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October 1, 2016 / 28 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘rav’

The Twelfth Siyum HaShas Of Daf Yomi

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

This coming Wednesday evening, August 1, will see the largest convergence ever of American Jewry at a daf yomi Siyum HaShas celebration. The event, the Twelfth Siyum HaShas, to be held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford in the New Jersey Meadowlands, is sponsored by the Daf Yomi Commission of Agudath Israel of America.

The concept of daf yomi, a daily daf study of each of the 2,711 folios of the Babylonian Talmud, was the brainchild of the Lubliner Rav, Rabbi Meir Schapiro, zt”l, and was both unique and historic when it was first proposed at the Knessia of Agudath Israel in Vienna, August 16, 1923. It meant to unite Jews worldwide in a daily study regimen that would reach its completion every seven years and five months. Needless to say, the project received the overwhelming support of the delegates, who saw this as an opportunity not only to unite world Jewry in one study program but also to assure that all tractates of the Babylonian Talmud would be studied.

While previous siyumim were held on a somewhat grand scale in Eretz Yisrael, in America it would only be in June of 1975 that the first large gathering, the Seventh Siyum, was held in New York’s Manhattan Center with an attendance of 5,000. Realizing that daf yomi was fast taking hold, the Daf Yomi Commission began planning for a larger venue that would accommodate the expected larger crowd at the next scheduled Siyum event.

In reporting on the subsequent siyumim, we cull from archives of The Jewish Press. The Eighth Siyum HaShas was held Sunday, November 14, 1982, in New York’s Felt Forum, where 10,000 people assembled in the presence, and with the participation of, gedolei haTorah, to complete Shas, studying the last folio of Tractate Niddah and then starting the next daf yomi cycle by studying the first mishnah in Tractate Berachos.

The Torah personalities participating in the program were the late Bluzhever Rebbe, Rabbi Yisroel Spira, zt”l, who said that limud daf yomi serves as a link to the nearly decimated Polish Jewry; Rabbi Shimon Schwab, zt”l, rav of K’hal Adath Jeshurun in Washington Heights, NY; Rabbi Mordechai Gifter, zt”l, Rosh Hayeshiva Telshe (Wickliffe, Ohio), who referred to daf yomi as the hatzalah of Klal Yisrael; the Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe, Rabbi Yekusiel Yehuda Halberstam, zt”l, who delivered the hadran (completion) of Shas; and Rabbi Yaakov Kaminetzky, the patriarchal rosh yeshiva of Mesivta Torah Vodaath, who began the ninth cycle of daf yomi by reading the first mishnah in Berachos.

The program concluded with Cantor David Wedyger’s recitation of Kel Malei for all the kedoshim brutally murdered by the Nazi beasts during the Holocaust. He then led the singing of “Ani Ma’amin.”

The Jewish Press also reported on the new innovation by Rabbi Eli Teitelbaum, zt”l, the Dial-a-Daf program, a telephone subscription service that became a very popular aid for daf yomi learners.

A portion of the crowd from the 1990 siyum at Madison Square Garden, in the May 10, 1990 issue of The Jewish Press. (Photo by Sender Schwartz UMI)

In 1990, with an even larger crowd anticipated, the venue was changed to the Madison Square Garden Arena in Manhattan. Indeed, on April 26, 1990, 20,000 people gathered for an event that Rabbi Chazkel Besser, zt”l, described as reminiscent of ma’amad Har Sinai.

Torah personalities participating in this program were the rav of New Square, Rabbi Moshe Neuschloss; the Novominsker Rebbe, Rabbi Yaakov Perlow; Rabbi Shimon Schwab, one of the few to speak in English; Rabbi Yosef Harari-Raful, Rosh Yeshivat Ateret Torah (representing the ever-growing Sephardic community); the Phladelphia rosh yeshiva, Rabbi Elyah Svei, zt”l; Rabbi Osher Greenfeld, rav and rosh kollel, Imrei Chaim Vizhnitz in Montreal; Rabbi Aharon D. Dunner, dayan of Hisachdus Ha’kehillos in London; Rabbi Elyah Fischer, rosh kollel of Gur; and Rabbi Zvi Spira, Bluzhever Rebbe.

The Tenth Siyum HaShas, Sunday, September 28, 1997, saw a large assemblage re-converge not only at Madison Square Garden but at a second location as well, the Nassau Coliseum, with 25,000 people at the former location and 20,000 at the latter.

The two events, which were connected via large screens in live hookup, featured the following Torah personalities; Rabbi Chazkel Besser; Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Feuer, the evening’s chairman; Rabbi Yosef Frankel, Violepolla Rebbe; Rabbi Moshe Sherer, the late president of Agudath Israel; the Novominsker Rebbe; Rabbi Mechel Silber, rosh yeshiva, Zhvil in Eretz Yisrael, who was honored with the hadran; Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz, rav of the Telzer Minyan in Boro Park; Rabbi Portugal; the Skulener Rebbe; Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, Rosh Yeshivas Tifereth Jerusalem; Rabbi Herschel Schachter, rosh kollel, Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan; Rabbi Kassin, chief rabbi of the Syrian Sefardic community; Rabbi Simcha Bunim Ehrenfeld, the Matersdorfer Rav; Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg, Rosh Yeshivas Ner Yisroel; Rabbi Elyah Svei; Rabbi Nosson Scherman, general editor of the ArtScroll Talmud, which has proven to be quite instrumental in the learning of daf yomi; Rabbi Avrohom Pam, Rosh Yeshivas Mesivta Torah Vodaath, who began the 11th cycle; Rabbi Shmuel Dovid Halberstam, the Klausenberger Rebbe; Rabbi Matisyahu Solomon, mashgiach, Beis Medrash Govoha, Lakewood; Rabbi Yissachar Frand of Yeshiva Ner Yisroel in Baltimore; and Rabbi Eliezer Ginsberg, rosh kollel Mirrer Yeshiva and rav of Agudas Yisrael Zichron Shmuel in Flatbush. Cantors BenZion Miller and Yisroel Wulliger also graced the session with their heartfelt renditions.

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Criticizing While Respecting

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

Dear Dr. Respler:

My parents, who I love dearly, constantly contradict what I say to my children. They constantly interfere with the way my wife and I raise our children. For her part, my wife is very frustrated with this situation. What makes it harder for her, her parents live out of town while my parents live close by and are thus more involved with our children.

My mother is forever criticizing my wife, who is a wonderful mother and very caring and compassionate with our five beautiful children. My mother has a different view of how to raise children, and honestly, that makes we wish I had a mother more like my wife.

I struggle with low self-esteem, which my wife tries to bolster with her enormous love and sensitivity. I believe that my low self-confidence emanates from having critical parents who never complimented me.

My children are, Baruch Hashem, doing well in school. They have derech eretz, clearly showing that my wife’s childrearing techniques are working. My parents, conversely, are nervous people, and believe that children should be seen and not heard. They believe that we are wrong in not hitting our children. They are so critical that it drives us both crazy. I have spoken to them numerous times about not interfering in the way we raise our children and he last things I want to do is keep the children away from them.

We have spoken to our rav who has made it clear that while we do not have to accept their child-raising suggestions, we are obligated to respect them. Please help us with this challenging situation.

Frustrated

Dear Frustrated:

It appears that your parents need to control you in some manner and choose to do so through criticizing the way you raise your children. Critical people are often insecure and need to control others in order to bolster their own self-esteem. Is it possible for you to change the subject when your parents begin to criticize you? If their criticism persists, you can respectfully disagree by saying, “Mom, Dad, is it possible that even if you don’t agree with our childrearing techniques, you can respect our methods and not criticize us? We feel hurt when you constantly criticize the way we raise our children. It is also not healthy for the children to see this disagreement.”

In my professional practice, I see grandparents who were very strict with their own children and then undermine them when they are disciplining the grandchildren. This is incredibly in appropriate. It is only in situations where grandparents witness their children damaging their grandchildren in some way or, chas v’shalom, acting abusively or neglectfully toward them do they have the right to intervene. Even then, they should tread lightly to ensure that their interventions are taken the right way.

I support your efforts to respect and love your parents by not severing the important bond between them and their grandchildren. However, you must demonstrate derech eretz toward your parents when discussing with them their inappropriate, meddling behavior and when telling them that you do not want to ever be faced with the possibility of having to sever that very important bond. If your parents realize how serious you are, they will hopefully back off. Continue to be supportive of your wife by working with her in continuing the successful chinuch that you are giving your children.

As for hitting your children, I too do not generally believe in that technique. Sometimes, though, hitting young children gently in order to explain a point may be appropriate. A rav I once spoke to about hitting shared this perspective. The rav felt that American parents who generally hit their children do so in order to pacify their own frustrations, i.e., they hit to rid themselves of their self-anger.

Al pi halacha, we are not allowed to hit children when we are angry. Some tzaddikim were known to hit their children gently when they were not angry in order to teach them. Since we are not on their madreigah and we generally hit our children to alleviate our own frustrations, it is forbidden for us to do so.

Here is a beautiful story that I learned from Project Derech: The eight sons of Rav Shlomo Carlebach, a rav in Germany, all grew up to be rabbanim. Whenever one of his sons was late to minyan, his punishment was to not get jam on his toast. But Rav Carlebach also did not put jam on his own toast, to show the child that he felt his pain and would thus deny himself that eating pleasure as well. This level of childrearing is one that we should aspire to. If we deny ourselves of a small privilege and therefore share the pain with our children, they will be less likely to have punitive feelings toward us and will ultimately have a very deep regard for us, their parents.

Dr. Yael Respler

Azkara Held For Rabbi Yoseph Oziel

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

The Shul of Bal Harbour, 9540 Collins Avenue in Surfside, held an askara (commemoration) marking seven days since the passing of Rabbi Yoseph Oziel on Tuesday, July 10. Minchah services were followed by divrei Torah from prominent rabbis and concluded with Arvit.

Rabbi Oziel was the beloved and highly regarded spiritual leader of Hechal Shalom-Sephardic Congregation of Surfside. The rabbi was a respected talmid chacham and rav and had opened a kollel in his synagogue only two months ago. He was 42 years old.

Rabbi Oziel is survived by his devoted wife and eight children. His wife is expecting their ninth child.

The grief-stricken community is trying to put together a trust fund for the family. Please contribute by mailing your check to: Young Israel of Bal Harbour, POB 545985, Surfside, Florida 33154. Please make a notation that you wish this contribution to go the Oziel family.

Shelley Benveniste

Q & A: Tisha B’Av And Mourning

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Editor’s note: We interrupt our “Chazzan and Congregation” series for this timely discussion on Tisha B’Av. Part IX of “Chazzan and Congregation” will appear next week.

* * * * *

Question: I was taught that due to our state of mourning on Tisha B’Av, we are not allowed to learn or discuss Torah – a topic that makes us happy and weakens our mournful state. Why, then, are we allowed to read from the Torah at Shacharit and Mincha on Tisha B’Av? Also, does the halacha of not learning apply to a regular mourner as well?

Menachem
(Via E-Mail)

Answer: Yoreh De’ah 384:1 (based on Mo’ed Katan 15a) states, “During the entire seven-day period [of mourning], a mourner is forbidden to read from the Torah, Prophets, Writings, Mishnah, Gemara, halachot and aggadot – except if people need him to teach them. In such a case, it is permissible.”

We also find a similar ruling regarding Tisha B’Av, our national day of mourning for the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem, as the Mechaber notes (Orach Chayim 554:1).

The reason behind the prohibition, according to the Shach (Orach Chayim ad loc.), is the verse in Psalms (19:9), “Pikudei Hashem yesharim mesamchei lev, mitzvat Hashem barah me’irat eynayim – The commands of Hashem are right; they gladden the heart. The commandment of Hashem is of such clarity that it enlightens the eyes.” Torah has the power of offering unique enjoyment and pleasure. A mourner in his bereavement is not supposed to enjoy this delight.

It is interesting to note that this Shach is at variance with the Mechaber who gives a different source for this halacha. He cites Mo’ed Katan 15a, where we learn that a mourner is prohibited to utter words of Torah since Hashem stated (Ezekiel 24:17), “He’anek dom – Sigh in silence.” Hashem only precluded Ezekiel from any manifestation of outward sorrow. All other people were supposed to publicly mourn, explains Rabbenu Chananel, explicating the position of our sages.

The Gemara (in Ta’anit 30a) states that all customary restrictions on an ordinary mourner during the seven days of mourning apply to the community as a whole on Tisha B’Av. However, there is a difference. On Tisha B’Av, one is prohibited from eating and drinking (Rashi s.v. “asur be’achila uvi’shetiya” explains that these two restrictions apply only to the mourning for the Temples’ destruction).

The Gemara in Ta’anit explains that one is prohibited from (washing and) anointing, donning (leather) shoes, and engaging in marital relations. One is also forbidden to read from the Torah, Prophets, Writings, Mishnah, Talmud, Midrash, as well as halachot and aggadot. However, one is permitted to read material that he usually does not read. (Rashi s.v. “be’makom she’eino ragil likrot” explains that since this material is beyond the mourner’s familiarity and understanding, it actually causes him distress.) One may also read Kinot and Job and the elegies in Jeremiah.

Young schoolchildren – tinokot shel beit rabban – should remain idle (i.e., we do not study with them on Tisha B’Av), in accordance with the verse (Psalms 19:9), “Pikudei Hashem yesharim mesamchei lev – The commands of Hashem are right; they gladden the heart.” R. Yehuda disagrees and states that the learning restrictions apply even to material that one is unfamiliar with. The only exceptions to the no-learning rule, he maintains, are Job, Kinot, and the elegies in Jeremiah.

In any event, we see that both verses apply: the verse from Ezekiel as well as the verse from Psalms.

Regarding the reading of the Torah in shul on Tisha B’Av during Shacharit and Mincha, the Mechaber (Orach Chayim 554:4) writes as follows: “One is permitted to read the complete order of the day [i.e., the order of the daily prayer service] as well as the portion of the korbanot, the Mishnah of Ezehu Mekoman (Tractate Zevachim, chapter 5) and the midrash of Rabbi Yishmael (Beraita, in Sifra). (The latter three constitute the portion of tefillah referred to collectively as korbanot.)

The Rema adds that one is allowed to review the parshah on Tisha B’Av. However, both the Ba’er Heiteiv and Mishna Berurah (ad loc.) note that this applies only to the chazzan, who reads the Torah publicly for the congregation. His reading and advance preparation are obviously considered tzorech ha’tzibbur (a public need).

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

The Evil Inclination

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Rav Tzvi Hirsh Levin, the rav of Berlin, was an extremely clever and sharp individual and possessed a remarkable sense of humor that he used well in his attempts to get across Torah views.

Rav Tzvi Hirsh was first rav in a very small city – Halberstat. Halberstat was a poor place but the people were very pious and observant. He then moved on to become the rav of London and finally, spiritual leader in Berlin.

In describing the differences between the three places, he once said:

“I will illustrate the differences with a story. Once when I was in Halberstat, I passed an inn and I heard from within a mournful sound.

“The sounds were so tragic that I thought that the person who was making them must surely have suffered some terrible tragedy. Walking inside I saw in the corner an emaciated and hungry looking fellow sitting at a table with his head in his hands, giving vent to his woes.

“ ‘What is the matter sir?’ I asked him. ‘Why do you mourn so?’

“ ‘I am the yetzer hara [evil inclination],’ he replied. ‘Never have times been so bad for me as they are in this city of Halberstat. No matter how hard I work at trying to get these Jews to commit sins, no matter how I run about attempting to tempt them, my efforts are in vane. I will starve to death in this city, business is so bad!’

“I left the mournful soul,” continued Rav Tzvi Hirsh, “and went on my way. I soon forgot about the incident and the years passed. I left Halberstat and moved on to London where I became rav.

“One day, as I was walking along a busy street, I saw a familiar figure running toward me. It was the evil inclination.

Has No Time “ ‘Hello there,’ I called. ‘It has been many years since I last saw you. What are you doing in London?’

“ ‘I have no time to stop to talk now,’ replied the evil inclination. ‘There is so much work to do here that I am exhausted. I have to run about persuading people to sin and business is extraordinary.’

“Away he went,” said Rav Tzvi Hirsh, “and disappeared from sight on his way to do business.

“The years passed by once again, and I forgot about him until I went over to Berlin. There I met him again. As I was passing a tavern, I heard loud laughter. A man was singing and sounded like the happiest, most contented of people.

“Looking through the window, I saw that it was my old friend, the evil inclination.

“ ‘Hello there,’ he cried out drunk but happy, ‘come and join me in a drink.’

A Pleasure “ ‘What are you doing in Berlin?’ I asked. ‘And look at you. You have grown so fat and ruddy of complexion. Why aren’t you at your work?’

“ ‘Ah, my friend,’ he said with a smile. ‘There is no need to work in Berlin. In Halberstat I worked like a dog and showed nothing for it. The were impossible to tempt.’

“ ‘In London, there was plenty of business but I had to run around drumming it up. Here in Berlin however, it’s a pleasure! I don’t have to do a thing. The people are ready to do immoral and evil acts without my having to push them.’ ”

The “Good Angel” The Chofetz Chaim’s good virtues and wonderful character had their beginnings when he was yet a little boy.

In the little town where he lived was a poor man who earned his meager living by drawing water from the wells and springs and selling it in town.

He used to leave the pails with which he drew the water outside his front door because there was simply not enough room for them in the little hut that he called his home.

Some of the mischievous and thoughtless children in the town decided to play a practical joke on the poor man and they filled the pails with water. In the bitter wintry night the water quickly froze and the man had all manner of difficulty in the morning.

Admonishes Them Little Yisroel Meir (that was the name of the Chofetz Chaim) felt very bad for the poor man and he admonished his friends:

Rabbi Sholom Klass

Getting Serious About Get-Refusal

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

It’s human nature to hide our heads in the sand. That may be because we are mostly optimistic. We believe everything will be all right even when we know we are taking a chance.

On the flip side, it’s emotionally very difficult to admit we have a problem. We are worried about how others will regard us. Moreover, addressing a problem entails gathering strength to go about solving it. It’s so much easier to hide our heads in the sand.

About ten years ago, at a rabbinic convention in Israel, I was introduced to a well-known American Orthodox rabbi as a to’enet rabbanit – rabbinical court advocate. The rav politely asked me what I do. I briefly explained how I work with dayanim in Israeli batei din on cases of Get-refusal they have difficulty resolving. I stressed my focus on prenuptial agreements to prevent the agunah problem from arising in the first place, through the Council of Young Israel Rabbis in Israel.

“Oh, I know all about prenups” the rabbi replied. “My daughter just got married but I didn’t tell her to sign one. We don’t need these things.”

This rav, one of the most effective leaders in the American Orthodox world, did not recognize the very real agunah problem in his community. In fact, I have received cries for help (even though I am in Israel) from women who belong to every manner of Orthodox community in the U.S., from chassidishe and haredi to Modern Orthodox and everything in between.

Truth be told, it is difficult for a rav to admit publicly to a problem of Get-refusal in his community when no one is admitting it in the other communities. It is more comforting to imagine that should an agunah case arise, the community will take care of it. However, individuals who begin to tread the path of a me’agen are becoming more and more resistant to communal pressure or even rabbinic influence.

By recognizing the potential for the problem and arranging the signing of prenuptial agreements for its prevention, communal and rabbinic influence can be restored. The problem needs to be prevented from taking root in each individual case before it is too late.

Nevertheless, the practice is to hope for the best, rationalizing the agunah problem with statistics. “What,” we think, “are the chances of this happening to me or to my daughter?”

And yet our communities have overcome deep-seated reluctance in order to deal with other widespread problems. To cut down on the number of cases of genetic disease afflicting the Orthodox community, for example, practical yet dignified solutions were found. The community needed to find a way to assist individuals on a communal level and so now many Orthodox educational institutions routinely bring professionals into twelfth-grade classes to administer blood tests.

In this manner, the individual understands the implicit stamp of approval by the rabbanim and the fear of “what will others think?” is erased, since all are working toward the prevention of the problem.

Similarly, the leadership of each of the various Orthodox communities can make practical arrangements for prenup education with every educational institution – high school, yeshiva gedolah, seminary or college.

A service should be provided whereby every student, man or woman, who becomes engaged is called in. The school’s rabbi or counselor can present the couple with a halachic prenuptial agreement together with an explanation, and arrange for notarization services in the school’s office. In this manner the community will quickly understand that all are expected to sign a prenuptial agreement. It will become “automatic” – one of the things you have to arrange before you get married.

Even those who marry later, while no longer under the aegis of educational institutions, will remember to sign a prenuptial agreement since it will have become a standard part of the shidduch process.

Twenty-one rabbanim of one of Americas’ Orthodox communities – roshei yeshiva of Yeshiva University – recently signed a (second) kol koreh calling on all rabbis and the Orthodox community to promote the standard use of a halachic prenuptial agreement. They were spurred to do so by the Organization for the Resolution of Agunot. There are those who may feel YU or ORA is not their derech, but that does not relieve them of the responsibility to address the agunah problem in their own communities.

Dr. Rachel Levmore

A Unique Iranian Custom

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Question: It is known that some sephardim generally arrive at a simcha a few hours subsequent to the time noted on the invitation. Is there any logic behind this custom?

Answer: Years ago, while serving as a rav in Los Angeles, I, together with my wife, went to a bat mitzvah celebration at the home of a prominent Iranian friend. The event was called for 7 p.m. We arrived shortly after 7:00 and were escorted to the backyard of the venue where there were tables and chairs for at least 500 people. Yet, to our shock and amazement, not a single person was there.

Thinking that we had come on the wrong date, I informed the person who had escorted us that I had probably made an error and that we were departing. As we were about to leave, I was told that the party was in fact taking place that evening.

Noticed my puzzlement, the host himself came forward to speak with me. He said that the satan visits every happy event in order to create an ayin hara and mar the simcha. To counter this, all invitations announce the simcha for at least an hour prior to the time when the event is really scheduled to begin. When the satan arrives at the scheduled time and sees no one there, he figures he is wasting his time – it’s a “no-show party” – and leaves. The guests, however, know in advance that the event won’t begin until at least an hour after the official time and therefore only arrive after the satan has already departed.

Not wishing to provide the satan with an opportunity to mar the simcha, my wife and I departed and returned two hours later – just in time for the beginning of the festivities.

Rabbi Cohen, a Jerusalem Prize recipient, is the author of several works on Jewish law. His latest, “Jewish Prayer The Right Way” (Urim Publications), is available at Amazon.com and Judaica stores.

Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/a-unique-iranian-custom/2012/06/28/

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