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).

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tanya Shiur #14 (RBT)

Chapter 12

DOWNLOAD (Running time: 36:36 min. - Size: 6.43 MB)

For previous shiurim, visit the TANYA page.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Birchas HaTorah

In yesterday's piece, the Rebbe mentioned the implications of neglecting to recite Birchas Hatorah:

"Every morning we say the berachos for the privilege and the honor of studying the Torah which G-d has given us. We recognize G-d's authorship of the Torah and that it is a Divine gift, that it emanates and is derived from the Divine and Infinite Being and we thank G-d that we have an attachment to Torah. We thank Him for the privilege of studying Torah." See the rest here.

I thought it was a good idea to take a look at what the Baal Hatanya writes in his Shulchan Aruch and see how it complements the Rebbe's remarks. In The Laws of Birchas Hatorah (Siman 47), he writes:

"One must be exceedingly careful about the blessings of the Torah, for the Land [of Israel] was destroyed for no reason other than its omission, since [the Torah] was not significant enough in their eyes that they should make a blessing before it. It was for this reason that their Torah learning did not protect them - even though they learned and dealt in Torah a lot. Therefore, every person should see to it that the vessel of Hashem's grace that He took pleasure in every day be significant one's eyes enough to make the berachah with more simcha than all the pleasures of the world. [Making the berachah in this fashion] is indicative that his learning is lishmah."

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Purim: Revealing the Hiddeness

Among the many peculiarities of Purim, one that definitely deserves mention, is the mitzvah to read the Megilah. The reason we read the Megilah is to broadcast and publicize the miracle of Hashem’s intervention in the Purim story. Yet, throughout the entire Megilah, G-d’s Name is mentioned all but never. We seem to be caught somewhere between revealing and concealing...

Purim: Too Drunk to Know the Difference

Written by the Rebbe, Rav Michel Twerski, shlit"a  for Purim 1989

(from Turning Pages, pg 62-63)

Most everyone looks forward to the Purim holiday with eagerness and excitement, because after all is said and done, it is in practice a pleasant and enjoyable event. Nonetheless, the day does, in theory, raise an eyebrow of puzzlement about the range and character of its obligations and mitzvos. Let's review them briefly: 1) the reading of the Megillah, evening and morning; 2) the festive Seudos Purim (the meals); 3) the sending of "Mishloach Manos" to friends (food gifts); 4) the giving of charity to  "Evyonim" (poverty stricken people); and 5) drinking intoxicating beverages to the point where one cannot distinguish between the meaning of "blessed is Mordechai" and that of "cursed is Haman. Although it's not entirely clear how the first four of these hang together, as an integral unit, the last of the five responsibilities confounds us completely. Getting drunk? A Jew? So drunk that we can't differentiate between Mordechai and Haman? As the pundits all put it these days - Gimme a break!

Tanya Shiur #13 (RBT)

The Ohel in Haditch
End of Chapter 10 and Chapter 11

DOWNLOAD (Running time: 39:56 min. - Size: 7 MB)

Here is the piece of Maor Einayim quoted in the shiur.
For previous shiurim, visit the TANYA page.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Kedushas Tzion's Lo Seivoshi Nigun

The main point of this post is to bring to your attention a specific nigun from the Kedushas Tzion that, by request of the Rebbe and Rav Benzion, we should learn and use during the davening and at tish. But as I learned more and more about the origins of the nigun, I couldn't help but share my findings as well. First, the nigun, as recorded on the Ma Ashiv album from Bobov:

And now for some very interesting history about this nigun's various travels throughout the Chassidish world and its specific connection to Hornosteipel.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Parshas Terumah: The Unknown

"You shall place the lid on the Aron from above, and into the Aron you shall put the Testimony that I shall give you." (Shemos 25:21) Rashi comments: "I do not know why this has been repeated, for it has already been stated, 'And you shall put into the Aron the Testimony.'" Rashi goes on to say that maybe there is meant to be specific command not to place the lid on and then remove it in order to put the luchos into it, rather the luchos must be put into the Aron before the lid is even put in place.

Last year (5771), the Rebbe explained that Rashi's self-expressed ignorance as to why the commandment of placing the luchos in the Aron is repeated offers room for one's own interpretation. He then pointed out that the implication may be that there are two aspects to Torah. One, the revealed and apparent Torah, is meant to be placed in the Aron without a lid on it, accessible simply by looking towards it and engaging in it. There is a second aspect, however, which is more delicate and illusive, more difficult to connect to. That is the Torah in the kapores, the covering itself, as referred to in the pasuk. The lid itself is a Torah that must then be placed on the Aron.

When Value is Not by Price (audio)

From the CBJ website, a shiur for Parshas Terumah:
Recorded on: February 6, 2003 - Running time: 17:12 - Size: 1.96 MB

Parshas Mishpatim: Throwing It to the Dog

In last week's parsha, we find: "and meat in the field, trefah, you shall not eat; you shall throw it to the dog" (Shemos 22:30). The Mechilta states: "The verse teaches you that Hashem does not withhold any creature's reward, as we are told: 'and to all the children of Israel a dog did not bark." Hashem said, 'Give him his reward." As reward for their silence, the dogs are to be fed trefah meat. 

First of all, Klal Yisroel would still have left Mitzrayim had the dogs barked. Why would there be an inyan to express appreciation to dogs? Second of all, the dogs in the world today have nothing to do with the dogs that didn't bark then. Why would there be a mitzvah to give dogs the treife meat today in our times to thank the dogs that descended thousands of years from those in Mitzrayim?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Tanya Shiur #12 (RBT)

Sorry for the delay on this one. Here is Tanya Chapter 10 from this previous Wednesday night:

DOWNLOAD (Running time: 37:37, Size: 6.6 MB)

To download previous shiurim, go to the TANYA page.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Links for Parshas Mishpatim

Last year's posts for Parshas Mishpatim:

And three shiurim from the CBJ website (the third one is connected to "I Want To Go Home"):

Recorded on: February 24, 2006 - Running time: 24:37 minutes - Size: 2.81Mb

Recorded on: February 23, 2006 - Running time: 27:33 minutes - Size: 3.15Mb

Recorded on: February 22, 2006 - Running time: 20:44 minutes - Size: 2.37Mb

Friday, February 10, 2012

Tanya Shiur #11 (RBT)

Tanya, Chapter 9

DOWNLOAD  (Running time: 36:39, Size: 6.4 MB)

To download previous shiurim, go to the TANYA page.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tu B'shvat: We Are Judged for Creativity

The fifteenth day of Shevat (colloquially known as Tu B'shvat) has very significant halachic ramifications regarding maaaser, but today the Rebbe said that we should also think about how the New Year of the Trees relates to each individual and his avodah.

The commandment to "be fruitful and to multiply" is regarded as the first mitzvah in the Torah. According to the Zohar Hakadosh, this obligation is not only in terms of physical offspring, but we are called to be creative in the spiritual realm as well. We all have a responsibility to produce fruit from our G-d-given gifts, to add and help shape the world, leaving it a richer place.

The Tree Song

The Torah is likened to a tree, as the pasuk says, "[The Torah] is a tree of life." On Tu B'shvat, a person's own likeness to a tree is also highlighted, as it is written (Devarim 20:19), "For man is a tree of the field."

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS.

What Simcha Can Achieve

A scene from present-day Mezritch.
Yesterday between Mincha and Maariv, the Rebbe told the following story:

The Baal Hatanya once wrote a letter to Reb Zish of Anipoli, addressing him as "HaGaon", meaning the "Torah genius". The Baal Hatanya's chassidim wondered: While Reb Zisha was a great tzadik and servant of the Almighty, he was hardly known for his great genius in learning. In fact, Reb Zisha rarely said divrei Torah at all. Why would the Baal Hatanya write a title like that regarding Reb Zisha?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Let My Neshama Go!

We tend to judge Paroah very harshly because he saw all of these miracles and refused to bend, but take a look at us! How much of our own potential is in captivity, and because we don't want to be made uncomfortable, which would be the requirement in order to maximize that potential, we don't liberate it. There is a Divine echo reverberating through our collective and individual consciousness, bidding, "Let my neshama go! Liberate it! Allow it the freedom to maximize itself!" Yet we, like Paroah, ignore the call and respond with, "No." We don't want to be displaced, we don't want to be inconvenienced. We may go so far, but push comes to shove we are not willing to release our soul and potential from captivity.

Miracles occur all around us that attest to the validity of Hashem's calling. Stories of maintaining one's integrity, of self-sacrifice, of the purity and innocence of young children abound; the miracle of self-actualization is not foreign to us. We all have moments when our true self shines brilliantly through the dreary tegument from behind which we generally live - a wondrous experience! Do we dare be a Paroah and deny the open hand of Hashem ever present in ourselves?

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS.

Shabbos Shira: Sing During the Galus

For Parshas B'Shalach, here is a story and vort that I have heard numerous times from the Rebbe about his father-in-law, HaRav Yisroel Avrohom Stein, Rav of Faltichan, Romania:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Rebbe is Back!

זה היום עשה ה' נגילה ונשמחה בו
This is the day that Hashem has made, let us be glad and rejoice in it!

The Rebbe, shlit"a, has returned to Milwaukee. Baruch Hashem, he appears to be feeling considerably better than when he left nearly two months ago. Today, we were zoche to the revival of the Rebbe's after davening morning shiur.

Shabbos Zemiros (Part 2): Shalom Aleichem...

And now for the second installment on the Rebbe's Shabbos Zemiros... 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tanya Shiur #10 (RBT)

The Eighth Chapter of Tanya:

DOWNLOAD  (Running time: 38:06, Size: 6.54 MB)

To download previous shiurim and for dial-in info, go to the TANYA page. Here is the B'nei Yisascher quoted in the shiur.

Shabbos Zemrios (Part 1): A Gitten Shabbos

There have been a number of requests to do a mini-series on the Rebbe's Shabbos zemiros, not specifically his own, rather the nusach that he uses.