Chazal tell the story of a very rich man, who as he grew old began to worry about his future. "What good is all my wealth?" he asked, "if I may soon have to leave it behind me."
The Baal Shem Tov had two grandsons, Rav Moshe Chaim Ephraim and Reb Baruch. Both were pious and well educated in Torah, yet, Rav Moshe lived a frugal and poor life while his brother, Reb Baruch, became very wealthy.
The great Shlomo HaMelech, wisest of all men, wrote that there is a time for all things. There is a time to be born and a time to die, a time to cry and a time to laugh, a time to preserve and a time to throw away.
“Sin between man and G-d, Yom Kippur can forgive, but the sins between man and his fellow man, Yom Kippur cannot forgive until his fellow man forgives and he makes amends (Yomah 85b).
If you were to ask the average Jew who destroyed the Bais HaMikdash and who sent the Jewish people into galus, he would instantly answer, “The Romans.”
Rav Eliyahu Chaim Maisel of Lodz was a great scholar and also had a very sharp mind. Because of his own cleverness, he once saved an innocent Jew from an unjust punishment.
Rabi Yochanan said: “What is the meaning of the sentence in scriptures, ‘He does wonders that are immeasurable and miracles that are incomprehensible’? This refers to the miracle of the birth of a child.”
Galicia was able to boast of having three giants of the Chassidic movement who lived at the same period of time. They were Rav Meir of Premishlan, Rav Tzvi Hirsh of Rimenov and Rav Naftali of Ropshitz. The latter, especially, was famous for the sharpness of his mind.
One of the great Chassidic rabbis was the saintly Reb Mordechai of Nashchiz. He used to eat only a loaf of bread the whole week, and added herring on Shabbos — in honor of the day.
In the days of Shlomo HaMelech, the richest man in the land lived in Yerushalayim. His name was Bavsi and he was known as a wicked miser. He oppressed his servants and his slaves and made their days bitter with toil from dawn until late at night. Because he was so stingy, he did not give them enough food to eat, so they and their children constantly suffered from pangs of hunger.
It is very easy to catch a thief when one has clues and evidence. It is a far different matter, however, when one must attempt to find the guilty party through his own wits alone. It is then that we must have a truly wise man- one as wise as, say Shlomo HaMelech.
One of the areas in which even observant Jews sin is in their attitude towards rabbanim. A rav is not just someone whom we have the right to hire and fire; he is not just a man who gives a speech on Shabbos. He is a teacher and a leader. When he rules on a point of halacha, it is not only our right to listen to him; it is our obligation to do so.
One of the great chassidic rebbes was the saintly Rav Mordechai of Nashchiz. He used to eat only a loaf of bread the whole week, and added herring on Shabbos — in honor of the day.
Once when there was a drought in Eretz Yisrael, the rabbanim approached Rabi Yochanan Ben Zakkai. “Rebbe,” they said, “please pray to Hashem that He send rain before the people perish from thirst and hunger.”
The life of our sages was never an easy one. Although persecuted by the Romans, they continued to devote all their efforts to the study of Torah and doing good deeds.
Chazal say that on the New Year, the entire amount of a man’s sustenance is fixed, except for what he spends on Shabbos, Yomim Tovim, Rosh Chodesh and sichar limud. In these cases, if one spends more one receives more; if one spends less, one receives less.
Our sages teach us: “Great is charity and great is its reward.” He who gives charity to the poor, his prayers will be answered; a measure for a measure - midda k’neged midda. He heard the cries of the poor so will G-d hear his prayers when he cries.
Czar Nicholas was a rabid anti-Semite and constantly sought means and methods to convert the Jews to Christianity. But the harsher the decrees he issued against the Jews, the more tenaciously they adhered to the tenets of their forefathers.
There are certain mitzvos that all civilized people can understand and appreciate. One such mitzvah is that of honoring one’s parents. While there are certain specific particulars that are distinctly Jewish, the general concept is one accepted by non-Jews as well. Indeed, when the Talmud sought to find an example of one who observed this mitzvah in its proper form, it selected a non-Jew by the name of Dama ben Nesina.
Modesty, both in conduct to people and in dress and speech has always been a deeply praised virtue — especially for Jewish women. In Yerushalayim there once lived a woman named Kimchis, who symbolized this virtue and was blessed for it.