Chillul Tefila Bifarhesia, as well as halachicly challenged verbiage and dress, are external manifestations of a critical lack of personal yiras shomayim which has lethal consequences.
Upcoming Munkatcher Yahrzeit Shabbos
This year, Shabbos Parshas Bamidbar, is on Sivan 2, May 15. The second of Sivan is sacred because it is the yahrzeit of Rabbi Chaim Elazar Shapiro, zt”l (1872-1937), revered Munkatcher Rebbe and famed author of the Minchas Elazar. He was the son of Rabbi Zvi Hirsh Shapiro, zt”l (1850-1913), Munkatcher Rebbe and author of Darkei Teshuvah; son of Rabbi Shlomo Shapiro, zt”l (1832-1893), Munkatcher Rebbe and author of Shem Shlomo; son of Rabbi Elazar Shapiro, zt”l (1808-1864), Lanzuter Rebbe and author of Yodea Binah; son of Rabbi Zvi Elimelech Shapiro, zt”l (1783-1840), Dinover Rav and author of Bnei Yesoschor.
Genealogy of the Minchas Elazar
The Minchas Elazar was the son-in-law of Rabbi Shraga Yair Rabinowitz, zt”l (1839-1912), Biala’varzig Rebbe and author of Oren Eidus. The Darkei Teshuvah was the son-in-law of Rabbi Chanina Horowitz, zt”l (d. 1881), Ulinover Rebbe. The Shem Shlomo was the son-in-law of Rabbi Yekusiel Shmelka Erblich, zt”l (1800-1861), Sasover Rebbe and son of Rabbi Moshe Leib Erblich, zt”l (1745-1807), Sasover Rebbe and author of Chidushei RaMal. The Yodea Binah was the son-in-law of Rabbi Yehoshua Heschel of Dukla, zt”l. The Bnei Yesoschor was the son-in-law of Rabbi Ben Tzion Yitzchok, zt”l, Koshiga Rav and brother-in-law of Rabbi Elimelech Weissblum, zt”l (1717-1787), LizhenskerRebbe and author of Noam Elimelech, as well as of Rabbi Meshulam Zushe Lipman, zt”l (d. 1800), Anipoli Rebbe and author of Menoras Zahav.
Rabbi Chanina Horowitz, grandfather of the Minchas Elazar, was the son of Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz, zt”l (d. 1837), Melitzer Rebbe who was also known as the Baal Shem Tov Katan; son of Rabbi Naftali Zvi Horowitz, zt”l (1760-1827), Ropshitzer Rebbe and author of Zera Kodesh. Rabbi Chanina Horowitz was the son-in-law of Rabbi Eliezer Horowitz, zt”l (d. 1860), Djikover Rebbe and son of the Zera Kodesh.
Minchas Elazar, zt”l
Recognized as a Talmudic genius early on, the Minchas Elazar was appointed as Munkatcher Rosh Beis Din in 1903 and succeeded his father upon his passing in 1913. A prolific author, the Minchas Elazar wrote more than 30 sefarim, several of which are multi-volume works studied in all Chassidishe and Yeshivish streams. With exceptionally great wisdom, he guided his community to growth, peace, and prosperity. Under his reign, the Jewish community grew to be the majority of Munkatch’s population.
World Jewry focused its attention on the Minchas Elazar when he traveled to Israel in 1930 and when he married off his daughter in 1933. Journalists from all over the world joined the more than 20,000 participants who came from Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and elsewhere. Photographers filmed the wedding, which today serves as one of the treasures of Munkatcher Chassidim. The secular world, too, found greatness in the Minchas Elazar. Heads of state of many countries regularly sought his advice and guidance.
The 73rd yahrzeit of the Minchas Elazar will be commemorated on Shabbos Parshas Bamidbar, Sivan 2- May 15. Thousands of Munkatcher Chassidim will converge on the main Munkatcher Beis Medrash on 14th Avenue at 47th Street in Boro Park. The present Munkatcher Rebbe, who leads today’s Munkatcher Chassidim, is Rabbi Moshe Yehuda Leib Rabinowitz, eminent grandson of the Minchas Elazar. Today’s Munkatcher Rebbe is sought out routinely for advice by leading chassidishe rebbeim, roshei yeshivos, kehillah rabbanim, and businessmen. His address is well known as a wellspring of clarity and wisdom for those who are troubled. The Munkatcher Rebbe will be conducting the tefillos, tisch, and a Siyum HaShas on the yahrzeit Shabbos.
The following times are approximate and are to be confirmed. Friday Minchah and Kabbalas Shabbos will begin at 8:40 p.m. Friday night tisch will be at 11:30 p.m. and last late into the night. Communal Tehillim recited by Munkatcher children will begin at 9:00 a.m., with Shabbos Shacharis at 9:30 a.m., followed by a grand kiddush. The Siyum HaShas will be part of the yahrzeit tisch, which will begin at 6:00 p.m. Shabbos Minchah is at approximately 7:50 p.m., followed immediately by shalosh seudos.
Committees are being organized to coordinate events and provide for the needs of the multitude of guests expected. Usher Frankel is serving as liaison. Those wishing to eat their Shabbos meals together with visiting chassidim must register (347-254-9744). On Friday, in advance of Shabbos, refreshments will be served to all guests in the shul’s hall beginning at 5:00 p.m.
Vishnitzer Group to Meron
Rabbi Menachem Mendel, Kiamesha Vishnitzer Rav and son of the Monsey Vishnitzer Rebbe, will be leading a group of chassidim to Israel and Europe. Leaving Tuesday, April 27, the group will join those that have arrived previously and go to quarters in Tzefas. There they will conduct Shabbos Parshas Emor in preparation for the celebratory events that will take place in Meron on Sunday, Lag B’Omer, May 2. The Kiamesha VishnitzerRav,together with severalof his brothers,will lead Shabbos tefillos and tisch. On Motzaei Shabbos, the Kiamesha Vishnitzer Rav will ceremoniously light a traditional medurah (bonfire) in honor of the yahrzeit of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, zt”l (Rashbi). The group will then visit his gravesite in nearby Meron.
On the following day, Sunday, the group will travel to Poland to mark the yahrzeit (34th Omer) of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Turem, zt”l (1745-1815), Riminover Rebbe. He was a disciple of the Maggid of Mezeritch, zt”l (1704-1762), the prime disciple of the Baal Shem Tov, zt”l (1698-1760). Upon the passing of his mentor, Rabbi Mendeleh “inherited” his intellect and was thronged by thousands of chassidim for the rest of his life.
The group will also travel to Lizhensk, Dinov, Lanzut, and will return to the United States on Tuesday, May 4.
Toldos Zvi Rebbe to Travel
On Monday evening, Rabbi Yitzchok Isaac Horowitz, Toldos Zvi Rebbe in Williamsburg, conducted tefillos and tisch in honor of the yahrzeit (Iyar 6) of his ancestor, Rabbi Yosef Meir Weiss, zt”l (1838-1909), first Spinka Rebbe and author of Imrei Yosef. The gathering also served as a tzescheml’shalom (farewell) tisch where chassidim came to take blessings from their Rebbe before he left. On Tuesday, at noon, the Rebbe began his trip from Newark Airport to Poland and Hungary.
On Wednesday morning, the Rebbe will arrive in Warsaw and proceed to Koznitz, Lublin, and Radishitz. On Thursday, the Rebbe will be in Berditchev where he will conduct tisch for his travel group as well as for the Berditchev Jewish community. On Friday, the Rebbe will be in Mezebush, the city of the Baal Shem Tov, where a Bris will be celebrated. Mezebush is also where the Rebbe will conduct Shabbos tefillos and tisch, anticipated as the highlight of the trip. Tefillos will take place in the old beis medrash of the Baal Shem Tov. On Motzaei Shabbos, the group will visit the gravesite of the Baal Shem Tov. That same evening, the group will travel to and pray at gravesites in Komarna.
The itinerary for Sunday and Monday includes Lizhensk, Lanzut, Ropshitz, and Cracow, from where their return flight will originate. Their arrival on Monday afternoon will be followed by a kabbalas panim reception at the Spinka Beis Medrash in Williamsburg.
The Toldos Zvi Rebbe is the son of Rabbi Shmuel Zvi Horowitz, zt”l (1921-1997), greatly beloved Spinka Rebbe and lovingly referred to as Reb Hershele Spinka. He was the son of Rabbi Avrohom Abish Horowitz, Hy”d (1897-1944), Kruler Rav and son-in-law of Rabbi Yitzchok Isaac Weiss, Hy”d (1875-1944), adored Spinka Rebbe and author of Chakal Yitzchok; son of Rabbi Yosef Meir Weiss, zt”l (1838-1909), founding Spinka Rebbe and author of Imrei Yosef. Reb Hershele served his grandfather as personal attendant 24 hours a day, literally, sleeping in the same room. Rabbi Avrohom Abish and Rabbi Yitzchok Isaac were murdered in the Holocaust. Reb Hershele lost both his parents and grandfather.
In 1947, Reb Hershele arrived in America and settled on the Lower East Side, establishing a beis medrash on East 7th Street. His piety drew many adherents and, in 1961, he moved his beis medrash to Keap Street in Williamsburg. That beis medrash endures to this very day. Hundreds of people crowded his doorstep daily, seeking his advice and blessing. Sadly, the Torah flame people knew as Reb Hershele burned its last on Friday Night, Shabbos Parshas Re’eh, Av 27-August 29, 1997, collapsing in midst of delivering divrei Torah during his holy tisch, in the presence of his chassidim. Thus was a holy personality taken from within our midst.
Reb Hershele was succeeded by five sons. They are: Rabbi Yesochor Dov Berish Horowitz, zt”l (d. 2007)), late Shmuel Zvi Spinka Rebbe of Williamsburg, eldest son of Reb Hershele Spinka. Rabbi Yesochor Dov Berish was succeeded by his eldest son Rabbi Yosef Meir Horowitz, Shmuel Zvi Spinka Rebbe in Williamsbug; Rabbi Avrohom Abish Horowitz, Beis Yitzchok Isaac Spinka Rebbe in Williamsburg; Rabbi Yitzchok Isaac Horowitz, Toldos Zvi Spinka Rebbe in Williamsburg; Rabbi Nuta Horowitz, Beis Avrohom Spinka Rebbe in Boro Park; and Rabbi Naftali Horowitz, Krula Rebbe of Williamsburg, all of whom nobly carry on with pious devotions to Heaven, as their father taught by example.
Rosh Chodesh with the Igud
On Thursday, Rosh Chodesh Iyar, April 15, the Rabbinical Alliance of America / Igud Horabbonim convened its monthly Rosh Chodesh Conference at the Radomsker Beis Medrash Tiferes Shlomo at 4304 14th Avenue in Boro Park. Rabbi Leibish Frand serves as the Radomsker Rav of Boro Park. Albert Kahn, renowned activist campaigning for family heads to have life insurance, generously sponsored the sumptuous luncheon served. The refurbished and beautified Radomsker Beis Medrash has become a magnet for learning groups as well as many minyanim for tefillah.
Igud Dayan, Rabbi Yoshua Yonason Lustig, opened the session with the recital of Tehillim 130. This writer, as Igud director, introduced Rabbi Frand, who delivered scholarly Divrei Torah of Rabbi Shlomo Rabinowitz, zt”l (1801-1866), Radomsker Rebbe and author of Tiferes Shlomo, after whom the beis medrash was named. The session was graced with the presence and participation of Igud President, Rabbi Abraham B. Hecht, together with Igud Rosh Beis Din, Rabbi Hershel Kurzrock. Rabbi Hecht delivered a short presidential address.
Only days after the sentencing of a neighborhood convicted child molester to a long prison term, this writer opened a discussion regarding the responsibilities of the community to the individual. Is the community required to help in the defense of those charged with any crime, all having a legal presumption of innocence? Once convicted, does the nature of the crime possibly absolve the community of any responsibility other than helping the family? Should persons suspected or rumored to have anti-social proclivities be directed to medical and/or psychological aid? Does the community have any responsibilities to such persons after they decline professional help?
Rabbi Leibish Koenig, Kobersdorfer Rav, shared insights of the mitzvah of pidyon shvuyim (redeeming captives), as well as episodes of pidyon shvuyim by his sage father, Rabbi Chaim Yeshaye Koenig, Yoka Rav and author of Chukei Chaim.
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Miriam spoke disparagingly about Moshe Rabbeinu. Because of this, she contracted tzaras, and for seven days she was sent outside the camp of Israel.
Samuel Scherr was a very successful businessman. He also was generous and would share of his wealth with others. In this way, he became the uncle of favor to his nieces and nephews, whom he would frequently shower with gifts.
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‘He Made An Asheirah Tree Into a Ladder…’
In this week’s parshah we read about the individuals who were tamei and thus could not bring the korban Pesach. They approached Moshe Rabbeinu and asked him whether there was anything they could do to bring the korban. Ultimately, Hashem told Moshe that they should bring a korban a month after Pesach, on the 14th of Iyar.
Question: As Shavuot is fast approaching – a holiday on which we dwell on the story of Ruth and the origins of the royal house of David – I was wondering if you could help me resolve something. Some people say that Rabbi Yehudah HaNassi, the redactor of the six orders of the Mishnah and a scion of King David, purposely kept any mention of Chanukah and the Hasmonean kings out of the Mishnah because the Hasmoneans improperly crowned themselves and ignored the rule that all Jewish kings are supposed to come from the tribe of Yehudah. Is this true?
One of the thirty-nine prohibited melachot on Shabbat is carrying an object from a private domain, reshut hayachid, to a public domain, reshut harabim, or carrying an object a distance of four amot, six to eight feet, in a reshut harabim. The Torah does permit, however, carrying within the reshut hayachid itself. The definition of a reshut hayachid and a reshut harabim is crucial, therefore, to the laws of carrying on Shabbat.
Question: The Midrash notes that the song the Jews sang after they crossed the Red Sea (“Az Yashir”) was unique; its likes had never been heard before in the world. Our Sages even refer to it as a shirah chadashah, a “new song.” What made “Az Yashir” so unique and in what sense was it a “new song”?
The rav was not a wealthy man, but earned enough to live comfortably. He earned his money by serving as the rav of a religious community in Yerushalayim. He also received some royalties from sefarim he had written over the years. He was well known, and many people approached him for a berachah, advice and help. They were not turned away.
Tanach, the Hebrew Bible, is remarkable for the extreme realism with which it portrays human character. Its heroes are not superhuman. Its non-heroes are not archetypal villains. The best have failings; the worst often have saving virtues. I know of no other religious literature quite like it.
Last week I shared a letter from a newly observant Jewish woman. She and her husband reside in a small suburban community outside of Los Angeles. Last year they came to consult with me on a personal religious issue. While they were both ba’alei teshuvah, there was one fine difference between them. He had become a ba’al teshuvah earlier than she and was therefore somewhat more settled in an observant lifestyle.
I watch my children use blocks to build a large structure, observing the trepidation with which they add each block. As the structure becomes larger there is a greater risk of it collapsing, thus bringing an end to an hour of playful labor. I anticipate what will happen when one child adds a block to the top floor, compromising the integrity of the building and resulting in the collapse of the entire structure. The argument that ensues is predictable, as each child blames the other for “ruining” the fun. As an adult, I wonder about the need to attribute blame. Will assigning blame be instrumental in rebuilding the structure?
In this week’s parshah the Torah discusses the halachos of when one steals from another and when confronted in beis din, the thief swears falsely with his denial that he stole. This parshah was already taught in parshas Vayikra; however, there are two halachos that the Torah adds in this parshah to this topic.
In order to carry from one’s home into the street (even when the area is enclosed by a properly constructed eruv), the eruvin ceremony must be performed. This ceremony involves the placing of food in one designated home on behalf of all Sabbath observers in the enclosed area. In order for the eruvin ceremony to be valid, however, it must be performed on behalf of all owners of streets and homes in the enclosed area.
Hymie was visiting Israel and enjoying an afternoon with his grandchildren in the park. After pushing them on the swings and watching them slither down the slides, he went to sit down on a bench in the corner of the park.
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