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Thursday, 3rd October 2013
Monday, 16th September 2013
The 4 species represent the different types of Jewish people:
The Esrog (citrus) has a good taste and a good fragrance. It represents a person with both wisdom (Torah learning) and good deeds.
The Hadas (myrtle) has a good fragrance, but is inedible. It represents a person who has good deeds, but lacks wisdom.
The Lulav (date palm) is edible, but has no smell. This represents the person with wisdom, but without good deeds.
The Aravah (willow) has neither taste nor smell. It represents a person with neither good deeds nor Torah learning.
This comes to teach that in order for the Jewish people to be as Holy and as Great as we can be, we all need to be together, whether you are a talmid chochum (scholar), a sinner, or in the middle ground, succos is a time where we can all plug together and enjoy the festival.
Monday, 2nd September 2013
Thursday, 29th August 2013
A couple that had been married for fifteen years without being blessed by children, decided to divorce, despite their harmonious marriage. Shortly after the get (divorce) was completed, the woman discovered that she was expecting a child. The joyous news had a very sad side, as the husband was a Kohein (from the priestly tribe) and was forbidden to remarry his wife. Their pain and heartbreak knew no bounds. The husband described his painful situation to Rabbi Chaim Kanieveski, who told him that he couldn't see any way that he could remarry, but suggested that the man consult with his father in-law, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv. The man went to Rabbi Elyashiv and repeated his tale. Rabbi Elyashiv told him with great pain that it's definitely forbidden for a Kohein to remarry his former wife. "The only thing I can tell you is that you should go to the Kosel HaMaaravi (the Wailing Wall), and daven (pray) to Hashem (G-d) that he should save you."
The Kohein regarded Rabbi Elyashiv's words as a direct instruction, and immediately went straight to the Kosel. He approached the stones and poured out his heart without restraint. After davening (praying) for a lengthy period of time, the Kohein felt a hand on his back. He turned around and saw an avreich talmid chacham (a very wise scholar), who inquired what had happened to him.
The Kohein repeated his story, and the stranger asked him, "Do you have a father?" The Kohein didn't understand the point of the question, but he answered that of course he had a father. His father was very old and was living in a nursing home in America, and could barely communicate with those around him. "In my opinion, you should fly to America, and tell your father what has happened to you," said the man and he turned to leave.
It didn't seem to matter that the father's condition made it almost impossible to communicate with him at all, and the avreich still recommended the trip.
The Kohein reasoned that if Rabbi Elyashiv told him to go to the Kosel to daven, and if this stranger approached him while he was davening and advised him to fly to America, maybe it was worthwhile for him to go to America, and decided to heed this man's words.
He arranged a flight, and a day and half later he was at his father's side, in the nursing home. The medical staff had informed the son when he first arrived that his father had not uttered a word for many months, and that he shouldn't expect his father to speak to him. The Kohein began telling his father the story, and his father didn't respond, but seemed to be listening to what his son was saying.
As the son continued his story, he began crying uncontrollably. Then, unbelievably, his father began speaking and said clearly, "You are not my biological son, but you were adopted after the Holocaust. You do not have the status of a Kohein, and there is no reason that you couldn't remarry your former wife!"
As recounted in the Sefer Barchi Nafshi
Thursday, 22nd August 2013
A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on.
As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche.
My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey.
But the stranger... he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.
If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind.
Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet.
Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honour them.
Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home - not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our long time visitor, however, got away with words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush.
My Dad didn't permit the liberal use of alcohol but the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished.
He talked freely (much too freely!). His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.
I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked ... And NEVER asked to leave.
More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you could walk into my parents' den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.
His name? .... We just call him 'TV.'
(Note: This should be required reading for every household!)
He has a wife now....we call her 'Computer.'
Their first child is "Cell Phone". His Girlfriend was Facebook!!
Second child "I Pod "
And JUST BORN LAST YEAR WAS a Grandchild:
HOW TRUE THIS IS!!!