Monday, June 30, 2008
I have been reading A Simple Jew's Blog for sometime now. Ive read a lot of blogs and usually loose interest but there was something different about a simple Jew and what he wrote about. This was because almost every time I read his blog it is as if I am writing it myself, except I wouldn't be so eloquent. His blog many times relates to something I'm struggling with in my yiddishkite and we usually arrive to the same conclusion in our own way so its good to get that other perspective on how to arrive to the Emes. When he asked me to write about Ger Chassidus I was of course excited but also a little scared. I know that there are many learned people who read his blogs and I thought to myself who am I this Baal Teshuvah to be writing about what I think about Ger Chassidus. Then I realized as Jews we are searching for the Truth the Emes and so if I cant find the Emes, Baruch Hashem there are other Jews to help me find the Emes. This is a way I am trying to look at criticism and correction as bringing me closer to the Emes which is Hashem. After that the words flowed. I decided I would write my experience and my feelings and if others disagreed it might help me get a bigger picture of what Ger Chassidus and Chassidus in general is all about.
Here is the link to the interview between A Simple Jew & I.
Its also found here surprisingly on JewishBlogging.com
Check out Artscroll's Book: Rebbes of Ger found here
This is what the Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh says of the Sfas Emes
"The great Sfas Emes had been made a Rebbe at age 26, and was asked how he managed to garner such great wisdom and insight at such a young age. He replied with a mashal. "It would be as if a mountain-climber who worked for years to gather a team together, to get in shape for the awesome ordeal, and to do everything he had to do for so long, then reached the mountaintop -- and came upon a kid there. 'How did you ever get here at your age?' asked the mountain-climber. 'It's simple,' said the child. 'While some have to expend the effort to reach the mountaintop, others are born and raised on it'."
Thursday, June 19, 2008
No Tznuis Photo Available
When you named your child thousands of years ago, it was based off his or her essence, or an experience you had associated with this child. Now you name your child after a family member, a popular name, or even a piece of fruit in Gweneth Paltrows case. Not that I keep track of her life, but apparently once upon a time CNN felt that that was news worthy. The genealogy of Adam HaRishon is found here thanks to Chabad.org. The Parsha of Bereishis goes from Adam all the way to Noach giving either their age of death, age of becoming a father, or both. However, there is something truly amazing deeper in the aish of the Torah, between the black fire and the white fire. We find something interesting...
adam translates: man
seth translates: appointed
enosh translates: mortal
kenan translates: possession
mahalalel translates: praise of G-d
jared translates: to come down
enoch translates: instruct
methuselah translates: when he dies it will be sent
lamech translates: to humiliate
noach translates: rest
When you then proceed to form a sentence from the meanings of their names you get the following:
Man (is) appointed a mortal possession, (and) praise(s) G-d (who) come(s) down (to) instruct (him), (and) his death shall bring (his) humiliat(ion) (to) rest.
Its still a little cryptic even with my editing, but this is what I gather from it.
Adam is given Eve and Praises G-d, who comes down and teach him. He tells Adam not to eat from the Trees of Life and Knowledge and he does. After he commits the sin, and until he dies, he spends his whole entire live repenting for the sin. He never does get over it.
Please comment if you find anything flawed in my conclusion. I would love to see another angle of this.
NOTE: Although I take credit for the analysis the original concept was brought to light by a friend of mine. The reason I cant give him to much credit is his translation was flawed and because he is Christian his conclusion greatly conflicts with everything I stand for. So I wont link his blog because of this.
Friday, June 13, 2008
The Chassidic Rebbes teach that you should not forsake your davening to stay up learning all night on Shavuos. Davening on Shavuos is equally important as the all night learning and if you are not able to pay attention or enjoy the davening it is almost in vain.
I took a nap Sunday afternoon with much excitement and anticipation. I woke up and went to the Mikvah and I was so jazzed that I would have the energy to enjoy Shavuos properly. And believed me its not often I can use the word "Jazzed" pertaining to my life as much as I do in this blog. It was truly a blessing to have my Rav & his family up in my parents community for the Chag and my wife and I had big plans to be with him away from Long Beach. After dinner it was just before mightnight as we made it over to the home where he was giving a shuir. He was teaching Sefer HaChinuch which is a must read for anyone into understanding the mitzvos. Most seforim break the mitzvos into 248 positive and 365 negative. Sefer HaChinuch is unique, because it brings each mitzvot as it first appears in the Torah. Thus beginning with the mitzvah of being fruitful and multiply in Bereshis. It is straight and to the point. This is the mitzvah and this is what it entails and if you want to learn more go here and here usually sourcing a tractate of Gemara. We learned this for a couple hours and it was amazing to see all walks of Yidden sit in on the shuir and soak up his teaching of the sefer.
After that we went over to Beth Jacob and he taught some high school students about respecting the opposite sex so my friend Yehoshua and I learned Bava Bathra to compliment last weeks longest parsha of 176 pereks. Unfortunately I didnt get to read Tehillim 119 to complete it but it was still amazing. Now its about 2:30am so we head over to Happy Minyan which is the Carlebach Minyan in Los Angeles. We learned more Sefer HaChinuch and discussed Chassidus and waited till 5am.
This is the highlight. We have been learning for hours and now most people will speed through davening and finish around 7:15 7:30ish. Not us, Not the Happy Minyan. We dance, we sung, we davened for almost 4 hours. I started to dwindle right around the Priestly Blessing but now that I look back it was so worth it. There was such energy in the davening making it more alive than anything I have ever felt. The Baal Teffilah was the Yehuda of Moshav Band and we sung our prayers with Carlebach tunes straight to heaven! I haven't been jazzed up about davening in a long time. I enjoy davening and I feel good, but there is something about singing clapping and dancing that just gets you going. We danced with eachother, we danced with the Torah. For a second I thought it was Simchas Torah!
Once we finished my wife and I made the walk home which was surreal. We were the only Jews on the street. Everyone had either finished davening at 7:30 or werent even awake for 10am. People looked at us weird as we walked. Myself in my bekeshe and fedora. It was Monday and I felt people wanted to tell me it wasnt Shabbos. This is where the highlights end. The rest of davening was business as usual. It was nice but its what I experience everday and not by choice. The only thing that raised my soul after that Happy Minyan was the cheesecake, ice cream, and lasagna!
Thursday, June 5, 2008
This Shavuos will be different for me. Ive been accustomed to spending it away from my parents usually somewhere far far away. This Shavuos I will be with my parents and my Kallah. It shall be most splendid as is every day, especially Shabbos & Yom Tovim with my new wife. We werent sure where we were going to be for Shavuos, our New York plans not working out after our Rav's Rebbe fell ill. Please pray for him his name is Chaskel Ben Frumet. May he have a refyah shleima and be able to share Torah with Klal Yisroel till one hundred and twenty. Unable to decide where to spend the Yom Tov, our decision was decided for us with the promise of cheesecake and ice cream. The 6th of Sivan is Shavuos as well as yartzeit to some amazing Tzaddikim. King David, the Baal Shem Tov, and the Imrei Emes the 3rd Rebbe of Ger. King Davids Yartzeit being on Shavuos interests me. HaKodesh Barachu blessed Dovid HaMelech with the knowledge that he would pass away on Shabbos. Knowing that no one can die while learning Torah with a full mind and void of interruption, King David spent his Shabbosim consumed in Torah Study, not even taking time for sleeping. On Shavuos it is a minhag of Klal Yisroel to stay up all night learning Torah to rectify the error of Klal Yisroel sleeping in. This makes it more interesting that King David who on his own accord learned Torah non stop all of Shabbos would pass away on the day when we are required to learn Torah Non Stop. How could this happen? There is a Midrash that Satan got the best of David and interrupted him with the sound of his 10 string lyre. Another that he climbed a ladder and the rungs broke. It would be good to learn Chassidus and say some extra Tehillim in honor of these 3 Tzaddikim and that they shall all have aliyot in Heaven.