Thursday, February 28, 2019

Article on Rav Gelley

KAJ’s Rav Zachariah Gelley Passes Away At 85 by Shmuel Landesman, Jewish Press

On Thursday, April 19, Rav Zachariah Gelley – mara dasra of K’hal Adath Jeshurun (“Breuer’s”) in Washington Heights and a tremendous talmid chacham, manhig and darshan much beloved by his kehilla – passed away at the Specialty Hospital of Central Jersey in Lakewood. He was 85 years old.
Rav Gelley was born on September 7, 1932 in Topolcany, Slovakia (near Bratislava), to Menachem and Rivka Gellai. The Gellai family were Oberlander Jews who followed minhag Ashkenaz and descended from distinguished rabbinic luminaries such as the Chacham Tzvi and Panim Meiros. Rav Gelley’s great-grandfather had been the av beis din of his hometown. His father, Reb Menachem Gellai, was a wealthy businessman who hosted in his large home a 10-member kollel which he funded single-handedly. Reb Menachem could often be found learning in his house kollel.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The Churchill they didn't tell you about

"I think a curse should rest on me - because I love this war. I know it's smashing and shattering the lives of thousands every moment - and yet - I can't help it - I enjoy every second of it."

Winston Churchill's letter to a friend, 1916.

These men are known as evil in their localities

Letter from HaGaon HaRav Chaim HaLevi Soloveitchik zt'l:

I have also read your words in connection with the sect of the Zionists who are now powerfully banded together. I do not blush to admit that I know not how to find paths, along which to go forth, against them.

Seeing that these men are known as evil in their localities, and have already proclaimed their purpose, to be the uprooting of the fundamentals of the faith and, for this purpose, the conquest of all places in which Jews live, will be as an aid to the fulfilment of their aim. In view of their announcement of all these things and their revelation of their plan in the newspapers, what more can we say? Are our words concerning them, likely to be believed more than the things which they openly say about themselves?

It is hardly credible that after the revelation of the arrogance of their hearts through their own mouths there should be still found right-minded men willing to ally themselves with them. It is a cause for great astonishment throughout the whole Congregation of the Exile, that they should be given a place and a voice in affairs, and that they should find support at a time when it is known to be a public sin.

Therefore, I find that your honour is justified in appealing to all who fear G"d, to act together and to protest bitterly and publicly, making known the things, which the Zionists have themselves made known. This will be of great advantage as this time these words come forth from a pure heart. Perhaps it will bring healing to the multitude of the House of Israel whose hearts have not yet been corrupted, and they will repent and be healed.

Let them beware in their souls lest they join in the destruction of our religion and become a stumbling-block to the House of Israel.

Chaim HaLevi Soloveitchik

Friday, 10 Elul, 5659 (1899), Brisk in Ohr le-Yesharim, Warsaw, 1900 in I. Domb, Transformation. The Case of the Neturei Karta. Brooklyn, NY: Hachomo, 1989, p. 18

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Beethoven - Piano Concerto No 5

Beethoven - Piano Concerto No 5 - Krystian Zimerman

Not for those who are obsessed with anti-antisemitism since the orchestra is the Hamburg Philharmonic, the pianist is Polish, and the composer is German. Obsessed means that one cannot say anything about Poles without mentioning antisemitism and same with the Germans and French. I often play a game where any time I am with frum people and anything about France enters the conversation I tell them how much I enjoy the French language. And every time, 100% of the time thus far, one or more people will make some disparaging comment about the French and about how antisemitic they are. (I know several French gentiles who are not antisemitic at all.)

I think it shows what sheep we are, how conformist, that every person responds in exactly the same way and a way that's uncalled for. Is is a sin to enjoy a language? Who creates languages anyway? I would think HaShem guides their creation. And how did the topic of antisemitism find its way into the conversation? Can we give it a rest and enjoy life a little?

By the way, I find the same thing when I complement almost any gentile place. Oh, you are from Belgium, what a lovely country. Oh, you are from Florida; I have always enjoyed Florida. An alarmingly high percentage of the time the person just can't accept the complement and goes on to say something negative about the place. Or they just look very uncomfortable. After all, I complemented something that has nothing directly to do with Jews. Evidentially, we are not allowed to enjoy the planet earth. Recently, a man told me he was from Los Angeles. I said, Oh, I spent a month there once. He said, did you hate it. I said, no. I liked it. I liked the ocean, the mountains, the laid back feeling. (Obviously I didn't like the tumah). These are not Torah Im Derech Eretz people. A Torah Im Derech Eretz person enjoys parts of the planet earth even the parts with gentiles. Oftentimes, it's the gentiles that make those parts enjoyable. I didn't say they make it holy. But they can build nice cities. HaShem helps them to do that. Rabbi Avigdor Miller says when a town has city ordinances and inspectors, HaShem made that happen. Rabbi Miller also said, we don't hate goyim, we just don't mingle with them. We are not obligated to hate everything.

Anyway, this performance of Beethoven's 5th piano concerto is impeccable. Even Bernstein who conducts takes the back seat and to his credit lets the pianist shine. I try not to share videos of non-religious Jews but I couldn't resist here and the star of the show is not Jewish. What a performance. And since it took place in 1989, the orchestra was dressed modestly. Imagine that! Today, one cannot go to a symphony hall.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

None other but God

"When during the reign of Hadrian, the uprising led by Bar Kokhba proved a disastrous error, it became essential that the Jewish people be reminded for all times of another important fact; namely, that Yisrael must never again attempt to restore its national independence by its own power; it was to entrust its future as a nation solely to Divine Providence… This fourth Blessing is an acknowledgement that it has always been God and God alone Who has given us, and still gives us to this very day, that good in which we have had cause to rejoice and that for future good too, we may look to none other but God, and none beside Him." Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch on Birchos HaMazon

Monday, February 4, 2019

More Torah Im Derech Eretz from Chabad

Turning Disappointment into Food for the Hungry

By Dovid Zaklikowski

"When Shirley Chisholm was elected in 1968 to represent New York's 12th District, which included her own neighborhood of Crown Heights, she made headlines as the first African-American woman elected to Congress. However, she soon found her congressional career stunted at its start by race-related politics. Bowing to political pressures from southern politicians, the House's leadership assigned Chisholm to the Agriculture Committee, a place where it was assumed that she could have little influence.

"At the time, some in the New York media questioned the appointment and expressed doubt as to Chisholm's ability to affect the legislative agenda.

"The less-than-open-arms welcome caused Chisholm, who died in 2005, an understandable amount of frustration, according to Anna V. Jefferson, a former state senator from New York's 22nd District.
She was interested in taking care of the issues in the inner city. That committee had no power
"She was trying to help poor people," explained Jefferson. "She was interested in taking care of the issues in the inner city. That committee had no power" to do that.

"But a phone call from the Rebbe's secretariat – a simple "the Lubavitcher Rebbe wants to see you" – changed her attitude, says David Luchins, who was a senior advisor to the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) and chairs the political science department at Touro College".

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