The Times We Live In

I heard Rabbi Jungreis speak for Yom Hashoah. He very interestingly said we are living in the time of Moshiach and even had a kind of proof based on the verse in Leviticus 26 – “I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.” In essence the land has now been remembered as we got Israel after Yom Hashoah. He felt the Holocaust was worse than the Tochacha and when he passes Newark, NJ and sees in EL Al Plane he says “Shma Yisroel” acknowledging that Israel is a mere flight away.

A Visit From A Gadol

While studying by HaGaon Rav Tzvi Kushelevsky, I contracted mononucleosis which confined me to months of bedtime rest. For two years (and more), I battled the disease with some respite in-between. One afternoon while sitting for lunch, all of a sudden a lot of hissing went around the room. I, nor the people I was sitting with, knew the reason. All of a sudden, I saw Rav Avrohom zt”l and a few others approaching. He came to the yeshiva for a visit. One person with him recommended the drinking of grape juice to gain energy. Though I was honored to receive the visit, I knew a yeshiva not so far away was missing their leader during this time.

The Chasam Sofer (Rebbetzin Genechovsky is an ainekle)

The Chasam Sofer was once asked how he could pasken very complicated shaylos so quickly. He responded that when he learned a Gemara, he first crystallized the principles that emerged from his learning, and then he tried to imagine all the different circumstances to which those principles might apply. Thus when a case involving those principles later arose before the Chasam Sofer, he found that he had usually thought about just such situation previously and how the principles would apply. Unfortunately, few of us learn like the Chasam Sofer in this respect.

Rav Avrohoms zt”l’s “Towering” Bein Hazmanim Shiur

I often escorted Rav Avrohom to shiurim he gave Friday night. He usually spoke in different shuls. On the walk he would always ask my thoughts on a chakirah and that was always the chakirah he discussed in the shiur. However, one shiur, the Bein Hazmanim shiur he gave in Bnei Brak was a standard yearly event and was well known throughout Bnei Brak. He would often go to his son Yossi before he delivered the shiur. The first time I went I was a bit intimidated as the Beis Medrash held hundreds of people and extended far to the back. During the shiur questions would be asked from all four corners of the room and Rav Avrohom would answer them all. It was at one shiur, however, one year that I saw something memorable, something seen done by other Gedolim. Right after he entered the hall, I saw him run, almost sprint to the microphone in the front of the room. Suddenly he appeared to everyone in the front. There was no “few extra seconds of amazement”that the participants could have enjoyed to watch him walk to the stage. Instead, he ran and those present could only stand in amazement of his Torah thoughts but not his physical presence.

By Rabbi Binyomin Adler On Tehillim – Talmid Of HaGaon HaRav Tzvi Kushelevsky Shlita

וַאֲנִי בְּרֹב חַסְדְּךָ אָבוֹא בֵיתֶךָ אֶשְׁתַּחֲוֶה אֶל הֵיכַל קָדְשְׁךָ בְּיִרְאָתֶךָ

But I, through Your abundant kindness I will enter Your house; I will prostrate myself toward Your Holy Sanctuary, in awe of You. In the previous verse it is said אִישׁ דָּמִים וּמִרְמָה יְתָעֵב יְ-ה-וָ-ה, HaShem abhors a bloodthirsty and deceitful man. The Baal HaTurim (Shemos 15:18) teaches us an important rule regarding the placement of HaShem’s Name in Scripture. It is said (Shemos 15:18) יְ-ה-וָֹ-ה יִמְלֹךְ לְעֹלָם וָעֶד, HaShem shall reign for all eternity! In this verse the Name of HaShem precedes the word יִמְלֹךְ, He shall reign. However, in Tehillim (146:9-10) it is said הוָה שֹׁמֵר אֶת גֵּרִים יָתוֹם וְאַלְמָנָה יְעוֹדֵד וְדֶרֶךְ רְשָׁעִים יְעַוֵּת: {י} יִמְלֹךְ יְ-ה-וָ-ה לְעוֹלָם אֱלֹהַיִךְ צִיּוֹן לְדֹר וָדֹר הַלְלוּיָ-הּ, HaShem protects strangers, orphan and widows He encourages; but the way of the wicked He contorts. HaShem shall reign forever; your G-d, O Zion; from generation to generation. Halleluyah! In this verse the word יִמְלֹךְ, He shall reign, precedes the Name HaShem. The Baal HaTurim writes that given that Dovid HaMelech ended his praise with the words וְדֶרֶךְ רְשָׁעִים יְעַוֵּת, but the way of the wicked He contorts, he did not wish to associate HaShem with evil. [This idea is found in the Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 3:6) that states that HaShem did not wish to associate His Name with evil, so He did not write in the Torah (Bereishis 1:5) וַיִּקְרָא אֱ-לֹהִים לָאוֹר יוֹם וְלַחשֶׁךְ קָרָא אֱ-לֹהִים לַיְלָה, and HaShem called to the light: “Day,” and to the darkness HaShem called: “Night.” Rather, it is said :  וַיִּקְרָא אֱלֹהִים לָאוֹר יוֹם וְלַחֹשֶׁךְ קָרָא לָיְלָה, and HaShem called to the light: “Day,” and to the darkness He called: “Night.”]

We can apply the teaching of the Baal Haturim, which is based on the Medrash, to our verses here. אִישׁ דָּמִים וּמִרְמָה יְתָעֵב יְ-ה-וָ-ה, HaShem abhors a bloodthirsty and deceitful man. The Name HaShem is not mentioned next to the words describing the bloodthirsty and deceitful person. Furthermore, the Name HaShem is followed by the word וַאֲנִי , but I.

 

We can suggest reading the words as follows:יְ-ה-וָ-ה- וַאֲנִי, HaShem and I, implying that when one abhors a bloodthirsty and deceitful person, He attaches himself to HaShem, similar to the verse that states (Tehillim 118:25) אָנָּא יְ-ה-וָ-ה הוֹשִׁיעָה נָּא, and the Gemara (Sukkah 45a) interprets the words אָנָּא יְ-ה-וָ-ה to read אני והו, literally translated as He and I. He can then enter the house of HaShem and prostrate himself toward HaShem’s Holy Sanctuary in awe.

Story with Rav Avrohom zt”l

On Motzei Shabbos, I along with someone else stayed in Rav Avrohom’s apartment to watch it as the Rav and Rebbetzin went out. Upon their return, I made plans with Rav Avrohom to visit someone. We went over the instructions including the correct taxi needed to take. I and the person I was with went on the route and didn’t exactly get to the destination without hassles and delays. Nonetheless, we made it back to the apartment later that night. Rav Avrohom asked how it went. We didn’t want to go into all the details, but we did sort of hint that we encountered some complications in getting there. He responded – “So you arrived, and you made it back – Baruch Hashem.'” With confidence he stated the main point – that Hashem took care of the journey and we made it there and back.

Rabbi Binyomin Adler – Pesach and How to Succeed in Torah

We begin the Haggadah with the words הא לחמא עניא די אכלו אבהתנא בארעא דמצרים כל דכפין ייתי ויכול כל דצריך ייתי ויפסח, this is the bread of poverty which our fathers ate in the land of Egypt. Whoever is hungry, let him come and eat. Whoever is in need, let him come and celebrate the Pesach. Rav Moshe Shternbuch, shlita, in his classic Modaim Uzmanim (Volume 3:254), wonders why this proclamation is unique to Pesach. Do we not have an obligation on every festival to invite the poor and the hungry? Rav Shternbuch answers that the Vilna Gaon points out that it is said (Shemos 13:6-7)  שִׁבְעַת יָמִים תֹּאכַל מַצֹּת וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי חַג לַי-ה-וָֹ-ה: {ז} מַצּוֹת יֵאָכֵל אֵת שִׁבְעַת הַיָּמִים וְלֹא יֵרָאֶה לְךָ חָמֵץ וְלֹא יֵרָאֶה לְךָ שְׂאֹר בְּכָל גְּבֻלֶךָ, for a seven-day period shall you eat matzos, and on the seventh day there shall be a festival to HaShem. Matzos shall be eaten throughout the seven-day period; no chametz may be seen in your possession, nor may leaven be seen in your possession in all your borders. Why does the Torah repeat the injunction to eat matzos for seven days? The Vilna Gaon explained that the first command is that every individual should eat matzah for all seven days. The second command, however, states יֵאָכֵל, that one should ensure that others have matzah to eat for the entire Pesach. Thus, it is specifically on Pesach where we are required by the Torah to feed others. Yet, this still does not explain why we are specifically required to invite guests to the Pesach Seder (See Rav Shternbuch’s suggestion for an answer).
We can suggest an alternative answer to this question. It is clear that this invitation is not the classic invitation to invite a guest for a meal, as we are already past Kiddush and we are not chasing down people on the street who require a meal. Rather, we are declaring that those who are hungry, i.e those who wish to live a Torah life, should come and eat. The MIshna (Avos 6:4) states כַּךְ הִיא דַּרְכָּהּ שֶׁל תּוֹרָה, פַּת בְּמֶלַח תֹּאכַל, וּמַיִם בִּמְשׂוּרָה תִשְׁתֶּה, וְעַל הָאָרֶץ תִּישַׁן, וְחַיֵּי צַעַר תִּחְיֶה, וּבַתּוֹרָה אַתָּה עָמֵל, אִם אַתָּה עֹשֶׂה כֵן, אַשְׁרֶיךָ וְטוֹב לָךְ. אַשְׁרֶיךָ בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה וְטוֹב לָךְ לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא, this is the way of Torah, eat bread with salt, and drink measured water. Sleep on the earth, and lead a life of distress, and toil in the study of Torah. If you do this, you are fortunate and it will be good for you. You will be fortunate in this world and it will be good for you in the next world. Thus, the author of the Haggadah is stating here that if one is hungry, i.e. he is willing to maintain a state of never being full, he should adopt the Mishna’s method of pursuing a life of toil in studying Torah. The word ויכול, besides its literal meaning of eating, can also be interpreted to mean conquest, as it is said (Devarim 12:16) לֹא תוּכַל לֶאֱכֹל בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ, and Rashi explains that this means that one is able to but is not allowed to. Similarly, here we say that if one takes an austere approach to Torah study, then ייתי ויכול, he will be able to and he will succeed in the toil of studying Torah. It is noteworthy that the first letters of the words כל דכפין ייתי ויכול and the first letters of the words כל דצריך ייתי ויפסח equal in gematria 40, which is an allusion to the Torah which HaShem gave to Moshe after spending forty days on the mountain.
Pesach is the genesis of our freedom, which culminates in Shavuos, the celebration of our receiving the Torah. When we sit down to the Seder, we commence the proceedings by declaring that the proper way to achieve success in Torah study is by living an ascetic life and then one will truly have attained freedom.

From HaGaon Rav Avrohom Genechovsky zt”l

I once called Rav Avrohom before Pesach and asked if he could share a d’var Torah. He told me that if you take the words hamez and mazzah as they are spelled in the Torah, they practically share the same letters except that the hey of mazzah and chet of hamez have a slight difference. The hey (ה) doesn’t quite connect to the top whereas the chet (ח) fully connects. Therefore the difference between hamez and mazzah is a miniscule protrusion of space. He said that in life the difference between living a life of hamez or mazzah is comparable to the minuscule opening that exists between the letters; teaching that through miniscule action one can transform his existence.

Rav Avrohom told me a drash in relation to Pesach that I believe has relevance to Rosh Hashana and all holidays. He said regarding the words in the Haggadah, Rebbi Yehudah haya nossen bo simanim, desach adash ba-achav. He said that the word desach comes from the words desa u’rena; merriness, adash, refers to the lentil bean that Esau sold his birthright for and ba-achav, if broken into two words would mean ba chov, the debt will be repaid. The explanation of the drash is that one who engages in worldly happiness and merriment similar to the type that Esau did will have to repay the debt for such conduct (perhaps it may be said all debts may be released year to year on Rosh Hashanah).