Sunday, May 31, 2009


I have a very important post for all of you. Stop whatever you're doing and go spend money at Gourmet Garage. Lots of money. Why? Very simple. You see, tonight I was with my family and Elisheva on the the West Side looking for a bathroom. All right, we weren't there to look for a bathroom, we were there to have a picnic and watch the New York Classical Theatre's production of King Lear, which I quite enjoyed. After that was completed it was time to head home, and incidentally find a men's.

Anyone who has ever been in Manhattan knows that though it might be the city that never sleeps it does take naps on a regular base. The result is that many establishments which would otherwise be ideal location in which to take care of one's business are not available for such goings on.

The first place we tried was a Rite-Aid, but they closed at 4:00 on Sundays. Can you imagine the chutzpah? Ridiculous. Next up was a CVS, and they were open too. Nice. In we walk, paying customers (my brother in law bought a Diet Coke), and I asked if I could use the bathroom. "Sorry, no, we don't have anyone who can take you back there right now." Oh, really? There are three employees lounging by the cash registers, and there's only one customer.

We then pushed on and spotted another Rite-Aid, but they were also closed. What is wrong with these people? Not to worry, because there was a Walgreens at the corner, and it was open too. And it too did not have public restrooms. Next I entered some sort of Asian operation, and they didn't have a "public" restroom.

I was about to give up, and possibly lose the use of my bladder for all time, when I chanced upon the Gourmet Garage on Broadway and 96th. I walked on, politely inquired of a kindly African-American man if I could use their bathroom, and lo and behold...he said, "Sure, follow me." Joy!

A Bummel in the Park

The first day of Shavuos I had friends coming up to me and saying (after the obligatory cheek-kiss thing [so awkward with a beard] of course), "Mazel Tov! When's the lchaim?!" How disappointed (relieved?) they were when I informed them that in fact the lchaim had taken place. Oh well.

That afternoon I went on tahalucha to Borough Park. I didn't intend to go to Borough Park. I was going to go with a couple of friends to some Russian shul in Flatbush, because it was officially the closest place to go. Why would I want to go to somewhere near? Very simple. I had promised my kallah to be back by 10:00, I figured that the less I walked there the less I'd have to walk back. Brilliant, no?

So there I was, on my way to Flatbush, and I lost my friends. No big deal, right? I'll just head somewhere else in Flatbush? Pity that a few minutes later I was in Borough Park. An hour and twenty minutes after leaving Crown Heights we arrived at our destination. Not only were there only two people there, but I didn't even know any of the Lubavitchers I had walked with. After waiting there for fifteen minutes I figured that nothing was happening, so I walked to a nearby Lubavitch Shul and settled down for a very interesting speech by Dayan Raskin. Unfortunately I nodded asleep a couple times, but I'm sure it all made sense.

All this time I was trying to figure out what I should do. I figured that if I walked alone I could cut down about fifteen minutes off the walk. Only problem was, if I left before maariv then I would have to daven in Crown Heights, which would probably necessitate my going up to 770, another seven or eight minutes. I could skip shul and go straight to the person I was eating by (thus ditching my kallah for the walk), but then of course I'd have to daven in an apartment in front of a bunch of people. At 9:00 I had to use the men's, and once I finished there I thought to make a jump for freedom.

Was this a smart move? No. According to my calculations I was too late to make it to 770 to daven. I was also going to miss my kallah rendezvous, and I'd also missed Maariv in Borough Park. Besides, what had I accomplished on tahalucha? Sure, I walked there, but I didn't say anything, didn't even daven, and didn't even say goodbye to the shliach who had looked really happy to see me. Oh well. Maybe he'll read this post and understand the weird behavior of the bochur who didn't want a drink.

Anyways... after walking about three blocks my ankles started to kill me, a combination of power-walking and having sat for the previous half hour or so. It slowed me down considerably, and I began to worry that it would take me even more than the way there.

I began to pass landmarks I remembered, and began to look for the time. I could have asked any of the innumerable cops patrolling the streets, but I'm a guy. Instead I looked in vain for some sort of display. There were none to be seen. After successfully navigating my way out of Borough Park and through Kensington I kept a sharp lookout for Coney Island Avenue. I must have missed it, because a wee bit later there I began to see things I hadn't remembered passing. I figured that I had been spaced out before, or concentrating on the conversation about pedophiles, or something, but when I came upon a large subway stop I knew something was wrong. There's no way I'd miss a subway stop.

At this point I rapidly considered my options. I could retrace my steps, but this would waste precious time, and anyway, as I might have mentioned before, I'm a guy. Instead I followed my gut and made a left, figuring I'd come upon Prospect Park at some point. There followed several hairy blocks (hachlotos et all), but finally that blessed preserve of nature appeared, and I breathed easy again.

On one of the benches outside the park was sleeping a homeless man who had been sitting there on the way out. I thought, "Wow, that's a really sad life. Sitting on a bench all day, and then sleeping on it come night. What's the point?"

After passing several groups of Lubavitchers Empire Shteibel came into sight. I figured it would be about 10:05. Imagine my joy when I discovered that it was only 9:50! I decided to go up to 770 and plead with my kallah to wait for me while I davened maariv. When I got to the dreidel her friends told me she'd be right back, so I pleaded with them and went into daven, figuring it was 10:00. Once again I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was only 9:56, and I proceeded to pray to my creator. Not as well as I should have, undoubtedly, because I was back outside at 10:01, but hey, I said every word and even answered a barchu!

And then we went to EOW's and had some super-yummy shnitzel. Thanks EOW! And that was a slice of my shavuos. I hope you enjoyed it. Next time, remember to order it with toppings.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Post Roundup

It's like a mini Haveil Havalim!

Frum Satire, who is claiming shadchanus gelt along with Nemo, gave us Frum Satire makes a shidduch. He also had a video of the event.

Next up we have a roundup of the whole event from Shriki at Blogger Engagement.

Real and Wright (burgundy shirt!) has a Bloggers' Convention.

C is feeling happy and sad with Mixed up with emotions.

Sara writes a bit at Days Gone By....

Chanie says WOW!

Shmais has some nice comments, as does and

If I've missed anyone, tell me, and y'all have a great Shavuos, and accept the Torah with joy and inner shtuff!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mazel Tov! TRS+le7-It's Official!

The clergy: Do you, TRS, solemnly swear to blog forever together with le7, bound up in the manacles of marriage, committed to the principles of liberte, fraternite, egalite, 'til 6:00 AM do us part?

TRS: Quite.

The clergy: And do you. le7, solemnly swear to blog forever together with TRS, bound up in the manacles of marriage, committed to the principles of liberte, fraternite, egalite, 'til 6:00 AM do us part?

le7: Indeed.

The clergy: Is there then any objection from any blogger, man or woman? If not, then forever keep your pc.

The crowd: Silence (except for the clicking and clacking of keys [who is the audience if not our fellow bloggers?], of course).

The clergy: Then with the power invested in me by Google and Blogger I pronounce you, TRS+le7, chassan and kallah. TRS, you may now [censored].
The party's tonight, Wednesday the fifth of Sivan, the 27th of May, 9:30 and onward, at Congregation Beloved Companions (Rayim Ahuvim), the corner of Carroll and Schenectady. Miss it at your peril!

TRS: Developing...

Before the Rosh was officially Lubavitch he informed his yeshiva hanhala that he'd be in 770 for shavuos, not in Lakewood. They cried, "But matan Torah is in Lakewood!" The Rosh responded, "Yes, but Moshe Rabbeinu is in 770."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Stop! Don't think about it!

So there you are

walking down the road

waiting to ask

and again waiting to ask

and at the end of the night

you didn't ask

and you feel like a total dork

and you come home and listen to Lipa

and you feel less dumb

and then you feel even worse

because you know you're an idiot

but what can you do about it

and what's with the narcissism?

tomorrow is a brand new day

sure, that's what they say

but is it really true?

the experiences of yesterday

the choices we made

the paths we traveled

those are what guide us tomorrow

nay, they force us


whether you give in or fight back

there's no real point in arguing the matter

because at the end of the day

that has passed

or still is to pass

you know

things are good

because we've got a big G-d up there

even if you don't like him

which is neither here

nor there

because right now

tomorrow still hasn't arrived

and you know

it better work tomorrow

on a knee


or a bowl of tuna and noodles

whatever it is

that's what it will be

or what it was


but then again

tomorrow is a brand new day

Sunday, May 24, 2009


The poem before music. By TRS:

'Twas the night before the sheloshes yemei hagbala, when all through the house

not a speaker was playing, nor singing a spouse;

iTunes was prepped on the computer with care

with expectation that MBD or Lipa would soon be there;

The children weren't nestled, nor snug in their beds

while crying for mommy, screaming off their heads;

And mamma and tatupapu, out for a walk

and I wishing I was willing to go take a nap;

When out on the sidewalk there arose such a clatter

I sprang up from the computer to see what was the matter;

Away to the door I flew like a rock

tore open the blinds and threw open the child-lock;

the moon was not visible, it was a cloudy night

but everything outside was still visible (thank heaven for Crown Heights);

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

a miniature Lipa Schmeltzer distributing good cheer;

he was singing a song, so wondrous and fit

hut bitachon un aleh zan git;

more rapid than eagles his band yes they came

and he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

Now Rick Cutler, now Yaron Gershovsky, now Yossi Green!

On to your drums, your piano, your tambourine!

play your songs, feel the melody, experience the joy within,


Mivtzoyim is like what? Like crack? You mean like the shtuff that [crack cocaine] is a substance that affects the brain chemistry of the user: causing euphoria, supreme confidence, loss of appetite, insomnia, alertness, and increased energy? (wikipedia)

Sure it is, sure, sure. I mean hey, if arguing with old Russian ladies about lighting shabbos candles is what turns you on, then by all means, indulge, but really? Crack?

Now that I think about it though, I suppose you could be right about this one. I mean, standing on a street corner arguing exactly this point, and that point actually making sense... seems crazy to me, but I suppose it can't be helped. And how about the time you tried to prove how normal frum Jews are so you say to some hipster 28 year old girl, "Oh, we're normal, not like the French, our women shave their arm pits," and then she tells you, "Oh-I don't." It's moments like that where you want to disappear forever/hit yourself really hard five seconds ago/realize that hipsters in Willy are crazy; what's a guy to do? Here you are, representing worldwide religious Jewry, and your crazy mouth has gotten you into trouble again.

But hey, that's what it's all about, right?

Some things are understood

Tonight I once again have the privilege of posting an old post. It's Rabbi Manis Friedman, from last year's 11 Nissan celebration. Enjoy.

The wise son in the Haggada asks, "What are the Edus (Testimonies), Chukim (Decrees), and Mishpatim (Laws) that Hashem our G-d has commanded you?" What's his problem? He doesn't understand what exactly Hashem wants from him. Does he want him to understand, which is what the Mishpatim are all about, or does he want him to serve on blind faith, the Chukim. And what are these Edus things anyway? We normally explain them as being laws which we would not have come up with on our own, but once Hashem has commanded them we understand why. Another explanation is that Edus are laws which testify about something which we otherwise would not know about. If we know something, then obviously there's no need for testimony. (I don't remember where this one came in, but trust me, it all made sense at the time.)

So what is so great about the wise son? What makes him wise? It's very simple. He doesn't have an opinion. People make a big mistake. They think that they have to have an opinion on every topic. The truth is the opposite. People should not have an opinion on any topic. The less intelligent the person, the more strident they are in their opinions. For some reason, taxi drivers have very strong opinions. For some reason they remain taxi drivers. People call in to radio talk shows to express their opinions. Guess what? Nobody cares what you think! People have an opinion because they are full of themselves. Real smart people don't have opinions. If they know something they'll offer it, but they don't comment on what they don't know. Children, on the other hand, have very strong opinions. Why? Because they're immature. Their ego feels that it should have an opinion.

Hashem tells us what to do. We don't get to have an opinion. Whatever he says goes. Bittul, self-nullification, means that you don't have an opinion. Ego is the opposite. When a person refuses to put of Tefillin because he doesn't believe in G-d, what is he really showing? That he's not intelligent. This doesn't mean that he doesn't know a lot; just because you know a bunch of facts doesn't mean you are intelligent. People with strong opinions never innovate, because they never think outside the box. Einstein's particular genius lay in the fact that he was able to come up with many new ideas. Why was he able to do this? Because he never paid attention to himself. When he did voice an opinion, objecting to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, it was disastrous. Later he would call it, "The greatest mistake of my life." Why was he able to make this mistake? Because he developed an opinion. When a person, even the smartest one, develops an opinion, he effectively tells the world that he is qualified to form an opinion on any given subject, and moreover is confident that any position he has taken is the correct one.

Lubavitch sends out thousands of Shluchim, and each one is different. These Shluchim were endowed with a very unique quality: They have to be totally nullified, only doing what the Rebbe wants, and yet at the same time they have to understand what the right course of action is. The Rebbe would ask Shluchim why they hadn't consulted him before doing some project, yet at the same time ask Shluchim why they needed to ask. The point? A Shliach has to use his brains to figure out what to do, and many times that means asking the Rebbe what course of action should be undertaken. When a Shliach puts his own spin on the Rebbe's work, life will be much harder than necessary. Any person, when forming opinions, prevents himself from doing what he has to do.

(For those keeping score at home, Rabbi Friedman managed to convey his point in a much nicer fashion than I've been able to.)

Next up, again segued in somehow, was how to deal with life. If a person has an opinion, they they hold themselves to be important. They believe that they have answered the question, whichever question that might be. They can't deal with life the way they should deal with it.

A Chassid once complained to the Rebbe that he had no children. The Rebbe responded that he too had no children. The Chassid said, "Yes, but you're a Rebbe!" The Rebbe said, "A day does not pass that I don't think about this subject."

Was the Rebbe paralyzed by this problem? Certainly not. Only someone who's intelligent can recognize that there are problems in the world, and we have to work towards ending those problems. Egoists, when faced with a problem, give up. "Life is not fair," they say, "Why do I deserve this?"

What's the answer? I don't know. After the Holocaust there were three Jewish reactions. The first was to completely leave Hashem, because he had (seemingly) left them. The second was to come up with a half-baked excuse, and remain Frum. The third was to say that just like before the war nothing made sense, so too nothing makes sense afterwards. Having a child is a mystery. Losing a child is a mystery. We don't question when good comes our way, which is fine, but then we question when bad is our lot, which is not fine. Why the sudden change in attitude?

A humble person knows that certain questions will never be answered, but that's no excuse not to work. Children are able to survive much more traumatic experiences than adults. This is because they don't know what going on. The less you know, the better your chances for survival. For some Bochurim, Yeshiva is very difficult, because things are not perfectly right. For many people, life is very difficult, because things are not perfectly right. Should the pain bother you? Yes. But to let it interfere with the mission at hand? We don't know Hashem's master plan, and may not even want to know. If we just concentrate on doing the right thing, not forming opinions, then good shtuff will happen.

(Once again, it was much more nicely said by Rabbi Friedman.)

Friday, May 22, 2009


Once you get into the habit of relying on past thought, life gets a lot easier. Don't worry, I'm sure at some point I'll give y'all some original shtuff, but right now I'm too wiped for that sort of thing. Instead, here's a farbrengen with Rabbi Chayim Friedman, originally published on October 25, 2007, as Inspiring Thoughts (No, Really).

Tonight we had a Farbrengen with Rabbi Chayim Friedman. I didn't arrive on time, and I left early. What an idiot. Rabbi F. is an amazing Mashpia. Here's the little that I caught: What is society's main problem? So there's a famous story. First of all, while the following makes sense, please know that #1. I have the rights to any self-improvement engendered, and #2. Don't blame me when things go wrong. Now that we've dealt with the disclaimers, here comes, in relatively serious fashion, the story.

The Rebbe Maharash had a Chassid who came to Yechidus (Private meeting) once a year from Peterburg. Whenever he came he would wear a Chassidic coat, but the rest of the year he wore a fashionable suit. After several years the Chassid said to himself, "Who am I fooling? The Rebbe knows I dress like a modern guy the whole year, and I fake for one day, I might as well stop the bluff and show him the truth." So the Chassid comes in, and the Rebbe asks him where his long Chassidic coat is, and he says, "In the dry-cleaners." Just kidding, they didn't have dry-cleaning in the 19th century. The Chassid explains his wardrobe change. And the Rebbe says, "I had it all wrong. I thought that you were truthful the one day a year, in your long black Chassidic coat, in Lubavitch, and that the rest of the year you were faking it. But now I see that you think that the 'Peterburg you' is the real you, and the 'Lubavitch you' is the fake.

History does not record what happened in the next year's Yechidus.

Point is, we all have this problem on some level. The problem is that we see ourselves as faking. OK, so this isn't so bad. We do fake. The problem is that we mix up the real and the fake. People are too scared to realize that what they think they're faking is actually the real them. They don't believe that they have the capability to live up their (supposed) bluff. So what do they do? They give up hope. But, my dear friends, you got the power (cue the gospel choir). If you only believe in yourself, the real self, you can do it. Who are the people who succeed? Those you believe in themselves. All right, and some of them are crackpots. Don't blame me.

Obviously I'm talking to myself just as much, and even more, than I'm talking to you. Only thing is that I dislike using the word "I" too much. In fact, at all.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dr. Heckle and Mr. Jide

Bringing back the good old days when I had time to learn chassidus in the middle of the day... here's a post, originally entitled The veins which deals with some chassidic topics. It's been a long time since October 24, 2007. Yup.

Back to the original topic,(how difficult it is not to tangentalise [Google doesn't like this word])I was affected by a recent Maamar that I just completed. The Yetzer Hora, the evil inclination, the angel of death (as the Talmud says) is intent on causing the downfall of man, leading him from the trodden path of Torah and good deeds, and bringing him into the ditch of iniquity, sin, and eventually death, whether spiritual or physical (which is why they call him the angel of death). Now this inclination dude is variously described as being a doddering old king, and sometimes a brilliant young nuclear physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Library who somehow got mixed up with the young crowd, irradiated himself with (what else?) nuclear radiation, and is now The Yetzer Hora. Regardless, he has two ways of causing man to sin. The first, which is superior, is when the guy sins, and feels incredibly guilty, repents, and leads an irreproachable life for the rest of his days. How beautiful.

Alternatively, the Yetzer Hora convinces man that what he's doing is really fine, and then there's no knowing what will occur. "Hey," our local friendly sinner says, "not only am I your local friendly sinner, but I'm not sinning! I have an excuse for everything!" This guy is basically all of us.

The solution? Get a spiritual adviser, or start gaining girth. Nothing like chocolate-chip cookies to increase spiritually and physically, right? Of course, I'm only kidding. About one of these two options anyway. As Fox says, you decide.

Oh, and by the way, do to the insistence of the almighty editor, the source for all the above genius is a Sefer called Kuntreisim Aleph, Maamar Ki Karov, by the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe. He says thank you.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Work will make you more free!

Tonight I'm in Crown Heights for Shmuelie Raitman's Lchaim (he was my shliach in YOEC) and I'm too tired to write anything new and exciting, so here's a nice rehash from November 1, 2007, edited for clarity and whatnot. Enjoy.

The maamar I chose, totally at random, was "And Israel said to Joseph", said in Weisbaden by the Rebbe Rashab in 1911. This Maamar was (is) so cool that I figured I had to share it with you, so I will.

What is the difference between Shabbos and the rest of the week? On Shabbos we rest, while during the week we work. Or at least some of us do. Anyway, the spiritual difference is in how the G-dly soul is enclothed in the animal soul. See, there are two ways. The first is when the G-dly soul totally dominates, and the animal in all of us is totally nullified. So that's pretty cool, and it's what happens on Shabbos, and for Tzaddikim, all the time. Have you ever noticed how everything looks better on Shabbos, the food tastes better, people are nicer, your favorite sports teams win (unless of course someone else's favorite teams win), even the grass is greener (on your side)? This is all because the G-dly soul is dominating.

And on the weekday? Sure, the G-dly soul is enclothed in the animal one, but now it's not dominating at all. In fact, it's in exile. But it still retains some power, and let's say it causes the animal soul to learn a little, or to do a Mitzva. Then the animal soul becomes nullified on its own, because it understands how great G-d is, and it wants to participate. Isn't that beautiful? Ah, but like everything in life there's a caveat: two people can hear the same exact thing, but one of them gets it, and feels the almighty L-rd, and the other doesn't, so he just feels his own gross temporal existence. And this means that even the guy who gets it doesn't really get it, because he still feels himself, because he isn't nullified.

So what's the point of all this? Why not just have Shabbos all the time? In fact, when Moshaich comes, every day will be like Shabbos, in the sense that the G-dly soul will transform the animal soul, making it a partner in the fight for good and justice. Or something like that. But again, why not now? Why the long wait? Firstly, I have no idea. And secondly, man's whole purpose in this vale of tears is to transform this valley in the shadow of death into a place where you'll be happy to bring your kids up. That is of course if you have kids.

And how do we transform this world into a great place? By working hard. Through our struggle we can change the world.

Now, wasn't all the above inspiring? But it taught me at least one thing; that unless you get it you'll get nowhere, and the only way to get it is to try and get it. Deep, eh?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Kindly thoughts are appreciated

Tonight is the fortieth night of the omer. That's a lot of nights. Moses was on top of a mountain three times for this many days and nights. Not a blintz passed through his lips, nor the slightest draught of Appletizer. One can assume that he was a bit hungry.

What happened when he came down the mountain? Did he eat and drink? I think not. In fact, he fed others before himself! All right, so it probably didn't taste so good, but hey, how many people can say they've eaten golden ashes or the ashes of gold or whatever? Must have been quite the treat.

And what happened after that? Back up the mountain did our hero trudge, and whilst there he engaged in some epic battle with the big blue dodger (Brooklyn) in the sky. Forty days later, down he came, and one can only hope that he got a square meal for his efforts, or at least some man. Mun. Man is illegal.

Yup, this Moses guy was a character all right. You know who else was a character? Abraham. This guy slaughters three cows for their tongues, and no one even eats them! And does he complain? Shoot, if three people came to my house, pretended to eat my food and drink my drink, and then started with some craziness about a ninety year old women giving birth, I know what I'd say. And it wouldn't be, "Please sir, may I have another?"

But there you go, our forefathers sure were swell. Not to forget our foremothers of course. They had some good shtuff going for them too.
Take, for example, Leah. Here she is, tears all cried out, and what does she care about?Some dudaim. This woman is trying to beautify her home, to make it a mikdash me'at. Incredible.

Who else is there in our pantheon of Jewish heroes? How about the women in the Taz's town who put a salted goose on top of an unsalted goose in a vessel without egress entrances and then put salt on top of the whole shebang. Some people might think to suggest that the whole bottom goose is forbidden, but my friends, you and I know better. At the worst only the part of the goose which became submerged in brine would be forbidden, but even that's questionable (hat tip the Shach for some incisive commentary on this one).

Yes folks, this has been the kind of selfless dedication to Judaism that has kept us as a people around for as long as we've been around (nearly half an hour at last count!). But is that all? I think not.

Enter the princes of the tribes, and specifically Zimri Ben Salu of the Simon tribe (made large and numerous in second temple days) who had the incredible self-sacrifice to challenge Moses (remember him? The guy who didn't eat) and stand up for his dues-paying tribal members. These poor guys were in danger of being gededed, and what did Zimri get for his pains? A spear thrust through him. And not only him, but some princess too. Sheesh, talk about a raw deal.

But that's what these Simonites seem to have gotten a lot of. Did they get blessed by Jacob? No sirree! How about by Moses? You kidding me? Did they even get some decent land in the land of Israel? Can you say "scattered among the Judases"? And let's face it, those Judah people had their own issues. All right, I can buy that David didn't sin with Bathsheba, but look where he's coming from? And where he's going too-I mean, would you, as a father, be proud of your son who raped his sister? What a guy, what a guy. And yet David is the progenitor of the Messiah. Crazy.

So how's that for a little history? Stay tuned for tommorow night's foray into geopolitical consultation (don't dissapoint us again Bibi!) and painting (Monet-good, Manet? You decide). And that's all there is to it. Just a little pinch here, a little pinch there, and you can convert a genuine case of writer's block into nine paragraphs of absolute nothingness. If that doesn't take talent, then I don't know what does.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Chummus and whitefish too!

There seems to be an inherent desire to read someone else's view about what we've experienced. Often this recap will not only tell us what we've seen but will shape our own opinion; sometimes we'll argue, but more often than not we'll think that the writer's vision is the truth, and not merely one man's interpretation.

This past shabbos was, as I'm sure you all know, a shabbaton for nearly all the bochurim currently learning issar v'heter in the holy confines of the Rabbinical College of America. Several people have asked me what I wrote about the shabbos, and until now I've had to tell them "nothing." I've explained this curious lack of commentary on the past week's day of rest by saying that in fact there really wasn't too much to write. Which is true. At the same time, of course, it is shocking to suggest that Rabbi Chaim Schapiro spoke for several hours without saying anything, so I'll try to pass on a few of the snippets I recall.

There was once a guy who came to stay at some guy's house in a foreign village for shabbos. After shabbos was over the guest was prepared to leave, but the host begged and pleaded him to stay for just one more night. The guest, being a kind and compassionate fellow, acquiesced to his host's request, and he stayed there for motzei shabbos. The same thing happened the next night, and the next night, and...

On Thursday morning the guest finally prepared to leave, and his host presented him with an itemized bill! The guest was shocked, and complained vociferously at this treatment. The host said, "Hey, you came to stay for shabbos; who asked you to stay for another five days?" The guest of course pointed out that the host had told him to stay, but the host would not budge from his position, and eventually they ended up in front of a rav.

After thinking the matter over thoroughly the rav ruled that the guest had to pay the bill. The guest was understandably shocked, but he was even more shocked when his host told him not to bother paying! The guest asked, "I don't get it. First you insist on me paying, and go to a beis din, and have the case adjudicated in your favor, and then when you finally have the oppurtunity to take the money, you say you don't want it! What gives?"

The host answered, "Look, I showed you everything our town had to offer while you were here, I also wanted to show you what kind of rav we have!"
What's the point? The point is that as soon as a bochur is done learning he must get married. In other words, a bochur must continue learning until he gets married.

What happens after you finish smicha (in the eyes of the world)? You get to make a decision. Either you can learn in 770, or waste time in 770, or go work in a yeshiva somewhere, or go work for a Shliach, or...

In the vast majority of cases, working for a Shliach equals flipping the Rebbe's burgers. It's impossible that a bochur who's hired to do shlichus work in Wyoming (for example) is going to have shlichus work to do twenty four hours a day. You think people don't have jobs? You
think people are available to learn with you every evening? They have lives! Don't think though that you'll be bored. The Shliach will find plenty for you to do. You can babysit his kids, you can take his car in for an oil change, you can flip his burgers.

Some people say, "Oh, I'll bring a friend, and when we have nothing to do we'll learn!" Right. When it's six in the evening and you've done whatever, the first thing you're going to do is open up a bava metzia, right?

So what's a bochur supposed to do? Learn in 770 (or somewhere). And if he says, "But I know I'm not going to learn in 770!"? Tell him to learn in 770. "But I know I'm not going to!" Go learn. Very simple. Ain davar ha'omed bifnei haratzon and all that. Listen, if it's really true, you really won't learn, and you're not willing to make yourself learn, then go ahead, get a job in a yeshiva teaching. After all, in order to teach, you must learn. But to stam waste your time?
2. Learn Rambam every day. Not Sefer Hamitzvos, that's for veiber and kind. You have to learn three or one perek. Every day.
3. A successful Shliach isn't someone who knows the latest sports score. He's someone who has tochen. The guy who comes to your chabad house doesn't need another friend, another drinking buddy. He wants someone who knows what he's talking about.

There's a story about the countess of Miami who used to go to Mulla Azimov's shiur. Her countess friends asked her, "How can you go to his class?His French is horrendous!" She answered, "If I wanted to hear French, I wouldn't go to Mulla. I want to hear Torah, I go to Mulla."

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The baseball

I have a problem with the song "Ninth Man on the Team" by Abie Rotenberg. Actually, I have several problems.

1. All we'd like to do all day, was sit and watch our TV sets, we'd talk about the Yankees, the Dodgers and the Mets.

Why are people in New York talking about the Los Angeles Dodgers? Especially once the New York Mets have come into town.

All right, this isn't a real problem, it just irks me a little. The following though...

2. Our catcher went and broke his leg while sliding into third, "It's a forfeit!" cried the other team, "you've only got eight guys!" "No we don't," a deep voice said, much to our surprise, "Since I am their Rebbe, well the fair thing it would seem, would be to let me be the ninth man, the ninth man on the team.

What the heck is wrong with this rebbe? His student breaks his leg, and all the rebbe can do is volunteer to play baseball? How about calling an ambulance? And even if you want to taana that they called an ambulance, he sent the kid off alone? The irresponsibility is shocking.

3. Rebbe went up to bat, faced the pitcher with a smile

How did the Rebbe get to bat now? If he's replacing the kid who just went and broke his leg, he should either be on the bench (if the kid was out) or on third base. What's he doing batting? Don't tell me there was a double-switch, because of course there was only nine men total. And don't tell me that the Rebbe's at bat came the next time the catcher was supposed to bat, because it's mashmah from the song that the Rebbe came up to bat right away.

The only solution I've been able to come up with is that the Rebbe switched with the next kid in the lineup, and the catcher stayed at third base, broken leg and all, and crawled home when the Rebbe hit the game winning home run.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Shabbos Shekulo Yoreh Deah

Yechi Anachnu (This time it's for real)

Rabbi Zushe Posner came to farbreng with us tonight here at the Rabbinical College of America. I take no responsibility for the content, and I suppose he also doesn't. But one thing I'll tell you. It was interesting... a bit frustrating too. It's difficult to write someone else's train of mind. Sometimes there's nothing to write. Other times you think it'll be good, and then a little segue here, a little segue there. Happens.

I actually went in to Crown Heights with a friend to pick him up-most of the good parts here were from the ride back to Morristown. You see, the ride it was personal. The farbrengen was just a show. Anyway, he asked me where I was from, I said, "Minnesota." He said, "Feller? Koufax?"
Back in the day we used to be able to walk around anywhere no problem. I used to walk around with shlomo carlebach, who was in yeshiva then, at 2:00 AM up and down the streets around Bedford and Dean. We used to walk to Williamsburg to get food when the kitchen in yeshiva was closed. Sometimes we bought ready made food, sometimes we made food, sometimes we recycled food.

I went back from New York to Israel, they made a tzeischem l'shalom for me, the Rebbe came in for five minutes, stayed for an hour. For no one else did this ever happen. There were 15 people there max-300 claim they were there, I don't remember who was, so I can't tell them they're wrong-if looks could kill I'd be dead. People were very jealous. I would be too.
There's a problem now. Everything is politics. Tefillin, moshiach, rebbe, these are all political problems.

A few months ago I was farbrenging and a guy said, "It's a good thing you were fired (after fifty years), who knows how many Israeli neshamos you were metamtem."

I heard about the meisei talmidei akivah-they really died? No. They were thinking about the rebbe all the time, they didn't agree, they killed each other!

I started davening in a yungeleit shul, an the first week was shabbos mevorchim. I told them that if they didn't have tehillim before davening they weren't lubavitch. The next morning they had tehillim, and after davening a few yungeleit came over and said, "that's the first time we ever said tehillim on shabbos mevorchim."

There's a sicha where the Rebbe said "28 Omer" instead of "28 Iyar", about five times. You'll never hear this, because the tape is edited.

From moshe rabbeinu until our rebbe it's one rebbe, one moshiach, one Aibeshter. What happened 13 shevat 5710? The Rebbe told a story, it's been edited already, you'll never find it, the Rebbe said, "Atzmus Ein Sof came down in a body, who speaks Yiddish, english, Russian, in order to be mekarev yidden to yiddishkeit."

26 Teves 1990 a woman passed away in Pittsburgh. She wanted to be buried in Israel. She was taken from there to new York, to 770, and l the rebbe went out to the sidewalk, turned right towards kingston, and crossed the street and was standing there. A hearse used to go past there and make a right on Albany so that the rebbe shouldn't have to wait. This time the rebbe was standing there for 25 minutes.

People who cared about the Rebbe went over and (the Rebbe had problems with his hearing) said something, the Rebbe didn't hear, after 25 minutes he did them a favor and walked back to his office.

Three or four years ago someone told me, "The story is not true! I was there!" Whats not true? It wasn't 25 minutes? The Rebbe never stood there? The funeral never happened? She wasn't my mother?
Yoel is almost the same rachmanus as Melech. If they were only misnagdim, they would have been such idols, they would have been put on such pedestals... It would be a problem, Melech hasn't gotten any smaller lately.
I have a bris tomorrow morning, they want me to be sandek, they want me to be there. I'll come home and my wife will say, "You've come home drunk again."

My wife and I were in yechidus together, I left, they talked, and forty years later I still don't know what they said. I don't care.
The Rebbe is not a holy man. Rebbe is Rebbe. He's not a gutte yid, he's a Rebbe.
The casket was put on the plane, two caskets, actually. An 85 year old woman, normal, and a 35 year old woman, not normal. This young woman was sick, and she had brochos from the Rebbe that she'd be well, that she'd have kids, such amazing brochos, her parents bought her future kid a bedroom set...and she was in the casket on the plane.

We sat shivah, (if I had a mother,) my father was speaking, Moshe Landau was there, my father said, "Other chassidim have many rebbeim. Here in lubavitch we only have Rebbe."

I have a brother, very intellectual, Think Jewish, don't try reading it, you won't understand it, maybe he's too intellectual, anyway, he asked my father, what about by the Tzemach Tzedek?

The Mitteler Rebbe had a wife, his father in law was a melamed, he had five daughters, he was the Alter Rebbe's chossid, he came to the Rebbe, the Rebbe asked him, "Why don't you do shidduchim? You have five daughters, get rid of them!" The melamed said, "I have no money, what should I do? I need someone to be meshtatef with." The Rebbe said, "I'll be meshtatef with you, and people will want to marry your daughters."
There are two types of reshimos as far as I'm concerned. There are reshimos which are inherited, the Rebbe died, people inherited, they took them. I don't like these reshimos. Then there are stolen reshimos. These are ok. These are kosher.

What do I mean? There's already a machlokes in what I said. Everyone should take it like they want.

When can you have a v'zarach hashemesh? When you have a v'kam hashemesh. Otherwise, you can't have a v'zarach hashemes.

I came to 770 on Yud Shevat 1950 at 8:17. I'm not sure why, I didn't always come. I came into the zal, no one is there.

We ate and slept at Bedford and Dean. We never saw the Rebbe, he was upstairs.

I was walking around, there's no one there, someone tells me to go upstairs, there's one person there saying tehilim, the Rebbe is laying on the floor, the Rebbitzen Nechama Dina is sitting by the window.

I said tehillim there for a few minutes, then came down. Someone told me to go to Brownsville and call the yungeleit from there. In the hall, I went to get my coat, I met my brother there, Leibel.

The Rebbe came to America in 1941. He was an electrical engineer. He worked for the American government. What did he do? He kept quite.
When I was teaching, before I was fired, they would ask me, "How does the rav know?" I answered them, "Because I said so."

Zalmen Lieberov (my aidim) knows sichos. How do I know? Because Hershel Notik told me. He gave him smicha. He doesn't give smicha stam, he was worse than the Rogatchover. Hershel is not a liar. A meshugane, yeah, but not a liar.

There was a yid, Aizek Homler. He was a tzugakumener. He wasn't gezhe. This is what the Rebbe once called him.

Tzalike Azaratze was a good friend with reb hillel paritcher.

I haven't been to uman yet, maybe I'll go there. To pay money I won't, but if someone gives me a ticket? Sure I'll go. Reb Nachman wasn't an ordinary tzaddik, he was a great tzaddik.

I have a friend. I had a friend. There was someone who was very sick, they went to the Baba Sali. She was spitz---the Baba Sali told her what he told her. We should all feel like she feels.

Then there was another guy, a tzugekemener, who was also sick. He was a Sephardi, he was also told to go to the Baba Sali, he said, "Li Yesh Rebbe." Now he's in har menuchos.
My brother asked, "What's with the Tzemach Tzedek?"

You know, dassan and aviram weren't bad. Dassan's wife was shlomis bas divri. A mitzri had relation with her. She had a kid, the kid was a mamzer, everyone made fun of him, Dassan was a big guy, he said, "What's it to you? By you, he's my kid." This guy's a rasha?

The mitzrim took the straw from the Jews. What happened? The Jewish guards got beaten. Dassan was a guard. He was beaten. He's a rasha?

So they left mitzrayim, and at the end, what happened with dassan and aviram?

They fought moshe. A tallis which is all techeilis, it's needs a blue string? They didn't get it. They were all intellectual. They were all chabad. If something is all blue, if it's all holy, why do you have to add something holy? What's the point?

Korach said, all the Jews are holy. Why are you only holier? They didn't get it. Moshe wasn't holier. He was a rebbe. They didn't get what a rebbe is. A rebbe is not a holy man. Sure, he's holy, but that's not him. Not at all. He's a rebbe! Chabad always has to be intellectual. They don't get it, you have to be lubavitch, you have to have kabbalos ol.
IY"H you'll all get married. No, you'll have kiddushin, chupah. A tomim doesn't get married. Why? Kol hayotze l'milchemes beis dovid
koseiv get krisus l'ishto. Who was he married to? I don't know. But it's mashmah that way.

Ostensibly I'm married to my wife. I only realized this when my first grandchild was born. According to my wife, I still haven't realized it.
I don't give a damn about gezheh.
I was bribed by the Rebbitzen Nechama Dina. How? My mother and I would go to yechidus by the Rebbe, and afterwards we'd go to the Rebbitzen Nechama Dina. So people say I was bribed by her. The rebbe had problems with her? Yeah. I can tell you problems you don't know. But they were problems between her and the Rebbe, not you.
Two sisters get married, one stays at home, one goes out to the world. With who will the mother stay close? With the one who stays close.

Chana Gourarie, there's a Sefer, the Friediker Rebbe had three aidim, two daughters. The Rashag was married to who?

In 1978 this menuveles, the Rebbe went into his room, he ostensibly had a heart attack, the Rebbe locked his door, everyone knocked, the
Rebbe didn't answer, she knocked, the Rebbe answered. The Rebbe answered her.

In 1986, she got a klap from someone, the Rebbe said, "Who had the chutzpah to deal with my sister in law?"

After she passed away she was buried somewhere, the Chevra Kadisha came to her son.
There were three yechidisin I was by the Friediker Rebbe. I definitely remember the third, it was the day of my brother's wedding, a week later was my sisters wedding.
When the Friediker Rebbe spoke it was hard to understand him. I didn't need a translation, other people the mazkiros would help people understand.
The Rebbe said, "The world says, leave the world and learn. I say, enter the world and learn." Tomchei Tmimim is a military school. You do what you're told to do. You don't want to? Kushen tuchus.
I saw the Rebbitzen Nechama Dina. She was a queen. On her table was a seven layer cake. First was cake, then icing, then cake, then icing, then cake, then icing, then cake. I ate a piece of the cake, and she asked me if I want some more, my mother said, "No he doesn't want," I said, "Yeah," she gave me another piece. A bochur told me I was bribed.
You know what's a chassdishe yid? Almost not like zalmen moshe.
There was a yid Reb Shoel (chaim shaul brook). I was by him three, four months. He told me a few things.
We have videos of the way the Rebbe davened, you watch them, you want to be there, sure, everyone does, but this is a giloi of the Rebbe. It's not Rebbe.
They wanted to draft girls to the army. The kanoim live for these things. Neturei Karta live for these things. It was like Lubavitch today.

They wanted to make a demonstration against the zionists.
My problem is that I don't know how to make up stories, so I run out of them.
You have to live with me. You can't live with R. Mendel. He was R. Mendel. I'm just Zushe. At the end of his days he wouldn't go to shul on Friday nights. I would go in to listen to his stories.
I have a kid in Israel who didn't want to talk about chassidus. One day he called me, "What's a beinoni?"
I answered, "Someone who does what he should even though he doesn't want."
"What's a tzaddik?"
"Someone who does the right thing, because he wants."
"What's a rasha?"
"Someone who does what he wants."
Let's put it this way. There's a G-d in the world. There's a Rebbe in the world. There's a Moshiach in the world. Everything else is kushen tuchus.
The Rebbe loves us, that's why we're here.
Yoel is Yoel. He's not a chozer. He's Yoel. He came here rosh chodesh Adar 1950. Until now, he's here. If there was a maamar shavuos and Yoel wasn't there? The Rebbe said to wait for him to come.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

It's all about love

Rabbi Yisroel Cotlar (whose last farbrengen had some unexpectedly pleasant results) farbrenged on Wed. Night. I didn't really feel like transcribing his every breath, and besides, he speaks quickly, so here's a few of the things he said.

How do you solve a problem? By not being a part of it. When you want to send bochurim on mivtzoyim to a shady part of town (Times Square circa 1970) who do you send, the really chassidishe guy or the one who knows what's going on in Hollywood? If you have a connection to the tachton, how can you expect to be an effectual elyon?
Chinuch has to be in a way that there is no other way. For example, Rabbi Gancz says, when he was a kid, chassidim went to mikveh. That's it. Sure, did it ever happen that they couldn't? But there was one way.

So too with anything. There's only one way. It's not "I'll try." As R. Mendel said, "I'll try" means kushen tuchus.

Nowadays, everyone has opinions. Everyone has a blog. Everyone thinks that their opinion means something, that it counts. This is simply not true! You are what you are, and what you think isn't necessarily the way things are. Without kabbalos ol you'll never accomplish anything. Of course you have to use your brains, but the base has to be simple kabbalos ol.
Sefiras Haomer is tikkun hamidos. That's nice. Who actually does it? It's a vort to say in shul, "Pesach is iskafia, sefiras haomer is tikkun hamidos, shavuos is ishapcha."

A person wrote to me (at, that he was following Simon Jacobson's book on sefiras haomer and he had problems how to implement the exercise for tiferes shebenetzach. I thought, "This is crazy! Here's a guy who knows nothing, and he's doing the right thing, an incredible thing, and I, a Rabbi, someone who learns chassidus, what am I doing?"

A Chassid has to work on his middos. We can't just say, "This is me." We have to change! Obviously we'll never be perfect, but at least we have to work! At least we have to be a mentsch.

The Rebbe Maharash said a maamar "L'havin inyan ohr ein sof." The maamar brings 21 mashalim to understand the infinite divine light. A young chassid who was there was very good at memorizing and chazzering chassidus, and he came to a town and chazzered this maamar. An old chassid there said, "What good is twenty one mashalim explaining what is ohr ein sof if you aren't a mentsch?!"

The Mitteler Rebbe was sixteen years old when he was appointed by his father to be the mashpia of the bochurim. He once said, "Anyone who doesn't work on their middos can't be in my daled amos." The chassidim of the time thought he meant ahavah and yirah in davening, very aidel inyanim. The Mitteler Rebbe said, "No, I'm talking about anger, about jealousy, about basic human emotions!"
My brother went to France to do interviews for The Early Years and the one thing that came across was that the Rebbe was very quiet, never
got any attention, never said anything. They were all amazed when later he became Rebbe and spoke for hours and hours. In fact, once a Rav came for yechidus and complained that he wasn't fit for the job, he didn't like to speak. The Rebbe answered, "And I do like to speak?"

And yet when he had to, the Rebbe went against his nature and spoke. Because when the situation demands it, we have to change. We have to work on our middos.
Rabbi Avtzon recieved a call that a body was found, a Jew, and if he wants to take care of it then be can, and if he doesn't want to then the authorities will take care of it. He said that he'll do what he can, and he got the name. He posted it on shluchim achdus and tried to find out if anyone knew of this guy. The authorities told him that every day that passed without anything being taken care of was 5,000 dollars, so Rabbi Avtzon was understandably a little anxious for it to be resolved as soon as possible.

Three days later a well-known chassid in Florida said "It's my wife's ex-husband, and I'll take care of it." He flew down to Hong Kong, paid the fifteen thousand dollars, and arranged for a burial in Florida.

How did they know he was a Jew? In the seventies this person spent some time behind bars, and right before he got released from prison he went on a shabbaton of prisoners to 770 (Rabbi Lipskier, in charge of Aleph, somehow arranged it).

For some strange reason the Rebbe didn't come in to the farbrengen on time, and about ten minutes after it was supposed to start the inmates recieved a message to split up around the crowd.

After the farbrengen was over Rabbi Lipskier explained that the Rebbe had done this because he didn't want people to be able to point and
say, "Oh look, there's the prisoners."

The prisoners were floored. They had just spent years in jail, where the whole goal was to embarass them, to point them out, to make them feel less than human, and here was someone who cared about them, who treated them like human beings!

They all decided to make a hachlota, and for what ever reason they decided to every day put on a tallis. When this guy was found he was wearing a tallis, that's how they knew he was a Jew.
There's a story of a South African girl, a Lubavitcher, who was going out with someone who wasn't frum. Her parents were very upset, and even after she got him to promise her parents that when they got married he would be frum they weren't happy.

They went into the Rebbe, (this was in the sixties), and the Rebbe said, "Words are cheap. Let him live a frum life-style for a certain amount of time, nothing to do with getting married, and then revisit the issue."

She walked out all happy, the Rebbe hadn't said no, and her parents stayed in to discuss other issue. The Rebbe said that they must call her back in, "I don't want her to think we're speaking behind her back."

Why these two stories? Because we have to have good middos. We have to be sensitive to someone else, to appreciate what they're going through, to try and help them.

There was a convention of Rabbonim to figure out how to respond to a certain government issue, and the Rebbe Rashab took a strong stance. A certain Rav argued, and the Chofetz Chaim got very upset and said that going against the Lubavitcher Rebbe was like fighting Moshe Rabbeinu!

The Rav went over to the Chofetz Chaim and said, "Are you saying that I'm like Korach?" Immediately afterwards the Chofetz Chaim, who felt very bad, begged mechila; when the Rebbe Rashab heard what had happened he told his son, "You see the kind of Krias Shema al Hamitah that the Chofetz Chaim says, the kinds of aveiros he has!"
There was a boy whose life long dream was to become a doctor. Throughout school he worked for this, and finally the day came when he had the final exam, an oral test, after this he'd be a doctor!

He answered everything perfectly, and the doctor asked him, for a final question, "What happens if you're walking along and you see a man with a huge gash in his arm, life threatening, what do you do?" The prospective doctor answered, "Well, you take out a tourniquet from your bag and take care of the issue."

"What if you don't have a tourniquet?"
"You go buy one from a store."
"What if there are no stores with tourniquets?"
"Buy a t-shirt, a towel, something!"
"What if there are no stores?"

The doctor said, "You take the shirt off your back!" The student said, "OK, I got a 97%."

"No, you failed."

Why? Because if you can't take the shirt off your back, you can't be a doctor, you can't help someone.

It's very easy when you have two shirts to give one away. But what about when you only have one shirt?
The Alter Rebbe brings a mashal in Likkutei Torah about two different types of weapons. The sword is for enemies who are near to you. The arrow is for those who are far away and hidden from you.

It wasn't easy to make the arrow. Why? Because it's a paradox. The closer you pull it to your own heart the farther it will go. So too is in avodah. The more it effects you...

A sword is good for doing what is near, for chitas and rambam and mikveh. But what about when something is buried deep inside you? You have to bring the arrow inside your own heart, to recognize your own problems, and only then you can fix the issue. And the closer you bring the arrow to yourself, the father it will go, the more it will accomplish.
Rabbi Wolf Greenglass in Montreal became a Lubavitcher when he was running away from the Nazis and came to the Lubavitcher Yeshiva in Otvosk. He needed a place to sleep, and he asked one of the bochurim if there was a bed or somewhere he could sleep in that night. The bochur pointed out a bed to him, and said that the bochur who normally slept there was away for some reason, and he could sleep there.

That night he woke up, and saw the bochur who had helped him earlier sleeping on the floor. He realized what had happened, and he thought, "If this is the type of program they have, then I want to be a part of it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Perambulating it wasn't

I know that everyone is particularly fascinated by every detail of my life, and I'd therefore like to quench my dear readerships' thirst for knowledge of myself with a list of every single song I listened to this Lag B'Omer. Impressive? Yes.

Some of these I selected, and some just came up in shuffle, so don't get all worried.

All right, Here we go:

MBD's Ich Hob Gewart (Title song)--
MBD's Helle (Ich Hob Gewart)--
MBD's Hiney (Ich Hob Gewart)--
MBD's Vayechulu (Ich Hob Gewart)--

Did everyone enjoy last night's farbrengen? I would have enjoyed it more if I had known what he was saying, but these things can rarely be helped.

Yisroel Werdyger's Emor (Bayis Neeman B'Yisrael)--
Zeh Lo Yiyeh! Gush Katif CD--
Lipa Schmeltzer's Sunrise, Sunset (Oorah-The Shmorg)--
Eitan Katz's Sheva Yipol (Oorah-The Shmorg)--
Dudu Fisher's Lo Yarda Shechina (Odecha)--
Lipa Schmeltzer's Al Tishallel (A Poshiter Yid)--

There's nothing like waking up to a little Ohad, right?

Ohad's Hatav Hashmini (The 8th Note)--
Avraham Fried's Tov Lehodos (No Jew Will be Left Behind)--

At this point I got on a bus to go to the kid's Lag B'Omer parade thingie in Boro Park, and the DVD of HASC 18 was put on. The good news was that this kept the bus (relatively) free of conversation. The bad news was that I had to listen to HASC 18.

Yisroel Lamm and the Neginah Orchestra's Overture--
YBC's Adon Olam--
YBC's Kol Hamispallel (Melech Bialo!!)--
Shlomo Simcha's Yachad--
Shlomo Simcha and Rivie Schweibel's Habet--
Piamenta's Birkat Hamazon--
The Rabbi's Sons' Rabos Machshovos--
Sruli Williger's Ashreinu--
Sruli Williger's 18 Year Tribute--
Lipa Schmeltzer's Abi Meliebt--
Shwekey's Ben Bag Bag--
Shwekey's Ki Hatov--
Shwekey's Ribbono Shel Haolam--

It ends, I cleanse myself with...

Benny Friedman, Yitzy Spinner, and Yisroel Werdyger's Chasoif (Single)--
Lipa Schmeltzer's Umein (A Poshiter Yid)--
Lipa Schmeltzer's Carry On (A Poshiter Yid)--

At this point the bus arrived in Boro Park, and the excitement of the day began. I'm of the opinion that the only thing that matters at the end of the day is that the kids had fun and that they came away with a positive impression of Lubavitch. Did that happen? I'd like to think so.

The one complaint I heard at the end (besides for the lack of organization which is endemic to Jewish events) was that there were too many women wandering around pushing double carriages (side-by-side) and generally making Lubavitch look bad. I'm not sure exactly what anyone was supposed to do about this. If the women emancipate themselves from their section, then what is anyone supposed to do? It's not like there was a single-mingle problem here; the reason the women were there was to chase their children around. Still, I get that it wasn't ideal, but again, I'm not sure how the problem could be solved. Make announcements from the podium? Maybe. But asking mothers to watch their children run roughshod over the proletariat without having any ability to control them seems to me to be a bit much.
Anyway, here's some more music...

Lipa Schmeltzer's Uman Hey (The Next Project X)--
Marcus Brothers' Don't Forget (Brooklyn)--
Ken Burgess' The Hero (I'll Never Walk Alone in the Desert)--
Lipa Schmeltzer's Baruch Haba (Likro Et Hahallel)--

At this point was the briefest of interuptions for the afternoon services, in the basement of some shteibel on 18th Ave, followed by...

Yisroel Werdyger's Umeloch (Bayis Neeman B'Yisrael)--
Shloime Gertner's Im Ain Ani Li (Nisim)--

I knew it was too good too last. On goes Yaakov Shwekey Live In Ceasaria, and out goes that most American of ideals, free choice. Oh

Yochi Briskman's Shwekey Intro--
Shwekey sings Birshus--
Shwekey sings Hein Am--
Shwekey sings a Yitzy Waldner medley--

At this point I fell asleep and woke up outside the Newark airport, listening to Shwekey sing some song with the words Shefa Rav. I doubt I missed anything during my nap. Too bad I couldn't fall asleep for the next medley, the non-express (slow) Shwekey.

Shwekey's Halo Yodata--

I'll tell you one thing, this Shwekey DVD is certainly superior to the HASC one in it's production. The HASC is full of ridiculous fades and transitions that look positively homemade, while Shwekey's gives you the whole concert without computer graphics every thirty seconds. With this brilliant insight comes shkiah, and one of the OCD bochurim turns off the bus player. I try to not to obsess too much, so it's

Shloime Gertner's Yishoma (Nisim)--
Dudu Fisher's Haazina (L'Tav U'Lchaim)--
Dudu Fisher's Uvau Haovdim (L'Tav U'Lchaim)--

And thus endeth Lag B'Omer 5769. Now it's back to Kol Zimra and all that noise.

Kdai Rashbi b'shas hadchak

Rabbi Berel Zaltzman came to farbreng for the bochurim of the Rabbinical College of America tonight (Lag B'Omer). He spoke (mostly) in Yiddish, and therefore it's very possible that I misinterpreted (even more than normal) something that he said. Still, I think I got the toichen. Enjoy.

Reb Mendel Futerfas before he left Russia was in my house in Samarkand, and he recieved a letter from his daughter in law in English (she lived in England then with his family). He sent her back a letter, "You'll learn Yiddish faster than I'll learn English." Six months later she sent him a letter in Yiddish.

His ahavas yisrael was incredible. I'll never stop talking about it. He learned things from everyone. He once saw two goyim sitting and drinking mashke.

One of them said, "I love you."
The other answered, "Oh, leave me alone."
The other replied, "No, really, I do!"
"If you really love me, you know what I need."
"How should I know?"
"If you don't know what I'm missing then you don't really love me."

Reb Mendel was a businessman in Russia and England. He only became a klei kodesh once he became mashpia in Kfar Chabad. All his free time he spent in Chabad House-no home, no supper, no nothing. He spent all his free time working in the Chabad House, making flyers, taking care of programs, etc. All his salary he sent to Merkos, and Rabbi Chadokov sent him a salary, as a Shliach.

In the war in Samarkand all the Lubavitchers made a living from sewing and weaving. It was impossible to find anything in the stores, it all went to the war effort. Reb Mendel, was one of three partners, and one of them would go once every week or two weeks to a big factory in Tashkent were there was a large cloth factory; they'd buy a large truck's worth of cloth there, and then come back and sell it to the Lubavitchers who would make out of it clothing.

The three partners would all put a certain amount of money together and buy cloth. The only problem was, R. Mendel never had any money! They asked him, "Where's your money? Last week you had a hundred or a thousand ruble, and now nothing?!" He said, "How can I have money in my pocket when people are starving? Please, layout for me, and I'll pay you back."

Eventually his partners got fed up and told him, that the next time he had money he should go buy gold coins, which aren't negotiable tender, and this way he'd have money for more than a day. He did as they suggested, and that night he took the gold and put it under his bed, he didn't have a mattress, it was on the floor. The whole night he couldn't sleep, he was sleeping on gold and people were starving! The next morning he woke up early, hurried to the exchange, and distributed the proceeds. When his partners asked him where the money was he said, "Either you continue to lay out money for me or kick me out of the partnership." They did the former.

Reb Mendel used to say, a wife only needs two dresses, one for the weekdays and one for Shabbos, everything else has to go to tzedaka. Once a bochur spent forty rubles on a pair of pants, and Reb Mendel said, "What are you doing? You just spent 36 rubles of tzedaka money on yourself?!"

They used to say that he would first buy someone else chocolate and then himself eat dry bread with cheap fish.

(i.e. even someone who had all their needs taken care of, besides chocolate, he would give help them with luxuries before taking care of his own basic needs).
There were two friends, one a chassidishe yid, and one a misnagdishe talmid chacham. The misnaged asked his friend, "What benefit do you have from learning chassidus?" The chassid answered that without chassidus it was impossible to have bittul to Hashem. Without chassidus, the greater you become in Torah and Mitzvos, the more full of yourself you get.

The misnaged answered that he doesn't think it's true-it's certainly possible to become an anav from learning Gemara.

A little while later came Simchas Torah, and the chassid, who happened to be the gabbai of the shul (though it wasn't a chassidishe shul) started to call people up for hakafos.

First he called up all the rabbanim and those who had smicha, and they came up and did their hakofah. Next he called up all the shochtim, and they also took their turn. After them was the melandim of the town, and up they came for their hakofah. After them the gabbai called up all the anovim, and the whole shul stood up....
There was once a real misnaged named Avraham who built a sukkah and was sitting in it on the first night of sukkos waiting for the ushpizin to appear.

On the other side of town there was a chassid who suffered a lot at the hands of this misnaged, and he decided that it was time to put him in his place. He said some lchaim and started to walk over to the misnaged's sukkah.

A little while later a voice called from the heavens and said, "Avraham, Avraham!" The misnaged answered, "Hineni!" The voice, said, "I am Hashem, and I've come to give you a message. Tomorrow I want you to get up in the middle of kriah and tell everyone exactly what happened. After that you should call up the chossid who will give further instructions. I'm now going to make holy rain on your sukkah, that you should be blessed." Immediately after this some water started coming into the sukkah, and the misnaged ran about collecting as much as he could of the precious liquid.

The next morning the misnaged got up in the middle of krias hatorah and said, "Last night I was sitting in the sukkah and Hashem himself appeared to me, calling out 'Avraham, Avraham.' (I know it was Hashem, because a malach would have said 'Reb Avraham.') He then told me to call up the chassid, who would give us all instructions, and then holy rain came down and watered my sukkah with blessings."

Up came the chassid, and he said, "Last night I said a lot of lchaim, and after simchas beis hashoevah I went over to the misnaged's sukkah
and went to the bathroom..."

The misnaged didn't bother the chossid again.
The Rebbe made a big shturem about the daily learning of the Rambam, and after the completion of the first cycle they made a big siyum in one of the big halls of New York. There were several thousand Jews there, and on the dais were many important Jews, Roshei Yeshiva, Poilishe Admorim, big talmidei chachamim.

There were two roshei yeshiva (Torah!) sitting next to each other, and right opposite them in the crowd were two poilishe chassidim. One of the roshei yeshiva turned to the other and said, very seriously, "When I was a bochur we always made sure to shave every day, because a
bochur has to be a mentch, a yid. It happened though once that I was so involved in a sugya that I totally forgot to shave! That morning I was walking down the hallway and who do I see walking down the hall towards me but one of the mothers of one of the other bochurim! I immediately realized that I hadn't shaved that morning, and I was so embarassed! How could I forget?"

That year Yom Kippur I was busy klapping al cheit and I was thinking, 'What is this bubba meisos? Al cheit schmal cheit, with what have I sinned the whole year?' Then I remembered that morning when I had forgotten to shave, and made a major chilul Hashem, and I thought, 'Ahh, now I have what to say al cheit for!'

Later I told this story to my rosh yeshiva and he said, 'Ahh, a kluger yid.'"

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Traumatize this!

As far as memory serves, Little Red Riding Hood ended up being eaten by the big bad wolf. Or maybe she was threatened by the wolf, but then she was saved by the hunter? I really don't recall. Either way, she probably didn't have such a wonderful life. Either she's slowly being digested by a large carnivorous beast, or she probably ends up marrying some guy who's thirty years older than she is. Ok, twenty.

Cinderella was also an interesting person. At least she got to live happily ever after. That must be nice to know that things are going to be happy ever after. More typical is that someone thinks they'll be happy forever, and they don't realize that real life ain't like that for six months or something. Or else they go into it knowing that all they have to look forward to is a veil of tears. Which is worse, to be happily deluded for a short period of time, only to have those hopes cruelly dashed on the monstrous boulders of reality, or to go in with no idealism, no hope, no dream of a better future, but also no crushing defeat at the opening of the shaded eyes? It's a good question, no?

This brings us to the fascinating story of Hansel and Gretel. The real question is, who is to blame, their father or step-mother? Or maybe their real mother, the witch? After all, if she hadn't divorced their father, or refused custody of the children, she would never have had to lure them into her forest hideout and try out some major Jerusalem mother behaviour. All right, so the facts I've presented to you here
don't fit the sorry? Isn't that what being a member of the media is all about?

Snow White had issues too. Often people don't understand how difficult it must have been to live with seven dwarfs. Not only was their house probably way too small for her, but you have to remember that some of them had major personality issues. Truth be told, they probably all did. Narcolepsy is a personality issue, no? So is narcissism.

Sleeping Beauty also had her strong points. I'm not quite sure what they were, but she certainly had them. I mean, no one I know has ever been kisssed by a prince. Truth be told, I really don't ever want to be kissed by a prince. Do you?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Keeping Kosher

This past Tuesday we (the Smicha Bochurim in RCA) had a shiur with Rabbi Levi Gorelick of the OK. Here's what he said. As always, I'm responsible whenever it doesn't make sense or it's not true or whatever. Oh, and one more thing before the feature presentation. There's a new Haveil Havalim up!

Until the Rebbe, "Kashrus" meant that a Rav has to know what the laws of Kashrus. Now, after the Rebbe, Kashrus means helping Jews keep Kosher.

The Tzelimer Rav once came to the Freidiker Rebbe and asked him why he didn't open a hashgacha to help support his Yeshivos and other mosdos? The Friediker Rebbe answered him, "You're making food that's kosher, I'm making people that keep kosher."
Someone in Lakewood doesn't have issue of Kashrus-there's always Kosher food available. A bochur in Lubavitch, however, has to be an educated consumer. When you're on Merkos Shlichus in who know's where...

I grew up on shlichus, we had no Kosher butcher, bakery, anything. I used to go down to the fish market, watch a goy fillet a fish, grind it up, and my mother would make gefilte fish out of it.

When we wanted milk, we had to go to a farm to get milk that was chalav yisrael. We had to pasteurize it once a week, and even used to make our own cheese. Once my family went up to a farm and the farmer had just finished milking his cow, so my father said we couldn't drink it, even though my mother really needed the milk. The farmer promised that he had no other animals on the farm, but my father still wouldn't allow it. Eventually the guy admitted he also had a donkey on the farm, but even so, this was definitely cow's milk. My father still wouldn't allow us to drink it.

Reb Chaikel Chanin, a big chassid, once came to Italy and told me a story. When he was a bochur in Russia there was once a big fight in his city about who would be the next rav, a chossid or a misnaged. The local chassidim sent a delegation to the Friediker Rebbe asking for a brocha that a chossid should be appointed rov, but the Rebbe told them that they should appoint a misnaged instead! The Chassidim of course immediately dropped their opposition, and a new, misnagdishe, rov was soon appointed.

One of the local chassidim figured that something strange must be going on here, and he decided to find out what was going on. Back in those days rabbis didn't have offices, they would just set up shop in the shul and answer questions there. This chossid decided to hide under the Rov's table in the shul and figure out what was going on.

A local, non-chassidic guy came to the rov, and started to pour out his heart. He worked in a factory where the manager was a virulent anti-semite, possibly even Jewish, who made things as hard as he possibly could for his Jewish workers. He even refused to allow them to take shabbos off, threatening them that they'd lose their jobs if they tried to do such a thing. The rov listened to the man's problems, cried with him, and in the end told him that it was a matter of pikuach nefesh, and as long as he tried as hard as he could to avoid violating the laws of Shabbos he was allowed to work there.

A few minutes later a Lubavitcher walked in to the rov, and it turned out that he too had this very same problem! He poured out his tale of woe, and the Rov was deeply affected by his suffering. At the end of the conversation the Rov said, "You, a worker for the government with kids in a government school, have no heter!"

(In Russia there used to be special schools for children of government officials where they would be trained to be the next generation of government employees. The rov was saying that as a Lubavitcher, who represented mesiras nefesh, he had no heter to work in shabbos, even if it was mesiras nefesh)
I once took my kids up to my brother in law in New Hampshire to see how milk is actually made, i.e., that it cows from a cow, not from a container. While we were there I saw a sign that said "Pure Maple Syrup", and I decided to show my kids what Kashrus really means. I went to the farmer and asked, "What's in your maple syrup? The farmer answered that the only thing in there was maple syrup, as the sign explicitly said. "So it is kosher?" I asked? He answered that it certainly was. I said, "No it's not." He wanted to know why. After all, what else was in there but pure maple syrup? I asked him, "What's your anti-foaming agent?" He said, "Oh, I use my own home-made butter." I said, "You see? It's not kosher." And you know what? This isn't even illegal! According to the law, you don't have to report anti-foaming agents. The truth is, it would probably be bittul, but you're not allowed to teach a goy the laws of bittul, because then he'll start being his own rav and be mevatel things lechatchila, which is of course not allowed.
I was once quoted in El-Al's magazine, and soon after took a flight to Israel. I noticed a bunch of frum people going to the back of the airplane after they had eaten a fleishik dinner to look for non-dairy creamer for their coffee. I asked on one of them, "Why are you going to the back of the plane to get non-dairy creamer? What's wrong with the regular creamer?" He looked at me funny and said, "The dinner they served was fleishik, so I need non-dairy creamer." I said, "What's wrong with having milk and meat together?"

Suddenly there was a big tumult, everyone was looking at me like I was crazy, a Jew in a black hat and coat with a beard saying that you could eat milchigs and fleishigs together! One of the stewardess's came over to me, and asked me what my problem was. I said, "It's not fair to to you, having to be bothered by all these people for non-dairy creamer, when they could just as well use the provided dairy creamer!" The stewardess looked at me like I was crazy, and wondered how I could say such a thing? I showed her my picture in the in-flight magazine, and she realized that a Rabbi working for the OK probably knows his stuff, so she listened to what I had to say. I said, "Look at the ingredients of the non-dairy creamer you're going to serve these frum Jews here and tell me what you see." She got a container, read the ingredients, and said, "What's the problem? I don't see any milk here." I said, "Look closely at the ingredients." She started to read them out loud, and when she reached "WPC" I asked her, "What is that?" She had no clue, and I explained that it's whey protein concentrate, i.e. a dairy product. She asked me how it was legal to call it "non-dairy" creamer, and I answered her that in Torah, anything which has milk or any milk product in it is milchig, but in American law, only milk is dairy. It's possible that cottage cheese can be non-dairy too!
It's not possible, naturally, that apple juice, orange juice, whatever, should taste the same year after year, due to changes in climate, growing patterns, etc. And yet somehow it does taste the same. How? Through the addition of sugar or water to adjust the taste so that it should be uniform. Did you know that according to the law a company can write on their product "100% Juice" and add up to seventeen (17!) percent sugar or water?
There's a heter to eat butter made by a non-Jew, because it's impossible to make butter from a non-Kosher animal. Nowadays though, this heter doesn't work, even for people who eat chalav akum. Why? Because it's possible to have treif butter.

Milk is put through a separator, which separates the hard milk from the water. It used to be that this water was just thrown out, but nowadays it's used to make sugar, whey, etc.

In order to make hard cheese you need rennet to put in milk. For this cheese a Jew has to put in the rennet, or according to some opinions merely own it (Shach). If this isn't done, then the cheese is gevinas akum, which is forbidden by all. While this cheese is being made it makes whey, which is then used to make butter. So if this whey comes from gevinas akum then the butter is not kosher, even if it has all kosher ingredients.
There was a company which produced hand-made chocolate balls. They wanted to become kosher, so we told them to send us a list of their ingredients. After we received the list we went to the plant to take a look at their operation. One of the mashgichim noticed that the workers would dip their hands in vinegar before making each ball in order that the hot chocolate shouldn't stick to their hands. This vinegar was not on the ingredient list, because it didn't go into the food (it evaporated once the balls dried).

We told the owner of the plant that he had to write everything that the company used, not only what he thought we'd care about. When we got the next ingredient list, it had toilet paper, mops, everything! The guy had no clue what needed to be kosher!
There are different types of ingredients which can go into a product, and the list of what is what is kept secret. Why? Because the list is constantly changing, and it wouldn't do for people to be relying on an old list.
1. Items that need no hechsher, regardless of where they're made in the world or by whom. This list does not include fruits and vegetables.
2. Item is Kosher, even without symbol, whether it's from a from certain supplier, with a specific lot number, etc.
3. Needs a hechsher, i.e. a symbol, stamp, or letter.
4. Tanker-this fleet is always kosher, for example, Domino Sugar's tankers are all kosher.
5. Tanker that needs instructions along with it.
6. Ingredients that are not kosher but are allowed in a kosher factory, for example gelatin in a candy factory. Since gelatin can only be used in soft candy (the equipment used to make hard candy would be destroyed by gelatin) it's allowed in certain instances.

A factory is not allowed to have compatible Kosher and not-kosher products, i.e. it's not allowed to have both kosher and not-kosher canola oil.
To kasher a home is relatively simple. A factory is very difficult. For example, nowadays many factories use a closed loop steam system, which means that you can kasher everything involved in making a product, and yet if the steam system is connected to something which is used to make non-kosher food then the whole thing is treif.

Or, for example, there's a major problem with spray dryers, massive three-story funnel-shaped machines, which turn liquids into powders. How do you kasher them? After all, everything in them turns immediately to a solid! Once someone tried kashering one with a blowtorch, but I don't think they ever allowed him to try that again.
Zev Katz tells a story of a big rav who always cursed out Lubavitch who suddenly stopped. He was asked why, and he explained by telling a story.

He had once gone on a trip to some small city in Canada, and he went to eat breakfast by a non-Lubavitcher Rabbi in the city. He was offered coffee, and the Rabbi mentioned that since he was so far from "civilization" he had no access to chalav yisrael milk, for which he apologized. The Yerushalmi Rav said it was ok, but he didn't have any milk. Later that day he was invited to the local shliach's for supper, which was pareve, and he was offered coffee and milk afterwords. He declined, explaining that he only drinks chalav yisrael milk. The shliach said, "What do you think I drink?" The Rav said, "But the other Rabbi in the city told me that there's no chalav yisrael available in the city?" The shliach replied that he would go to a farm every week and ensure a supply of chalav yisrael.

The Rav said, "Since then, when I saw the mesiras nefesh a Chabad shliach has, I only have good things to say about Lubavitch."
So we once had a mashgiach working in a big hotel in Manhattan making a dinner for a big Jewish organization that included 800 Cornish hens. The mashgiach was walking around the kitchen, and he spotted a bunch of chicken entrails in a garbage can which obviously should not have been there. He asked the chef in charge, and the guy said, "Don't you see there's 800 chickens here? How the heck should I know?"

The mashgiach immediately called up Rabbi Heller and asked what to do. After all, this was a Chaticha Haruya Lehiskaved, did they have to throw them all out?

You want the answer? Go learn!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The nail on the head

Last night Rabbi Chaim Schapiro participated in a Smicha Farbrengen (happy 22nd birthday Michoel [the TRS chavrusa] Rose and Mendy Schapiro!). Here's an unedited transcript of his words. Enjoy."

A Lady came in, nudged the Rogatchover to give her a brocha, he said, "Nu, I'm not a rebbe!" A rov who was sitting there said, "It says that the brochos of a hedyot shouldn't be light in your eyes, kal v'chomer a great Rov like you!" The Rogatchover said, "You give her a brocha, it won't be a kal v'chomer!"

Now it's ktzas aveilus. But we're chassidim, we make farbrengens. It's parshas emor, the Rebbe would kuch in emor v'amarta, to warn the elders on the youngsters. You can't tell kids, you have to teach them. But that's not what it means. Everyone is a kid. You have to always learn from someone else.

L'zahar milashon Zohar, zehirus, shining. Not only do you have to warn, to scream, which you can't even do, but the gedolim have to shine on the ketanim. Even in a mikve (where normally you aren't allowed to say Torah, but if you see someone doing something wrong, you're allowed to say Torah), even before your teacher.

If the gedolim shine on the ktanim...
L'hazher hagedolim al haktanim-it means simply. There's an old argument. What's the main thing? Pnimius or chitzoniyus? One thing no one disagrees with-if you want to teach someone else-most people can't see pnimius. Those that can only see good. Otherwise, by yourself, you have to look at pnimius. But for other people? You can't see their pnimius. In order to make others shine, you have to yourself do what's right and this will make others shine.

The year of smicha goes by very quick. Why? Because you're full, doing something every day. Other years, you're wasting time, you always wait for the next day, for tomorrow, because hopefully tomorrow will be better. 19 Kislev, 10 shevat, Purim, lag b'omer, camp, merkos shlichus. Truth is, if you live the whole year like that, the year is wasted. But if you sit and learn properly, in smicha, then it goes very quickly.

And at the end, did you do enough? The answer is always no-we're only human.

When we go to the next stage, it happens, we have to know that now we're constantly on l'hazher gedolim al haktanim, not only on Fridays.

Gorelick said only half a true story. You'll be shluchim, the elite of the elite, you have a tattoo on your head...the truth is, whatever you'll do, you have a tattoo on your head that you're a Lubavitcher. As is known the story of the rebbe maharash, that once he met a maskil in the street, and greeted him as a Jew. The maskil asked, how did you know I'm a Jew? The rebbe answered, every male Jew has a bris, and by you, the mohel stuck the orlah on your nose where I could see it.

I'm not a preacher; at the end of the day, everyone gets it. I don't mean the chassidishe shtuff, but at the end of the day, everyone gets it. Some people it takes the market to crash, others a major life problem, others they just get old. What do they get? Hashem is true, judaism is true, Torah is true. Eventually everyone davens properly.

Eventually everyone takes it seriously. Some people become talmidei chachamim. Some people don't. Listen, it's a chisaron, don't get me wrong, you should be a Talmid chacham. But even if not...

Someone wrote, what is good in a bochur? Yirei shamayim, Midos tovos, lamdan, no discussion of money.

If you're pust, you're kids are double. If you're double, you're kids are quadruple. Even if you're not, you still need Hashem's help. People who say, "when I have kids I'll throw my tv out." it doesn't work.

I heard, someone said, I can bring professionals to give marriage counseling to the older bochurim... I wiggled out of it. My zeide had it?

Schneur zalmen gorelik said, kfar chabad is already big, it needs a good rav, I quit. The Rebbe said, you are right, you become a good rav!

I have talmidim who have ten year old kids. I have bochurim who weren't so good... And now they're kids are good, they go to shiurim. Why? They married good wives, their kids went to good chadarim and came home... Point is, they got it!

If you will eventually get it, get it now! You will get it. Why wait? Everything else is nothing, it's all narrishkeit. It's shtussim and havalim. All that matters is Torah, mitzvos, and nachas from kids.

There comes a point when everyone matures... You wake up, no one is telling you what to do, and you become mature.

You have to take the bull by the horns and say-I am a chassidishe bochur!

And what's with actuality? You have to make a decision tomorrow-things which are now shvach, you have to make them strong... Coming to chasidus, davening with a minyan, not at 9:52, at 9:30, eating brekkis properly, learning nigleh...

There are people who at 50 look like yeshiva bochurim. They smell like yeshiva bochurim, their hats are like bochurim, their shirts are white like bochurim...

Other people are 50 and they don't look like bochurim. And the truth is that every person has to have the mindset of a yeshiva bochur, which is a chossid of the Rebbe, to do what the Rebbe wants.

Like R. Melech said, there was a guy who when he wasn't working had the Seder of tomchei tmimim! We have to have this. This has to go forever.

I'm speaking as if I'm perfect. I'm not. But... There's nothing to be ashamed of to be a chassidishe bochur. Berel junik cut diamonds. But no one looked at him like a guy who cut diamonds. He was a chassidishe yid. The rebbe gave him permission to knock on his door whenever.

Right now, in yeshiva, we have what we are supposed to do. This is the etzem. And this has to shine, lhazher gedolim al haktanim. It has to shine forever. And the kiddush Hashem you'll make will shine forever.
Every day of sefira is a separate day. That's why make brocha every day. But if forget one? You have to make a brocha that it's the 28th day. And if you're missing one, you're missing one! So you can't make it.
Nita kein farfallen.

If a kid is sick, and you can't make a bris, then if he has one late, it's poyel l'mafrea.

This is one of the beauties of Judaism, at least between you and Hashem, not between you and your fellow, even though it Should.

Every day of sefiras haomer includes all the previous days. And we can say that nita kein farfallen, pesach sheni, is also included. Even if you didn't do what you have to, you didn't show up on time...

Yisrael Gordon tells a story, his father took him out of class because the teacher said that avraham had a daughter, why didn't he marry her to yitzchak? Because to a medrash you don't make a marriage. His father took him right out of class. You don't make fun of medrashim.

A baaleboss said, "You know. If you don't learn, nothing happens. So too, don't tell me a guy did nothing and he has money. Watch-in three years, he'll have nothing." you can't be a baki b'shas without learning.

It takes only one nekudah, one moment, nita kein farfallen. It doesn't work with rabbi spalter.

One time they were trying to be mater an agunah-it says that if a real beis din does this, and even if it's not real, the husband is going to die. R' Chaim said, when they were trying to do this in his yeshiva, a guy made problems from a tosafos, R' chaim said, "no one ever died from a tosafos."

Lama nigarah-they were doing a mitzvah, they wanted another. They had mesiras nefesh, they had to take out dassan and aviram, and they still demanded, let us do the mitzvah! Certain inyanim are farfallen. We have to be realistic.
I was thinking... if you can't explain something to someone, you can't understand it. We learned an interesting din today. Ramah-only muttar if mixed keilim. Taz-don't need to, because eventually will mix it. It's a catch-22.

In chassidus we find this, that when a person is a tzaddik, he is like he never sinned and he never will sin.

Truth is, Taz only speaks of where it's owned by one person.

Every person will eventually get it. What does the Taz say? It's like it's already mixed! It's like it's already mixed. We will become one. We will do the right thing. We shouldn't need a problem to become closer. Why ask for avodah through simcha? Because there's also a way of avodah through pain! But that's not we need. That's not what we want.

People fall sometimes. Happens to everyone. Who do you are, you think you're so hot, you can't have a yeridah? But at the same time, everyone has an aliyah! You have to consider it like you had the aliyah now!

The rebbe maharash said, you have to be scared of pilpulim in tanya, but if it helps in avodas Hashem, it's not so terrible.

R' Yoel prepared a sample of Sefer ha'archin for the rebbe, tzimtzum, The Rebbe was very happy, said there was one mistake though. Wouldn't say what it was.

A person thinks he has an addiction, he's learning disabled, he thinks that if he stops he'll be losing out.

A guy started becoming frum, "chabad" is bt, lubavitch is chassidus. Only thing is, he said, I'm not becoming like the rabbis. His picture though, he looks like a rabbi! What happened? He became frum, and he wanted! And he doesn't understand, how is it that he didn't want?

Look, a person in one situation can't possibly understand what he will want in another situation. It's two different worlds.

The minutes you break away, you're in a new world. A guy tells me, my phone broke, don't get a blackberry! Your life is not yours anymore!

Don't look back! Everyone had to make changes. Everyone makes changes. You don't want to go back to 15 in mesifta. Since you will change, you will see the truth, I'm not a navi (maybe a ben navi), but when you leave! You won't have these shtussim. New ones maybe...
Like they say, an old horse you don't want.

Efraim piekarski said, what do you mean you didn't come to your brother's birthday?
Mincha by the Rebbe was an hour (only in winter) after shkia, with kriah, and right away was maariv. This was only until 22 shvat 1988. After that they ended early.
In 1990, rosh hashanah, the Rebbe said, higher than pashtus, higher than mamash!