bin Nun months to accomplish, took only six days; Israel's size tripled, as the IDF miraculously and heroically recaptured Yehudah, Shomron, the Golan, Aza, the holy cities of Chevron, Beit Lechem and Shchem, and reunified Jerusalem.

In the wake of the awesome victory, the Jewish world was euphoric, sensing clear Divine intervention and incredible Yad Hashem.

In Shir Hashirim, Shlomo Hamelech describes how Hakadosh Baruch Hu will deal with our enemies who dare attack us at a time of favor (2:7-8): “You will become as defenseless as gazelles or rams in the field…behold it came suddenly to redeem me as if leaping over mountains, skipping over hills. In His swiftness to redeem me… I thought I would be forever alone , but behold He was standing behind our wall, observing through the windows, peering through the cracks of the latticework.”

Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, the Kedushas Levi uses these two descriptions of the way Hashem watches over us to explain the different ways we perceive Hashem's presence in our lives. First, there are times when Hakadosh Baruch Hu observes us "through the windows": moments of clarity where we can "see" Hashem openly, as if on the other side of a glass window.

The awesome victory of the Six Day War 42 years ago was one of those times of clarity. Following the war, Southern front Paratroop Commander Rafael ("Raful") Eitan remarked that, "...Apparently someone in Heaven was watching over us... every unintended action they took and every unintended action we took, always turned to our advantage." There was no mistaking that victory was God-sent, that we were witnessing open miracles.

There are however, other times, where it is more difficult to sense the Ribbono Shel Olam. Nonetheless, explains the Kedushas Levi, it is upon us to remember that Hashem also “watches us through the cracks of the latticework”: we can not "see" beyond the wall, but are assured that Hashem is always there. In those times of hiddenness, when Hashem is "peering through the latticework" we remain under the constant watchful "eye"- we can't "see" Him; but Hakadosh Baruch Hu is always watching us.

It is easy to see someone though a window; one can even gaze from afar. But in order to see a person watching you through a "crack in the latticework", one must come up very close to the wall and look carefully into the crack. Only then, when we peer deeply into that space, can we see that there was someone on the other side of the wall, watching us the entire time...

Yom Yerushalayim is a day of celebration and thanks where we reflect on the miraculous salvation and open Hand of God. We are also able to strengthen our awareness of Hashem's presence in our lives, so that in times when we face difficulties- personally or on a National scale - we will remember and encouraged that we are under the constant Hashgachas Hashem. As the complicated and sometimes painful process of Redemption continues to unfold in stages, we must draw strength from the knowledge that Hashem is always with us, watching over us and directing the course of our lives, even within the confusion and concealment.

The Six Day War is not a distant historical event for us to 'remember' or 'commemorate'; it is a defining moment in each of our personal lives, where a major step toward the ultimate restoration of the heart and soul of our land and Nation took place.

On Yom Yerushalayim, when I stand at the Holy Wall after a long day of celebration, I rest my head in its cracks, and am able to see clearly that Hakadosh Baruch Hu is right there, "peering through the latticework." I feel blessed to have been born into the final generation of exile and the first generation of Redemption, and pray, that with Hashem's ever-present Hashgacha, we will merit the next stage of Mashiach, with the complete rebuilding of Yerushalayim speedily in our days.

5/11/09

Har'eini Na et Ruchaniyuti...

Finding one’s individual portion in Torah Despite the fact that the Torah speaks to each of us individually, addressing our every experience, every event to befall us, our every metamorphosis of being, not everyone is privileged to understand the Torah on such a personal level. Not everyone merits to recognize the way in which Torah speaks to his individual mind, heart and personality.

A person needs to recognize what belongs to him, which aspects of Torah are relevant to his life, which part he is to implement at any given moment. But not everyone knows this. Some individuals (even great ones) were said to have been told to concern themselves only with a aparticular aspect of the Torah and no other. It is told that following the death of Rabbi Moses Cordovero, Rabbi Joseph Karo went to learn Kabbalah from Rabbi Isaac Luria (the Holy Ari) and kept falling asleep when the Ari was speaking, until the latter told him that this was not his portion in the Torah, that the holy Ari’s kabbalah was not for him. The Ari is also said to have told Rabbi Moses Alshech that he should not involve himself in Kabbalah but in homiletic discourse, as this was his portion in the Torah, and Rabbi Alshech indeed wrote his book Torat Moshe in this genre of Torah learning.

Some explain the prayer, “grant us our portion in Torah,” as a request not only to be granted a portion in Torah but also to be granted the knowledge of which portion is ours. Every Jew can and must study Torah, but if he concerns himself with aspects of Torah that are not truly his, then, although he has certainly fulfilled the commandment to study Torah, he fails to realize the ultimate potential of his soul in regard to Torah study.

Rav Steinsaltz, Opening the Tanya, 28

Racing for Rebbe

Laag BeOmer Celebration


Join Rebbe on the Banks of the Deleware where he will lead us to simcha, ahavas yisroel, and achdus.

Rebbe Simchah!




Rebbe invites everyone to celebrate the engagement of his daughter Batya to Yosef Bronstein.




This Thursday night, 6 - 10pm at the Rubin Shul.



Mazel Tov!

5/8/09

Pesach Sheni Chizuk

Pesach Sheni is for people who are tamei or far away from the Beis Hamikdash, so that they get a second chance. But what about a person who spends all afternoon, and leaves without a kosher korban, because everyone has come out treif... it is to that heartbroken jew, who the Kohen whispers in his ear, brother, I'll see you next month.
A person believes that if "I've been trying to serve Hashem, but it doesn't work, that Hashem doesn't want me," to a Jew like this Pesach Sheni tells them that Hashem does want you, He just wants you next month, and want you to learn that living through that feeling is also serving Him.
“The time to eat is in one’s youth; the time to sleep is in the grave; for sadness and depression there is not time at all. You may call it depression, but I call it escape from obligation and a rejection of the yoke of heaven."

The Kotzker

5/6/09

"The trouble with all rational demonstrations of the existence of God, with which the history of philosophy abounds, consists in their being exactly what they were meant to be by those who formulated them: abstract logical demonstrations divorced from the living primal experiences in which these demonstrations are rooted…

Does the loving bride in the embrace of her beloved ask for proof that he is alive and real? Must the prayerful soul clinging in passionate love and ecstasy to her Beloved demonstrate that He exists?"

Rav Soloveitchik, Lonely Man of Faith

4/29/09

Mad Russian, Where art thou?


Has anyone heard from or seen Abe?

Does anyone think he looks a bit like Ricky Hatton?

Does anyone want to watch the fight with me this Motsaei Shabbos?

4/28/09

Orthopraxy, Yom Tov Sheni Style

While spending the last days of Pesach at a hotel by the Dead Sea, I had a very interesting experience:

The hotel was packed, mostly with Israeli Jews. Consequently, the number of people keeping the second day of Yom Tov was quite small, considering many American Jews at the hotel were only keeping one day.

On leil Shmini shel Pesach, the diaspora Jews keeping the 8th day gathered with the hotel manager to discuss what time shacharis would be the following day. A number of heimishe Jews - full of righteous frumkeit, hats and the whole shibang - expressed a very strong desire to daven at a later hour - no earlier than 8:30! - but also wanted to be able to make it to the hotel's breakfast after davening, for kiddush.

The problem was, breakfast at the hotel was scheduled to officially end at 10am (since, for most guests, it was a regular weekday). When the manager told these guests that they would have to daven early if they wanted to make it to breakfast (or eat before davening), things got ugly. Some of the heimishe guests threatened to never return to the hotel. Others expressed horror at the thought of eating before davening. The hotel manager's conciliatory offer of a table of cake and coffee was summarily rejected. These Jews demanded a serious, kosher l'pesach hotel breakfast - nothing less!

In the end, we davened at 8:15am, and finished all of yom tov davening in under an hour and a half (!!!), so these yidden had no problem making it to breakfast. Baruch Hashem, everyone got their hot, chocolate covered macaroons.

And then something funny happened. At about 11am that morning, I saw this very same crew of Jews heading straight for the coed pool, in bathing suits.

4/6/09

Banana Republic, take 2


It seems Gilad Erdan, Israel's Environmental Protection Minister, has been reading the RRRR blog. I met this Jew when he came to Teaneck for Shabbos last winter - he certainly seemed to have his heart in the right place.

"Israel does not take orders from [US President Barack] Obama," Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) said on Monday, responding to an earlier statement by the US president in which he reaffirmed his administration's commitment to all previous understandings between Israel and the Palestinians, including the process launched at Annapolis in 2007.

Erdan, who is also in charge of coordinating between the Knesset and the cabinet, also praised Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who only last week said that Israel was not bound by the Annapolis talks.

"Let me be clear," Obama had said, "the United States strongly supports the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. That is a goal shared by Palestinians, Israelis, and people of good will around the world. That is a goal that the parties agreed to in the road map and at Annapolis. And that is a goal that I will actively pursue as president."

"In voting for [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu the citizens of Israel have decided that they will not become the US's fifty first state," said Erdan, who was representing the coalition in a Knesset deliberation of Lieberman's controversial statements. He added, however, that "Obama is a friend of Israel and the United States is an important ally and everything between us will be the result of communication."

4/1/09

The Struggle of Our Generation

“…[A]lmost anyone who is seriously involved in any church will recognize that churchgoing is not synonymous with personal spirituality… Having participated throughout my life in organized church and community service groups, I have found that attending church does not necessarily mean living the principles taught in those meetings. You can be active in church but inactive in its gospel.

In the church-centered life, image or appearance can become a person’s dominant consideration, leading to hypocrisy that undermines personal security and intrinsic worth.

Nor can the church give a person a constant sense of guidance. Church-centered people often tend to live in compartments, acting and thinking and feeling in certain ways on the Sabbath and in totally different ways on weekdays…"

From Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

3/30/09

Montefiore Windmill

From the Diaries of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore:

The Montefiore's pilgrimage trip to Eretz Israel, 1827:

[When they arrived in Jerusalem, Mr. and Mrs. Montefiore] repaired to the home of Mr. Joseph Amzalak [a Portuguese Jew], while the [non-Jewish] men who accompanied them took up their quarters in the Greek convent.

The Montefiores subsequently went to see the Western Wall. During their absence, the Governor sent to say that he expected Mr. Montefiore to come and take coffee, and that he regretted that Mr. Montefiore should have gone to [stay with] the Jews: if he did not like going to the convent, he would have given him a house in the city.

Mr. Montefiore, on hearing the message, said "I hope I shall ever live and die in the society of my brethren of Israel!"

3/25/09

Heartland Proud!



While other members of the RRRR have been making the news recently, this one takes the cake.
Here's to the Minister of Agriculture - spiritual healer!

Roadtrip to Omaha, anyone?

3/24/09

Ayeh

I've always wondered what we mean when we say the words "Ayeh Makom Kevodo" - "Where is the place of His glory?" in Kedusha on Shabbos.

According to Rebbe Nachman, "Kevodo Malei Olam" and "Ayeh makom kevodo" are two ways of perceiving God's presence:

"Ayeh makom kevodo - Where is the place of His Glory?" indicates God’s utter transcendence; "M’lo kol ha’aretz kevodo - The entire earth is full of His Glory," indicates God’s immanence.

This is certainly true. But I thought of another possibility as well. R David Fohrman explains the difference between "Eiphoh" and "Ayeh". Both words mean "where". But as we know, the Torah would not have two words with same exact meaning; what is the subtle difference between the two words?

"Eiphoh" is used when you want to know, literally, where something is. "Eiphoh haSherutim?" - where is the bathroom?

But "Ayeh" is not about where something is, literally. Its used for rhetorical purposes - when the questioner is posing a challenge. For example, when a father asks his 4 year old son, who has cookie crumbs all over his mouth - "Where did the cookies go!?" - the father know exactly where the cookies are. He is challenging his child; the cookies should still be here!

When God asked Kayin, after he had murdered Hevel, "אֵי הֶבֶל אָחִיךָ" - where is Hevel your brother? - God is challenging Kayin. God knows exactly where Hevel is! God is challenging Kayin; why is Hevel not here!

This is how we can understand "Ayeh Makom Kevodo." We know where God is - God is everywhere, and He is also beyond, just as Rebbe Nachman said. But the angels are asking, and we are asking along with them - where are you, God? Why are you not here yet, in all of your glory?! We need you! Reveal yourself in all your glory!

3/18/09

A Hazy Picture?


The Piacetzner Rebbe, in his Hachsharas Avreichim, quotes Rav Avraham Azulai (grandfather of the Chida) as saying:

When one is learning the Torah of his Rebbe, he should picture, in his mind, the face of his Rebbe, and in that way attach himself to his Rebbe's soul. This is what Rabbi Abba would do when trying to decipher the teachings of his master, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai; envisioning his Rebbe's face enabled him to better understand his Rebbe's teachings.

We of the RRRR, scattered as we are over the 4 corners of the world, can go weeks and months without seeing Rebbe face to face. Rebbe has given us some eitzah on this matter, but the long separations can nevertheless be disheartening. And not only disheartening - time away from Rebbe always seems to lead to some level of unclarity, be it in learning or otherwise.
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So how about this: when times get tough, when Rebbe's life teachings all of a sudden no longer seem to make sense, don't just stare at a picture of Rebbe for inspiration (though this is certainly a level). Because in the end, that picture is simply one Jew's portrayal of Rebbe at one particular moment in time, from his perspective. Instead, recreate a vivid mental image of Rebbe in your own mind. You can picture Rebbe saying over a shem mishmuel while peeling a banana, or you can imagine once again that you are on the beaches of Nahariya with Rebbe, battling the waves of fury. And through this holy exercise, you can reconnect to Rebbe's soul, and to the clarity that comes with such connection.
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The hazy pictures of the mind may not be so hazy after all.

3/16/09

March Madness

Check out Shashgaz, aka Zakein Mamrei, aka me, on the news. Yes, the news.

Pesach Preparation

Click to hear this clip from the Rebbe Reichman Ruach Revival Band featuring Chaim Dovid. Be sure to congratulate Shashgaz on his congo solo.

Minyan Man

Nine men are waiting to pray. They may be the greatest tzaddikim. But being nine they are still short of the required minyan for prayer. They are forbidden to utter a single word of the communal prayers.

All of a sudden some totally insignificant man comes in from the streets. Whoever he may be, he is joined to them. They are ten. Now they can recite the Kedusha.

No sooner than they are finished, this same individual makes his escape and goes back to the streets. But the words of holiness which were uttered before can now never be erased.
(Reb Nosson of Breslov)

3/13/09

Official Hippo of the Revolution?




This baby hippo needs a home fast - or the Nazi enabling Swiss will euthanize it. See here for details.

From my perspective as Defense Minister, I see tremendous possibilities. Imagine storming the beis medrish on the back of a 6,000 pound hippo! The possibilities are endless...

Purim in Merryland






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