Monday, April 25, 2016

Wisdom from the gentiles: Regrets and Wasted Talent

"I had as much ability as Stan, maybe more. Nobody had more power than me. Nobody could run any faster than me. But Stan was a player than me because he's a better man than me. Because he got everything out of his life and out of his ability that he could. And he'll never have to live with all the regret that I live with."

Baseball legend Mickey Mantle commenting on colleague Stan Musial

I won't introduce these names to those who aren't familiar with baseball history, other than to say that Stan Musial was known for his decency and humility. But one gets the point.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

HaRav Pinchos Breuer Delivers Hespedim for HaRav Neuwirth ZT"L [HD]



"Yehoshua Yeshaya Neuwirth (Hebrew: יהושע ישעיה נויברט‎) (15 February 1927 - 11 June 2013) was an eminent Orthodox Jewish rabbi and posek (halakhic authority) in Jerusalem, Israel. He was one of the primary and most renowned students of Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and the author of a two-volume Hebrew language treatise, Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchatah — translated into English as Shemirath Shabbath: A practical guide to the observance of Shabbath — a compendium of the laws of Shabbat[5] which is viewed by many as an authoritative work regarding these laws. 

"Neuwirth was born in Berlin, Germany. His father Aharon served as rabbi in a number of German communities. After Kristallnacht, he travelled to Belgium on the Kindertransport (children's convoy) but was rejoined by his parents in 1939. They settled in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. During the Second World War, the family lived in hiding, supported by the Resistance. During this time, Neuwirth had little access to rabbinic literature, apart from the volume of the popular work Mishnah Berurah that deals with the Shabbat laws."

Friday, April 22, 2016

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

More from Daas Torah's post on Secular Studies

From Making of a Gadol
My father related that he was told by someone whose oldest son had just reached school age that he had decided not to send the child to a school with secular studies so that the boy would be able to devote all his time to learning Torah. My father protested, "But your son will be unable to read even the street signs to know where he is standing." When the unbending father replied, "R' Hayyim Soloveichik also did not read Russian," our protagonist, who felt that the child's development would be impeded altogether by the abnormal education his father was charting for him, argued, "Yes, but R' Hayyim had a shamosh who knew Russian and read the signs while escorting him through the streets. Do you expect your son to have a shamosh when he grows up?"
 It is noteworthy that when asked as an octogenarian whether young students at a Monsey yeshiva may be permitted to read light English literature (which would pass faculty censorship), my father- with the caveat that he would be "considered a leftist" for the ruling - referred to this experience of his own to prove that such reading is not harmful. He mentioned that he read Russian translations of such classics as the science fantasies of Jules Verne and the Sherlock Holmes stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle :. He added that the licentiousness of present-day society and literature mandates that contemporary secular books be carefully screened before being put onto a permitted-reading list. The principal of the secular department in Mesivta Torah Vodaath, R' Moshe Lonner, reported d that my father suggested students study certain plays by Shakespeare "because in olden times there was less reference to topics to which yeshiva bahurim should not be exposed", and referred to his own reading of these classics in the Russian language. (He added at the time that we should not think that people of the Elizabethan and Victorian ages were better than those of latter times - "there was simply more ,nr, [shame] then".)
 Also like my father, R' Aaron Kotler dabbled in secular studies at this time. He was more interested in literature than in the sciences which attracted my father's interest. My father stated to his son-in-law R' Yisrael Shurin that R' Aaron was proficient in all of classical Russian literature'L This was corroborated when, during a visit with a young, intellectual protoge of the Hazon-Ish who headed a yeshiva in Ramlah, R' Aaron blurted out, "This was expounded by Aleksander Pushkin" - as reported to this author by the yeshiva head '. The Ramlah Yeshiva was visited by R' Aaron Kotler, R' Shmuel Graineman and the Kopycznitzer Rebbe, R' Avrohm-Yehoshua' Heschel, in the summer of 5714 (1954). At the same time, Moshe Bar-Sela', director of the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry and a Pushkin buff, dropped by for a glass of tea and a chat - people were wont to stop off in Ramlah on the then long drive from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. When Bar-Sela' quoted a line from the poem Yevgeni On'yegin without naming the author, R' Aaron reacted as reported. (Pushkin was a Russian author favored in Jewish intellectual circles. This author came across an interview of French Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas by Francois Poiri in "Emmanuel Levinas, Qui etes-vous?? ''° which has the thinker relating, "A few years ago an Israeli born in Eastern Europe paid me a visit. Upon entering my home, he noticed that I had the complete works of Pushkin on the bookshelves. 'You can see right away,' he said, 'that this is a Jewish home.'"

posted originally by Daas Torah 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The importance of secular studies, linked post from Daas Torah blog

Linked post:

"I would like to bring some sources which indicate that secular learning is important - not just because it is required by the government. I will be adding sources and commentaries over a few days - so check back for updates.

"[I] Shabbos(75a): R. Zutra b. Tobiah said in Rab's name: … he who is able to calculate the cycles4 and planetary courses but does not, one may not praise him … R. Simeon b. Pazzi said in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi on the authority of Bar Kappara: He who knows how to calculate the cycles and planetary courses, but does not, of him Scripture saith, but they regard not the work of the Lord, neither have they considered the operation of his hands.7 R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in R. Johanan's name: How do we know that it is one's duty to calculate the cycles and planetary courses? Because it is written (Devarim 4:6), "for this is your wisdom and understanding in the sight of the peoples", what wisdom and understanding is in the sight of the peoples?9 Say, that it is the science of cycles and planets.

"Rashi (Shabbos 75a): In the eyes of the nations – because it is a self-evident wisdom because the accuracy of his words is testified by the movement of the sun and constellations. For example he says that this year will be rainy and it is is in fact so or that this year will be hot and it is so. That is because the nature of the seasons are determined by the movement of the sun and the constellations and their influence. Everything is determined by the stars and the time that the sun moves and interacts with the stars..." cont

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Rabbi Berel Wein - The Customs of Ashkenaz Part 1

Rabbi Berel Wein - The Customs of Ashkenaz Part 1

From the writings of R' Hirsch

From the writings of R' Hirsch: כֹּל אֲשֶׁר תֹּאמַר אֵלֶיךָ שָׂרָה שְׁמַע בְּקֹלָהּ

"The term Derekh Eretz includes all the situations arising from and dependent upon the circumstance that the earth is the place where the individual must live, fulfil his destiny and dwell together with others and that he must utilize resources and conditions provided on earth in order to live and to accomplish his purpose. Accordingly, the term Derekh Eretz is used primarily to refer to ways of earning a living, to the social order that prevails on earth, as well as to the mores and considerations of courtesy and propriety arising from social living and also to things pertinent to good breeding and general education." Pirkei Avos, Chapter Two, Mishnah Two

"'Torah im Derech Eretz' is the one true principle conducive to truth and peace, to healing and recovery from all ills and all religious confusion. The principle of "Torah im Derech Eretz" can fulfill this function because it is not part of troubled, time-bound notions; it represents the ancient, traditional wisdom of our Sages that has stood the test everywhere and at all times." Collected Writings, Vol. VI, p. 221

"The more the Jew is a Jew, the more universalist will his views and aspirations be, the less aloof will he be from anything that is noble and good, true and upright, in art or science, in culture or education; the more joyfully will he applaud whenever he sees truth and justice and peace and the ennoblement of man prevail and become dominant in human society." "Religion Allied to Progress", Collected Writings

"In the Jewish land, where the Divine law has full scope, nothing was supposed to germinate or blossom or ripen without bringing the Jew obligations as well as enjoyment. A duty is attached to every enjoyment, and it alone gives the enjoyment its true taste by turning what otherwise would be selfish and animal into a human acknowledgment of Divine love." Judaism Eternal, Volume 1, Chapter V, Shebat, p. 33.

"As His creating word calls forth the sun, and summons the light of the world, so has God's love appointed Israel as the bearer of the light of spirit and life, and as the bearer of Torah. O that you would be mindful of such a high task! O that you would allow heart and spirit to be infused by the spirit of the Torah and allow your life, in word and deed, to be but a copy of the contents of this Torah! You would thus surrender yourself to God in love just as He summons you in love." Horeb 628

…Other disciplines are to be regarded as auxiliary; they are to be studied only if they are capable of aiding Torah study and are subordinated to it as the tafel to the ikkur. The Torah’s truths must remain for us what is absolute and unconditional, the standard by which to measure all the results obtained in other branches of knowledge. Only that which accords with the truths of the Torah can be accepted by us as true. The Torah should be our sole focus: All that we absorb and create intellectually should be considered from the perspective of the Torah and should proceed along its paths. (19 Letters)

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Pesach Expenses for Staff of RYSRH

Letter to Community

Nisan 5776

Dear Friends,

Good Chodesh to all.

As the Yomtov of Pesach quickly approaches we are all aware of the great expense that is involved in making Pesach. Therefore, we would like to give our Rebbeim, Moros and teachers a special gift before Yomtov to help with their extra Pesach expenses. At this time we ask you to join in this special opportunity to bring Simchas Yomtov to the families of our devoted staff.

Please mark the Kimcha D'Pischa box on our website:

and we will distribute your generous donation directly to them before Yomtov.

Please Note -

Every donation to this campaign is greatly appreciated.
For increments of $650 you can sponsor one family (or more families) in a special program providing almost $1,800 worth of food for Pesach.
Thank you for joining the Yeshiva with this wonderful chessed of helping our Rebbeim, Moros and Teachers go into Yomtov with more menuchas hanefesh.  

Wishing you a Chag Kosher V'Sameach with Gezunt and Nachas.

Yeshiva Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch

Rabbi Edwin Katzenstein

Chairman of the Board

212-568-6250 -

Friday, April 8, 2016

Tiferes Tzvi - Parshas Tazria

Tiferes Tzvi
A Student Torah Publication of YRSRH
Founded in 1984

וראה הכהן והנה כסתה הצרעת את כל בשרו וטהר את הנגע כלו הפך לבן טהור הוא. (יג, יג)
The כהן shall look, and behold! – the affliction has covered his entire flesh, then he shall declare him contaminated; having turned completely white,

The גמרא in סנהדרין (97a) says that משיח will not come until the entire government becomes heretics. The גמרא brings this פסוק as a proof, because the פסוק says that if the whole skin is white, he is טהור. So too when the entire government becomes heretics, משיח will come.

Rav Schwab explains this גמרא as follows: טומאה does not have an actual life by itself; it feeds off of טהרה. Therefore, when there is no טומאה, טהרה falls away. So too, if the spot is all white, he is . טהור This is also what רש"י means in פרשת שלח by the מרגלים, they first had to say the truth, because every lie needs a little bit of truth in order for the lie to be effective.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Wisdom from the Gentiles: William F. Buckley

Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.

I'd rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.

I won't insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said.

I would like to take you seriously, but to do so would affront your intelligence.

Life can't be all bad when for ten dollars you can buy all the Beethoven sonatas and listen to them for ten years.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Hirsch Web Site


RSRH on the parshah in 10 minute blurbs, good for preparing Shabbos table divrei Torah I would think.

  1. Bereishis, Parshat Bereishis– The Image Of Education
  2. Bereishis, Parshat Noach– Nullifying yourself to the Collective
  3. Bereishis, Parshat Lech-Lecha– Enough
  4. Bereishis, Parshat Vayeirah– Merely G-d of your Tribe
  5. Bereishis, Parshat Chayei Sarah– Not Immortal
  6. Bereishis, Parshat Toldos– Revealing Deception
  7. Bereishis, Parshat Vayeitzei– A Vow Of Protection
  8. Bereishis, Parshat Vayishlach– Stilted Strength
  9. Bereishis, Parshat Vayeshev– Concerning Kings
  10. Bereishis, Parshat Mikeits– Clash Of Ideas
  11. Bereishis, Parshat Vayigash– Segregated Light
  12. Bereishis, Parshat Vayechi– Facing Inwards

Friday, April 1, 2016

Tiferes Tzvi - Parshas Shemini

Tiferes Tzvi
A Student Torah Publication of YRSRH
Founded in 1984

ויאמר משה אל אהרן קרב אל המזבח ועשה את חטאתך..ט ,ז

משה said to אהרן: Approach the מזבח and perform the service of your sin-offering… (9, 7)

Why did משה have to tell אהרן to approach the מזבח to begin bringing the חז"ל? קרבנות tell us that אהרן was shy, afraid to approach the משה. מזבח reproached and asked, “Why are you shy? This is for what you have been chosen.” חז"ל tell us further that אהרן saw in the ,מזבח as it were, the likeness of an ox; and he was afraid of it. משה reproached him and asked, “Why are you afraid of it? Take courage and come close to it.” Therefore, the פסוק tells us that משה said, “Approach the מזבח.” What do חז"ל mean when they say that אהרן saw the likeness of an ox in the  מזבח

“They made a calf at חרב… and they exchanged their honor with the figure of a grass eating ox.” Clearly the “likeness of an ox” that frightened אהרן represented the sin of the עגל in which he had participated. It was quite natural for him, at the time of his accepting his new position – one which holds the great responsibility of leading the nation and teaching and interpreting the Divine will – to be shy and afraid.

Let us explain the reference to the two animals, the calf and the ox, so that we may gain a clearer understanding of what took place at the time of the אהרן. חטא העגל wanted to downgrade the extent of the rebellion which had stemmed from the desire of a new intermediary between ‘ ה and the people. He intended to do so by making the image of a calf, an animal which is dependent and cannot exist independently, to symbolize to the בני ישראל their dependence on ‘ה. But the people were displeased with אהרן’s effort and instead considered the image of an ox, an independent entity. Thus, they worsened the extent of the rebellion. חז"ל tell us that the משכן and the קרבנות which were brought on the on the eighth day were instituted to atone for the . חטא העגל “Let the ox come and atone for the sin regarding the ox, and let the calf come and atone for the sin regarding the calf.” Since the משכן and the קרבנות in general, and אהרן’s קרבנות in particular, were brought to be מכפר on the אהרן, חטא העגל remembered the way his minor concession had led to the major transgressions that ensued. Now we can better understand אהרן’s fears of the tremendous responsibility placed upon him.

But משה told him, “Don’t be afraid, because the very fact that you are coming to start the עבודה with fear of your tremendous responsibility, justifies your approach to the מזבח.” Therefore, משה commanded him, " "הגס דעתך וקרב אליו – “take courage and come close to it.”

Chochman U'musar - R' Shomo Breuer 

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