Monday, January 31, 2011

Reb Menachem Mendel, the Rebbe of Kotzk, was known to be an extremely sharp individual. This sharpness was already apparent during his childhood, as seen in the following story:

Once, the cheder rebbe turned to Menachem Mendel and offered him a nickel if he could tell the rebbe where HaShem is. The young Menachem Mendel immediately replied "I'll give you a dime if you can tell me where He isn't!"

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Blackout Night with Rav Shmuel (Tonight!)

Via Rav Shmuel's myspace messaging:

Hi Fan,

Once a month the electricity is shut off for BLACKOUT night - No sound
system - no microphones - no lights - just great music served in the glow of
candlelight...We take it for granted that we need an amplification device to
properly listen to live music but this is not so. Why let some sound-guy
decide how you should hear things? Stand up for yourself! You may have to
listen a bit more intently and save your small talk for after the show but
it will be a much more satisfying experience! I'm excited to be playing
this event - not only because it's unplugged but because I'll be playing my
baritone guitar live for the first time. I'd love to see you there if you're
in NY - if not please pass this on to someone who is. Thanks!

January 30, 2011 at 9PM
Sidewalk Cafe
94 Ave. A (corner E6th St.)
Manhattan NY 10009
7:30 Gina Mobilio 8-Brook pridemore 8:45-Emily Hope Price 9:30-Rav Shmuel 10:15 Crazy & The Brains
With a handshake in thought
Rav Shmuel
(inspired in part by Herb from Sidewalkatsidewalk Blog)

Shovavim Shiur from Rav Moshe Weinberger (part 3)

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The third and final shiur based on a Shovavim ma'amar from Reb Tzvi Meir Zilberberg:

  • People have negative associations with fear. The Torah really views Yirah (Fear) in a positive light. 
  • Yiras Hashem should be manifested by always feeling Hashem's presence. 
  • Gentiles also have Yiras Hashem, but they run away when afraid instead of embracing Hashem.
  •  Yirah is crucial for any healthy relationship. 
  • Yoseph Hatzadik was the quintessential Yoreh Hashem. 
  • Yirah is the main pathway for Tikkun Habris (Guarding the Holy Covenant).

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Understanding what's important

Reb Zusia of Anipoli and Reb Boruch of Medzhiboz were once traveling together, and called upon a wealthy chassid at his home. Wishing to properly accommodate them, their host brought them to a table set with food and drink, and asked them to partake. The host personally served them, catering to their every need while they ate.
At one point, the chassid asked Reb Zusia if he would like some pepper to go with his food. Reb Zusia politely declined; he didn't care for pepper. The chassid persisted, offering the pepper to Reb Zusia until he explained to his host that he didn't like pepper. The host relented, but not before commenting that he "loved pepper".

Reb Zusia stopped what he was doing. "What did you say?" he asked the host. Nervously, the host replied: "I was just musing that it's interesting that the rebbe doesn't like pepper; I love pepper!"

Reb Zusia turned to Reb Boruch. "Did you hear that?" he asked his companion, "he says he 'loves' pepper!" Reb Boruch nodded; he had heard it as well. Reb Zusia began to rock back and forth, chuckling and repeating the host's words to himself: "He loves pepper, he loves pepper, he loves it! He says so!" Gaining momentum, Reb Zusia began whispering "...but what does Zusia love? He loves pepper, but what do I love? What does Zusia love? I love HaShem. He loves pepper...and I love HaShem. I love HaShem! I love HaShem!"

Reb Zusia's eyes rolled up into the back of his head as he leaped up and began dancing around the table, in utter joy. "I love HaShem! Reb Boruch, do you hear? He loves pepper, and I love HaShem! I love Him!" Ecstatic, Reb Zusia jumped onto the table and started jumping up and down in fervor, all the while shouting for all to hear about the profound love he had for his Creator. As Reb Zusia danced, he knocked over everything on the table; the drinks, the food, and the pepper all went spilling over, much of it splashing onto Reb Boruch's coat.

Reb Boruch was more of the strong, silent type, not one for scenes of exuberance like his friend Reb Zusia. But after that event, the only times he ever wore that coat again was on Yom Kippur, and he asked to be buried in it.

Love is such a strong word, it can conjure up very strong feelings and should be used sparingly. Too often we belittle that special word when we associate it with things that are so very unimportant. "I love that food," "I love sleeping," "I loved that movie," etc.

One of the biggest problems that we face today is the skewing of our priorities, and our confusion concerning what is really important. This issue manifests itself in so many circumstances that we have all dealt with it at one point or another in our lives, and the situation is worsening. We place emphasis on the peripheral matters and lose focus of the main goals and ideals. It affects our approach to everything, especially when it comes to religious matters. Maybe it would be a good idea to clarify a few things:

When someone spends the majority of time during the prayers shmoozing in the back and sneaking out during kriyat haTorah to drink some schnapps, something is very wrong. The same can be said for those who believe that kedusha of Mussaf is the end of the session and begin folding their talleisim and setting up for kiddush. And you can't say anything because people will stare at you as if you've told them to renounce Judaism and covert to another religion, God forbid. Apparently, having one shot too many is the fourteenth principle of faith, followed by getting 12 hours-plus of sleep on the winter Friday nights (number fifteen).

When someone spends the majority of time during the prayers with his nose stuck in a sefer, something is very wrong. There is a time and place for everything; Torah learning is meant for any and all available time - but the time when we are in shul for prayers does not necessarily count as that. The chazzan's repetition is not designed as catch-up time for the Daf Yomi, daily Tehillim, or anything else (certainly not to go through the e-mails in your 'bulk' folder). We are supposed to participate fully in the services, with the attention and respect that it warrants as part of our service of God. I'm not saying that there is a violation of any halacha, per se (although the Mishna Berura does comment on the Chazarat HaSHaTZ issue), but this is a display of insensitivity toward one of the most important institutions of our faith. If the sages of previous generations felt that something was important and worthy enough of being incorporated universally into the structure of our tefillot, then it would behoove us to take it very seriously; I know that I wouldn't want Reb Shlomo Alkabetz to be waiting for me after 120 with complaints (in case you didn't know what I was referring to).

Reb Shlomo Freifeld was once asked about the significance of the "hat and jacket". He replied that "the look" meant nothing so long as the Jew underneath it didn't live up to the standards set forth by the Torah. While there is a lot of merit to the aspect of uniformity within our communities, that doesn't preclude the most important criteria of middot and adherence to halacha (there is also a strong basis for the hat and jacket concerning appropriate attire for tefilla, but this goes beyond that).

When it comes to learning, it's imperative to remember that quality is key, not quantity. Bekiyus is integral, of course, as we are enjoined to learn as much of God's Torah as possible (see Nefesh HaChaim) - but it must be really learned. We have such a lazy generation where we have study aids, super-super commentaries to the super commentaries that are on the commentaries that explain what the original meforshim were trying to point out - how are we ever expected to really learn how to learn properly? Our grandparents, indeed, the gedolim themselves didn't have all of the wonderful seforim that we have at our fingertips. They can learn because they worked at it with nothing but the original folio of gemara with RaSHI and Tosafos; the lucky ones had a RaMBaM or Maharsha to refer to. We're crippling ourselves and we don't even realize it.

Moreover, we must always keep in sight why we are learning. Regardless of one's affiliation (i.e. the students of the Ba'al Shem Tov or the Gaon of Vilna), we are learning the Torah to know God, to draw closer to Him, to glorify Him, and to obey His commandments. We are not learning Torah for the intellectual stimulation, or the egocentric feeling of accomplishment. Nor are we engaging in learning to obliterate our study partners in dialectics with sharp rejoinders that show off our breadth and depth of Torah knowledge while simultaneously shredding their arguments and therefore their esteem.

Segulot are wonderful things, but they can never, ever replace the power of heartfelt tefillah.

Tzedakah is a tremendous mitzvah that can even save people from death. That should be sufficient motivation without the various chinese auctions.

There is so much more, but I'm not the one to list them exhaustively, at least not yet. Of course, everything mentioned above applies to myself as well; I am not any less guilty (or more innocent) than the next person, and my words are self directed; the rest of you happen to be reading over my shoulder.

I believe that we can all take stock and reorganize our priorities, but it means taking honest looks at the way we're living and appraising it with a critical eye. It's hard, painful work, but if I've learned anything about my brethren, though, it's that we are capable of it, and we will do it.

With love to all...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Baruch Dayan HaEmes

Rav Nochum Zev Dessler (Nochum Zev ben Eliyahu Eliezer), founder and dean of the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland, passed away yesterday. He was 89 years old.

Rav Dessler was a special sort of tzaddik; I remember how he used to come to school every day, even when he wasn't feeling well, and he would engage the children in conversation whenever he could. He and his rebbetzin (she should live and be well) devoted themselves wholeheartedly to the task of providing the Jewish children of Cleveland with a religious education, no matter the background of the child's family. This dedication was a spiritual inheritance from his father, Rav E.E. Dessler, and the sensitivity to the needs of the next generation was further passed along to Rav Nochum Zev's own offspring, who remain involved in every aspect of the school's upkeep, as I've witnessed firsthand through my own family's relationship with the greater Dessler family.

Without HAC, my siblings and I as well as my mother would not have had an education, and I am forever indebted to them for that.

Despite the fact that I was in Cleveland for a whirlwind trip over this course of time, I was unable to attend the levaya (funeral); my father is sending me recordings of the eulogies, which I may post for everyone to hear. The man's accomplishments are as much a mussar as anything his illustrious father's writings can give us; in learning Rav N.Z. Dessler's legacy, we see the Michtav M'Eliyahu realized.

There will be another levaya held tonight at Newark Airport, Continental Airlines (North) Cargo Area D, at 5:45 PM. The aron is being transported to the Holy Land, where Rav Dessler will be buried near his father.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Becoming a Jew by choice

By Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo

As we are confronted by a most serious increase of Jews who not only have left the fold but are actively involved in anti-Jewish sentiments, it is perhaps of great meaning to study an episode in the life of a non-Jew who decided to join the Jewish people at all costs.
Indeed, reading the story of Yisro (Jethro), (Moses' father in law and one of the earliest converts to Judaism), is a serious challenge not only to many anti-Jewish Jews but also for those who are actively involved in Jewish life but are lukewarm about Judaism and its message. For sensitive souls Yisro's story is not just a meaningful narrative but above all a painful confrontation with one's own Jewishness.

After many years of separation, Moses and Yisro meet again. Moses has just taken the Jews out of Egypt and miraculously led them across the Red Sea. Yisro, together with his daughter, Moses' wife Tzippora, and their children, were left behind when Moses took on this great and almost impossible task. But now that the exodus had been realized, it was possible for them to meet again. The text tells us that this meeting took place in the wilderness:

                "Yisro, the father in law of Moses came to Moses with his sons and wife to the wilderness where he was encamped…" (Exodus 18:5)
This piece of information seems to be superfluous since earlier on we were already informed that Moses and his people found themselves in the desert. Rashi, the foremost commentator, recognizing the problem explains that this is a reference to the tremendous sacrifice Yisro made when he decided to become a Jew:

                "He lived in the world of glory. Still his heart moved him to leave it all behind and to go to the wilderness and hear the words of the Torah" (ad loc)
Indeed tradition teaches us that Yisro was a man of great wealth. He had occupied the prestigious position of the high priest in Midian ( see Rashi on 18:1). He was also surrounded with servants, glory and abundance. The verse now informs us that he gave all this up to go to a "desert", a place that would no longer give him any of these honors. As a Jew he would become one of the many, no longer a man in his own right but just "the father in law of Moses". 

Tradition informs us also that Yisro had become an outcast. He had rejected all forms of religion and philosophies known in his days and had been banned and abandoned by the societies in which he lived. He had turned into a "lonely man of faith". His love for Jewish values and the Jewish people made everything else seem of secondary importance. Only this and nothing else moved him: To be part of the Jewish people and participate in their observances.
Yisro confronts us, for the first time after the exodus, with a new phenomenon: To be a Jew by choice. And by doing so he confronts all Jews with a major challenge: How to become a Jew by choice even when one have been born in the fold. How to feel the same "brenn" the burning need to live as a committed Jew as he did.

This is only possible when one is able to re-enact and experience Yisro's way to Judaism in one's own life. No doubt it must have been a long and difficult road — a heart rending challenge in which there were moments of ascent and descent before arriving at the top. To do so, Yisro must have made use of a ladder of observance. A step by step involvement with the world of religious observance and all other aspects of Jewish life. Like a baby which takes its first steps, he must have tried to engage the world of Halacha and its spirit. To feel its touch, to integrate it in his life and to feel absorbed by its spirit, like a man who swims in water and is touched at all points of his consciousness.

For many who are born in the fold, Yisro's desire to become Jewish should consequently be a major problem. First for those Jews who left the Jewish world and opted for an often comfortable secular life style. Questions such as why a non-Jew should be prepared to give everything up so as to become Jewish or what there is in Judaism that makes a non-Jew conclude that it surpasses everything else, should haunt each one of them.

But also for those who are "observant", Yisro's engagement with Judaism is a major challenge. Here the questions are somehow different. Am I as much in love with Judaism as Yisro was? Would I have opted for Judaism if I had not been born Jewish? Does this not mean that I may have to start all over again so as to grasp "real" Judaism? If Yisro started his road to Judaism step by step in order to fully grasp its beauty and truth, I may have to re-engage myself with every mitzvah, religious duty, as if I had never done it before. As such I have to become a "Jew by choice". Perhaps I should begin a process by which I take hold of every mitzvah which I am observing and transform it into something radically new as if I had never observed it before?

It is told of the great Jewish philosopher and "ba'al teshuva" Franz Rosenzweig that, in his earlier days, he was once asked whether he put on tefillin. "Not yet" was his answer. Although he may not have felt ready at the time to take on this great mitzvah he made it clear that he looked forward to the day when wearing tefillin would become a real religious experience. This does not mean that he should have been waiting till he was fully ready.

After all, it was Rosenzweig himself who taught that "it is in the deed that one hears the mitzvah". Only when one actually preforms a mitzvah can one hear and feel its profundity and not the other way round. But what it does mean is that when one "just" puts on tefillin, one has not yet really performed the mitzvah. Only when one comes to the mitzvah as a novice, like Yisro, can one experience its full power. Not out of tradition or habit but out of a genuine desire to fulfill the word of G-d.

This is the road which Yisro took and because he realized the enormous religious profundity of Judaism and every mitzvah he was prepared to give everything else up. As such he challenged each Jew.
It was the famous non-Jewish literary historian A.L. Rowse in "Historians I have Known," who at the end of his memoirs turned Yisro's decision on its head when he wrote: "If there is any honour in the world which I should like, it would be to be an honorary Jewish citizen. For him it stayed an unfulfilled dream. For many Jews it is a reality about which they would never dream.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A REAL angel in the City of Angels

The Tolna Rebbe shlita made an historic trip to the United States a short while ago, where he spent time on the left coast, in L.A.

Here's a recording from a short drasha he gave while there.

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As I've written before, I feel some sort of connection to the Rebbe, and I believe that he has a lot of wisdom to share with the world. My very good friend's father had the z'chus to accompany him on his travels in the States; I wish the Rebbe had come to Jersey...

Sharing the load...

Last week, Reb Ally wrote a gut-wrenching post about the death of a former student at his yeshiva. He began the post with a poignant quote from William Blake:
“Can I see another's woe, and not be in sorrow, too? Can I see another's grief, and not seek for kind relief?”
In general, the tone of Reb Ally's post - the way he approached someone else's pain - was dignified and beautiful in its sensitivity. It was very apropos for that week: earlier in the week, we celebrated the yahrtzeit (anniversary of death) of Reb Moshe Leib Sassover. Reb Moshe Leib was known for his singular dedication to the unique mitzvah of redeeming Jewish captives; he was indefatigable  when it came to raising funds on behalf of those poor Jewish souls who found themselves in the clutches of the government, and he advocated for them with all his might.

Where did he get the strength to devote himself to this mission? From his approach to Ahavat Yisrael (love for the Jewish nation). Reb Moshe Leib once told his followers how he learned to really love his fellow Jew - it wasn't in a sefer or from another rebbe. He learned that important lesson from two drunken peasants in a bar one night.

Reb Moshe Leib related that he once found himself in a pub, where these two older Russians were sitting, trading toasts. They would toast their mutual healths, and their enduring friendship, and down a shot of vodka. As they continued with their nightly ritual and got progressively more drunk, one fellow turned to the other.

"Vlad," he slurred, "do you love me?"
Vlad blinked in surprise. "Vasily, we've been best friends our entire lives! Of course I love you!"

Satisfied, they toasted each other again, and poured another drink. But a few drinks later, Vasily turned back to Vlad and asked him again whether he loved him. Vlad was incredulous, and tried to convince his comrade that he loved him like no other, that he would die for him, and that their loyalty was the stuff of legend. Vasily remained unconvinced. "You don't love me Vlad," he insisted. Exasperated, Vlad turned to his friend and asked him why he kept saying such a thing.

Vasily turned back to him, and with deep sorrow etched in his face he answered "Because if you were really my friend, if you really loved me? You would know what's hurting me right now."

Reb Moshe Leib turned to his chassidim: "I learned that night what it means to really love a fellow Jew. It's not enough to join him in his happiness and times of joy; one must especially be there when his friend is hurting, when he's in distress, when he is going through a difficult time. We have to help carry the burden - that is true love!"

The ability to empathize with others is so important, and we must strive to make it a practice in our interpersonal dealings.

"I am with him in his pain" - this is no less than an attribute that God displays for the person who suffers, and it would behoove us to emulate Him, as always. We cannot afford to view someone else's pain as their own, we must internalize it, feel it, share in it, and heal together - it's a prime example of unity. In this week's parsha, we will read about the Jewish nation gathering around Mount Sinai in anticipation of receiving the Torah. Rashi explains that the word used for "encampment" in this verse is in the singular, to signify that the Jewish nation gathered "as one man, with one heart" - the ultimate description of unity, a sum total worth more than its individual parts.

This is the idea of Knesset Yisrael in both the metaphysical sense and the concept as laid forth by Rav Soloveitchik in On Repentance; this is the idea behind Rav Shlomo of Radomsk's interpretation of the verse "Gal Einai". We must work on this middah; it is impertive for the survival of our people.

This is part of the reason that I believe I was struggling with my schooling this past semester. I'm majoring in psychology because I know that I want to help people. I want to help them through their struggles, and if I'm more than a little honest, I want to help myself too. I don't know if I can give good advice, but I can give them another precious commodity: time. I can listen to them, hear them out, and give them an outlet if they need it, and I'm willing to share in their pain because everyone needs to know they have support.

But very often what I'm learning in school seems to go against that idea. We're taught to maintain distance, not to "get caught up" in the "consumer's" (I hate that term) issues but rather to offer a detached, objective view. That seems so incongruent with what the Torah seems to tell us about helping someone through their struggles, and it gets very frustrating. For a while I considered calling it quits and switching tracks to law school, which is how everyone thinks I should be spending my time anyway.

Thankfully, I had the chance to speak to a professional and ask him if he felt the same way when he was going through the same period that I am, and he agreed straight away. He recalled how difficult it was to slog through all the irrelevant lectures on topics that had no bearing on where he was headed, and he bolstered my strength with some words of encouragement.

All it took was a little validation, and some empathy, and I felt better already. It really works!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Shovavim Shiur from Rav Moshe Weinberger (part 2)

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Continuation of the ma'amar from Rav Tzvi Meir Zilberberg:

  • Shovavim is the time of year where we are not bound by the chains of sin. 
  • Importance of Ahavas Hashem (Love of G-d) especially when it allows us to recognize Hashem's gifts. 
  • Similarities between Hashem's love for the Jewish people and a parent's love for a child.

For those of you who feel more comfortable purchasing the shiurim as they are available on the website, click here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What a great idea...

From a ad in the Passaic/Clifton page (kudos to RebY. for sending me the link):

Passaic / Clifton Gemachs

Room for Hisbodidus Gemach I like to organize a network of rooms available for hisbodidus, or private prayer/meditation with Hashem. Rooms should be clean and free from noise and odor, sparsely furnished (a single chair is sufficient), with a single private entrance and able to be locked. It should be available for at least 4 hours at a time, at least once a week. If rooms are available and there's demand, I'll organize the schedule. jacobmaxwink... (posted 1/10)Send to a friend
See all posts in Passaic / Clifton Gemachs

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Parshas HaMann

First of all, I'm in the middle of a grueling period of final exams in school, so my output level on the blog is running low, at maintenance levels. Thanks for bearing with me.

Today is the third day of the week of Parshas B'Shalach, and is known as a very fortuitous time for prayer, especially for sustenance. Even without the poor economy, we all know the difficulties (either personally or through our friends and loved ones) associated with the hishtadlus (willful effort) toward earning a living and providing for our families. Even if you have the merit to be fully involved in Torah learning, please say the portion of the Manna with Shnayim Mikra v'Echad Targum on behalf of those who are toiling in Derech Eretz (literally, "the way of the land" - a reference to earning a living by engaging in occupations outside the realm of Torah).

Through this, may the One Who sustains us all continue to rain blessings on us, so that we can devote ourselves more to learning His holy Torah without the stresses of livelihood...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Shovavim Shiur from Rav Moshe Weinberger (part 1)

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  • Why Shovavim is not mentioned in the Gemorah and was only reserved for the later generations. 
  • The importance of feeling G-d's love. 
  • The difference between the Chassidic and Mussar movements. 
  • Connection between Chanukah and Shovavim and the importance of the mem-beis (number 42).

Based on a ma'amar from Rav Tzvi Meir Zilberberg. Check in later this week for the next installment. Enjoy!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Shiur from Rabbi Yosef Veiner

Rabbi Veiner is a Rav and posek (halachic arbiter/authority) based in Monsey, New York. He gives many shiurim that blend halacha and hashkafah, and his subject material is always presented in an interesting way.

This shiur is quite appropriate for Shovavim, but is really pertinent for any time of year. The shiur was given a few years ago, and was the main impetus for my own purchasing of a Internet accountability program.

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

There was a little village where people were simple, and led difficult lives. In this town, everyone had to struggle to make ends meet; even when they experienced a windfall, the tax collectors would swoop down and snatch away the fruits of their labor before the townspeople could enjoy it. Everyone had struggles - a health issue, a couple not getting along, the list goes on. Day in and day out, these people would slog through their gloomy existence.

One day, they heard that the King was passing through on one of his annual tours of the kingdom, and would be spending a week in their humble village. The King - a wise and benevolent ruler - wished to see how his subjects were faring, to see how they lived. 

Immediately, the village flew into a frenzy, cooking, cleaning, and preparing for the King's imminent arrival. For such an esteemed guest, no effort was spared. Clothes were mended and pressed to formal crispness. The meager china, dented silverware and finest tablecloths were all polished, straightened, and laid out. The women bustled around their kitchens, collaborating, competing, and gossiping with each other over bubbling pots of delicacies while the men worked together to repair the broken fences, patch roofs and fix up the appearance of the town. For once, the townspeople forgot about their sufferings as they anticipated the King's arrival with baited breath.

Finally, that fateful day came!

The King rolled into to town on the most magnificent chariot they had ever seen. The butcher, fishmonger, and tailor - doubling as the welcoming band in their Sabbath finery - struck up the royal anthem as the children ran alongside the King's carriage, singing along. The King was led to the town hall, where a massive banquet had been set - an event to start off a week of festivities.

The villagers threw themselves into their positions as royal hosts with abandon. The King was amazed at their tireless joy in serving him. As he surveyed this little town, he only saw joy and health, contentedness and loyalty. What a wonderful little town! The King's heart welled up with emotion when he considered his fortune, to be blessed with such devoted subjects, who lived life with verve and grace. Both the King and the villagers hoped that the week would never end.

But ends inevitably arrive, and soon enough the week was over. The King was ready to move on. As he began making preparations for his departure, the King began receiving visits from various townsfolk, begging him for his help and consideration.

"Your majesty, I have a daughter of marriageable age, and no money for a dowry..."

"Your highness, my wife...she's so sick..."

"Sire, my children are starving and we had a bad crop last year..."

The King was astounded; as he mounted his chariot the people began to gather around him in a mob, wailing, crying, beseeching him for help with their needs. The King looked out over the crowd with dismay. "I don't understand," he said, " this whole week that I've spent here, this little village seemed like a paradise on Earth! What happened?"

Amongst the sobbing, one man stood up and said: "Your Highness, as long as you were here with us, we couldn't help but forget our sorrows. The honor and pleasure of serving you allowed us that brief respite. But tomorrow - after you have gone back to your palace - we'll go back to our humble difficulties; with you leaving, it's just another reminder of how badly we need your help!"

Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk used this mashal (parable) to illustrate the significance of the melave malka. As Shabbos slowly takes leave until the next week, all of our needs come rushing back to fill the "void" left by the special Divine Presence of Shabbos.