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We all know that there are some synagogues that, unfortunately, only reach full capacity several days a year. There is something about these days that arouses even many unaffiliated Jews to attend High Holiday Services. In fact, each one of us also feels the holiness, and it helps us to be on our best behavior. We make sure to come on time to davening and we daven slower than usual. We are extra careful in our observance of halacha and how we treat the members of our family.
The Gaon, Reb Nachum devoted all his time, day and night, to collecting money for charity and helping the poor. The vast majority of the people thought so highly of Reb Nachum that they would deduct a fixed amount of their income every week and give it to him to distribute it to the poor. But there was always the exception, some people just tried to avoid contributing.
Rabbi Asher Lopatin, who will succeed Rabbi Avi Weiss as head of YCT, is most definitely on the left side of the Orthodox spectrum. Nevertheless he can keep YCT from sliding too far to the left and cross the line of Orthodoxy. YCT founder Rabbi Avi Weiss candidly admitted that he has parted ways with his Rebbe on the approach to these issues. And he has incorporated it into the philosophy of his Yeshiva.
The story is told of a Chassidic Rebbe who stayed one night in the attic of a simple farmer. Promptly at chatzos (midnight) the Rebbe sat on the floor and began saying Tikkun Chatzos (a prayer said most nights by pious individuals, mourning the destruction of the Bais Hamikdash.) Immediately, a fountain of tears began to flow from his eyes, as he unabashedly mourned our great loss. Soon, his crying became so loud that it aroused the farmer and his wife from their sleep. The concerned farmer quickly knocked on the door and asked if everything is okay. The Rebbe answered that he is simply mourning the Bais Hamikdash.
Books. Some people love them; others claim they can do without them. For Zalman Alpert, they are essentially his life. For the past 35 years, Alpert has served as a reference librarian at Yeshiva University (YU). Educated at Columbia University’s School of Library Services and New York University’s School of Education, where he attained a master’s degree in Modern Jewish History, Alpert is one of those individuals who knows a little (sometimes a lot) about everything. Over the years, he has contributed articles to such works as Encyclopedia of Hasidim; Jewish American History and Culture: An Encyclopedia; Encyclopedia of Jewish American Popular Culture; Midstream; and The Jewish Press.
During his weekly talk, the Ashlag Rebbe, Rabbi Simcha Avraham Halevy, challenged politicians who promote the notion of an equal burden, describing them as imbeciles. He proposed a solution to the inequality: "Let every secular boy be forced to bear the burden of defending the homeland of Israel and fulfill his national duty to study Torah and keep the mitzvot." He also said, "The nation of Israel did not survive our brutal history by the deterrence of the IDF, nor by the might of the State of Israel, but by the merit of the study of Torah."
I am deeply concerned that a new religion, though close to Judaism but not part of it, is being formed based on a so-called "frumkeit" not defined as a mere "Chumra" [stringency], but rather actually violating clear laws and regulations set down by God for the Jewish people to follow
Frailty and differences in other people often scare us. Why? They scare us because we see a reflection of what we fear in ourselves or because we just don’t know how to respond. Since we can’t live with this discomfort for too long, we make assumptions about and apply labels to those we fear.
B’ezrat Hashem I will continue to share with you my challenging days spent at Scripps Memorial Hospital in San Diego. Whenever difficult days befell me, my revered father would always say “Hashem sends us tests so that we might know how to help others when they have to confront their trials.”
“At the time that my wife and I made aliyah, the Ministry of Interior required certification through the chief rabbinate that any new immigrants were Jews in order to qualify for citizenship and immigrant benefits. After an hour-long wait at the ministry to be interviewed, my wife and I sat before a hard-faced clerk. I did not have a letter from a rabbi certifying to my Jewishness, but I felt confident that since I was on the chief rabbinate's list of approved rabbis whose letter would be accepted to verify the Jewishness of others, I would suffer no problem.
I know I’m going to be crucified, but if the appeal I make below helps even one girl in shidduchim, then it will be worth all the fury and outrage that shall inevitably descend upon my soon-to-be beleaguered head.
After moving the Rebbe's home at 770 Eastern Parkway to Israel, Lubavitch now moves the Kotel to America. My advice to you is, fasten the bolts and beams in your house, or one morning you'll wake up to discover Lubavitch has moved you to a new continent…
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries the struggle between chassidim and their opponents, the misnagdim, reached its peak. In many cases, chassidim were barred from areas where the misnagdim were the majority. Certainly it was unheard of for a city to choose a chassidic adherent as its rav.
Last week I wrote that we are now at a very critical juncture in our long history. We have entered the period of ikvesie d'Mashiach - a time of travail when the footsteps of the Messiah can be discerned. We are receiving wake-up call after wake-up call, and they come in many shapes and forms. Hashemis sounding the alarm, but we remain deaf to its implications.