A blog dedicated to spreading the simcha of learning the Torah that was given L'Moshe Mi'Sinai. Topics range from Gemora to Chumash!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Interfaith Dialogue

5 Cheshvan 5766

Today I attended an interfaith dialogue between Imam Muzzamil Siddiqi and Rabbi Altshuler, rabbi of Congregation Eilat, a conservative Shul here in Orange County. They talked about the basics of both faiths, i.e., shariya is the muslim halacha, halal is the muslim kosher and so forth.

It was very informative, and Imam Siddiqi was very friendly and articulate. He's an immigrant from India, but even so, I had no issue understanding him. They were both candid and open, but naturally, due to the fact that I'm a blogger, I took issues with some of the things that Rabbi Altshuler said.

First of all, he basically wrote off all of Ashkenazi Jewry, claiming that the more authentic kind of Judaism was the Judaism of the middle east, which outwardly resembles Islamic worship more. He even said to me, "Sephardic torah readings sound like arabic." OK, great! And Ashkenazishe hebrew sounds like German/Russian. He was confusing a branch for a root. They appear more like arabs because they live in arab countries. We appear more like europeans because we live in european countries.

Secondly, he was a conservative rabbi who didnt wear a yarmulke, so right off I knew we would have an issue about our beliefs about the nature of halakha.

But altogether it was an interesting and informative thing. Kudos to Hillel for putting this on.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Torah Parshah Noach

Torah Parshah: Noach
Book: Bereishit
Book Number: I

Life Before The Flood
After Adam’s sin, mankind no longer lived in Gan Eden. However before the flood, the life-style was that of living in Gan Eden. Life was good for people living before the flood. Life was good for the people, but the people weren’t good for life. All of mankind served idols, served the sun and moon as gods, and make idols out of woods and stones. Our sages teach us that before the flood, man would live for hundreds of years, live to see his children grew up and his grandchildren. Women would conceive and give birth on the same day. Children would be born able to speak, stand, and walk. The generation before the flood, we are taught that there were giants on the earth. Although the people before the flood had great lives, they sinned. They would serve idols, denyG-D as one true G-D. They would rob each other and kill each other and they try to become immoral.

Noach, The Righteous One
Noach and his family were the only righteous people on earth. Noach had a wife called Na’ama and they had three sons, Yefes, Cham, and Shaim. All of them followed G-D and didn’t serve idols. Shaim is listed first in the Torah because he was the greatest of all of them and Avraham, the first Jew descended from him.

G-D Reveals The Future Event Of The Flood To Noach
G-D spoke to Noach and told him that He is going to destroy the entire earth, all the men, women, children, and animals that live on it. Noach was also told by G-D to take one male and one female of each non-kosher animal and seven pairs of each kosher animals. Noach questioned G-D on how he can catch all those animals. When Noach said this, he lost the chance to fulfill the mitzvah and G-D told him that He will gather the animals for him, Noach will just have to build the ark.

Noach Builds The Ark
Noach spent 120 years building the ark. G-D told Noach in secret where to get all the wood and how to build everything. The question might be brought up as to why G-D had Noach build an ark to survive the flood, surely G-D could have commanded Noach to build a house and live in it and G-D will make sure that the flood water won’t touch the house during the flood, but our sages teach us that there are a few reasons for why Noach was commanded to build an ark: 1.The preparations for building the ark attracted worldwide attention. People came from far and near to see why an old man was building an ark in the middle in land. The people asked Noach why he was building an ark and made fun of him when he gave them the answer.
2.By building the ask himself, Noach fulfilled the mitzvah and he became spiritually elevated.

The Giant Og
Another special passenger was allowed in the ark, he was the giant Og. Og was allowed to survive the flood because in the future G-D saw that Og would be of service to Avraham. Noach drilled a hole in the wall and gave food to Og everyday during the flood.

Rain Begins To Fall
On the 17th of Cheshvan in the Hebrew year 1656, the rain began to fall. G-D told Noach and his family to enter the ark. At the beginning the rain drops came slowly but as the days went by, the drops came more and more and faster and faster. It came down slowly at first in order to show the evil people that it is not to late to change their evil wars and they will be spared. We are taught that when the rain started Noach didn’t want to enter the ark, he hoped that G-D will show mercy on the world. But when Noach saw the angel of death coming towards he and his family quickly entered the ark. The evil people said that when Noach enters the ark they will chop down the ark, but lions protected the ark and prevented the evil people from going near the ark.

Life In The Ark
During the flood, the heavenly planets didn’t operate in order and so Noach couldn’t tell if it was day or if it was night. A year had past with Noach and his family in the ark. It was a hard year for Noach’s family because each day they had to feed and maintain the animals. Each animal ate at a different time, so it took a whole day just to feed the animals! Throughout the year of Noach’s stay in the ark he prayed. All men, women, children, and animals who weren’t in the ark all drowned in the flood. Only the fish survived.

Noach Sends Out The Raven And Dove
After many days of being in the ark, Noach sent out a raven to see if the earth was dry. The raven stayed near the ark and Noach knew that the earth was not yet dry. He waited a week and sent out a dove, the dove couldn’t find a dry spot and therefore returned to the ark after a short time. Noach waited another seven days and sent out the dove again, this time the dove came back with an olive leaf. Noach waited another week and sent the dove out again, this time the dove didn’t return and Noach knew that the earth must be drying up. On the 20th day of Chesvan, the earth finally dried up.

After The Flood
Even after the earth dried up Noach still didn’t leave the ark. He said that just has G-D told him to enter the ark, he will wait until G-D tells him to leave the ark. Then finally Noach heard G-D say that he and his family shall leave the ark. When Noach saw the earth he didn’t recognize it. When Noach came out of the ark he offered sacrifices to G-D at the future site of the Bais Hamikdash in Yerushalayim.

The Rainbow
G-D told Noach that he will never again destroy the earth with a flood. As a promise G-D showed Noach a rainbow.

Noach’s Intoxication
Noach planted vineyards. When it started growing he rejoiced and drank some of the wine. The plant bore fruit on the same day that Noach planted it. Noach had three cups of wine from the plant, Noach became drunk from this. Noach’s grandson, Canaan, entered the tent where Noach was staying and he saw Noach drunk and naked. Canaan went to tell his father, Cham, and Cham entered the tent and mistreated Noach for the way he was acting. When Noach awoke and found out that his son mistreated him while he was drunk, he cursed Cham.

The Towel Of Bavel
Cham had a son who was Kush. Kush had a son who became the King Nimrod. King Nimrod decided that all of the people should live in a city and in the middle of the city they should build a huge tower so incase G-D decides to destroy the earth with a flood they will be saved. That wasn’t enough, the people even decided to put an idol with a sword in it’s hand on top of the tower to make it look like the idol was fighting G-D.G-D sent down 70 angels to stop the people from building the towel. Each angel went after a different group of people and all of the people were separated into 70 different nations with a different language (they all spoke Hebrew up until the Tower of Bavel) and were scattered throughout the world.

Ten Generations From Noach To Avraham
There were ten generations between Noach and Avraham, they were:

G-D was looking for a righteous, G-D fearing man who would be the father of a righteous nation, He found Avraham to be that righteous, G-D fearing man.

Avram Protests Idols
When Avram was growing up, he saw that idols can not be true gods. He thought that maybe the sun and moon were gods, but he noticed that the sun only rules the day and the moon only rules the night. Avram then thought that there must be one G-D who is a creator and ruler of everything. Avram decided to stop idol worship and accept one true G-D. Although his father actually makes and sells idols, Avram tries to get his family and his families customers to accept one true G-D and give up idols. Avram’s father doesn’t accept G-D at first but when Avram and his family decide to move to the land of Canaan so it will be safe, Avram’s father eventually decides to give up idol worship, worship G-D and repent.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Holiday Season is Over

Yes, Sukkos is over and now we have no special holidays until Channukah. For us in Yorba Linda, CA, it was, halakhically speaking, an interesting sukkos. Why? Because during the day before shkiah of the first day of Sukkos, it rained. More like stormed. And it had the previous day also. We were wondering: would it be difficult to eat in the sukkah? Would we just wuss out and not eat in the Sukkah? NO! Rav Eliezrie is too hardcore for that! :D But, B"H, the Rain stopped just before shkiah, and Hashem allowed us the mitzvah of eating in the sukkah, portending a good year for Klal Yisroel (at least in YL).

The Rav took this time to give the mostly unlearned Yidden of Yorba Linda a little chinnuch, and we learned the din about rainy conditions. You can find it in Maseches Sukkos, I currently can't remember where. It says that that if it gets so rainy that your soup tastes bad/is too mixed with water, you don't need to eat in the sukkah, except a k'zayis of bread on the first night.What kind of soup? Bean soup.

So, in the end, this Sukkos we learned three things: When your bean soup is bad, go inside, Rabbi Eliezrie hasn't eaten outside of a sukkah on Sukkos since Shmini Atzeres years ago in Florida somewhere (it wasn't there minhag), and if you make enough l'chaims, it can get, well, interesting.

-May this be a year of brocha and hatzlocha,

Daniel Jewell

Sunday, October 23, 2005


Torah Parshah: Bereishit
Book: Bereishit
Book Number: I

What Was Created Before The Universe?
Before G-D created the universe, G-D created seven concepts. Without these seven concepts the world wouldn't have been able to be created. The seven concepts are:
2.Teshuva (penance, return to G-D)
3.Gan Eden (Paradise)
4.Gehinnom (Hell)
5.The Kisay Hakavod (The Heavenly Throne of Glory)
6.The Bais Hamikdash (The Holy Temple in Jerusalem)
7.The Name of Moshiach (Messiah)

What Were These Seven Concepts Needed?
1.Torah-The world was created just for the Torah, we must all learn Torah.
2.Teshuva-Without teshuva, the whole world would have to perish because of G-D's judgment.
3.Gan Eden-To give a reward for the righteous.
4.Gehinnom-To punish the wicked.
5.The Kisay Hakovod-To manifest G-D's glory in the world.
6.The Bais Hamikdash-A place where the Divine presence could rest. However our sages tell us that this meant that the idea of the Bais Hamikdash was created before the universe, but the actual Bais Hamikdash was created when the Jews entered Israel.
7.Moshiach-The goal of this world is to bring Moshiach, therefore G-D had to create the name for Moshiach before creating the universe.

The Six Days of Creation
G-D created the world in six days and on the seventh day He rested.

The First Day
On the first day G-D created the heavens and the earth and a special light. How could G-D have created light on the first day when the sun wasn't put up in the sky until the third day? The answer is that the light that G-D created on the first day, was a special light and was hidden for the righteous in the world to come. This light doesn't need the sun. G-D also created the heavens and the earth on the first day, however the earth was fill of water and not a single dry spot could be found on the first day of creation.

The Second Day
On the second day G-D took the water that was filling the earth. He left half on the earth and put the other half on top in heaven. He then put the sky in the middle. G-D also created the angels on this day. The reason why the angels were created on the second day and not on the first day is to show that the angels didn't help with the creation of the earth and that G-D did everything by himself. On all the days G-D saw that his creations were good, however he didn't say anything on the second day. Why? Because G-D also created gehinnom (hell) on this day.

The Third Day
On the third day of creation G-D created dry land on earth. On the dry land G-D created trees, flowers, herbs, grass, etc. The water was angry at Hashem for having to be confined to the ocean and not the whole earth like it was before. The water threatened to flood the land because of it's unhappiness with G-D. However G-D spoke to the water and put a piece of clay with G-D's name on it in the ocean. When the piece of clay is there, the water can't flood the earth (G-D took the clay out during the flood of Noach). Gan Eden was also created on this day.

The Fourth Day
On the fourth day of creation G-D put the sun, moon, and stars in the sky. The moon complained to G-D that it wanted to be as bright as the sun. G-D told the moon that it will be as bright as sun when Moshiach comes, but then the sun will be seven times brighter what it is now!

The Fifth Day
On the fifth day of Creation G-D created the birds and fish. G-D also created this huge sea monster called Levyasan. When the Levyasan wants a meal it beats it's tail against the waves of the water, the fish are tricked into thinking that this is food for themselves, and they go over to the waves. The Levyasan then open up their huge mouths and eat the fish. Our sages teach us that in the future G-D will prepare a special meal for all the righteous out of Levyasan.

The Sixth Day
On the sixth day G-D created all the animals for the earth. G-D also said "Let Us Make Man" and so man was created from dust of the earth. The first man was called Adam. What is the meaning of "Let Us Make Man," who is G-D talking to? Our sages teach us that G-D is telling his angels that He is making man. The reason why He is telling them is because man was created in the angel's image and so to be fair to them,
G-D is telling them that He will be creating man. When G-D created Adam, G-D had Adam name all the animals. G-D saw that Adam was lonely and so He decided to make a mate for Adam. G-D created Eve, the first women out of Adam and G-D married them both. G-D put Adam and Eve in Gan Eden.

The Seventh Day
G-D created the entire world in six days. On the seventh day, G-D rested and He called this day Shabbos. Today after 5766 years after creation of Adam and Eve, we still celebrate Shabbos. Shabbos is a holy day and we aren't supposed to work. We are supposed to refrain from talking about business matters and only discuss Torah.

Adam and Eve in Gan Eden
G-D placed both Adam and Eve in Gan Eden. In Gan Eden they were told that they can do anything they wanted, except eat from the Tree of Knowledge. Adam and Eve are happy in Gan Eden. A snake tells Eve that the reason why G-D doesn't want them to eat from the Tree of Knowledge is because they will become like gods and G-D doesn't want them to become like Him, although this really wasn't the reason, Eve believes the snake and eats from the Tree of Knowledge. See as though nothing happened to her, she calls Adam over and has him eat from the Tree of Knowledge. Once Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge, they see things a different way. Before they ate from the Tree of Knowledge, Adam and Eve only saw the good way of things, but now after eating from the Tree of Knowledge they now see evil and the true reason why they weren't supposed to eat from the Tree of Knowledge.

The Punishments
G-D decided to punish the snake, Eve, and Adam and He did so in that order. G-D said to the snake that he will be sentenced to nine curses, which will be followed by death. The nine curses were:
1.Samael who instigated the snake to perform evil deeds will be ousted from his high position in heaven. Because of this curse, the snake lost of the power of his speech.
2.The snake will not be able to walk upright anymore because it's feet were cutoff.
3.The snake will be accursed more than all other animals.
4.The snake will be accursed more then all other beats.
5.The snake will shed it's skin every seven years in great pain.
6.The snake will have to slide on it's belly.
7.All food that the snake eats will taste like dust.
8.The snake will carry the poison of death in it's mouth.
9.Man will be able to just step on the snake and crush it's head.
10.And finally the snake will die.

G-D punished Eve before Adam because she ate the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge before he did. G-D punished her with nine curses and death. The nine curses were:
1.Women will experience the discomfort of menstruation.
2.Women will have discomfort during their first relations.
3.Raising children will involve great trouble and self-sacrifice (Kayin and Hevel were born as adults. It is only as a result of Eve's curse that the women have to go through the hardships in raising babies).
4.Your pregnancies will cause you distress and comfort (Eve was created so she could give birth to a child in one day, because G-D's original plan was for women to give birth to a child on the day they conceived).
5.Women will have to endure the pains of labor.
6.The woman's husband will dominate the woman but the woman will be unable to flee.
7.Woman's desire will be kept in her heart.
8.Women will not be allowed to appear in public without their hair becoming covered.
9.Women can't be accepted as witnesses for the Bais Din.
10.And finally death.

G-D did however give women three special mitzvos that only they can perform. The three mitzvos are:
1.Shabbos Candles.
2.Separating Challah from the dough.
3.The laws of nidda.

Adam's Punishment
G-D punished Adam with nine curses and then death:
1.Man's strength will be diminished.
2.Man's height will be reduced.
3.Man will become impure like zav.
4.Man will become impure as a ba'al keri.
5.Man will become impure through martial relations.
6.When man will sow wheat, he will harvest thorns.
7.Man must eat grass like the beasts.
When Adam heard that he must eat grass he asked G-D if he has to get food like animals? G-D told him that since he feels shame, man will eat bread instead of grass.
8.When man earns a livelihood, it will cause great sorrow.
9.Man will have to work for it with the sweat of his brow.
10.And finally, man must die.

Adam and Eve Must Leave Gan Eden
Adam and Eve had to leave Gan Eden because of their sin.

Kayin and Hevel
Eve gave birth to five children, to Kayin together with a twin sister and to Hevel who was born with two sisters. Kayin and Hevel both married their twin sisters, but Kayin wanted Hevel's sister. Although both Kayin and Hevel came from Eve, they had two every different characters. Hevel was righteous while Kayin wasn't. Hevel become a shepherd and would offer his best sheep to G-D, while Kayin became a farmer and would offer his worth and leftover fruit to G-D.

Kayin Kills Hevel
Kayin killed Hevel because he was jealous of him. Kayin buried the body and thought that G-D wouldn't notice. G-D punished Kayin for this and Kayin was killed by accident from one of his descendants who would go hunting. Lamech was Kayin's descendant and used to go hunting with his son, Tuval Kayin. Lamech was blind and his son Tuval Kayin would led him. Tuval Kayin once told his father that they see a beast and they shot at it, only after did they see that they shot a man, and it was Kayin.

Adam's Third Son
Adam had a third son, called Shais. From Shais comes all the descendents of the world. There were ten generations from Adam to Noach:

Adam Dies
Adam died at the age of 930 years old. G-D promised him that he live a thousand lives, but Adam saw that David would live for 3 hours and then die, so Adam donated 70 years of his own life to David.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Eruvin 13--Paraphrase of the Daf

Good Yontiff, everyone! This is the first in what will be B"H an ongoing series of a paraphrase of the daf yomi-it won't be a summary, and it won't be an in-depth shiur; instead, it will be in my words what the Daf Yomi is saying.


We start out on amud aleph talking about the disagreement between Beis Hillel and Beis Shammai. R' Akiva says that they argue in both cases: i.e., when the mavoi is both more and less than four amos wide. This is redundant: and the Mishnah, terse as it is, is never redundant. What is the difference? The ruling of a chacham (either R' Achlai or R' Yechiel) differs with R' Akiva in two possible ways: 1) T"K (Tanna Kamma) hold that a mavoi narrower than four tefachim needs no adjustment, and Beis Hillel and Beis Shammai argue in the case of a mavoi which is wider than that. R' Akiva holds that they argue EVEN in the case of a mavoi less than 4 tefachim, and that is the difference.

Rabbi Akiva cites that what the disciple told him on the previous amud, i.e., that Beis Hillel and Beis Shammai don't argue on a mavoi less than four amos wide, was false, since R' Yishmael wouldn't say something so stupid. Yet he goes on to say that halacha follows this disciple!

The Gemora sees this contradiction. If the statement was false, how could the halacha follow the talmid who says this? R' Yehudah answers: it was only to sharpen the disciples with that pronouncement. In other words, R' Akiva was complementing the disciple, even though he made a false statement. Basically, the p'shat is that R' Akiva was saying "You're on the right track." Or, he was seeing if the talmid was paying attention. R' Nachman ben Yitzchok's opinion was that R' Akiva was saying that the talmid's logic was appealing, not neccesarily that halacha followed him.

But who is this talmid that is quoting R' Yishmael to R' Akiva? R' Yehoshua ben Levi says that it was none other than R' Meir, since he studied under both R' Akiva and R' Yishmael. How do we know this? A Baraisa says that when R' Meir was studying under R' Yishmael, he would put "kankatom" in his ink to prevent it from being erased, since kankatom makes it unerasable. Also in the baraisa it says that after he left R' Yishmael to study under R' Akiva, he forbade it.

But wait! There's another Baraisa that is brought up. R' Yehudah quotes R' Meir, "When I was studying with R' Akiva, I used to put kankantom into the ink, and he did not say anything to me, but when I came to R' Yishmael, he said to me: 'My son, what is your work?' I said to him: I am a scribe. He said to me: 'my son, be careful with your work, for it is the work of heaven. Should you perhaps omit one letter or add one letter, it could result that you destroy the entire world! I replied to him: I have a certain substance called kankantom which I put into the ink. He said to me: 'but may we put kankantom into the ink? For has not the Torah said: "he shall write, and he shall disolve"" from this we learn that a writing can be completely disolved. This quote is referring to the practice for a Sotah-a woman suspected of adultery. The difficulty here is that the first baraisa puts R' Meir with R' Yishmael first and R' Akiva afterwards, and the second baraisa puts him with R' Akiva first, and R' Yishmael afterwards.

This difficulty is easily resolved. First, R' Meir studied under R' Akiva, but since he could cogently defend either side of an argument, R' Meir had difficulty discerning what was the true halakah, so he went to R' Yishmael. Then he left R' Yishmael to go back to study under R' Akiva, where he learned to analyze the halakha. The only thing the Gemora can't resolve is who actually forbade the practice of adding kankantom to the ink.

Next, R' Yehudah says that R' Meir used to say: kankantom can used for any part of the Torah except the part in Parsha Nasso which the Kohen used to inscribe the words for the Sotah ritual: this, even in a regular Sefer Torah, was to be written in erasable ink. R' Yaakov holds that R' Meir said that it was only necessary to exclude kankantom when writing the parchment for the sotah ritual. In other words the question is: What do we use for the ritual? A regular Sefer Torah or a special piece of parchment? R' Yehudah holds the former, R' Yaakov the latter.

A similar dispute in another baraisa is cited. In this baraisa, they say that you can't use the same parchment for two sotah's. R' Achai bar Yoshiyah disagrees, and says its okay to use the same parchment for two different sotah's.

R' Nachman Bar Yitzchok says that this is not the same dispute as between R' Yehudah and R' Yaakov, since a Sefer Torah is for study, we can't erase the letters. The sotah parchments are written for entirely different purpose, which involves erasement.

[amud beis]

The Gemora questions a seeming contradiction in R' Achai bar Yoshiyah's words. On the one hand he says its okay to use the same parchment for two different sotah's. But in the case of two men with the same name with wives of the same name, R' Achai does not allow the use of the same get (bill of divorce). In other words, the get of one man is posul for another.

However, since in the case of the Sotah, it is only written that the Kohan shall "perform" to her, which means that only the erasing must be unique to each woman. So, it is okay for R' Achai to allow the same scroll for two sotah, but not the same get for two men with the same name. See what a difference one word in the Torah makes!

Next we turn to some aggadah (Talmudic anecdotes). R' Meir was so great, says R' Acha bar Chanina, that there was none in his generation as great as him. But, why didn't Chazal fix halacha according to his views? Because his colleagues couldn't understand his reasoning (i.e., it was so deep they didn't get it.) Next time someone doesn't agree with me, I'm going to say that I'm just too deep for them. ;D.

Later on this amud, we learn that both Beis Shammai and Beis Hillel are right. Even though they argued for three years, they are both correct. But, according to the words of the living G-d, halacha in practice follows Beis Hillel. Why? Because they were friendly, and also because they studied the views of their opponent.

Beis Hillel's humility teaches us a lesson: if you lower yourself, HaKadosh Boruch Hu will raise you up. Whoever raises himself up, HaKadosh Borchu will bring him down. Whoever searches for fame, fame will flee from him. Conversely, whoever flees from fame, fame will pursue him.

Let Beis Hillel's humility be for us a good lesson!

Daniel Jewell
Misnaged in Galus in a Chabad Shul

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Story Of The Day-Tishrei 13, 5766

Courtesy of Chabad.org

An Irish Kid with a Jewish Name

I heard this story from the Lubavitcher Rebbe's secretary, Rabbi Laibel Groner.

A woman from the Chabad-Lubavitch Community in Brooklyn was pulled over by a N.Y.C. traffic cop for some traffic violation. Standing outside her open car window and watching her search for her license and registration papers, the police officer caught sight of a picture of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in her open purse.

"Excuse me, maam," he asked, "are you one of the followers of this Rabbi?"

"Yes," she replied.

"Well, in that case I'm not giving you a ticket." He closed his ticket book and continued, "Do you know why? Because this Rabbi," he pointed to the picture she was now holding in her hand, "Did a very big miracle for me."

"Well," said the grateful woman, "since you aren't giving me the ticket, I have time to hear the story."

The policeman smiled and said, "It's my favorite story, but I haven't told it to many Jewish people, in fact I think that you are the first." The cars were whizzing by behind him and he had to raise his voice slightly. "The story goes like this: I used to be in the police escort that once a week escorted the Rabbi to the Montefiore Cemetery (where the Rebbe's father-in-law and predecessor, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, is interred). I got to know some of the young men who accompanied the Rebbe, and I learned a lot of things. They are very friendly people, which you probably already know, and we talked a lot while the Rabbi was inside praying.

"Well, one day I saw that all the fellows there were really talking excitedly to each other so I asked them what happened. So they told me that the Rabbi does a lot of miracles for people, but today he did a miracle that was really something. I didn't even ask what was the miracle that they were talking about, I just asked them if the Rabbi helps non-Jews also.

"'Sure,' they said, 'The Rebbe helps anyone who asks. Why? Do you need something?' So I told him, this young fellow, that me and my wife had been married nine years with no children, and a week ago the doctors told us that we had no chance. We had spent a lot of money on treatments, seen all sorts of big professors, we were running around like crazy for the last six or seven years, and now they told us that they tried everything and there is no chance. You can't imagine how broken we were. My wife cried all the time and I started crying myself.

"So this young man tells me, 'Listen, the next time that you escort the Rebbe to the cemetery stand near the door of his car and when he gets out ask him for a blessing.' So that is just what I did. The next time I was in the escort I stood by his door and when he got out I said to him: 'Excuse me, Rabbi, do you only bless Jewish people or non-Jews too?'

"So the Rabbi looked at me like a good friend, it was really amazing, and said that he tries to help anyone he can. So I told him what the doctors said, and he said I should write down on a piece of paper my name and my father's name together with my wife's and her father's names and that he would pray for us. So I did it, my hands were shaking so much I almost couldn't write, but I did it and you know what? My wife became pregnant and nine months later she gave birth to a baby boy! The doctors went crazy, they couldn't figure it out, and when I told them that it was all the Rabbi's blessing they just scratched their heads and -- Wow! I felt like the champion of the world!

"But here comes the good part. Do you know what we called him? What name we gave our baby boy? Just guess! We called him Mendel after the Rabbi. At first my wife didn't like the name because its not an American name, but I said, No! We're calling him Mendel! Each time we say his name we'll remember that if it weren't for the Rabbi this boy would not be here.

"But when our parents heard the name they really objected. They said, 'With a name like that, all the kids will think he's a Jew or something and they will call him names and be cruel to him. Why make the kid suffer for no reason?' 'That's just what I want,' I said to them. 'When he comes home and says that the other kids called him names and beat him up because he has a Jewish name, I'll tell him that I want him to learn from those other kids how not to behave. They hate the Jews for no reason, but you should love the Jews, you should help the Jews. You just tell them that without that Jewish Rabbi called Mendel you wouldn't be here at all, and then maybe they'll start thinking differently too!'

Today In Judaism-Tishrei 13, 5766/October 16, 2005

Today in Jewish History (Courtesy of Chabad.org)

• Passing of R. Akiva Eiger (1837)

Passing of Rabbi Akiva Eiger
[http://www.chabad.org/search/keyword.asp?kid=3538] (1761-1837),
outstanding Talmudist and Halachic authority.

• Passing of Rebbe Maharash (1882)

Tishrei 13 is the yahrtzeit of the fourth Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch,
Rabbi Shmuel Schneersohn, known as "Maharash" (a Hebrew acronym for "our
master Rabbi Shmuel").

Rabbi Shmuel was born in the town of Lubavitch on the 2nd of Iyar of
the year 5594 from creation (1834). His father was the third Chabad
Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel
[http://www.chabad.org/search/keyword.asp?kid=2226] of Lubavitch
(1789-1866). Though the youngest of Rabbi Menachem Mendel's seven sons, Rabbi
Shmuel was chosen to succeed his father as the leader of Chabad
Chassidism in the movement's capitol, Lubavitch, at the latter's passing in
1866 (four of his brothers established branches of Chabad in other towns
in White Russia and Ukraine).

In addition to authoring and delivering more than 1,000 maamarim
(discourses) of Chassidic teaching, Rabbi Shmuel was extensively involved in
Jewish communal affairs and traveled throughout Europe in order to
generate pressure on the Czarist regime to halt its instigation of pogroms
against the Jews of Russia. Rabbi Shmuel passed away at the age of 48
on Tishrei 13, 5643 (1882).

Links: More on the Rebbe Maharash

Daily Quote

A common misconception is that teshuvah ("repentance") is simply an
antidote to sin, and thus applies only to sinners and lowly people. In
truth, teshuvah is the soul's return to and restoration of its original
purity, and applies to every soul that has descended into the human

- Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi

Daily Study

Chitas and Rambam for today:

Chumash: Vezot Hab'rachah, 1st Portion Devarim 33:1-33:7 with Rashi
• English Text:

Tehillim: Chapters 69 - 71
• Hebrew text:
• English text:

Tanya: Iggeret HaKodesh, beginning of Epistle 22
• Lesson in Tanya:
• RealAudio:
• Windows Media:

• Sefer Hamitzvos:
• 1 Chapter: Mikvot Chap. 9
• 3 Chapters: Shabbat Chap. 21, 22, 23

Hayom Yom:
• English Text:

Daniel Jewell, Blog Admin



My name is Daniel Jewell, and I'm the blog administrator. I am immersed in Torah learning, but I currently attend Cal State Fullerton to get a degree in Mathematics (minor in philosophy). I daven at the Chabad Shul in Yorba Linda. The shliach for North county is Rabbi David Eliezrie, a true tzaddik and one of the gedolim of Orange County.

Although I was not raised religiously, I have learned much and have progressed far in the last year. I have discovered that my passion for learning stems from my Jewish heritage. I honor them by studying Gemora and I gain great satisfaction from studying Daf Yomi, and from hearing shiurim by great poskim.

I have such a passion for halakha and spreading Jewish learning to all Jews, of all backgrounds. If a completely secular Jew such as myself, with a little curiosity, can, in a year, begin to study Daf Yomi and midrash, anyone can.

Kol Tuv,
Daniel Jewell



My name is Shlomo. I'm working on becoming a Rabbi and going to the Rabbinical College of America in Morristown, New Jersey. I'm a shliach in training and I am going to be one of the posters on E-Yeshiva!

If you have any questions regarding Judaism or anything else in general please contact me at shlomoliebgoldman@yahoo.com

The First Post!

Sholom aleichem!

Welcome to the E-Yeshiva, a real beis-medrash without walls. Here I hope to post the perspectives of a Baal teshuva on such disparate topics as Daf yomi, Jewish Philosophy, Chumash, halakhah, aggadah, you name it!

If you have questions, ask your rav. I don't claim to be a posek: I'm not qualified to pasken on anything. However, I hope this blog will at least keep the readers interested. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced yeshiva bochur, I want you to be able to get something out of this blog.
Thanks for visiting: I hope you get excited as I am about learning Gemora, Chumash and all Jewish topics.

Kol tuv,