THE HOLIEST NIGHT…
The seder night is called “Leil Hiskadesh Chag,” the night when the yom tov becomes holy.
The Pri Tzaddik explains, “Pesach is the source of the kedushah for all the other yomim tovim. Therefore, it is called hiskadesh chag, and not by its specific name of Pesach.”
ROSH CHODESH KISLEV: PLANTING EMUNA IN OUR SOULS
Our Chachomim explain the Hellenist’s decree against keeping Shabbos, Milah, and Rosh Chodesh as follows.
One can understand that Shabbos and bris milah are the tenets of Yiddishkeit, bringing emunah into the hearts of our brothers. Shabbos proves that the One Above created the world in six days, and rested on the seventh, while the mitzvah of milah is a fundamental one, for which Klal Yisroel have risked their lives throughout the generations. However, what of Rosh Chodesh?
THE CRIPPLED SHOEMAKER
Rav Mordechai of Lechovitch would buy a large amount of boards, and distribute it to the poor of the town, to enable them to build their sukkahs.
One year, shortly before Sukkos, a crippled shoemaker came to the Lechovitcher and asked for sukkah boards. Rav Mordechai answered that to his great distress, the boards had already been distributed and there were no more left.
HEALED BY THE MATZOS
In Yerushalayim on erev Pesach, 1936, the situation was volatile. The Jews faced hordes of Arabs threatening to swallow them alive. Nobody knew what the future would bring. But the Zvihller Rebbe, Reb Shlomo, had other things on his mind. It was erev Pesach, time to bake the matzos! Reb Shlomo went out on the street and called, “Who wants to come and bake matzos?” Most people were holed up in their homes and ignored the call.
In his youth, the Tchebiner Rov was a successful merchant. He would distribute large sums of tzedaka, especially on Purim. Later on he lost his fortune and accepted a Rabbonus in order to eke out a meager living.
HIDE AND SEEK
An anti-Semitic priest, who delighted in preaching about the blood libel, once asked the Gaon Rav Meshulam Ashkenazi before Pesach, “Why do you hide ten pieces of bread and then go to look for them?”
The Rav retorted, “Why do you throw a bundle (a dead body) under a Jew’s porch and then go search for it?”
LIKE SPLITING THE SEA
The heter to cook ochel nefesh on Yom Tov is gleaned from the posuk “Ach asher yo’achel lechol nefesh,” which was said regarding Shevi’i shel Pesach. It is applied through the principle of binyan av to the other Yomim Tovim.
Our Hand-delivered Gift
“Not with our good deeds do we stand before you…”
The Dubna Maggid related a powerful parable about this verse in selichos:
There was a great and influential minister who visited a certain city for a highly anticipated visit. The excitement reached a feverish peak; preparations for the city were high.
Everyone who wanted an “in” with the minister made sure to prepare a special gift, which would relay their high regard of the minister and his lofty position.
Rav Moshe Elefant is the COO of the Orthodox Union’s Kashrus Department – the world’s largest not-for-profit kosher certification agency. Charged with managing the day-to-day operations of the Orthodox Union, Rabbi Elefant has a broad understanding of the global kosher certification industry. Rabbi Elefant is the author of numerous articles and two seforim, and a sought-after lecturer on the kosher industry.
Rav Moshe Meir Weiss, a talmid of Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l, has been rov of Agudas Yisroel of Staten Island for the past twenty three years. Since 1978 he has been disseminating Torah through thousands of tapes, radio appearances and extensive public lectures. Rabbi Weiss has also delivered Daf Yomi lectures to large gatherings through the last three cycles and has educated seminary students for over a decade.
Rock Throwing Attack Shakes Up Community
Last Friday afternoon, June 15, about 12:30 p.m., a UTA Satmar yeshiva boys’ bus, traveling on Ridge Avenue near the UTA building, (right near a large development for Jewish families,) came under attack. A group of aggressive youths, waiting for their afternoon bus to bring them to school for finals, began throwing rocks at the bus windows.
This was not the first rock throwing attack—according to the UTA transportation coordinator, there have been several rocks thrown at buses and school windows during the past few weeks, causing considerable damage. As one parent observed, “We felt like we were in East Jerusalem, near the Arabs, instead of Spring Valley.”
The great Tanna, Rabi Shimon bar Yochai, was born about fifty years after the churban Bais Hamikdosh. Some sources say that he was born on Lag Ba’omer, while others say that he was born on Shavuos. There is a fascinating story about the Tanna’s birth recorded in the sefer Nachlas Avos.
Rabi Shimon’s father, Yochai, was a leader of his generation, a respected and wealthy scion of shevet Yehudah. During the difficult years after the churban, he helped support the indigent and cultivated ties with government officials in order to help his brethren. His wife, Sarah, was a descendent of Hillel Hanosi and a baalas chessed in her own right.
Unfortunately, this exemplary couple had no children for many years. As the years passed and it appeared that Sarah would remain barren, Yochai began to think of divorcing her and marrying another woman. Although they were very happily married, he was desperate to merit the blessing of a child.