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March 05 Kosherpages launches 

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- Launch of new film review section

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Do you have any inspirational thoughts or stories that you would like to share on KosherPages?

If so we would love to include it, please use our contact form to send it through to us.


Monday, 12th December 2011


Click the image below to watch inspirational video.  

Be grateful and don't take things for granted!

Be grateful and don't take things for granted!

Giving someone a boost of confidence

Tuesday, 6th December 2011


The story below is related to our Dvar Torah for this week.
There was a remarkable story involving Rabbi Yitzchok Hutner.  There was a bochur (student) learning in his yeshiva (college) who was struggling badly with his studies. As a result he was severely lacking in self-confidence and found himself in a downward spiral that placed him in great danger of drifting away from observance.
Rabbi Hutner was giving a Gemara shiur (lecture in Talmud) and this Bochur asked a seemingly ordinary kasha (question).
Rabbi Hutner responded as if he had asked a tremendous question and throughout the shiur repeated it several times with great admiration.
Receiving such adulation from a Gadol (great person) gave a tremendous boost of self-confidence to the boy. As a result, after this one occasion he had the confidence to stem his downward spiral and experienced an incredible turnaround in his confidence, learning and general observance.
The boys relatives described Rabbi Hutner’s achievement as no less than "techias hameisim - the revival of the dead".
By showing this young man that he was able to learn, Rabbi Hutner was able to give him the boost that saved his Yiddishkeit.

Father and son

Tuesday, 29th November 2011

As I was sitting on the plane, I could not help but notice the man on my left. He was consuming a treife (non-kosher) cutlet.  Whilst settling back to wait until he finished eating his meal, I noticed the name on the wrapping that was covering his treif-as-treif-can-be meal. The name read, Weinstein.

"Excuse me, I don't mean to be rude or offend you, but may I ask you a question?" I asked.


"You know that you have the option to order kosher meals on this airline?"

He then stared at me and replied, "I don't eat Kosher."

"What do you mean you don't eat Kosher?   Do you mean that in the house yes and out of the house no, or is it just not a big deal to you, or what?"

"I just don't eat kosher and I don't eat it because G-d said that we SHOULD eat it, and anything G-d says, well, I just do the complete OPPOSITE."

As if that had not shocked me enough, I then saw a number tattooed in blue ink on his arm.

"You really want to know?" he asked me.  I said yes and he continued. 

"It was my son," he said.  "That was the final straw ... I endured everything with equanimity until finally, one day I broke.  The entire time in the camps, I had one goal, to see the liberation with my son, Kasriel Menachem.

His mother was long gone, as were his brother and sisters, but we were going to survive, I was sure of it. 
One day, the entire prisoner population was summoned to the assembly area for a special roll call.
There were number of trapdoors on the platform to accommodate several simultaneous hangings.

During this tirade, my son's hand was squeezing my arm so hard that he almost cut off my circulation.   We all stampeded to get out of the line of fire, and my son and I were separated in the frenzy.   I never saw him again.  Later, I heard from others who knew us, that he had been pulled aside by a soldier and shot." 

Brushing the tears from his eyes, "G-d says 'Have children.'   I did, and they were taken away.  So now whatever G-d tells me to do, I do the opposite.  He says 'Keep kosher', I eat treife.  He says, 'Honour the Sabbath', I go out in my car. 

Whatever He says, I do the opposite."

I could not say anything. Six hours later, we landed in Houston and went our separate ways. I never dreamed that I would see Mr. Weinstein again. 

Four years later, I decided to take my family to Eretz Yisrael (Israel) for the Yomim Tovim (Festival season).   We went from place to place visiting the whole country.  Then Yom Kippur came.  I attended a Yom Kippur service in a Shul (Synagogue) in Mea Shaarim. 

I walked outside for some fresh air.  I then saw something out of the corner of my eye that shocked me.   An elderly man was sitting at the bus stop, smoking!  As I stood there in shock, I suddenly realized that the old man sitting and smoking was my old acquaintance Mr. Weinstein.
I realized I was being given another chance.  I approached him and told him, "Isn't it funny how life will sometime throw two people together and they can't even imagine why?   Then years later they cross paths once again, and this time they are able to get a little bit of an idea why they had to meet ...

I'm sure you know that today is Yom Kippur and they are about to say Yizkor (mention the names of those who have passed away).  Come with me so you can mention your son's name, who died for Kiddush Hashem (for the sake of sanctifying G-d's name), to the Chazzan (Cantor).  This might be your only chance for your son's name to be remembered.  Don't you think that it's time for his soul to be mentioned in the Heavenly court?"

Tears gathered in the corners of his eyes, just waiting to spill over onto his shirt. Clasping his arm in mine, I led him through and up to where the Chazzan stood.  I approached him and asked if he would say a special prayer.  Mr Weinstein leaned over and whispered, Kasriel Menachem ben Yechezkel Sraga (the name of his son).

The Chazzan's face turned a chalky white, and beads of sweat broke out on his forehead. His eyes looked like they would pop out of his head, and he swayed for a second where he stood.  He reached out toward the man standing next to me and called out in a strangled voice, "Father!", and he fainted.

A thousand marbles

Monday, 21st November 2011


A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the kitchen, with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Sunday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time.

Let me tell you about it. I turned the volume up on my radio in order to listen to a Sunday morning talk show. I heard an older sounding chap with a golden voice. You know the kind, he sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business himself.

He was talking about "a thousand marbles" to someone named "Tom". I was intrigued and sat down to listen to what he had to say.

"Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you're busy with your job. I'm sure they pay you well but it's a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. Too bad you missed your daughter's dance recital. " He continued, "Let me tell you something Tom, something that has helped me keep a good perspective on my own priorities." And that's when he began to explain his theory of a "thousand marbles."

"You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic.
The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years." "Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3900 which is the number of Sundays that the average person has in their entire lifetime.

"Now stick with me Tom, I'm getting to the important part."

"It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail", he went on, "and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Sundays. "I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. "So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round-up 1000 marbles. "I took them home and put them inside of a large, clear plastic container right here in my workshop next to the radio. Every Sunday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away.

"I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life. There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight.

"Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign-off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure if I make it until next Sunday then G-d has blessed me with a little extra time to be with my loved ones...... "It was nice to talk to you Tom, I hope you spend more time with your loved ones, and I hope to meet you again someday. Have a good morning!"

You could have heard a pin drop when he finished. Even the show's moderator didn't have anything to say for a few moments. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to do some work that morning, and then go to the gym. Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. "C'mon honey, I'm taking you and the kids to breakfast."

"What brought this on?" she asked with a smile. "Oh, nothing special," I said. " It has just been a long time since we spent a Sunday together with the kids. Hey, can we stop at a toy store while we're out? I need to buy some marbles."

How many marbles do you have left?


Choose how to start your day!

Tuesday, 15th November 2011


Jerry is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When I would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better I'd be twins!" He was a unique restaurant manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant.
The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.
Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?" Jerry replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.
I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.
"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested. "Yes, it is," Jerry said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live life."
I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.
Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gun point by three armed robbers. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma centre.  After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body.
I saw Jerry about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?" I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place. “The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door," Jerry replied.   "Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die.  I chose to live."

"Weren't you scared?  Did you lose consciousness?"  I asked. Jerry continued, "...the paramedics were great.  They kept telling me I was going to be fine.  But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared.  In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man.'
I knew I needed to take action."
" What did you do?" I asked.
"Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Jerry. "She asked if I was allergic to anything. 'Yes,' I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Bullets!'   Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live.  Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.'"
Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude.   I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.
Positive thinking is the first step towards a happy life.  Attitude is everything!

Funeral of Mir Rosh Yeshiva

Wednesday, 9th November 2011


Funeral of Mir Rosh Yeshiva - "He Was our Father"

Click here to watch Inspirational Video



Open Miracle in Ashdod

Monday, 31st October 2011


The Open Miracle at the Synagogue in Ashdod

Click the map below to watch video and learn more

Click this map to watch the video about the Miracle at the Synagogue in Ashdod

Lessons to be leart from Noah and his ark

Tuesday, 25th October 2011


Lessons to be leart from Noah and his ark:

1. Try not to miss the boat
2. We are all in the same boat [just different sections]
3. Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark. Stay fit. G-d may just call upon you to do something gigantic at 600yrs old
4. Build your future on high ground and always keep your thoughts elevated
5. Don't listen to critics;
just get on with the job that needs to be done.
6. It's usually a good idea to travel in pairs
7. Speed isn't always an advantage! The snails made it on board with the cheetahs
8. If G-d is central in the planning and design of your life you can't sink. Remember the Ark was built by novices; the Titanic by 'professionals'

Dancing to heaven

Saturday, 15th October 2011


It was a cold autumn day; the skies covered with the perpetual cloud of ash that hovered daily over Auschwitz. A group of fifty young Yeshiva students were herded into the gas chambers, ostensibly for a cold shower.  This was well enough into the history of Auschwitz that the cold truth of the cold showers was well known to the young men.  They all knew that the nozzles would soon open and bathe them in a cascade of noxious fumes that would choke off their air supply and drain them of life.

The Nazi guards - gleefully awaiting the usual onset of panic, complete with frantic banging on the doors, desperate efforts to reach the sealed windows and futile clawing against bare walls - were surprised by this unique group.

Just before the showers released their poison a young man addressed his friends.
"Brothers," he cried, "today is Simchas Torah, when the Jewish world rejoices having concluded their annual reading of the Torah.  During our short lives we have tried to uphold the Torah to the best of our ability and now we have one last chance to do so.  Before we die let us celebrate Simchas Torah one last time.  We have nothing; no clothes to cover us or Torah with which to rejoice.  But we have G-d who is surely here among us today.  So let us dance with G-d Himself before we return our souls to Him."

With this, he placed his hand on his fellow's shoulder and fifty young men broke out in joyous dance, the song of Vetaher libeinu leavdecho be'emes ("Purify our hearts to serve you with sincerity") on their lips.
The bewildered Nazis stood just beyond the gas chamber and could not understand the meaning of the incongruous celebration.  The beastly commandant, who was accustomed to humiliated, broken Jews, could not countenance this spectacle of Jewish pride and flew into a rage.  Bursting into the chamber he grabbed the first boy and demanded to know the reason for the dance.  Calmly, the boy replied, "We are celebrating our imminent departure from a world ruled by beasts such as you."

The commandant decided to put an immediate end to the festivities with a cruel announcement.  "You think you will escape your tortuous existence in the peaceful gas chamber, but I will grant you a truly painful departure.  I will spare you today, but tomorrow I will torture every bone in your bodies; I will slice your flesh till you expire."

The commandant ordered the boys released from the gas chambers and housed in a barrack overnight.  Despite their fate, the boys celebrated Simchas Torah all night with joyous song and dance.  They sanctified G-d's name by dedicating their last night to expressing gratitude for the privilege of their Jewishness and for the precious gift of the Torah.

Later that night, the boys were miraculously selected for transport to another camp by a high-ranking Nazi official who was not aware of their "crimes".  This selection saved their lives and Auschwitz survivors testified that the entire group survived the Holocaust.

By dancing on this day, the Yeshiva students in Auschwitz illustrated their intrinsic bond with G-d.  Before returning their soul on high they took the last opportunity to demonstrate their purpose of life in this world.  It was not to accumulate riches or gain fame.  It was to give voice in this world to their constant relationship with G-d.  By dancing their way to Heaven, these students gave expression to the purest purpose of life and helped us appreciate the profundity of this day.

The question we must ask ourselves as we dance this night away is this:
If the Torah is worth dying for, is it not worth living for?

The students thought they were dancing their way to Heaven, but their dancing in fact landed them back on Earth.  As we dance with the Torah on this special night let us recognize that we dance on Earth, but our dancing in fact leads us to Heaven.

An Etrog From Eden

Monday, 10th October 2011


It was the first day of Succos, and all the congregants in the shul (synagogue) of Rabbi Elimelech of Lisensk were in a festive mood. One could feel the "Yom-Tov (Festival)" spirit in the air.

As Rabbi Elimelech stood at the amud (Lectern) and began reciting Hallel (a Jewish prayer of praise to G-d), all eyes turned upon him. There was something unusual in his manner this Sukkot.

He had his esrog and lulav in his hands and began to sniff the air? Why did he not go through the Service in his usual leisurely manner? It was evident that something was on his mind, something rather exciting by the look on his radiant countenance!

The minute the davening (prayers) was over, Rabbi Elimelech hurried to where his brother Rabbi Zusia (who had come to spend Yom-Tov with him) was standing, and said to him eagerly: "Come and help me find the esrog which is permeating the whole shul with the fragrance of the Garden of Eden!"

And so together they went from person to person until they reached the far corner of the shul where a quiet looking individual was standing, obviously engrossed in his own thoughts.

"This is the one," called out Rabbi Elimelech delightedly. "Please, dear friend, tell me who are you and where you obtained this wonderful esrog?"

The man, looking somewhat startled and bewildered at this unexpected question, replied rather slowly, carefully choosing his words:

"With all due respect to you, Rabbi, it is quite a story. Do you wish to sit down and listen to it all?"

"Most certainly I do," answered Rabbi Elimelech emphatically, "I am sure it will be a story worth hearing!"

"My name," began the quiet-looking man, " is Uri, and I come from Strelisk. I have always regarded the blessing over the esrog as one of my favorite mitzvos (commandments), and so, although I am a poor man and could normally not afford to buy an 'esrog' according to my desire, my young wife, who agrees with me as to its importance, helps me by hiring herself out as cook. Thus she is independent of any financial help from me, and I can use my own earnings for spiritual matters. I am employed as melamed (teacher) in the village of Yanev, which is not far from my native town. One half of my earnings I use for our needs and with the other half I buy an esrog in Lemberg. But in order not to spend any money on the journey I usually go on foot.

"This year, during the Ten Days of Repentance, I was making my way on foot as usual, with fifty gulden in my wallet with which to buy an esrog, when on the road to Lemberg I passed through a forest and stopped at a wayside inn to have a rest. It was time for minchah (afternoon prayers) so I stood in a corner and davened (prayed) minchah.

"I was in the middle of shemone esrei (the 18 blessings) when I heard a terrible sound of moaning and groaning, as of one in great anguish. I hurriedly finished my davening so that I could find out what was the trouble, and if I could help in any way.

"As I turned towards the man who was in obvious distress, I beheld a most unusual and rough looking person, dressed in peasant garb with a whip in his hands, pouring out his troubles to the inn-keeper at the bar.

"From the somewhat confused story, between his sobs, I managed to gather that the man with the whip was a poor Jew who earned his living as a baal agallah (owner of a horse and cart for carting purposes). He had a wife and several children and he barely managed to earn enough to make ends meet. And now, a terrible calamity had be fallen him. His horse, without which he couldn't earn a living, had suddenly collapsed in the forest not far from the inn, and just lay there unable to get up.

"I could not bear to see the man's despair and tried to encourage him, by telling him that he must not forget that there is a G-d above us who could help him in his trouble, however serious it seemed to him.

" 'I'll sell you another horse for fifty gulden, although I assure you he is worth at least eighty, but just to help you out in your difficulty!' " The inn-keeper was saying to the baal agallah.

" 'I haven't even fifty cents, and he tells me I can buy a horse for fifty gulden!' the man said bitterly.

"I felt I could not keep the money I had with me for an esrog when here was a man in such desperate plight that his very life and that of his family depended upon his getting a horse. So I said to the inn-keeper:

"'Tell me what is the lowest price you would take for your horse?'

"The inn-keeper turned to me in surprise. If you pay me cash down, I will take forty-five gulden, but absolutely not a cent less. I am selling my horse at a loss as it is!'

"I immediately took out my wallet and banded him forty-five gulden, the baal agallah looking on, his eyes nearly bulging out of their sockets in astonishment. He was just speechless with relief, and his joy was absolutely indescribable!

"'Now you see that the Almighty can help you, even when the position appears to you to be entirely hopeless!' I said to him as he hurried off with the innkeeper to harness the newly-bought horse to his forsaken cart tied to the stricken horse in the forest.

"As soon as they went off, I hurriedly got my few things together and disappeared, as I did not want to be embarrassed by the thanks of the grateful baal agallah.

"I eventually reached Lemberg with the remaining five gulden in my pocket, and naturally had to content myself with buying a very ordinary looking but kosher esrog! My original intention had been to spend fifty gulden for an esrog as I do every year, but as you have heard, I decided that the need of the baal agallah for a horse was greater than my need for an 'exceptional esrog.'

"Usually my esrog is the best in Yanev, and everyone used to come and make the blessing with it, but this year I was ashamed to return home with such a poor-looking specimen, so my wife agreed that I could come here to Lisensk, where nobody knew me."

"But my dear Rabbi Uri," cried out Rabbi Elimelech, now that the former had finished his story, "Yours is indeed an exceptional esrog! Now I realize why your esrog has the fragrance of the Garden of Eden in its perfume! Let me tell you the sequel to your story!"

"When the baal agallah whom you saved, thought about his unexpected good fortune, he decided that you must have been none other than the Prophet Elijah whom the Almighty had sent down to earth in the form of a man, in order to help him in his desperation. Having come to this conclusion the happy baal agallah looked for a way of expressing his gratitude to the Almighty, but the poor man knew not a Hebrew word, nor could he say any prayers. He racked his simple brain for the best way of thanksgiving.

"Suddenly his face lit up. He took his whip and lashed it into the air with all his might, crying out with all his being: ‘ Dear Father in Heaven, I love you very much! What can I do to convince you of my love for you? Let me crack my whip for you as a sign that I love you!’ Saying which, the baal agallah cracked his whip into the air three times.

"On the eve of Yom Kippur the Almighty up above was seated on His 'Seat of judgment,' listening to the first prayers of the Day of Atonement.

"Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev who was acting as the Counsel for Defense on behalf of his fellow Jews, was pushing a wagon full of Jewish mitzvo (good deeds) to the Gates of Heaven, when Satan appeared and obstructed his path with piles of Jewish sins, so that Rabbi Levi Yitzchak just got stuck there. My brother Rabbi Zusia and I added our strength to help him move his wagon forward, but all in vain; even our combined efforts proved fruitless.

"Suddenly there came the sound of the cracking of a whip which rent the air, causing a blinding ray of light to appear, lighting up the whole universe, right up to the very heavens! There we saw the angels and all the Righteous seated in a circle, singing G-d’s praise. On hearing the baal agallah's words as he cracked his whip in ecstasy, they responded:

"'Happy is the King who is thus praised!'

"All at once, the Angel Michael appeared, leading a horse, followed by the baal agallah with whip in hand.

"The Angel Michael harnessed this horse to the wagon of mitzvos, and the baal agallah cracked his whip. Suddenly the wagon gave a lurch forward, flattened out the Jewish sins that had been obstructing the way, and drove it smoothly and easily right up to the Throne of Honor. There the King of Kings received it most graciously and, rising from the Seat of judgment, went over and seated Himself on the Seat of Mercy. A happy New Year was assured."

"And now dear Rabbi Uri" concluded Rabbi Elimelech, "you see that all this came about through your noble action! Go home, and be a leader in Israel! For you have proved your worthiness! And you shall carry with you the approval of the Heavenly Court! But before you go, permit me to hold this wonderful esrog of yours, and praise G-d with it."



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