Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Cyclone Debbie



Bearing down on north Queensland in Australia is Cyclone Debbie which had intensified into a hurricane and is now hopefully classed as a Category 4 but possibly Category 5.   Thousands have been evacuated from the area.   The largest storm to hit Australia since Yasi in 2011.

Cyclone Debbie Descends


Other Peoples' Money



''He shall return the article that he stole, the withheld funds, the article left for safekeeping, the found article.... or anything else regarding which he swore falsely" [Vayikra 5:23-24]

Gedolei Yisrael have always exercised great caution when dealing with the money of others, so that they would not be guilty of the severe transgression of theft.

by Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

One erev Shabbos, when R' Isser Zalman Meltzer returned from the mikveh, he suddenly realized that he had used two clothing cubbies at the mikveh.

Perhaps I took someone else's space, thought R' Meltzer. I might very well owe the mikveh attendant twice the amount that I usually pay!

One of his family members saw how much the matter was troubling R'Meltzer, so he offered to go to the mikveh and pay the attendant for the extra cubby.

"It is I who must go" replied R' Meltzer. "For the halachah states explicitly that one who steals from his fellow must not only repay him, but he must verbally appease him as well. The responsibility to appease the attendant is my responsibility alone."

Monday, March 27, 2017

Communal Benefits

Art: Xinature

by Rabbi David Hanania Pinto Shlita

One of the questions often asked of the great poskim is how a person can atone for the sin of theft if he cannot remember the people from whom he has stolen!

In the book Tuvcha Yabiu, Rabbi Yitzchak Zilberstein Shlita advises one who wants to repent and atone for the sin of theft to donate some money for the needs of the community.

The Rav Shlita cites an amazing incident that occurred in Israel, an incident that he himself witnessed:

“Someone had placed some comfortable benches next to the grave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in Meron. A few years ago, when I went to Meron, I saw a Jew who was lying down on one of these benches, and when he got up he said something like, ‘Oh, how it’s good to relax on these benches!’

“As it turned out, the man who was responsible for placing the benches there had sinned against the very same Jew relaxing on them. Since this Jew had benefited from these benches, it was considered as if the transgressor had atoned for his sin, thereby erasing it. The same applies to returning a stolen object: If we do something for the community by donating things that the public needs, and if we also pray to Hashem so that those against whom we have sinned will forgive us, we will attain atonement and forgiveness for our sin.”

Friday, March 24, 2017

Suffering and Debt


Dovid HaMelech in Sefer Tehillim [Psalms 25:18] makes the following request of Hashem: “Look at my affliction and toil and bear all my sins.”

The seventh bracha of the Amidah, “Re’ah [Na] V’anyenu” ["Look… at our afflictions"] closely parallels this passage in Tehillim, and it is, in fact, the only bracha in the Amidah where we ask Hashem to “look” at something for us.

It is said in the name of the Apter Rav that if a person is suffering, he should affirmatively acknowledge and state “may my pain and suffering be a kapara [atonement] for all of my sins”. In this way, a person acknowledges that the purpose of his suffering or affliction is not meaningless or some kind of torture, but to achieve redirection and/or atonement. With this affirmative acknowledgement, the kapara is achieved.

"Gam zu le'tova" : this too is for the best

"Zol zein a kapara" : it should be accepted as a recompense for punishment.


Rebbe Nachman said : "There are sins whose punishment is debt. One who is punished for such a sin is constantly in debt. All the merit in the world does not erase his punishment. He can do every possible good, still he must remain in debt.

These sins can even cause others to fall into debt. When such transgressions become common, there are many debtors in the world.

The remedy for this is to repent in general for all your sins. Even though you do not know what sin is causing these debts, repent in general and ask G-d to also save you from this particular sin.

If the Torah were written in order, we would know the precise reward and punishment for each commandment."

[Rebbe Nachman]

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Korea: Rabbi Nachmani's Prophetic Words


This is a re-blog, for the readers who have not ever seen it, inspired by the latest post from Dov Bar Leib.

Rabbi Levi Saadia Nachmani zt''l, speaking in 1994 [about a month before he passed away], warning us about Korea's nukes.




Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Waiting for You


Artist Unknown

"For hundreds of years, perhaps since the beginning of Creation, a piece of the world has been waiting for your soul to purify and repair it.

And your soul, from the time it was first emanated and conceived, waited above to descend to this world and carry out that mission.

And your footsteps were guided to reach that place. And you are there now."

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman

Monday, March 20, 2017

Real Love






Real love is reciprocated: "As in water, face reflects face, so is the heart of man to man" [Proverbs 27:19]. Reflections in water are an apt metaphor for the reciprocity of feelings.

The Hebrew word for "water" - mayim - is a reflection of itself: it is the same read forwards or backwards.

Love is reciprocated, though, only if it as strong as the love of father for son, brother for brother, or husband for wife. Weak love might not be returned.

"Love your neighbour like yourself" - love him so strongly that he will naturally reciprocate with love like you have for him.

from the writings of the Ben Ish Chai

Friday, March 17, 2017

The First Tablets -v- The Second Tablets



There are a number of key differences between the first and second tablets:

The Tablets themselves: The first tablets were ''the work of God'' [Ki Tisa 32:16], whereas the second tablets God told Moshe to ''carve for yourself'' [34:1]

The writing:  The Talmud states that only the first tablets possessed the quality of ''God's writing'', which would have caused the words to be forever engraved in Israel's heart and never forgotten [Eruvan 54a and Rashi ibid]

The spiritual level of Israel: By the first tablets, the Jewish people were tzadikim [saintly], whereas by the second tablets they were ba'alei teshuvah [penitents].

The spiritual level of Moshe:  Moshe was given ''one thousand lights'' as a present when the Torah was given, but with the sin of the golden calf they were taken away.

The second tablets had the advantage that (a) they were given with ''halachot, midrash and aggadot'' and (b) Moshe's face shone with light when they were given.

Source: Lubavitcher Rebbe Hayom Yom 17 Tamuz