75 posts categorized "Giants of Judaism"

The Story of the Holy Bach

Rabbi Yoel ben Shmuel Sirkis (1561-1640), aka the "Bach", named after his landmark commentary on the Arba Turim, was one of the greatest rabbis and scholars of all time. He was also my 11th generation great grandfather on my mother's side, which makes me a distant cousin of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, of blessed memory, who was a great-grandson of the Bach.

In the following memorable clip, here's Rabbi Shlomo telling a classic story about the Bach, which I enjoy telling to my guests and grandchildren in our Succa. It's really moving, and I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Moadim L'Simcha and Shabbat Shalom!

Rebbe Nachman's 205th Yahrtzeit

Willows Breslev

Above image: Lazer by a willow tree in the town of Breslev, Ukraine, near the Bugg River - these are probably the same willows that Rebbe Nachman used with his lulav...

Today, the 18th of Tishrei 5776, is the 205th yahrtzeit of our holy, esteemed and beloved Rebbe, Rebbe Nachman of Breslev, may his holy neshama intervene in our behalf, amen!

Please light a candle in loving memory of Rebbe Nachman the son of Faigie and Simcha. In his memory, ask Hashem for a favor you need, especially in the area of spiritual growth.

Breslev Israel and the Beams wish everyone a healthy, happy and joyous Succoth holiday!

"No Nukes will Land in Eretz Yisrael"

Ahavat ChaimRabbi Nosson Tzvi Kenig osb"m, one of Breslev's leading rabbis, revealed before he died that a modest tinsmith from Jerusalem, Menachem Menashe osb"m (1892-1968, image, left), author of the 'Ahavat Chaim' commentary on Torah (a book that never leaves my Shabbat table), was the leader of the 36 hidden tzaddikim of their generation.

The "Ahavat Chaim" describes at the end of Parshat Tzav an argument that the angel Gabriel had with Hashem. "Hashem, you made me send down the fires that destroyed the Holy Temple. It looks like I wanted to do it!" He explains that Gabriel was the guardian angel of Esau, but once he was defeated in the all-night grappling match with Jacob, Gabriel turned his allegiance to Jacob and since then has been defending Jacob's offspring. Hashem consoled Gabriel and told him that he would be privileged with taking revenge against all the nations that tormented Israel. Nothing will be left of them.

The nations will attack Israel and the fear will be great. The "Ahavat Chaim" promises that if Israel does teshuva, there won't be any fear at all. Furthermore, he makes an amazing unconditional promise, which he wrote over 50 years ago,  that Gabriel will make a protective fire-wall around the Land of Israel and "no atom bomb will hit the Land of Israel." This is the sentence underlined in green in the photo of the page from "Ahavat Chaim" below.

Our so-called friends and our enemies can continue with their schemes, but they'll all blow up in their faces. The Nation of Israel is becoming spiritually stronger by the minute, despite what the media may say otherwise, and our full redemption is close by. We all fel it.

Ahavat Chaim Tzav


In Praise of Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai

My first two choices for the greatest leaders of the Jewish People of all times are Moses and Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai. We should only have such a leader in today's challenging times...

On Lag B'Omer, the day I flew to the USA for our recent speaking tour, I was interviewed on Arutz Sheva TV; here is the interview, which I hope you enjoy:

No More Pushing!

Stop pushing
Emuna Outreach, Breslev Israel and the Beams mourn the loss of one of this generation's greatest Torah scholars, teachers and rabbinical lawgivers, Rabbi Shmuel Halevi Wosner, obs"m. The Rav was 102, the numerical equivalent of the Hebrew word emuna.

Rav Wosner's funeral ended tragically. With over 100,000 people pushing and shoving to get close to the Rav's casket at the funeral procession on Motzaei Shabbat (Saturday night), dozens were trampled and seriously injured, two of whom are now fighting for their lives. A 27-year-old rabbinical student from Elad, Moti Gerber, was crushed to death. His funeral was earlier today. He left behind a wife and a three-year old son. Moti ob"m was a student of Rav Wosner.

The holy tzaddik and Kabbalist Rabbi Yehuda Zev Leibowitz osb"m, the teacher of my esteemed and beloved teacher Rav Shalom Arush shlit'a, said countless times that there is no forgiveness in Heaven for pushing another Jew.

A few hours ago, the Vishnitzer Rebbe shlit'a said, "Pushing another person is tantamount to bloodshed". He told his Chassidim not to bother coming to his funeral if it means that someone will be pushed.

In Jewish Law we learn that a mitzvah is null and void if it was accomplished by way of a transgression. There are dozens of examples in the Gemara, such as someone who stole an animal and then offered it as a sacrifice in the Holy Temple. Pushing or hurting another person in any way while performing a mitzvah falls under this categoty, called mitzvah haba b'aveira. Not only is such a mitzvah null and void, but disgusting to Hashem. 

Our sages teach us that human decency is the prerequisite for Torah and mitzvoth. If attending a funeral or any other public gathering entails pushing, better to back off or stay away altogether. Please don't push another human, for such an act is ugly, arrogant, and totally against Torah values.

Let's maintain a happy Chol Hamoed and start loving one another. If we can't love, then at least respect one another. No more pushing!

Thanks to the Lubavitcher Rebbe

The true tzaddikim are just as powerful after they leave the physical world as when they're here 108258among us - even more so...

At 4AM Wednesday morning, March 18th, when one of PM Netanyahu's closest aides told him that he was heading toward a landslide victory, Bibi thought that the aide was playing a joke. The Prime Minister didn't believe the magnitude of the miracle. The exit polls said the election was a dead tie; maybe one side would win by one mandate. When the smoke cleared, Bibi won by six.

Before the election, Bibi was punch drunk; the incessant leftist media's harassment of him and his family, the pessimistic and pointed polls and voices from abroad told him to start packing his bags and to vacate the Prime Minister's Residence.

Haredi radio station Kol Berama told the following story: Bibi's close friend Rabbi Menachem Gesheid happened to be in New York City right before the election. Bibi phoned him asked him to pray for him at the holy gravesite of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, osb"m, promising that he will keep the land of Israel whole. In the Rebbe's Ohel with Gesheid at the time was  journalist, Yossi Elituv, a Chabadnik.

In his heart, I'm sure that Bibi owes his success to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, for his victory was unheard of. Let's hope that Bibi thanks the Rebbe - and Hashem, of course - by doing teshuva and repairing all the damage his previous government did to the Torah-observant world in Israel. Mr. Prime Minister, we pray for your success.

One Foot in the Next World

Rav Arush and Rav David Chaim Stern

Earlier this evening, Rav Shalom Arush eulogized Mohorosh zatza"l, and spoke about the urgent need to put an end to strife, dissension and arguments.

Rav Shalom is very close with Kabbalist Rabbi Dovid Chaim Stern shlit'a (photo, above) from Bnai Brak. During a trip to America last month, Rabbi Stern collapsed and became deathly ill. He told Rav Shalom after his miraculous recuperation that his soul was taken up to the Heavenly Court. He was told that Hashem is very displeased about the lack of ahavat Yisrael and the rampant dissension, arguing and slander among the Jewish People. The Heavenly Court decreed that Rabbi Stern would receive an extension of life simply to come back to earth to relay this message.

Rav Shalom said that all the troubles that the Jewish People are having as well as the deaths of the tzaddikim and the two soldiers who were killed in Lebanon last week are all the result of intramural hate, which we all must rid from our midst immediately.