Thursday, December 31, 2020

Helping gentiles spiritually

The verse says that Pharoah was told "Go to Yosef. Whatever he tells you to do, you should do." Rashi explains he told the Egyptians to undergo circumcision. Why would he do this? Rav Yeruchum  Levovitz explains with a verse in Vayigash where the Egyptians said, "You have saved our lives." The Medrash says they were acknowledging his saving them in this world (with food) and in the world to come (with circumcision). It is a spiritual benefit even for gentiles to have circumcision as the orla contains impurity. Rav Yeruchum explains that Yosef had helped them in the physical realm, how could he not help them also in the world to come? 

Rav Yehonasan Gefen, The Guiding Light 2, Mikeitz

Monday, December 28, 2020

What Kind Of Job Is Best For You?

A person should choose a vocation for which he has an inclination. 
We find it confirmed in the Gemara that each person is generally satisfied with the way he earns his living. In fact, some people love their vocation. That doesn't mean they are madly in love with it, but they have an affection for that kind of work and they don't want any other kind of work. This is inherent in the way people are created. -- Ohr Avigdor Shaar Bitachon, Rav Avigdor Miller

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

the optimal setting for our individual and collective growth


Jacob was overjoyed to hear that Joseph was still alive and that he had remained true to Jacob’s ideals. Although he looked forward to joining Joseph, he regretted having to leave the land promised to his forebears. G d therefore appeared to him and assured him that his family would grow into a nation while in Egypt.

אַל תִּירָא מֵרְדָה מִצְרַיְמָה כִּי לְגוֹי גָּדוֹל אֲשִׂימְךָ שָׁם: (בראשית מו:ג)
[G-d said to Jacob,] “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for it is there that I will make you into a great nation.” Genesis 46:3

G‑d was not trying to soothe Jacob’s regret over leaving the Promised Land, for a Jew should regret not living in the Land of Israel. Rather, G‑d was telling Jacob that his regret over going into exile was the key to not becoming intimidated by it, and therefore, the key to overcoming it.

Since G‑d put us in exile, it follows that He has given us all the strength we need to overcome its challenges. As long as the exile continues, it is the optimal setting for our individual and collective growth and development. Here, however, lurks a great danger. When we realize that we have no reason to be intimidated by exile and that we benefit so greatly from it, we can fall into the trap of becoming habituated to it. As a consequence, we can become vulnerable to exile’s negative effects on us, and it goes without saying that we can no longer elevate it properly.

Therefore, like Jacob, we should always cultivate regret over the fact that we are not in our proper environment, the Land of Israel in the Messianic Redemption. As long as we remember who we really are and the lives we are really meant to lead, we need not fear exile; we will overcome it.1

7th Lubavitcher Rebbe

1.Likutei Sichot, vol. 30, pp. 234–235.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Torah im Derech Eretz Chassidus

 A friend commented the other day that the 7th Lubavitcher Rebbe practiced a Torah im Derech Eretz Chassidus. The following I would say is an example of that:

Although the Egyptians stored up grain during the seven years of plenty, as Joseph directed them to, as soon as the seven years of famine began, everyone’s grain except for Joseph’s rotted. The populace of Egypt thus found themselves dependent upon Joseph for food. Joseph agreed to give them grain on the condition that they circumcise themselves first.
Refining the World
וַיֹּאמֶר פַּרְעֹה לְכָל מִצְרַיִם לְכוּ אֶל יוֹסֵף אֲשֶׁר יֹאמַר לָכֶם תַּעֲשׂוּ: (בראשית מא:נה)
Pharaoh said to all Egypt, “Go to Joseph and do whatever he tells you to.” Genesis 41:55

Egyptian society was steeped in the pursuit of self-serving carnal pleasure, which is reduced by circumcision. Thus, by having the Egyptians circumcised, Joseph subdued their obsession with carnal indulgence. Pharaoh himself instructed them to go along with Joseph’s condition; thus, even the living symbol of Egyptian corruption was willing to be refined, at least somewhat.

We follow Joseph’s example by remaining spiritually uncontaminated by our materialistic environment and even refining it. By strengthening our own commitment to Judaism, we influence our fellow Jews to strengthen theirs. Moreover, we influence the broader community of non-Jews to keep the Torah’s laws that apply to them (the “Noahide” laws). Thus, we will ultimately transform the entire world into G‑d’s home.1

1.Likutei Sichot, vol. 10, p. 141.

from DAILY WISDOM: Wednesday: Refining the World (Miketz),

Thursday, December 10, 2020

basic human dignity

from Bitachon Weekly

 Chazal say since Yaakov lowered himself before Eisav, calling him Adoni my master eight times, therefore Hashem granted Eisav eight kings before Yaakov had any kings! Reb Yerucham Levovitz points out that from this we see how dangerous it is for a person to lower himself more than necessary; as it can turn around the entire world history. The Ramban says, during the second Bais Hamikdash we caused our own downfall into the hands of Edom by being Mach’nia ourselves to them. This was a result of the Jewish kings making a Bris pact with the Romans, and some even going to Rome which was lowering themselves to Edom. Because they put their trust [Bitachon] in the Romans, Hashem let them fall into their hands. The whole long Galus we are in, came as a result of our lowering ourselves into the Romans hands, as the Passuk a צַדִּיק מָט לִּפְנֵי רָשָע משלי כה כו :says Tzaddik lowers himself to fall before a Rasha, and Chazal say if a person flatters a Rasha, he will end up falling into his hands. Now we can understand how important your self-esteem is for your well-being. It can change your entire destiny! How imperative it is for a person to have a highopinion of himself [and of others].


basic human dignity is an important part of Torah and is well expressed with Torah Im Derech Eretz

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Government is not the solution. It's the problem.

A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have. Gerald R. Ford

The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.
Ronald Reagan

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. P. J. O'Rourke 

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. John Adams

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Four Divinely-ordained institutions

"The Book of Genesis lists four Divinely-ordained institutions: Shabbos, keshet [the rainbow], mila [circumcision], and gid hanasha, [the prohibition against eating the "sinew of weakness"]. The first two are of significance to all of mankind, the latter two have a similar meaning in the narrower sphere of the Jewish people. The Sabbath insures the survival of the spiritual and moral calling assigned to all mankind; circumcision guarantees the survival of Israel's mission. The rainbow is the emblem of the history of mankind; the "sinew of weakness" is the emblem of Jewish history. But is is the moral action of man, and the fate ordained for man by God, that together determine the sum total of all individual and communal life on earth."

Rav Samson R. Hirsch, Bereshis 32:33

Friday, December 4, 2020


Dr Hodkinson is a board certified pathologist in the USA and Canada. He studied at Cambridge University in the UK before emigrating to Canada in 1970. He has held a number of leadership positions in his profession both in his own province of Alberta and nationally. His career has spanned general practice, community hospitals, academia, CEO of a large retail clinical laboratory and various other entrepreneurial activities in private medicine.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

What Is Wisdom?

 What Is Wisdom?

Wisdom doesn’t just mean knowing things; it means being Aware of the presence of Hashem in the world. As David Hamelech says, "Reishis Chachma yiras Hashem — The highest of wisdom is the fear of Hashem" (Tehilim 111:10). This doesn’t mean we have to be in a state of fear. It means that we have to be Aware that the presence of Hashem is everywhere. That realization is the pinnacle of wisdom. — Ohr Avigdor Hakdama

Wednesday, November 18, 2020


 We are very pleased to announce that the eleventh volume of Yerushoseinu, for the year ה'תשפ"א, is now available.


We will be happy to mail you a copy of this volume for a minimum donation of $ 36.00


Please mail your request for this book together with your donation to:


Machon Moreshes Ashkenaz

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Your donations which are tax-exempt, are vital to our work and are deeply appreciated.  


Thanking you in advance for your support, and wishing you a good and healthy winter.


Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Rav Avigdor Miller on The Rambam and Aristotle

 Rav Avigdor Miller on The Rambam and Aristotle 


You quoted from the Rambam that we should stay away from the gentiles and wicked people. But the Rambam himself was very much involved with gentiles, in particular with Aristotle. Why?


I’ll explain it to you.  When you’re sitting now by that tape recorder recording this lecture, you’re taking something made maybe by goyim and thought up perhaps by goyim. You ride on buses driven by goyim. If you have a car, so the car and the gasoline are made and supplied by goyim. 

The answer is, whatever useful things goyim have to give you, you take it; if it’s an implement, technology, you can use it. And Aristotle to the Rambam was just a useful mechanism.  He supplied him with information.  But the Rambam wouldn’t sit with him.  He wouldn’t sit with him!

Now the truth is that the Rambam wouldn’t advise us even to read Aristotle’s books. He was able to read the books and pick out of them the things that seemed to him useful. And the truth is, after all is said and done, the Rambam took from Aristotle things which he thought were completely true but they weren’t.  You know, today it's a pity because we learn the Rambam in Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah and everything there is perfect except for the few things that come from Greek philosophy. Today they’re meaningless.

So what the Rambam took from Torah is forever and ever.  But what the Rambam took by following the ways of Aristotle are useless today.  That’s why certain parts of Moreh Nevuchim are meaningless today.  And the Vilna Gaon, the Gra, says about the Rambam: הפילוסופיה הארורה הטתו ברוב לקחה, that the cursed philosophy deceived him.  The Gra says that; the accursed philosophy deceived the Rambam! So even when the Rambam tried to pick out the useful things, in some cases he was deceived.  

But that was the Rambam’s approach to Aristotle.  It’s like our approach, let’s say, to medicine.  If a gentile specialist tells you that this and this diet or this or this medicine is good for you, so it’s not associating with him.  It’s just like using his tape recorder.

TAPE # 4

Thursday, November 5, 2020

secular subjects


Why do you oppose the study of secular subjects? Didn’t the Villa Gaon study secular subjects?


I didn't mention secular subjects at all tonight. I did not mention it at all, so I'm innocent. However, on the question of secular subjects, there's no question at all that knowledge of secular subjects comes in handy. No question at all; very handy. The problem however is where to get it from; that's something else.

TAPE # 60, Rabbi Avigdor Miller

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Gmar Kasima tova

 May Hashem bless you all with a safe and prosperous year. May whatever sins we have done to cause this mess we are in be cleansed and may we seek brighter days ahead.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

boundless goodness


The boundless goodness of God, that is unfathomable to the limited powers of human understanding, טובו, is the prime mover and mark of all His loving actions. (The English word "God" is also derived from His goodness). Despite its fullness, it does not act blindly, but changes according to the worthiness and need of the person to whom it is given. To the faithful, it is expressed as a bounty in recognition of their worthiness, חן, to the undeserving, as mercy, חסד, and even to those who have forfeited it or could never lay claim to it, as compassion, רחמים.

God's benevolent action is not sparing with its love, but extends לכל בשר, indiscriminately to all, although in differing amounts.

R' Marcus Lehman, Passover Haggadah, p. 236

Friday, September 18, 2020

לשנה טובה


לשנה טובה
 תכתב ותחתם
לחי'ים טובים וארוכים

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

continuation in the future


“It is an important characteristic of God's boundless love, which allows us to conclude from the fact that He has not hitherto allowed us to suffer want, that in the future too, He will not permit us so to suffer. The narrow human attitude, While sparing with its love, is quite the reverse. The greater the benevolence we have received from our fellow-men in the past, the less right and the less expectation do we have of receiving similar benevolence in the future. Only with God's inexhaustible and patient love is the benevolence already received a guarantee of its continuation in the future. This is an aspect of God's loving rule that recurs constantly in our holy writings, and especially so in our prayers."

R' Marcus Lehman, Passover Haggadah, p. 237

Saturday, September 12, 2020

love, inexhaustible, unbounded love


“The actual Essence of God is love, inexhaustible, unbounded love. Where both this love and the name of God are unrecognised and God therefore finds it necessary to maintain and preserve His glory from lack of recognition and waywardness, it is 'כבוד ה the glory of God which procures recognition by storm, judgement and punishment. Where God appeares in punitive form, as in the overthrow of the
Egyptians, and with devoted love, as in the liberation of His people, He reveals Himself ובעצמו בכבודו in His glory and His whole real Being. Here God appears on the one hand as the sublime, unapproachable and inviolable Holiness, who disseminates death and fear, whereas on the other hand He appears as the source of all love and blessings, all existence and hope, or expressed in other terms: as הקדוש on the one hand, and ברוך הוא the other. קדוש expresses the concept כבודי

(ונקדש בכבודי ) whereas the description of עצמו in shortened from is ברוך הוא

R' Marcus Lehman, Passover Haggadah, pp. 131-2

Friday, September 11, 2020

The Nineteen Letters

 "The Nineteen Letters [is] a precious and marvelous work on the Jewish faith ... With this distinguished work he achieved great things; he reestablished the glory of our faith in the kehillos in Germany and taught understanding to the confused ... All his words are drawn from holy sources and sevenfold purified in the crucible of true insight and straight thinking ... .I am very pleased that this work has now been translated into our holy tongue .... and I pray to God that.. .just as this work had a great impact upon our brethren in Germany, so may its effect and splendor multiply among the Jews in our country ....I hope that many of our brethren will bring this precious book into their homes for a blessing, for the strengthening of the faith, for our sacred Torah, and the knowledge of Judaism in its holy purity." 

[Rabbi Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor, 1896]

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Thy commandments

 "Thy commandments are the end which I love; all other things have value to me only to the extent that they serve as means to the attainment of this end." Rav Hirsch on Tehillim 119:44-48

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

God's love

 "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

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Soviet subversion model

Soviet subversion model: Demoralization (15-20 years) Destabilization (2-5 years) Crisis (2-6 months) Normalization ("indefinite")

"The main emphasis of the KGB is not in the area of intelligence at all. Only about 15% of time, money, and manpower is spent on espionage and such. The other 85% is a slow process which we call either ideological subversion or active measures ... or psychological warfare."

"As I mentioned before, exposure to true information does not matter anymore. A person who is demoralized is unable to assess true information. The facts tell him nothing, even if I shower him with information, with authentic proof, with documents and pictures. ...he will refuse to believe it... That's the tragedy of the situation of demoralization."

Yuri Bezmenov [1983], former Soviet agent who defected to Canada.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

they are only concerned with the [well-being of the] body

from the Sentry

Hagaon Rav Yehudah Cohen shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Yakirei Yerushalayim, recently spoke about what is transpiring in the Israeli yeshiva world, he said; “This situation of the corona has confused gevulos olam, ba’avonoseinu harabim. Only one thing is left ‘saru maher min haderech asher tziveesim asu lahem maseichah’ [maseichah in Ivrit is a mask], [the message is] if you have a mask you have everything, if not you have nothing. With this one starts in the morning modeh ani lifanecha, and with this [he says] krias shma al hamitah. This is the aseres hadibros, this is the Torah, the mitzvos, everything. 

What about limud haTorah? ‘Im lo brisi yomam va’laylah chukos shamayim va’aretz lo samti’, without Torah the world has no existence … 

I attended a meeting last week of Roshei Yeshivos in Bnei Brak, together with officials of the Ministry of Health. They said openly; the percent of infection at home is higher than anywhere else… The bocherim are begging and crying; allow us to go [to yeshiva], and they are not listening to them, [they are not permitting them] to go learn…

Rav Chaim of Volozhin writes in Nefesh HaChaim that not only is the existence of the world dependent on learning Torah, but the world’s situation is dependent on the amount and quality of Torah learning in Yisroel. Therefore, if we see that the world is full of sickness and problems, it stems from bittul Torah, for abundance [of good] comes exactly in proportion to Torah learning of the am segulah… 

This they forgot, they are only concerned with the [wellbeing of the] body… Thousands were infected with corona, and Baruch Hashem from tens of thousands of bochurei yeshiva nothing happened from the corona… On the other hand hundreds and thousands of pure souls went lost to aveiros. Who will [be able to] give judgment for this? It’s okay to take care of the body, but what about the neshamos?...

All are busy with the coronavirus, from the morning until late at night. But no one is talking about this; what about the Torah? What about the lomdei HaTorah? How can am Yisroel survive without limud HaTorah?

In Chodesh Adar when it all started, I said to myself, Ribono Shel Olam, thank you, the days of mashiach are coming. And that should have happened. But the Yetzer Harah, who is the Satan, took charge of the entire show. Everything became one issue; how to take more and more care [of the health]. What about the shuls? What about yeshivas? What about shiurim? What about yaldei Yisroel? What about them? The media people are uninterested in these matters, they don’t speak about it…”

One example of spiritual deterioration; a Sephardi bocher, a serious ben-Torah who has already completed all of shas, was forced to go home when his yeshiva closed. At home he had a wayward brother. With the extended time they were spending together, he was negatively influenced and has now gone astray as well.

And now the new “capsulot” system for the yeshivas has been announced for Elul zman. The capsule arrangement is extremely difficult, and last zman a large percent of bocherim left the system mid-zman. In the best case scenario of the new system, an estimated 20% of the bochurei hayeshivas will not have a yeshiva from the onset. 

It is interesting to note that in the capsulot yeshivas the bocherim must wear masks only when davening and learning, and not when in the dining room or dormitory. One wonders if the Ministry of Health has come to an agreement with the virus, and it has promised to stay out of the dining rooms and dormitories, and only when engaged in “dangerous” activities such as devarim shebikedushah one must take precautions. Or perhaps the intended message is; critical matters such as eating and sleeping must be tended to at all costs, however “extras” such as davening and learning can only be done if and when all precautions are taken.   

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Rabbi Aaron Samuel Tamares (1869-1931)

A recent post by Alan Brill discusses Rabbi Aaron Samuel Tamares, a 19th century figure who seems like a Torah Im Derech Eretz personality in many respects. Here are some excerpts and a link to the post. Originally, from Grodno, R' Tamares studied at Volozhin. He was a very sensitive person who focused on the dignity of man and the ways of peace. At first R' Tameres joined the Zionist movement when he saw it as a possibility for liberation of Jews but became disillusioned with it when he came to see it as materialistic and violent.


"Tameres was the emblematic image of the rabbi who would seek the leniency for the poor widow who cannot afford another chicken or who allowed an elderly Torah reader to not be corrected to save his honor."

"Rabbi Tameres attended the fourth Zionist congress in 1900 and started his slide away from political nationalist Zionism seeing it as just another form of materialist political machinations and self-justifying violence. He became a life-long pacifist preaching that the way of Torah is ethics, peace, humanism, and spiritual growth. According to Tameres, 'for us, the Jewish people, our entire distinctiveness is the Torah and Judaism; the kingdom of the spirit is our state territory.' Tameres called himself 'the sensitive person' who feels the pain of the world.'"

Some quotes from Rabbi  Tamares:

We approved the naturalistic outlook... that it throws the primary blame for war upon the class that holds power. For however much the ugly clay of war may be imbedded in the hearts of the mass of people, yet those who busy themselves with this nice material, moistening and shaping it for their goal and bringing it to completion—these are surely “the ruling classes.”
Regarding Zionism: 
From that point on the children of Israel became “political,” and the Torah became merely a kind of constitution, similar to those constitutions from “cultured nations” that we today know all too well: on paper, drafted and signed, but in practice, the complete opposite. Corruption begets corruption. The corruption of the ethical sense, which followed in the wake of the invasion from without by the spirit of “political nationalism,” soon brought them to request that a king be set over them also, “like all the nations surrounding them.
The Jews remember always that their God is the God of Truth and Justice who shattered the yokes of their oppressors. They must plant deep in their hearts absolute faith in the power of Truth and Justice to triumph finally…this idea, when firmly rooted in their hearts, will itself serve to defend them from all violent and lying persecutors.
Every single human being on the face of this earth was created and endowed by the Lord with the capacity to look after his own life….and to worry about death and perishing; each was created for his own sake. The breath which the Lord breathed into the nostrils of Rueben is for the sake of Rueben. It is for him to live and exist and not be a bloody sacrifice for the sake of someone else.
The culture of creation in the Book of Genesis: Life, tangible life, the life of the blood and the spirit, this is the need which must first be sought. The life and secure existence of the individual: these are the basis of life on this earth; from them all comes, and in them all is included!
This is the implication of “I am the Eternal” that concludes the mandate, “You must love your neighbor as [you love] yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). Look toward the Eternal, toward the Source of all existence, the First Cause, and you become aware that you and your neighbor are equal in God’s eyes; that insight validates the commandment. The power of Torah to incline human beings toward the good derives from its putting us directly in touch with the Creator of all, the Source of goodness and generosity, thus rekindling the spark of our Divine awareness.
Even a cursory examination of the singular purpose our nation is destined to fill, namely, the purpose of spreading Torah, can cause the hypnotic power of nationalism to dissipate, and we can gaze without fear into the eyes of the nations who are so proud of their territories and monarchies.” Since National Territories have been the cause of mass slaughter, a crucial mission of Jews in the world is to prove, by example that a people can survive and thrive without a National Territory. There is an alternative to survival by the sword.
The Jew will always seek to return to Israel and live there; Israel is vital and extant in his memory and in his very veins, it is this Israel which he has preserved in his memory at all times, it is this Israel that he yearns to see with his eyes…. Between this ancient Zionist yearning and the new Zionist yearning lies a chasm of difference, both in theory and in practice, both in the reason for this yearning and in its goals.
The political Zionists yearn for a land upon which our nation shall be “a nation like all other nations”—whereas our people yearn for a land upon which our distinctiveness from all other nations shall be further emphasized…The new Zionism hopes to revive in Zion what ostensibly died in exile: Namely, they wish to create in this Jewish homeland and in the heart of Jews, this coarse feeling of sovereignty, of which they had been divested in exile.
The blog post shares an interview with Everett Gendler, a translator of R' Tamares' writings and a pacifist himself, who explained R' Tamares' encounter with Zionism as follows:

"Later, at age 31, Tamares attended the fourth Zionist Congress in London in 1900 as a delegate. He was appalled to find what he saw not so much as a movement to liberate people but a movement to liberate territory. After a year of silently absorbing this discovery, he found the courage to denounce Zionism publicly because he saw that its goal was to be another European Nationalist Movement, rather than follow the Jewish mission of Torah and ethics. This independence of spirit and his fresh outlook you find throughout his writings."
Full post here:

Sunday, July 26, 2020

not in sorrow and sadness

"It is not in sorrow and sadness, not in self-castigation and torture that Judaism reaches its highest level; it's holiest goal is serenity, gladness, and joy." Rav SR Hirsch JE1, "Shevat," p. 39.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Turns out the best medicine is the body that Hashem made

"Firstly, it was wrong to claim that this virus was novel. Secondly, It was even more wrong to claim that the population would not already have some immunity against this virus. Thirdly, it was the crowning of stupidity to claim that someone could have Covid-19 without any symptoms at all or even to pass the disease along without showing any symptoms whatsoever."

"The term “silent carriers” was conjured out of a hat and it was claimed that one could be sick without having symptoms. Wouldn’t that be something! If this principle from now on gets naturalised into the realm of medicine, health insurers would really have a problem, but also teachers whose students could now claim to have whatever disease to skip school, if at the end of the day one didn’t need symptoms anymore to be sick."

"Those young and healthy people who currently walk around with a mask on their faces would be better off wearing a helmet instead, because the risk of something falling on their head is greater than that of getting a serious case of Covid-19."

Beda M Stadler is the former director of the Institute for Immunology at the University of Bern, a biologist and professor emeritus.

Today the University of Bern is one of the top 150 universities in the world. In the QS World University Rankings 2019 it ranked 139th. The Shanghai Ranking (ARWU) 2018 ranked the University of Bern in the range 101st–150th in the world.[34] In the Leiden Ranking 2015 it ranked 122nd in the world and 50th in Europe. In the Times Higher Education World University Rankings it ranked 110th in 2018/2019 and 2016/2017 (and 82nd in Clinical, pre-clinical & health 2017.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Talmud Beitzah 25b

It is taught in a baraita in the name of Rabbi Meir: For what reason was the Torah given to the Jewish people? It is because they are impudent, and Torah study will weaken and humble them. A Sage of the school of Rabbi Yishmael taught the following with regard to the verse: “From His right hand went a fiery law for them” (Deuteronomy 33:2); The Holy One, Blessed be He, said: Based on their nature and character, these people, the Jews, are fit to be given a fiery law, a hard and scorching faith. Some say a different version of this baraita: The ways and nature of these people, the Jews, are like fire, as, were it not for the fact that the Torah was given to the Jewish people, whose study and observance restrains them, no nation or tongue could withstand them.

Monday, June 29, 2020

What's the basis?

I saw this:

1. Tetanus-not contagious 2. Hpv-transmitted through sex 3. Hep B-transmitted through sex & drugs 4. Diphtheria-0 cases in the US 5. Measles* 6. Mumps* 7. Rubella* 8. Chickenpox* * Historically a minor childhood disease in healthy children.

What’s the basis for mandating these?

Note: Mumps might be an exception because if developed in adolescence can cause sterility.

Helping another student

In a yeshiva in Bnei Brak the members of the hanhola were frustrated with the resistance of advanced talmidim who were asked to learn and help the newer talmidim but declined, claiming it was 'Bitul Torah'. The members of the yeshiva‎ ‎administration went to ask the Chazon Ish for advice. The Chazon Ish, zt'l asked to speak to them. He then asked them, "Do you put on tefilin every day"? They enthusiastically responded "Of course we do"!

Then the Chazon Ish continued "But why? Doesn't it take away time from learning"? You put on teffilin because it is a Torah mitzvah, so the Chazon Ish continued "Helping another student in his learning is no less of a mitzvah than putting on teffilin"

Sunday, June 28, 2020

3 Oaths - Not Aggadata

There's a myth going round town that very few gadolim viewed the Three Oaths which prohibited immigration en masse and conquest of Eretz Yisroel pre-Mosiach as binding halacha. Many people think that only the Satmar Rav said this, as if that wouldn't be substantial in itself. 

However, even according to leading figures at YU, many if not most gadolim viewed the oaths as halacha.

Rabbi J. David Bleich, a Rosh Yeshiva and prominent scholar at Yeshiva University, writes, 

“Elsewhere in Contemporary Halakhic Problems, Vol. I, I have presented a fairly comprehensive list of the various views concerning the nature of the oath, ‘shelo ya’alu be-chomah.’ The view that ‘the oath was simply aggadic and never binding’ is but one view among many and is distinctly a minority view.”  

Rabbi J. David Bleich, “Withdrawal from Liberated Territories as a Viable Halakhic Option,” Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society, Vol. XVIII, Succot 5750, Fall 1989, p. 107.

Rabbi Hershel Schachter, another prominent figure in the Religious Zionist world, writes, 

“In expounding the verse ‘I have made you swear, O daughter of Jerusalem,’ the Gemara relates that the Almighty administered three oaths on the Jewish people. The time and nature of these oaths are not clear, but one of them entailed a commitment on the part of the Jews not to return and conquer Israel by force. Many Gedolim in Europe took this to forbid any attempt at reestablishing the State of Israel before Messianic times.” 

(Rabbi Hershel Schachter, “The Mitzvah of Yishuv Eretz Yisrael,” Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society, Number VIII, p. 27.)

Rabbis Bleich and Schachter are arguably the most prominent scholars associated with YU and the Modern Orthodox world. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Rabbi Yaakov Forchheimer shlita


Rabbi Yaakov Forchheimer, posek at the Lakewood Yeshiva, is a Yekke who was raised in Washington Heights.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Did Vaccines Eradicate Diseases in the 20th Century?

Speed The Shift

Look at this chart. Makes it seem as if a vaccine eradicated measles.

But let's look at the longer history. Measles was on a rapid decline before the vaccine.

"The article also states that the measles vaccine was licensed in 1962 and that’s when measles started to decline. What the article fails to mention is that the 1963 version of the measles vaccine was a failure which actually produced a deadlier form of the measles known as atypical measles. It wasn’t until 1968 that a second version of the vaccine was introduced, and by that time, measles mortality rates had dropped by 98%, making it a benign childhood disease."

Monday, June 15, 2020

as if he worshipped idols

"The answer to this is quite simple, but first we must remember the words of the Rif (Rabbi Yoshiahu Pinto, quoted above in Siman 1), in his commentary on Ein Yaakov, that the Sages only said "whoever lives outside of Eretz Yisroel is as if he worshipped idols" when the person leaves Eretz Yisroel of his own volition." (v'Yoel Moshe, Simon 4)

" Shmuel I 26 Rashi says, "One who goes out from Eretz Yisroel in Temple times is as if he worshipped idols." So he says explicitly that this was only true in Temple times. Although in some printings the words "in Temple times" do not appear, still we see that Rashi there quotes the Targum Yonasan: "David went among the nations who worship idols," so we see that the reason why someone who goes out of Eretz Yisroel is as if he worshipped idols is because he goes among the nations who worship idols." (v'Yoel Moshe, Simon 5)

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Book Recommendation

The Dynamics of Dispute: The Makings of Machlokess in Talmudic Times

by Zvi Lampel

Why do sages disagree if we all have one tradition? How could laws be forgotten? This book address that question and many others concerning the dynamics and history of the Talmud. It's a challenging book, lamdish. It can be a tremendous aid in Talmud study.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Parshas Vayechi - Linked davar Torah from

Managing Jewish Pride1
Into their councils my will may never enter; with their gatherings my honor may not be identified…Cursed be their anger, for it is strong, and their wrath for it is harsh. I will separate them within Yaakov, and I will disperse them in Yisrael.
Yaakov’s blessing of his sons amounts to the first major testament to the future Jewish nation. We should expect some surprises.
Ruvain was passed over for leadership because he displayed too little self-confidence and assertiveness. Shimon and Levi, in turn, forfeit the mantle of leadership for showing too much.
Yaakov curses their anger. Yet, at the same time he hits that their anger is not in and of itself a curse but a blessing.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Before and After

The Western World before the 1960s:

"That is why the Jew rejoices whenever and wherever culture elevates people to a perception of true values and to nurture goodness."  Hirsch on Genesis 3:24

The Western World after the 1960s:

"But of course where culture and civilisation are used in the service of sensuality the degeneration only gets all the greater."  Hirsch on Genesis 3:24

Monday, June 1, 2020


נא להרבות בתפילה עבור
הרב בנימין שלמה בן חוה בתושח"י

Vaxopedia: The CDC and Patents

Does the CDC Own Any Patents on Vaccines?

Have you heard the CDC owns patents on vaccines?
“The CDC is a subsidiary of the pharmaceutical industry. The agency owns more than 20 vaccine patents and purchases and sells $4.1 billion in vaccines annually. Congressman Dave Weldon has pointed out that the primary metric for success across the CDC is how many vaccines the agency sells and how successfully the agency expands its vaccine program—regardless of any negative effects on human health.”
Robert F Kennedy, Jr
Wait, the CDC sells vaccines?
To who?

Myths About the CDC Selling Vaccines

The CDC doesn’t sell vaccines. That’s not their mission.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) works 24/7 to protect America from health, safety, and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC fights disease and supports communities to do the same.”
CDC Mission, Role and Pledge
They do buy vaccines. A lot of vaccines.
In 2017, the CDC immunization program spent just over $4.8 billion dollars, including $4.1 billion on the Vaccines for Children program.
“…from March through December 2016, over 13,000 doses of meningococcal conjugate vaccine, purchased using CDC funding, were used to respond to a deadly outbreak of meningitis in Southern California.”
Department Of Health And Human Services Fiscal Year 2018
Did they sell all of those vaccines?
If they did, then they wouldn’t have to request money from Congress each year to buy more vaccines, now would they?
“CDC buys vaccines at a discount and distributes them to grantees—i.e., state health departments and certain local and territorial public health agencies—which in turn distribute them at no charge to those private physicians’ offices and public health clinics registered as VFC providers.”
The VFC Program: At a Glance
Instead, the vaccines that the CDC buys, at big discounts, since they are buying so many, are offered free to those kids who can’t afford vaccines in the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program and through Section 317 grants.

What About the CDC Vaccine Patents?

Is Kennedy right about the CDC vaccine patents?