Thursday, June 23, 2011

B'nei Machshava Tova: What is Frumkeit

Reb Micha cross-posted this from his own blog, Aspaqlaria. It's worth reading, although he doesn't seem to agree...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Great article from the Aish HaTorah website

My Father, the Hassid

Recommended reading

Rav E.E. Dessler comments on the peril involved in striking the proper balance between bitachon (trust in God) and hishtadlut (the amount a person must endeavor to attain certain goals). To make his points clear, he takes the story of the spies' incursion into the Holy Land and explains exactly what the sin was and where their errors lay in this perspective. The development of his ideas through this prism is truly amazing, and is worth seeing by all.

Unfortunately, it's too long for me to transcribe it for in this forum, but it is at the end of the first volume of Michtav M'Eliyahu under the heading of Bitachon v'Hishtadlut. It has been translated by Rabbi Aryeh Carmell in Strive for Truth!

Also, please refer to B'nei Machshava Tova (the blog, not the sefer) for some practical advice that Rav Dessler imparts at the end of that essay.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Awesome new app just released - PowerSefer

My friend sent me this link to the home site of PowerSefer, a brand new app that brings an entire library of sefarim to your PC or mobile device. This downloadable app is currently available for Windows and iPod, with android and BlackBerry compatible versions coming soon.
Like Otzar haChochma, PowerSefer offers an incredible ever-expanding library from a vast array of Torah sources at your fingertips. Listening to a shiur on your iPhone and want to verify a particular source cited? Just open the app with your wireless connection and you have the sefer in a clear, easy-to-read interface!

From the site's homepage:

Our seforim preserve the feel and format of traditional printed books, while offering all of the advantages of electronic texts. The PowerSefer learning experience is natural, smooth, and effortless... 
Our software has been designed from the ground up for working with seforim, and is packed with features:
  • Powerful Full Library Search
  • Advanced Search Options
  • Built-in Word Tools (Hebrew-English Dictionary, Roshei Teivos Help, and more)
  • Ability to Annotate, Bookmark, and Highlight Seforim
  • Adjustable Text Size
  • Lightning-Quick Download of Seforim
  • Quick Navigation with detailed Table of Contents
  • Multiple Seforim Open at Once

Check it out on!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Lesson of Sinai

 Adapted from Ein AYaH (Shabbos v.II) by Rav Kook:
What does the name Sinai mean? The Talmudic interpretation is surprising — and somewhat shocking:  
"What is Mount Sinai? The mountain that brought enmity (sin'ah) upon the nations of the world." (Shabbat 89b) 
What is the nature of this animosity? What does it have to do with Mount Sinai?
Where would one expect that God would reveal His Torah to the Jewish people? The logical place would be on the holiest mountain in the world — Jerusalem's Mount Moriah, the site of the Binding of Isaac, Jacob's holy "gate to heaven" (Gen 28:17), the spot where both Temples stood. Why did the revelation of the Torah take place outside of the Land of Israel, in the middle of the desert?The fact that the Torah was not given to the Jewish people in their own land, but rather in a desert, in no-man's land, is very significant. This indicates that the inner content of the Torah is relevant to all peoples. If receiving the Torah required the special holiness of the Jewish people, then the Torah should have been given in a place that reflects this holiness. Revelation on Mount Sinai attests to the Torah's universal nature.This idea is corroborated by the Talmudic tradition that "God offered the Torah to every nation and every tongue, but none accepted it, until He came to Israel, who received it" (Avodah Zarah 2b). This Midrash is well known, but it contains an implication that is often overlooked. How could God offer the nations something that is beyond their spiritual level? It is only because the Torah is relevant to all peoples that their refusal to accept it reflects so harshly on them.The Torah's revelation on Mount Sinai, as a neutral location belonging to none and thus belonging to all, emphasizes the disappointment and estrangement from God that the nations brought upon themselves by rejecting the Torah and its ethical teachings. It is for this reason Mount Sinai "brought enmity upon the nations of the world.
In the future, however, the nations will recognize this mistake and correct it: "In those days, it shall come to pass that ten men from all the languages of the nations will take hold of every Jew by a corner of his cloak and say, 'Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.'" (Zachariah 8:23) 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Suggestions, anyone?

I want to get semicha.

I toyed with the idea for a while, even joining a kollel dedicated to the practical application of halacha while learning in the Holy Land. Once I returned to my yeshiva in New Jersey, I abandoned that pursuit in the meantime for the sake of adhering to the yeshiva's curriculum. Then life got in the way as I focused on maintaining my regular schedule in yeshiva in conjunction with family and college.

Now as my undergraduate career draws to a close, my life is going to get much busier - that's why I would like to find a program that will allow me to study for semicha on a part time (i.e. mornings or afternoons only) basis. Aside from the fact that I strongly belief having a firm foundation in halacha is of prime importance, considering the fact that i would like to be involved in the Jewish community in one capacity or another (through my profession, etc.) I feel that to have semicha will lend to my credibility when dealing with people in the religious community.

I am looking for part-time programs; if I could correspond that would also be good.

Any suggestions are welcome. You can either post in the comments section, or e-mail me at


Real Love

Shirat Devorah: Real Love: " from the writings of the Ben Ish Chai Real love is reciprocated: 'As in water, face reflects face, so is the heart of man to man' [Prove..."

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Liquid Courage?

Of course, people like to drink. They drink to forget their sorrows. They drink because they'd like to drown their sorrows. 
The only problem is that sorrow floats. - Rabbi Y.Y. Jacobson,