Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Once, as the holy rabbi, Reb Aharon of Karlin (one of the great disciples of the Maggid of Mezritch), was about to recite [the prayer beginning with the word] “המלך ” — he fainted. Later, when he was asked what had happened, he replied that he had been meditating on the words in the Talmud [which were spoken by Vespasian, but which Reb Aharon of Karlin understood metaphorically as spoken by G-d]: “If I am the King, why did you not present yourself before me until now?” Now, what answer could we possibly give?
The week before Rosh Hashanah I had been learning three different dvar torahs/maamarim. One from my Rebbe, HaRav Yosef Lebovitz Shlit'a of Nikolsburg, another from the Sfas Emes ZT"L, and a third from the Pittsburgher Rebbe Shlit'a.
In Elul we proclaim that the King is in the field! We blow the Shofar from Rosh Chodesh Elul on to remind us that we must do Teshuva as Rosh Hashanah is on the horizon. In Elul we recite extra Tehillim, ask our fellow Jew for forgiveness, and try to perform mitzvos while strengthening the ones we perform routinely. The Chassidus from each Rebbe focuses on how Shabbos is a time for Teshuvah just as much as Elul, and the First 10 days of Tishre. I only speak for myself when I say that during Elul it is difficult to remember the lack of kavana in Adar, the wrong bracha in Kislev, and whatever else I do wrong throughout the year. Shabbos is the greatest time for teshuvah and we see this from Shabbos Rosh Hashanah itself which wont occur together again for another 11 years.
On Shabbos R.H. we do not blow the shofar and it is considered Muksa (Prohibited to use on Shabbos). When Shabbos coincides with Yom Tovim like Sukkos the symbols of that holiday are Muksa because Shabbos is a greater symbol. This is not the case with the Shofar as it is forbidden because one might be unsure how to properly blow the Shofar and carry it (an activity forbidden on Shabbos) to a Rabbi's house to learn how to blow it. There is a deeper reason that is revealed by the Chassidic Rebbes who quote the Gemara in Rosh Hashanah that the purpose of the Shofar is to call the King of Kings HaKodesh Baruch Hu from the Throne of Din (Judgement) to the Throne of Rachamim (Mercy). On Shabbos Hashem is already on the throne of Mercy and this means that the effort put into calling Hashem from throne to throne can be used to beg for his forgiveness.
It wasnt until I heard this story of the Holy Rebbe of Karlin that everything connected and really put Teshuvah in perspective. We wait the whole year till Elul and spent 30 days contemplating Teshuvah and then use all our energy on Rosh Hashanah to beg Hashem for forgiveness for our sins. Hashem is asking us why have you not presented yourself until now? Why did you wait until Elul and Rosh Hashanah when you had every Shabbos to come to me? If we utilized every Shabbos to do teshuvah on a smaller scale we wouldnt have to take such a risk of a one time teshuvah deal on Rosh Hashanah.
We should all be blessed with a year full of revealed blessings that will help us build a life of Torah and Mitzvos and inspire the Yidden around us to do the same. We should merit to see Moshiach immediately and bring this Galus to an END!
Another thought is how we should be very thankful for America. Never in history have Jews had such freedom to follow Torah. We have more religious freedom the even Eretz Yisroel! When else in history could Jews parade down the street with a Torah and have the government block off the streets and have their police making sure everything goes smoothly? We must also NEVER forget Yerushalyaim and yearn for its return to her former glory with the Bais Hamikdash at the center. Still we must realize that Hashem gave our weak generation America so we could easily perform his mitzvos.
iy"H I plan to write more often especially once my blog moves over to my website at www.michaelmordechai.com which I hope everyone who looks here goes to. My art is for sale and you can email me at michael mordechai at gmail dot com for pricing and info.
Shana Tova U'Mesuka
Kisva V'Chasima Tova
A Git Gebentched Yoor
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
ח Av is the yahazeit of the Chozeh of Lublin
Reb Yaakov Yitzchok ben Avrohom Eliezer HaLevi Horowitz, known as the Chozeh of Lublin or the Rebbe of Lublin, who passed away in 1815. He was a talmid of the Magid of Mezritch, Magid of Zlotchov, Reb Levi Yitzchok of Berdichev and the Rebbe Reb Shmelke of Nikolsburg. His main Rebbe, of course, was the Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizensk, the author of Noam Elimelech. He was one of the four top talmidim of the Noam Elimelech. (The other three were Reb Yisroel of Koznitz, Reb Avrohom Yehoshua Heschel of Apta and Reb Menachem Mendel of Rimanov. There were, of course, many other great talmidim, but these four were singled out by the Noam Elimelech and he gave them each different spiritual gifts before his passing.)
His talmidim included Reb Dovid of Lelov, Reb Yissocher Dov of Radoshitz,
Meor VeShemesh, Reb Naftali of Ropshitz, Yid HaKodosh, Bnei Yisaschor, Yismach Moshe, Reb Meir of Apta, the Zhidichover and Komarna Rebbes, Sar Sholom of Belz and numerous other great tzadikim. He also wrote approbations for Sefer Likutei Mohoran and Siddur Tefila Yeshara (Berdichiver Siddur). His seforim include Divrei Emes, Zichron Zos, and Zos Zichron.
You Will Cry On the Day I DieOn Simchas Torah the Chozeh fell from a window and hurt himself very bad. Certain opponents of the Chozeh were openly happy about this. When the Chozeh heard about this, he said: "On the day I die they will be crying". This statement was understood when the Chozeh passed away on the saddest day of the year, Tisha B'Av.
May the merit of this Holy Tzaddik keep Klal Yisroel safe and help bring Moshiach immediately AMEN!!!
G-d willing we will all including myself realize that we need to serve Hashem for his sake and inspire others to do so and with that bring Moshiach who will rebuild the Beis Hamikdash before tomorrow and we will dance in Yerushalayim AMEN!!!
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
For now please read my blog about my time spent with the Pittsburgher Rebbe Shlit'a of Ashdod, Israel.
Monday, June 1, 2009
The Pittsburgher Rebbe comes every year to Los Angeles for a few weeks to spend time with his Chassidim there and fund raise for Pittsburgh Institutions. I met him last year at his Tish at Anshe Emes and was very excited to hear that he was coming during the Omer. My wife and I had yechidus with the Rebbe and gave us some good advice on where to move and how to go about getting to Israel to learn for a year. He told us to move to Los Angeles and when the time comes we will be able to go learn in Israel. I told him how I dont have a Rebbe and that I am teased by Chabad Chassidim because of this. Anytime I meet a new Chabad Chasid I am always asked what kind of Chasid I am, in case they forget that we were BOTH Jewish and that should be enough. The Rebbe smiled and told me that when I meet my Rebbe I will know and we will have a very deep connection and comfort with eachother, but I could borrow him for the time being. This left me with an amazing feeling of true Ahavas Yisroel from the Pittsburgher Rebbe.
The following Shabbos was his Tish which I unfortuantly missed but thought I could at least go late and wish the Rebbe Good Shabbos. When I got there I was told the Rebbe had just left and I was a little sad about it but was determined to spend Shabbos Day by the Rebbe. Before I left, I was given the a Nusach Sefard-Pittsburgh siddur by one of the Rebbe's Chassidim. This siddur is one of the best versions of the Siddur I have come across. The layout is outstanding as you never have to turn a page to finish a blessing or section of prayer. There is kavana under the four letter name of Hashem and for me at least that helps me concentrate better on davening and makes Hashems name stand out more on the page above the words surrounding it. For me it is a more stable davening than using the Artscroll Nusach Sefard, so I was very happy with the gift.
I walked to the shul where the Rebbe would daven Shachris and apparently made a left where I should have made a right and got turned around. Out from around the corner comes the Rebbe and I felt such a feeling of relief and of joy as the Rebbe approached me. We davened at a Litvish shul and the speed was very fast and I realized as I was emersed in my davening that I was very far behind the Baal Korah. After davening the Rebbe told me to walk next to him and we spoke words of Torah and he gave me advice on moving to Los Angeles. The Rebbe made kiddush for us and I was so nervous I almost made Hamotzi on Cake. That made me realize how foolish I am with my brachas that I have such fear to falter in front of a Rebbe but not in front of the King of Kings who the bracha is directed too. We sung a niggun and then the Rebbe went to where he was staying. We joined again for Shalosh Seudah and were blessed with amazing Torah from the Rebbe and a niggun called "Kol Dodi" which was very uplifting. We finished with maariv and I told the Rebbe I would hope iy"H to be by him tomorrow for Rosh Chodesh.
The Davening was the best since davening at the Kotel. Perfect speed and hearing the Rebbe cry out to Hashem strengthened my own cry. The Rebbe layned Torah for us and once again we parted ways. Maariv was late and the Rebbe didnt have his siddur with him so I lent him mine and used idaven on my cellphone which was very difficult. We had the blessing to hear one of the most heart felt counting of the Omer that I had ever heard. I later said I never heard Sefiras HaOmer untill I heard it recited by the Pittsburgher Rebbe Shilit'a. When we were done I came to get back my siddur and when the Rebbe found out it was mine he grabbed my hand and said to me, "I bless you that ALL your teffilahs should be heard." Speechless I struggled to get out an Amen and a Thank you and ran off with joy. The final night with the Rebbe concluded with a small tish with L'Chaims and singing with some Rabbonim from the La Brea area of Los Angeles. As the Rebbe walked out he shook my hand very tight and said to call him and to not give up if I cant get through because soon enough I will.
After reflecting on my time spent with the Rebbe I was very grateful for the experience. I learned some amazing Torah and Chassidus and was strengthened in my connection to Hashem and to Yiddishkite by having such an opportunity to be close to a Tzaddik. I hope to visit the Rebbe when I am in Eretz Yisroel soon either by opportunity, by Moshiach, or by both! I may not be a Pittsburgher Chasid but I feel I have a close relationship with the Rebbe that will help me grow closer to Hashem. We should all be blessed to interact with Tzaddikim and be inspired by them to do Teshuvah, perform Mitzvos, and bring Moshiach readily in our days Amen!
Monday, April 6, 2009
Pesach and Birkas HaChamah are upon us and Baruch Hashem I feel that I am almost free from the chains of university and will be freed to fully consume myself with Torah like the Israelites did in the desert. Then, just as our ancestors did I must leave the Clouds of Glory and work the land. Hopefully my artwork with Hashems blessing will help bring parnasah to my family to feed them and educate them.
I wish everyone a Kosher and Joyous Pesach and iy"H will be writting again after the Chag.