Thursday, February 28, 2019

Article on Rav Gelley

KAJ’s Rav Zachariah Gelley Passes Away At 85 by Shmuel Landesman, Jewish Press

On Thursday, April 19, Rav Zachariah Gelley – mara dasra of K’hal Adath Jeshurun (“Breuer’s”) in Washington Heights and a tremendous talmid chacham, manhig and darshan much beloved by his kehilla – passed away at the Specialty Hospital of Central Jersey in Lakewood. He was 85 years old.
Rav Gelley was born on September 7, 1932 in Topolcany, Slovakia (near Bratislava), to Menachem and Rivka Gellai. The Gellai family were Oberlander Jews who followed minhag Ashkenaz and descended from distinguished rabbinic luminaries such as the Chacham Tzvi and Panim Meiros. Rav Gelley’s great-grandfather had been the av beis din of his hometown. His father, Reb Menachem Gellai, was a wealthy businessman who hosted in his large home a 10-member kollel which he funded single-handedly. Reb Menachem could often be found learning in his house kollel.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Beethoven - Piano Concerto No 5

Beethoven - Piano Concerto No 5 - Krystian Zimerman

Not for those who are obsessed with anti-antisemitism since the orchestra is the Hamburg Philharmonic, the pianist is Polish, and the composer is German. Obsessed means that one cannot say anything about Poles without mentioning antisemitism and same with the Germans and French. I often play a game where any time I am with frum people and anything about France enters the conversation I tell them how much I enjoy the French language. And every time, 100% of the time thus far, one or more people will make some disparaging comment about the French and about how antisemitic they are. (I know several French gentiles who are not antisemitic at all.)

I think it shows what sheep we are, how conformist, that every person responds in exactly the same way and a way that's uncalled for. Is is a sin to enjoy a language? Who creates languages anyway? I would think HaShem guides their creation. And how did the topic of antisemitism find its way into the conversation? Can we give it a rest and enjoy life a little?

By the way, I find the same thing when I complement almost any gentile place. Oh, you are from Belgium, what a lovely country. Oh, you are from Florida; I have always enjoyed Florida. An alarmingly high percentage of the time the person just can't accept the complement and goes on to say something negative about the place. Or they just look very uncomfortable. After all, I complemented something that has nothing directly to do with Jews. Evidentially, we are not allowed to enjoy the planet earth. Recently, a man told me he was from Los Angeles. I said, Oh, I spent a month there once. He said, did you hate it. I said, no. I liked it. I liked the ocean, the mountains, the laid back feeling. (Obviously I didn't like the tumah). These are not Torah Im Derech Eretz people. A Torah Im Derech Eretz person enjoys parts of the planet earth even the parts with gentiles. Oftentimes, it's the gentiles that make those parts enjoyable. I didn't say they make it holy. But they can build nice cities. HaShem helps them to do that. Rabbi Avigdor Miller says when a town has city ordinances and inspectors, HaShem made that happen. Rabbi Miller also said, we don't hate goyim, we just don't mingle with them. We are not obligated to hate everything.

Anyway, this performance of Beethoven's 5th piano concerto is impeccable. Even Bernstein who conducts takes the back seat and to his credit lets the pianist shine. I try not to share videos of non-religious Jews but I couldn't resist here and the star of the show is not Jewish. What a performance. And since it took place in 1989, the orchestra was dressed modestly. Imagine that! Today, one cannot go to a symphony hall.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Introducing the Nachal Charedi Unit

On Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019, a Nachal Charedi commander was indicted for allowing five of his soldiers to brutally beat up a Palestinian father and son who were handcuffed and blindfolded. In this so-called religious unit is where Israeli politicians and their supporters want to place Charedi bochurim, boys from Belz, Gur, and Toldos Aaron, Heaven save us from this wickedness.

Jerusalem Post: "According to the indictment, the defendants took photos and video footage while they beat the Palestinians all over their bodies, including in intimidate areas.

"The accused are said to have removed the son's blindfold and forced him to watch as his father was beaten."

Father and son are now hospitalized.

So what do we have here, violence, law-breaking, sadism, sexual perversion, and I-phones, all in the so-called Charedi units. Can anyone guess why Charedim oppose the draft?

Jerusalem Post Article

Update: Several of the soldiers have confessed and are expected to serve up to six months in prison.

Here's video of the abuse.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Kol Dimama 2:18

"Explanation of Recent Developments Part 1

'The IDF is tasked with encouraging enlistment of religious girls into its ranks.'

"Thus reads a resolution passed by the Israeli government six years ago. The IDF has taken this government order very seriously. This mighty military machine, using all of its world-renowned professionalism and ruthlessness, has spent the past few years plotting the „conquest‟ of bnos Yisroel into its ranks. Their job hasn‟t been that easy. The fortress constructed by Gedolei Yisroel forty years ago to shield bnos Yisroel from this very danger could not be penetrated in one sudden, frontal attack. The IDF has been forced to use caution, subterfuge, and cunning methods to erode the walls of this fortress. They have adopted a step-by-step approach, attacking on many fronts in almost imperceptible manner."

continue reading

“…we who live here (in Eretz Yisroel) do not have the ability to do anything… because the government is in the hands of the resha’im, as is all of the media… however, the rabbanim of Chutz l’Aretz, along with the shomrei Torah [there], certainly have an obligation to raise an outcry against every offense and attack on the holy Torah, because they [the Israeli government] still fear the demonstrations of Yidden in Chutz l’Aretz which have so far prevented them from taking even more drastic steps…”

(Sefer Kraina d’Igresa, letter 249, from the Steipler Gaon zt”l)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Toras Avigdor and Toras Samson Raphael


It is my contention that Rav Avigdor Miller and Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch overlap strongly in their philosophies and approach to life. Both put forth a positive approach to Torah life, one that describes the happiness that it can bring. Both stress character development. Both believed that most men should be working for a living but stressed the importance of Torah study.  Both were staunchly anti-Zionist, deeming the movement an assault on basic principles of faith. Both were anti-feminist but praised righteous women and outlined the important role they play in Jewish life. Both did not buy into the theory of evolution. R' Miller went on a crusade against it. R' Hirsch only saw it, like Zionism, in its earliest stages (pun intended) so there was no need yet for a crusade but he called it a vague hypothesis still unsupported by fact. Both taught the masses, gave the regular person a derech for life. Both were prolific writers and community leaders, activists in their communities. Both were highly organized and punctual people and "living musar sefers."

On the matter of secular studies, some people are under the impression that the two are vastly different. Rav Miller is seen as totally condemning all secular studies and Rav Hirsch as embracing them. But I don't think this view is correct. Both believed you can learn some things from the gentiles but must use Torah as the gauge of what is acceptable. Both cautioned us often about taking in the bad with the good. While Hirsch is seen by some who don't know him very well as embracing secular studies and culture, there really isn't much evidence for that. He only said that in principle one can take from the good of the gentiles, which is something the Gemara says and the Chovos HaLevovos cites the Gemara as saying. In Rav Hirsch's thousands of pages of writings, you can find only a few scattered references to any gentile or off-the-derech Jewish thinkers that he is not condemning. R' Miller condemned college but that was in an era where colleges had become cesspools of decadence and crooked thinking and people were going to them. In Rav Hirsch's day, not that many people went to college. In 1866, the largest university in the USA was the University of Michigan with 1,200 students. Today it has 51,000 students including graduate students. And there are many that are bigger - the University of Central Florida has 57,000 undergraduates. There are nine colleges with more than 40,000 undergraduates, two with more than 50,000. I believe that only two of them (Penn State and Michigan State existed in 1866). So I have to guess that had R' Hirsch lived in our times, he would rail against college. The two men might not be exactly the same on this topic, but they are similar. Both were knowledgeable about the world. Both wrote many words about the history of the mesorah and the workings of the Oral Torah. Both wrote polemically against opponents of the Torah.

Both spent most of their days studying the Talmud but were famous for teaching hashkafa to the masses. [They taught Talmud too]. Both taught small communities but their message reverberated around the world. They both have followers across the globe. Both continue to grow in their influence. Both were great writers and speakers and published all sorts of books in the national vernacular. Both wrote extensive commentary on Chumash and Siddur. Both were interested in etymology (origin of words) and used it to explain Torah concepts. Both have numerous books of hashkafa. Both wrote books or essays on Biblical and Talmudic Jewish history. The similarities are striking.

With that said, I direct people to which has published transcripts of R' Miller's talks along with weekly parsha booklets. I have seen them on shuls all over the place. People are clamoring for them. We are starved for words of emunah. Rav Miller provides them. We are distributing them in Beit Shemesh at the following locations:

Toras Avigdor Parsha Booklets in Beit Shemesh

The parsha booklets with Torah from Rabbi Avigdor Miller zt'l can be found at the following locations in Beit Shemesh:

Ramat Aleph
Aish Kodesh, Maor St.
Beis Tefilla, Refaim St.
Chanichei Yeshivos, Noam St.
Judaica Center, Mercaz, under Yesh Chesed Supermarket
Lev Eliyahu, Soreq St.
Maasas Mordechai, Dolev St.

If you don't find any copies at any of these locations it's because the demand is so enormous. We need to print out more, Baruch HaShem. Let me know at or call 058-324-0374.


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

none other but God

"When during the reign of Hadrian, the uprising led by Bar Kokhba proved a disastrous error, it became essential that the Jewish people be reminded for all times of another important fact; namely, that Yisrael must never again attempt to restore its national independence by its own power; it was to entrust its future as a nation solely to Divine Providence… This fourth Blessing is an acknowledgement that it has always been God and God alone Who has given us, and still gives us to this very day, that good in which we have had cause to rejoice and that for future good too, we may look to none other but God, and none beside Him." Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch on Birchos HaMazon

Monday, February 4, 2019

More Torah Im Derech Eretz from Chabad

Turning Disappointment into Food for the Hungry

By Dovid Zaklikowski

"When Shirley Chisholm was elected in 1968 to represent New York's 12th District, which included her own neighborhood of Crown Heights, she made headlines as the first African-American woman elected to Congress. However, she soon found her congressional career stunted at its start by race-related politics. Bowing to political pressures from southern politicians, the House's leadership assigned Chisholm to the Agriculture Committee, a place where it was assumed that she could have little influence.

"At the time, some in the New York media questioned the appointment and expressed doubt as to Chisholm's ability to affect the legislative agenda.

"The less-than-open-arms welcome caused Chisholm, who died in 2005, an understandable amount of frustration, according to Anna V. Jefferson, a former state senator from New York's 22nd District.
She was interested in taking care of the issues in the inner city. That committee had no power
"She was trying to help poor people," explained Jefferson. "She was interested in taking care of the issues in the inner city. That committee had no power" to do that.

"But a phone call from the Rebbe's secretariat – a simple "the Lubavitcher Rebbe wants to see you" – changed her attitude, says David Luchins, who was a senior advisor to the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) and chairs the political science department at Touro College".

read more