Friday, February 26, 2016

Yiddish From German

Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin, Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem

ה"תקע״ז- ה"תרנ״ח

In Yerusholoyim, there lived a tzaddik who sat all day wearing tallis and tefillin and learning Torah, and he adopted the practice of speaking only in the Holy Tongue. Once he came to Reb Yehoshua Leib to ask a question. He began to say his question in the Holy Tongue, when Reb Yehoshua Leib interrupted him with a rebuke: "Get out of my house! For all the days of our exile, Yiddish will be spoken!" Then he added, "The Jews in Germany, fearing that if they spoke the gentile language they would assimilate, chose a dialect of German spoken by peasants and made it their national language, to serve as a barrier between them and the gentiles. This is how our Yiddish was born. If this language was the barrier to assimilation, it is itself the Holy Tongue!" (Mara D'ara Yisroel, v. 2 p. 95).

(Source: Natruna)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

We Are Human

"I had a restless night, my misgivings and anxiety about the future did not allow me to sleep, and I woke up quite upset." Pressburg Under Siege, p. 45.

Who wrote these words? The Holy Chasam Sofer of Frankfurt wrote them. So just when you might have been hard on yourself for experiencing anxiety or a sleepless night, questioning your faith, know that even a holy tzadick like the Chasam Sofer could have such feelings too. Of course, he was worrying about the invading army of Napoleon. Maybe some of our worries are over more trivial matters. But we see that even the greats could have anxiety.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Kehillas Ashkenaz of Modi'in Elit

I had the pleasure to spend a Shabbos at Kehillas Ashkenaz in Modi'in Elit. They have a thriving Kehilla there with a solid minyan, a roomy beis kenneses, a beis midrash stocked full of sepharim, and some terrific people. Many were English speaking. I met one fellow from Holland, one from Switzerland, and several from England. The German Jewish community spirit, friendliness, and politeness was most present. It was wonderful to partake in a Minhag Ashkenaz minyan again.

They are growing and working on their centrally located facility. I recommend a visit for any German Orthodox or TIDE person who comes to EY. Here are a few photos:

Beautiful edifice:


Nice organized sefarim.


Kehillas Ashkenaz



Disclaimer: For those who argue quite reasonably that it is improper to build settlements beyond the Green Line, I'll just note that Modin Illit is just barely over the line and is generally conceded during two state solution negotiations to be land that will go to Israel - I think.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Yahrzeit of Rav Schwab‏

Rabbi Meyer Schwab of Denver will be giving an address on the Yahrzeit of his father at the Achva Shul in Geula, Yerushalayim, at 12 noon today, Purim Kattan.
Donate to KAJ by clicking here.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

God's love appointed Israel

"As His creating word calls forth the sun, and summons the light of the world, so has God's love appointed Israel as the bearer of the light of spirit and life, and as the bearer of Torah. O that you would mindful of such a high task! O that you would allow heart and spirit to be infused by the spirit of the Torah and allow your life, in word and deed, to be but a copy of the contents of this Torah! You would thus surrender yourself to God in love just as He summons you in love."

R' Hirsch, Horeb 628

Saturday, February 20, 2016

KAJ Beis Medrosh Inauguration

Watch Film


I don't know the date of this film from Breuers 2getherThe building was dedicated Sept 14. 1952. However, Rav Schwab came to the Heights in 1958 and he's in this film. Plus, Rav Breuer looks much older than 70. So I don't think it was that. Maybe it was the dedication for the beis midrash at 220 Bennett.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Tiferes Tzvi - A Student Publication of Yeshiva Samson Raphael Hirsch: Parshas Tetzaveh




Tiferes Tzvi - A Student Publication of Yeshiva Samson Raphael Hirsch

This is what you shall offer upon the מזבח ; sheep within their first year, two each day, continuously. (29, 38)


The previous פסוקים speak of the איל המילואים and the dedication and consecration of the משכן
and כהנים . Now, suddenly, the תורה speaks of the daily bringing of the קרבן תמיד . What is the reason for this juxtaposition?

Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch זצ"ל explains that the lofty goal of having ה' ’s presence in our own midst through the existence of the משכן is only to be achieved by an ever renewed daily devotion
to ה' .  This devotion is expressed through the bringing of the daily קרבן תמיד . One might have thought that the sole consecration and establishment of the משכן with its כהנים would suffice to fulfill ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם . The תורה therefore tells us וזה אשר תעשה על המזבח תמיד .

To sponsor, comment, or receive the Tiferes Tzvi before Shabbos, e-mail: tiferestzvi1@yahoo.com

posted with permission

Thursday, February 18, 2016

What's With All These Posts About Germany?

I have a number of posts here about contemporary Germany, generally pointing out positive aspects of the society. And being Jewish and all, this may raise a few eyebrows, even though as the book Frankfurt on the Hudson points out, German Jews generally didn't become hostile to every element of Germany even after the Holocaust. So I'd like to explain here why I do this, but first I'd like to share this quote from R' Avigdor Miller.

"Hakodosh Boruch Hu makes everything intentionally upside down in this world, to test And so everything we see in this world is for purpose that we should turn upside down. I was in Germany once, and a professor was on the train with me, and he wanted to pick up my suitcase for me. I said, "Professor, you'll pick up my suitcase for me?" I fell in love with Germans, everyone fell in love with Germans. It's a big nisayon not to fall in love with Germans. They were so polite. Only Hakodosh Boruch Hu wanted us to learn that that great thought "V'nahafoch hu" - it's all upside down what you see....And now when you pass through Germany on your way someplace, you have to know, that's a nation of ogres. Not cannibals. Cannibals just eat when they're hungry, ogres eat because they like to eat people. Germans are the most wicked people, all goyim become wicked when you fall in love with them." (Purim with Rabbi Avigdor Miller, p. 122-3)

"And we have to learn forever and ever, like the Jews in Germany fell in love with the Teutonic culture, and in Austria, "the Teutonic culture," they wanted to look like Germans, and of course talk like Germans, and dress like Germans, and think like Germans, and to them that was the apex, the acme, the summit of hatzlocha b'olam hazeh, to be like the Germans. So Hakodesh Boruch Hu said, "If that's the case, I will show you who the Germans are." (Purim with Rabbi Avigdor Miller, p. 121-2)

Wow. That's really strong talk. With that said, how do I justify my posts about Germany? Consider these words from R' Miller:

"After all, Persia - as the Gemara says in Brochos  "בשלשה דברים אוהב אני את הפרסיים" - even the chachomim saw good things in the Persians, when they want to talk secrets, they go out in the field where nobody's around, we learn to be careful, and other things we learn; good middos, certain good things from the גוים, why not? Hakodesh Boruch Hu sent them; we learn good things even from an ant! We learn good things from a dove, the Gemara says, from a cat we learn good things, why can't you learn from it from the Persians?

"So Hadoesh Boruch Hu intended we should learn good things from them, but to learn to be impressed by the Persians?" (Purim with Rabbi Avigdor Miller, p. 142-3.)

That's all I'm doing, pointing out a few positive traits - organization, civic duty, a kind of public modesty, adherence to law, industriousness. The Germans have some positive traits. And they happen to be traits that were stressed historically more in the German Jewish community than elsewhere and have been diminished in the Jewish world in recent times. So I remind us of those traits by showing examples in their employment in Germany. Take for example the video of the cars on the autobahn moving aside for the ambulance.

But do I admire the Germans in general? No. I don't admire any gentile society in general, only in particulars. Germans, while modest and humble in the sense of not displaying wealth ostentatiously (contrast with the Italians) can be the most arrogant beasts on the planet. I recall conversations with Germans where I had to endure their pronouncements of having the best wine, the best engineering, the best military forces, the best language. And these were pronouncements from the heart, given with great intensity. It was actually scary.

I recall other scary incidents with Germans, like the one at a Dead Sea Hotel, where after sitting in an empty seat, I was approached by a very aggressive young German who barked at me, "Get up. You are in my seat. Get up. Get up!" That's all he said, like a pit bull from the get go. It was like a scene from of a WWII film. I thought for a moment that he might be acting. But he wasn't.

I don't forget German antisemitism prior to the era of Enlightenment with their special taxes and expulsions and bans from trade and killings. And we certainly don't ignore their immense decadence and atheism today.

Yet, I argue that the American Midwest, one of the best societies on earth, was shaped by Germanic immigrants of earlier eras, many from Scandinavia.

It's not a simple discussion. But I never offer general admiration. Germany, even at its best, is not holy. At its best, it's civilized. At its worst, I needn't elaborate.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Tiferes Tzvi - A Student Publication of Yeshiva Samson Raphael Hirsch: Parshas Va'eira


Tiferes Tzvi - A Student Publication of Yeshiva Samson Raphael Hirsch

ועשית בדי עצי שטים... בטבעת הארן יהיו הבדים לא יסרו ממנו. (כה, יג-טו)


And make poles of acacia wood… The poles shall remain in the rings of the ארן; they shall never be removed. (25, 13-15)


The תורה gives us a special command regarding the poles of the ארון, namely: לא יסרו ממנו – they shall never be removed. Why were the poles of the ארון not allowed to be removed even when the ארון was not being transported?


Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch זצ"ל explains that this commandment seems to indicate that in addition to having been instruments for carrying the ארון, the poles had a deep symbolic meaning as well. The poles of the ארון symbolize the destiny and the mission of carrying it and its contents beyond the precincts of its present standing place. The idea encapsulated in this unique commandment is that the תורה is not bound or confined to time or space. תורה and its mission are eternal. For unlike the poles of the other vessels, the poles of the ארון had to be left connected to it at all times. Both the שלחן – representing כלל ישראל’s material life in its full completeness – and the מנרה – representing כלל ישראל’s spiritual and intellectual life in complete clarity and brightness – are bound to the soil of ארץ ישראל. The תורה is not. Whenever and wherever כלל ישראל are, they are bound to live and learn the תורה, not compromising on its ideals.


To sponsor, comment, or receive the Tiferes Tzvi before Shabbos, e-mail: tiferestzvi1@yahoo.com


posted with permission

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Breuers 2gether youtube channel

Breuers 2gether youtube channel


"A compilation and splicing of Hadlakas Neiros in KAJ in the 80's, 90's, and early 2ks. "





"This film was produced by Manny Meyer Studios for the 1974 Breuer's dinner. Narration by Mr. Jacob Breuer a'h. Original rare footage of the Shul in Frankfurt ("Friedberger Anlage") from the home movies of Mr. Harry Levi (?). INVALUABLE AND RARE.copyright MSM Studios."


Rav Breuer at 8:36.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Why Washington Heights

Ever wonder why the German community settled up there. Watch this video and you'll get a sense what it looked like before the 1960s.

Kehilath Yakov. R' Carlebach Z'l  by Breuers 2gether

I think that the Heights is still a really great place, with beautiful pre-war architecture and a lively mixed population. I love it there. But it does get a bad rap.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Reb Moshe Feinstein on Ashkenaz

Reb Moshe Feinstein explaining how Jews from Eastern Europe trace from German Jewry and how any Ashkenaz Jew may switch to nusach Ashkenaz.


From lecture handout of Daniel Adler Mesorah of Ashkenaz

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Linked Discussion - Book Review of the Hirsch Chumash

Book Review of the Hirsch Chumash
from http://lookstein.org/

"In a recent Bookjed Digest - 
[listserv.os.biu.ac.il
Francis Nataf reviewed the new translation of the Hirsch Chumash. The following discussion is based on the criticisms that appear in that review. 

Shalom 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Reb Sholom, 

I forwarded a copy of the review of the new translation of the Hirsch Chumash by Francis Nataf to a staff member of the Rabbi Dr. Joseph Breuer Foundation. Below is his reply to the criticisms that were made in Nataf's review. 

<< 
The reviewer of the Haberman edition of the Hirsch Chumash criticized three points: 
1. Bereshis 25:27. The reviewer feels Levy is more correct in saying "not so much...as to." However, the German states "nicht sowohl...aber" which in 19th Century German means "not only...but" as Haberman has. 

2. Bereshis 37:1-2. The reviewer feels Levy is more correct with "his vanity." However, the German states "auch Eitelkeit" which in this context is better translated as Haberman does with "a touch of vanity." ..." continue reading



"The response - 

"Dear Shalom, 

I must admit to being a bit surprised by Prof. Levine's challenge to my review. As I will demonstrate, the claim that the new edition includes the omissions in the Levy edition is simply not true. Furthermore, the contention that whenever there is a difference in the two editions, the new edition is more faithful is, at the very least, highly questionable. 

Concerning the specific points that he makes: 1) Regarding the use of the nicht sowohl... aber, Levine claims that the 19th century usage is different than contemporary usage, I will have to trust him on that, as this is beyond my expertise and I don't have the time to research the claim. 2) As far as the use of the word auch, it seems clear to me that it is not qualifying the term vanity as Levine would claim but rather, as Levy has it, indicating that vanity is not the only reason that Yosef is drawn to the sons of the maidservants. 3) As for the contention that Rav Hirsch never used the term new ..."  continue reading

Monday, February 1, 2016

Justify the just: Rabbi Miller on the German Kehillah

"We must justify the just. That's a very great mitzvah. Speak up for the just man and show that the accusations against him are unjustified. How false is everything that's said against the Jew.

"But not only what the nations say against the Jew. How false are the accusations that Jews make against Jews.

"If we study two kehillas Satmar and Lubavitch. We see how beautiful are these two kehillas. Satmar is a beautiful kehilla. I had personal contact many years with Satmar. I even spoke to the Satmar Rav, the old one, zichron l'bracha. The new one I knew well, very well. But the old one I met personally once at midnight in his home. I knew many of them personally. Satmar brought a new dimension to America.

"There's another beautiful kehilla called Lubavitch. I know them personally too. A Lubavitcher was once my rebbe when I was a boy. I learned an entire mesechta kesubos with him. For nothing. He taught me free. And so I have a love for both of these kehillas.

"Sometimes, not in general, sometimes one of these kehillas, one of the people from these kehillas might say something against another one. And we have to learn to disregard these words. Vehitzidku es ha tzadick. They are two kehillas of tzadickim. You must know that.  When I say Satmar I mean all of the Satmar kehillas. All of them. I don't mean each person is a tzadick gamur. But in general, there's no question that their way of life is tznius. Lubavitch their way of life is tznius. Satmar they are devoted to avodas hashem. They go all out to serve Hashem. Lubavitch, all out to serve Hashem. No question about that.

"They are not the only kehillas. I have plenty to say about the German kehillah. I love the German kehillah. As a boy I davened every Shabbos in a German shul. I can sit four hours in the afternoon, Shabbos afternoon, in a German shul. These kehillas we have to appreciate. And all the things that are said against them we have to learn how to refute. Vehitzidku es ha tzadick."

R' Avigdor Miller, Loving His People 2, #528 1:06.