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June 29, 2016 / 23 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘study’

It’s All Happening at the Central Bus Station

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

One of the liveliest places in Yerushalayim is the Central Bus Station. “HaTachana HaMercazit.” First of all, you really sense the Geula/Redemption when you are there, with Jews of all sizes and shapes, from all parts of the world, coming and going, jostling and hustling, dark-skinned Jews from Yemen, Morocco, Tunisia, and Iraq, along with gelifta-fish-complexioned Jews from Russia and Poland, and the young, bright-eyed Americans studying in Israel, whose accents stick out like the torch of the Statue of Liberty as they call out, “Oh, Sally and Chuck, how colossal, how awesome, look, we can get hamburgers and fries over here!” The bustling scene in the Jerusalem bus station is literally the revelation of prophecy – the ingathering of the exiles from the four corners of the globe, taking place before your eyes.

In addition to the rush and joy of people, there are three floors of stores and booths selling everything from the latest fashions and jewelry, to cell phones, computers, chess boards, helium balloons, oriental spices, fresh roasted nuts and pastries you can smell all the way to Tel Aviv. And the food court has everything your palette might crave: mouth-watering humus, Chinese food, pizza, hamburgers, and felafel on rye.

One of the shops, “Dabree Shir,” specializes in religious books of all sorts, with baal-tshuva stories and guides high on the list. For a small country, Israel produces a tremendous amount of books, and it’s always nice to see that this bookstore is packed with all kinds of people who are seeking to come closer to God. Whenever I pass through the bus station, I try to stop by and say hello to the fellas in the bookstore.

Though you people may think I’m a hack writer, the religious-Zionist community in Israel appreciates my books, especially my novel, “Tevye in the Promised Land,” which almost every family seems to have read. Last week, when I passed by, I asked the manager what was his current bestseller. “Binyan HaEmunah,” he answered. That was encouraging, I thought. The book, written by Rabbi Moshe Bleicher, founder of the Shavei Hevron Yeshiva, is an in-depth study of true Jewish faith, filled with many of Rabbi Kook teachings. How wonderful, I mused, that the average, bus-station traveler, men, women, and young people alike, are purchasing a book like that – the very same book which I just happen to be translating into English for the yeshiva, to make a little parnassa/livelihood.

The basic premise of the book is that in our generation of Redemption, Emunah (Jewish faith and belief) must be learned, along with the learning of Gemara and Halacha. This is because, over the nearly 2000 years of exile, yeshiva study became the dry learning of Talmud and Jewish Law, with the main focus devoted to matters which applied to day-to-day life, while more exalted matters like the all-encompassing goal of the Torah, and the establishment of the Divine Ideal in the world, through the Kingship of Israel in Eretz Yisrael, were ignored.

Rabbi Kook writes that this dry approach to Torah study, which ignores, and even negates, the secrets of Torah, is the reason why entire communities of Jews have become alienating from our age-old yearning for Zion; have opted to remain in gentile countries rather than making aliyah; and why their exile in Brooklyn, Beverly Hill, and Boca, is seen as pleasing in their eyes.

In effect, Emunah, the very heart of the Torah, which teaches us what God and the Nation of Israel are all about, was left out of the yeshiva curriculum. This led the Torah giant, the Gaon of Vilna (who encouraged his students to make aliyah) to state that Emunah must be learned, specifically emphasizing the need to learn Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi’s classic study of Jewish Faith, “HaKuzari,” saying, “The principles of Emunat Yisrael and Torah are precisely formulated in it” (Siddur of the Gra, pg. 512).

In establishing the Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva in Yerushalayim, Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook made the study of Emunah one of the foundations, alongside the intensive learning of Gemara and Halacha. His son, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda, would explain every year to new students the vital importance of this learning, and how it happens that Torah-observant Jews can turn their backs on the very foundation of the entire Torah, the mitzvah of living in Eretz Yisrael, due to their failure to learn Emunah.

Tzvi Fishman

Emunah In G-d

Friday, November 16th, 2012

The Rubles

Our forefathers were giants when it came to having faith and a belief that G-d would take care of them. Nothing worried them save that they wasted time not studying our holy Torah. They relied on G-d to take care of their needs.

The gaon and tzaddik Rav Chaim of Volozhin, one of the dearest disciples of the Vilna Gaon, established a yeshiva to perpetuate the principles and aims of his teacher. Providing sustenance for the pupils was a difficult task and Rav Chaim often suffered great privations but he never despaired, for he trusted in the L-rd.

Once, during the Franco-Prussian war, a merchant entered the yeshiva and said to Rav Chaim, “Rabi, I have just completed the purchase of merchandise for my business and I still have a thousand rubles left over. I’m afraid to carry it with me for the roads are infested with bandits who wouldn’t hesitate to take my life if they knew I had such a sum with me. Therefore, I would like to entrust it to you to keep until I return next year.”

Rav Chaim took the money and gave the merchant a receipt. The merchant was very happy that he had discovered a Rav who would take good care of his money. Ad times were tough, Rav Chaim was overjoyed at this windfall and he immediately made good use of this money.

The Merchant Returns

A number of years passed and the merchant returned to the yeshiva. He approached the secretary, showed him the receipt and asked to have his money returned.

The secretary excused himself while he went to the home of Rav Chaim. “Rabi,” he cried, “the man who entrusted you with his money three years ago has now come back and he is claiming his money. What shall we do? The yeshiva’s treasury is empty.”

“Tell him to return tomorrow,” Rav Chaim answered.

When the secretary departed, the Rav’s wife turned to him and asked, “Where do you hope to get the money by tomorrow? You know we barely have enough money to survive.”

“G-d will provide,” answered the gaon.

Rav Chaim appeared unperturbed. In the morning he arose as usual, said his prayers, studied the Torah and gave his regular shiur to his pupils, continuing as if nothing had occurred.

Help Arrives In Time

Towards evening a messenger from the baron appeared at the home of Rav Chaim. “My master, the baron, has a thousand rubles which he desires to exchange for gold,” said the messenger. “He is planning a trip abroad and he needs gold. He knows that you received gold from distant countries and he therefore requests that you write your supporters abroad to send you gold. In the meantime, he is giving you the money to use for the exchange. He realizes that it may take time to accumulate the gold, therefore, I will return in a few months.” Leaving a thousand rubles, the messenger departed.

An hour later, when the merchant entered, Rav Chaim gave him back the thousand rubles he had entrusted to him three years earlier.

To such heights did our sages trust in the Lord and the Lord reciprocated.

Profited On The Wrong Merchandise

Rav Chaim of Volozhin had a pupil, Rav Yosef Zundil, whose piety and saintliness were legend. He, too, inherited from his rebbe the strong belief in G-d, to trust in Him and He’ll take care of you.

Rav Zundil owned a small shop which his wife took care of. She did all the knitting and repairing while her husband studied Torah day and night. This way they lived a meager and contented life.

Once his wife came to him and said, “There is a large fair opening in the main city where merchandise of various countries will be on display. While I don’t want to disturb you from your studies, if you will visit this fair and purchase a year’s supply of thread and cotton, I’ll never have to waste your time and mine for the next year in purchasing it from our local dealers. Also, we’ll be able to save a lot of money.”

Rabbi Sholom Klass

IDF to Recruit 8,000 Haredim Each Summer

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

The State’s response to petitions taken up by Israel’s Supreme Court regarding the IDF Haredi recruitment program reveals a plan to enlist yeshiva students en masse into the army starting in the summer of 2013, Ynet reported. The revised draft law will apply to all 18-year-olds, so that in two years some 14 thousand Haredim will be drafted.

At the same time, absent alternative legislation to replace the Tal Law, which expired a few months ago, tens of thousands of 19-30-year-old Haredim will receive a final exemption from military service.

The petition was filed with the high court by the Movement for Quality Government and other organizations.

The state’s response also reveals that the IDF has already begun the process of sorting yeshiva students born between 1994-1995, whose past legal definition used to be “Their Torah is their profession.” According to the recruitment program adopted by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, if the Tal Law is not replaced, these Haredim are expected to enlist as early as next summer and serve three full years.

The plan is to stagger their recruitment, to allow IDF manpower officials to study the process and draw conclusions, with the expectation that by 2015 full Haredi recruitment will be possible.

The IDF planners have been looking at placing the recruits in four combat battalions, including three battalions that will be established exclusively to absorb Haredi recruits. In addition, recruits will be tested for service in technological facilities, as well as non-military service in the Defense Ministry, the Ministry of Public Security, the police and the GSS (General Security Service or Shabak)..

Jacob Edelist

Are You Thinking Clearly? (Podcast Part II)

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

How do you make the important decisions of your life, such as what to study or where to invest your money? Is there a mathematical strategy to thinking clearly? On this week’s Goldstein on Gelt show, Professor Michael Starbird, professor of mathematics and author of “The Five Elements of Effective Thinking,” talks about how we make decisions and how to think clearly.

Doug Goldstein, CFP®

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Dear Rachel,

My husband and I have been married for eight years. I am very expressive and outgoing and he is the silent type. Even among close friends, he is never the life of the party. We have three children, and although he loves them very much he hardly spends time with them. He leaves all the dealing with the children to me.

I accepted the situation all of these years because in his own quiet way we did communicate and I love him very much. However, for the last six months my husband has been even more closed than usual. He comes home, greets us briefly, then closets himself in his study and works until late.

When I ask him if something is wrong, he ignores me. I am at my wit’s end. How do you talk to someone who refuses to talk? I asked him if he is happy at work and he said he is. I told him that I can’t go on like this and that I and the children need him and he needs to spend some time with us.

I practically begged him for us to go out for our anniversary, and we did. We went to a restaurant and when I tried to talk about us, he asked me if I brought him out to spoil everything.

On Rosh Hashanah I prayed very hard for sholom bayis and to feel warmth and love from my husband, but I don’t know what more I can do. I am certain that there is no one else in his life, because he is home when he is not working and does not have late nights at work, and he is never away on weekends.

Shabbos after shul we eat and then he goes to sleep; Sundays he spends at home in his study.

Do you suggest that I just continue to live like this? Should I threaten divorce even though I don’t want to leave? Should I go for marriage counseling alone? I asked him if he would come with me to a therapist and of course he said he doesn’t believe in it and he never heard of it helping anyone.

I have not discussed this with my mother or my sisters because I thought that would make things worse, and that leaves me feeling very alone.

Any advice you can give me would be immensely appreciated.

Lonely Heart

Dear Lonely Heart,

We have to marvel at how truly amazing it is that two people – usually complete strangers to one another and raised separately – join together with the expectation of living harmoniously under one roof, sharing meals, ideas and the same bedroom, and are committed to love one another above everyone else for the rest of their lives. Whew!

Granted, a concerted effort to establish some commonality and compatibility is made beforehand, but in reality it is a deference to, and mutual respect for, one another and each other’s differences that keeps the relationship on track.

In just the second line of your letter you inform us of the distinction between the two of you; you are the “expressive and outgoing” kind while your husband is the “silent type.” In other words, you are saying that he is this way by nature and has been since the time you got to know him.

You also say you love him, that “in his own quiet way” you communicate, and that you have no interest in divorcing him. While you’ve let him know that you need more than he offers you and that you lack emotional fulfillment, at the same time you are comforted by the fact that he spends all of his non-working hours and weekends home. (Incidentally, you are wise to keep your private life private, but this needn’t prevent you from seeking professional guidance on your own.)

The sketchy details in your letter paints a picture of a man who comes home and escapes to his study — to avoid being confronted by his dissatisfied and fault-finding wife, perhaps? Not very conducive to drawing him out of his shell, if so…

In my humble opinion, the best chance you have of encouraging your husband to be more communicative is by being yourself, by showing him that you are at ease and comfortable in your environment and genuinely eager to share your day and the latest happenings with the person whom you consider to be your best friend.

Rachel

Mount of Olives Trees Are World’s Oldest

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Tests conducted on olive trees on Jerusalem’s historic Mount of Olives are the oldest known trees in the world, according to a study released on Friday conducted by the National Research Council of Italy Trees and Timber Institute.

Trees from the Garden of Gethsemane, in an area taken over by a triumvirate of Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, and Roman Catholic churches, were dated back to the years 1092, 1166, and 1198, according to the study which was done with the participation of 5 Italian universities.

Chief Researcher Professor Antonio Cimato said at a presentation of the results in Rome that there are no plants of greater age cited in scientific literature.

Analysis of DNA from the trees indicated that they came from the same parent plant.

The study was publicized – seemingly unintentionally – at the same time as Jewish people around the world studied and read the weekly Torah portion which corresponded this week to Parshat Noah, in which the story of the flooding of the world, and its redemption through the biblical figure Noah is told.  In the story, Noah released a dove to bring back signs of life after the flood.  The dove returned with an olive branch in its beak – which Jewish tradition teaches was plucked from a tree on the Mount of Olives.

The Mount of Olives is the location of the world’s largest and most ancient Jewish cemetery.  It sits just above the site of King David’s capital city, and was a location of significance for work pertaining to service in the Holy Temples.  According to biblical prophecy in the Book of Zechariah, the Messiah will arrive on the Mount of Olives, before descending to redeem Jerusalem.

Malkah Fleisher

Rav Chaim Tzanzer

Friday, October 19th, 2012

From the remarkable beis midrash in the town of Brodi came forth a dazzling number of Talmudic chachamim, many of whom went forth to greatness. The most famous was the great Nodah B’Yehuda, Rav Yechezkel Landau, who was the rav of the Diaspora during his lifetime. But there were other towering scholars who were members of the famous beis midrash. One of them, a giant in his time, was Rav Chaim Tzanzer.

Rav Chaim (not to be confused with Rav Chaim Halberstam of Sanz, author of Divrei Chaim) had two occupations. One was the study of Torah and the other was the doing of good deeds and charity. As to the first, not only his days, but his nights, too, were devoted to study. His candle never went out and it was his custom to sit before a table that had on it two glasses of water. As he learned, one hand would be immersed in one of the glasses. If he ever began to doze off the glass would overturn and the sound would awaken him. He would then wash both his hands in the other glass and resume his learning.

He would often ask, “Why is it that all the tractates of the Talmud begin with page two and not page one?

“The answer is that although a Jew sits day and night in the study of Torah, he should not become arrogant in his knowledge. For he should always remember that in reality he has never even learned page one and he still must start at the beginning.”

A Snowy Night

One evening, Rav Chaim, as was his custom, sat before his Talmud while outside the cold wind blew and the snow came down in fearsome fashion. It was a night when only the foolhardy would be out. Yet, as Rav Chaim sat in study, he was startled to hear a loud pounding on his door and someone frantically calling, “Open, for the sake of heaven, please open the door!”

Rav Chaim went swiftly to the door and opened it to find a half-frozen man covered with snow and shivering from head to toe. He hurriedly sat him down by the blazing fire and got him some strong wine to warm his trembling body. Then, Rav Chaim brought him supper and prepared a bed for his guest.

“A thousand pardons, Rebbe, for my interrupting you from your studies,” the man said, “but as I was on my business travels the storm caught up with me and I saw no light burning in the entire town except for yours. I was nearly frozen to death and was forced to knock on your door.

“Now, you are doing too much for me, even preparing a bed.”

“There is no need to say anything,” interrupted Rav Chaim. “If it will make you feel better, you should know that I am not preparing the bed for you, but for myself – in the World to Come.”

Hope For Him?

The Jew understood what Rav Chaim meant and he asked, “Rebbe, and what about me? Is there any hope for me in the World to Come? Behold, in this world I have no pleasure at all. I work like a horse, wandering from town to town and never knowing peace. Will I at least know it in the next world?”

Rav Chaim looked at him and sighed, “You ask a good question and you must consider it carefully. If in this world, where you put in so much time and effort, you still are unable to find enjoyment and peace, how can anyone who does not bother at all to prepare for the World to Come hope to find pleasure there?”

Help For One Who Fell

It was in the doing of good deeds and the collection of charity for those in need that Rav Chaim especially excelled. He would not only give liberally of his own money, but he would go to the homes of the wealthy to get money for the poor who were ever-present guests in his house. He was, of course, always careful on these collections to adhere to the admonition of the Talmud (Baba Bathra 8b) that charity should always be collected by two people and not one. Therefore, he was always accompanied by one of the heads of the community or the officials of the town.

Rabbi Sholom Klass

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/kidz/tales-of-the-gaonim/rav-chaim-tzanzer/2012/10/19/

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