Wednesday nights - Rav Benzion's Tanya shiur..........Please continue to daven for the good health of the Rebbe (Yechiel Michel ben Devorah Leah) and Rebbetzin (Feiga bas Sarah).

Monday, November 28, 2011

New Tanya Shiur by Rav Benzion Twerski

The following notice was sent out to the shul's mailing list:

Join Rabbi Benzion Twerski
in a weekly class
on the classic Chassidic text,
Sefer Hatanya Authored by
Rebbe Shnuer Zalman of Lyadi
This is a text based class

Shabbos Parshas Toldos 5772 (part 2)

Letting Go of Reason

In shul after davening, the Rebbe continued the overall theme but from a different angle. (see part one here)

It is very difficult in today's age, a time when nearly everything can be subject to a microscope or telescope, and reason and logic reign supreme, to give up our self-driven need to understand why something must be the way it is. Faith is disdained, considered foolish and dangerous. Adhering to a law that does not lend itself to dissection by science is frowned upon and viewed as archaic, unnecessary and entirely unthinkable to any sensible human being. In such a setting, even those committed to a Torah way of life may, and often do, find it challenging to give up their own opinions, understanding and way of thinking, in deference to the supra-logical nature of Hashem's Torah.

Shabbos Parshas Toldos 5772 (part 1)

Emulate, Not Imitate
At tish, the Rebbe told over how he once met a couple who, after stating the fact that they had done an "exhaustive research of Judaism", related that they decided to pick the mitzvos and ideals that "spoke to them". Essentially, they picked and chose what of Torah they valued and left the rest.

"And what do you hope from your children when they grow up?" asked the Rebbe.

"We would be pleased if they would follow suit and value the same things that we do."

"Well, " the Rebbe responded. "Forgive me for being the first to guarantee that they will do exactly as you did. You picked and chose what made sense to you, they will pick and choose what will make sense to them, and those two things are surely to be vastly different from each other. Children pick up which attitudes drive our decisions and actions. "How" we do something is much more important than the "what". That they know what speaks to you doesn't really matter; you are transmitting to them a "how" that cannot possibly sustain the ideals of Yiddishkeit through the next generation."

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Rebbe's Hallel (audio)

Below is a short snippet from the Rebbe's Hallel from Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5772.

Not Being By Being

Dear Readers,

Please accept my apologies to those of you who asked me to shed some light on the latest "Rebbe Quotes" post. Here is a little background as to what that quote was referring to. (The Rebbe spoke about this about six years ago on a Shabbos afternoon shiur.)

Every neshamah longs to reconnect with Hashem, its Source. At times, and hopefully those times are often, a person can experience an intense yearning to return to whence it came, to be enveloped in G-dly light and ultimately to melt back into Hashem, completely one with the Creator.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rebbe Quotes: Not Being By Being

"If I cannot not be by not being,
then I will not be by being."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rebbe Quotes: Approach to Learning

"If I could - if it weren't embarrassing - I would kiss every letter. I would take the Torah and I would hug it and I would dance with it every second. Your approach [when you sit down to learn] should be: 'I'm absorbing Elokus (G-dliness). I'm drinking in ratzon haborei (the Will of the Creator). It's becoming part of the cells of my mind. It's becoming part of every cell in my body.' If we sat down with that kind of an attitude our learning would be different. It would be with more of a geshmak, it would be with a hislahavus, it would be with a simcha! Who could compare to us when we are sitting and learning, finding out more information about [Hashem's Will]. Not only at the time are we absorbing Elokus and we are absorbing the Chochmas Hashem and the Ratzon Hashem, and its becoming part of everything that nurtures us, but its also informing us about the many different ways in which we can serve the Hakadosh Baruch Hu - even in commonplace, everyday things."

--direct quote from the Rebbe, shlit"a (from the "Most Important Shiur 4/4")

Rebbe Quotes: Preparation For Learning Torah

"If we have an hour to learn, after all of our preparations maybe we will only have a half-hour to learn. But at least for that half-hour we'll be learning Torah. It takes time to make yourself a k'li (vessel) for Torah."

-- the Rebbe, shlit"a (from "The Most Important Shiur 4/4")

Most Important Shiur 4/4

We have arrived at the fourth of what the Rebbe called "the most important shiurim I have given". See here for the first, second and third, in this mini-series.

Unlike the first three, this shiur was given after Succos. Hence, it does not have any connection to the Yomim Tovim and is solely devoted to avodah in the "rest-of-the-year" kind of way.

A seemingly simple question was posed: "What is the proper way to learn Gemara?" and in the Rebbe's inimitable and endearing style, he used this basic query to jump-start a shiur about the fundamentals of personal avodah in general, as well as the some principles about limud haTorah specifically.

The Rebbe dispels many of the common attitudes we have about learning Torah and replaces them with a rich, exciting and attainable approach to the most basic and fundamental mitzvah we have been given: learning Torah. We are meant to spend as much time as we possibly can fulfilling the mitzvah of Talmud Torah. It takes precedence over pretty much anything else. Yet, many, if not all, of the ideas contained in this shiur are lost on most people.

Additional note: It was this shiur which prompted the Rebbe to exclaim that these were the most important shiurim. Also, the Rebbe speaks about the need to recalculate our approach to learning often, and here we finally have an entire 30 minutes exclusively on that topic.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Most Important Shiur 3/4

Living in the moment...

It's a theme the Rebbe speaks about often. Here, in the third of the four most important shiurim the Rebbe has ever given, the Rebbe once again describes being present to the moment we are engaged in, only this time with so much urgency in his voice and many additional pieces to the puzzle. This particularly honest and candid shiur in is a must-listen for all.

"Being in the moment means much more than not worrying about the past and not worrying about the future. It means being able to transform the present into a time of positive, constructive and even joyful celebration."


Behold! New pictures from Sukkos 5772 of the Rebbe, Rabbi Michel Twerski, shlit"a!
All photography courtesy of the esteemed Yochanan Jones of Milwaukee. Yasher koach!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Yahrtzeit: The Maor Einayim (Cheshvan 11)

Today is the yahrtzeit of the Maor Einayim, Rebbe Menachem Nachum of Chernobyl, the founder of Chernobyler Chassidus and thereby the forefather of all of its various offshoots, including Cherkass and Hornosteipel.

Go to the TWERSKI AUDIO tab above and look for two shiurim from the Rebbe about the life and teachings of the Maor Einayim.

The Maor Einayim himself says (in Yismach Lev, Shabbos - click for PDF, the main part is the paragraph starting ובדורות האחרונים) that learning the words of a tzadik is like being there at the kever and connecting with the tzadik in a very profound way. For those of us who are not in Chernobyl physically, we can still be there by learning from the holy sefer and we can then daven as if we are there.

Zechuso yagen aleinu v'al kol Yisroel!

Exact Location of Reb Motele's Kever Identified

Jews still living in Hornosteipel remember exactly where the kever was until the entire cemetery was razed by the Communists after WWII. The well-known organization Ohalei Tzadikim erected a new matzeiva on the spot. Click here for a full account with pictures (in Hebrew).

Many thanks to Melech Pasikov for bringing this to our attention. Below is a newspaper clipping that he sent in regarding this exciting, historic find.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Most Important Shiur 2/4

As mentioned previously here, the Rebbe labeled four specific shiurim as the most important shiurim he has given (his own words). They are each on a different topic, not connected to the others, and each contains many themes and practical applications for implementing the lessons taught. While much of these shiurim is devoted to explaining various themes of the Yomim Tovim, they avodah that the Rebbe speak about are clearly for all-year around and always timely.

These shiurim have been posted upon the express request of the Rebbe, shlit"a.

In Touch with Infinity

Refoel Pride of Mishpacha Magazine has written a wonderful article on Rav Shloime Twerski, ztz"l, of Denver to commemorate thirty years since his passing. Here it is as a PDF.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Most Important Shiur 1/4

...and we're back!

After an awesome and very busy Yom Tov and then some unfortunate computer trouble, we are finally back in the saddle and ready to continue bringing you the latest from the Rebbe, shlit"a.

After the Rebbe's surgery, he wasn't able to give his regular weekday morning shiur. It was not until after Yom Kippur that he started it up again.

There were three exceptional shiurim given between Yom Kippur and Sukkos, of which, along with the first shiur following Sukkos, the Rebbe said, "Those four shiurim were the most important ones I've given."

Video: Motzei Shabbos Noach 5772

Once again, thanks to Ben Vineburg for posting this video.