Grand Rebbe, Rav Yoel Teitelbaum Z"L

The Satmar Rebbe, an act of chesed 🌴

The world depends on three things, on Torah study, on  serving HaShem, and on kind deeds.

In this Mishnah of Pirkei Avos nothings else matters, not even the social status of someone. We cannot pick and choose our chasadim. We cannot wait if the person of our type or our sect. The opportunity presents itself and we must not let it go to waste.

Not only the person depends on it, the whole world depents on it.

The Satmar Rebbe, Rav Yoel Teitelbaum, once went to visit one of his chassidim in hospital. The Rebbe sat at the the man's side, giving him encouragement and hope. In the meantime, his gabbai excused himself, stepped out of the room, and did not return for a half- hour. By the time he returned, the Rebbe was prepared to leave. He wished the sick Chossid a refuah shlema and they left.

On the way back to Williamsburg, the Rebbe asked  his gabbai where he had The gabbai explained, ' I stepped into the hallway with the intention of returning a minute or two later, but I heard someone moaning. I  peeked into a room down the hall and saw a man who seemed down en dejected. I told  him who I was and what I was doing there and how the Rebbe came to be mevaker choleh a chossid of his.

" The bedridden man let out a krechtz. ' Oy, that person is zo lucky that his Rebbe lives nearby. I am a Gerrer chossid and my Rebbe lives halfway across the world. If only he could sit by my bedside now! " I stayed at the fellow's bedside  to give him chizuk, because his Rebbe was not there.

The Rebbe listend intently to the story. Then, although they had already arrived back in Williamsburg and the Rebbe had many other things to take care of, he asked to be driven back to the hosptial, so he could spend some time with the Gerrer chossid.

When they entered the man's room, the fellow could not believe it. The Satmar Rebbe had come to visit him! Little did he know that the Rebbe had actually made a special trip! The Rebbe told the Gerrer chossid stories and vertlach of hope, infusing him and cheered him up. One hour later after he arrived, Rav Yoel wished the chossid a refuah shlema and returned home.

If an opportunity for chesed, and act of kindness, presents itself, we must not let it go to waste. After all, the world depends upon it.

What the Torah can do

Rabbi Nehorai  encourage us to exile ourselves to a place in Torah. As the commentries explain, if there are no scholars, or nobody of sufficient reputation in one's place of residence, he should leave and move to a city of Torah.

This Mishnah was carried out throughout our history, and continues to be carried out, until this day.

Mr. and Mrs. Avraham Samuel and Mitzi Friedman lived in Lorain, Ohio, where there was one Shul and a handful of shomer Shabbos families. As their children grew and were ready for school- and since a plublic school was the only option in Lorain - the Friedmans realized that their children needed more Yiddishkeit in their lives than Lorain could offer.


So off they went to Cleveland to speak with Rabbi Nochum Zev Dessler, principal of Hebrew Academy of Cleveland. In  Mrs. Mitzi Friedman's words, " One of our  concerns was that we drove to Shul on Shabbos. Yes, our home was kosher, and yes, we had Shabbos, but we were very concerned about sending a mixed message to our children. After answering a few questions about our background- Abe came from a shomer Shabbos family and I did not- Rabbi Dessler, in his quiet demeanor, leaned over his desk, looked us in the eye, and said, " Give me your children and you will see what happens. I ask of you only two things: Frirst, drive to Shul if you have to drive, but never make the children get into the car; let them walk. Second, when they come home from school, learn from them and with them, and do not contradict or argue with them."


Mrs. Friedman continued with her story: " We enrolled the children in the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland. It was an hour and a half's drive each way to school, but Rabbi Dessler, gracious as always, sent a driver who picked up my children halfway to the Academy, at a local department store's parking lot, so my husband would not have to drive such a long distance every day. "


In time, the Friedman's moved to Phoenix, Arizona, and their children finished their education in private secular schools and universities. By now, the Friedman's have a large contingent of grandchildren, and they are all shomer Shabbos. No one drives to Shul and they all go to Jewish day schools, yeshivos, and seminaries.


Mrs. Friedman added, " My children and grandchildren are still teaching me, and I love every shiur and shmuess.

And it all started when they took upon themselves to travel for their children's education.


Moving out of our comfortzone, for the sake of learning takes strength and self- sacrifice. But what wouldn't we do to ensure that Torah remains for future generations?

Brace for the Avalanche

The Baal Shem Tov was once traveling with a group of students, when he came upon a stranger. The Baal Shem Tov whispered something in the stranger's ear. The stranger immediately turned on his heels and began walking in the opposite direction. Later, one of the Baal Shem Tov's students met the stranger and asked him what the Baal Shem Tov had said.

The stranger blushed and then shared his story :

I have a best friend. We grew up tigether and were always closer than brothers. We did everything together. We went to school together, and after school we always played together. When we grew up, we married girls from the same town and now we live next to one another.

A short while ago, my friend made a lot of money. He had borrowed large sums beforehand, and now those investments were paying dividends. When I walked into his house, I saw a huge pile of money on the dining room table. I was happy for him that he made a lot of money, but I wanted to teach him a lesson about how to take care of it. After all, anybody could have come into the house to steal it. And so, in an innocent prank, I took the money and brought ir into my house. My original plan was to return it witin the hour.

Before I had a chance to return it, however, word got out that a large sum of money was stolen from his house. The entire town was talking about it. I ran to return the money, but before I had a chancd, I saw a large crowd gathered in front of his house. Afraid to admit what I did, I decided to wait until things calmed down and everyone left. But you know the way these thibgs go. The longer I waited, the harder it became to give it back.

A great business opportunity arose, and I decided that instead of returning the money, I would invest ir and return the principal to my friend later. I was on my way to invest the money when I bumped into the Baal Shem Tov. Sensing that I was about to transgress, he whispered to me that I should return the money and he would vouch on my behalf that I had no evil intentions when I had taken the money.

And that, concluded the gentleman, is precisely what I did.

Sometimes we slip up, we do something wrong. But instead of stopping in our tracks, we try to cover up our missteps, and end up in further trouble.We must realize that the only way out is by reversing course immediately.


At times, you may find yourself sliding down a slippery slope. As soon as you realize, quickly change direction, before the descent really takes on speed.


A Miracle 🌟

A young man named Avraham ("Avrumel") Greenbaum lost his entire family in the Holocaust. After the war, he came to America and wanted nothing to do with Judaism. He changed his name to Aaron Green, moved to Alabama and married a woman there, who, miraculously, was Jewish.


The day his oldest son Jeffrey turned thirteen, they were not going to celebrate his bar mitzvah. Instead, Aaron decided to recognize the day by taking Jeffrey to the mall and buying him anything he wanted there.


When they went into a big electronics store and were browsing, Jeffrey's eye caught something in an antique shop across the way. He was mesmerized. He couldn't take his eyes off what he had seen.


He told his father, "I don't want anything from the electronics store. I want to go across to the antique shop." When they got there, the boy pointed to an old menorah and said, "That's what I want for my bar-mitzvah."


His father couldn't believe it. He was letting his child purchase anything he wanted in the whole mall and this is what he was choosing? He tried to talk him out of it, but couldn't.


Aaron asked the shop-owner the price of the menorah. To his surprise, the man replied "Sorry, that's not for sale."


Aaron said, "What do you mean? This is a store." He offered a lot of money for it.


Again the owner refused, this time explaining, "I found out the history of this menorah. A man constructed it during the war and it took him months to gather the wood. It survived, but he did not. It's going to be a collector's item. It's not for sale."


Meanwhile, Jeffrey kept telling his father, "That's what I want. All I want is the menorah." So Aaron Green kept offering more money until the owner finally agreed to sell.


The boy was so excited. He took the menorah up to his room and played with it every day. One day the parents heard a crash from Jeffrey's room. They ran upstairs and saw the menorah shattered to pieces. The father yelled at his son for being so careless, as he paid so much money for it.


Afterwards, Aaron felt bad about his reaction. He suggested to his son, "Let's try to glue it back together."


While holding one of the pieces, the father noticed a piece of paper wedged inside. He pulled it out and started reading. Tears welled up in his eyes and soon after he fainted.


His family threw water on him and revived him. "What happened?", they asked.


He replied, "Let me read you this letter. It was written in Yiddish, so I'll translate.


"To whoever finds this menorah, I want you to know that I constructed it not knowing if I would ever have the opportunity to light it. Who knows if I will live till Chanukah to see it being kindled? In all probability, going through this war, I will not. But if Providence brings this menorah to your hands, you who are reading this letter, promise me you will light it for me and for us, my family, and those who gave their lives to serve the Aibister


Aaron Green then looked up at his family and, in a choked-up voice with tears still in his eyes, said, "The letter is signed by my father."


They were all speechless. That family recognized the Divine Providence involved, how could they not! The hand of G-d was undeniable, taking a menorah from Europe and bringing it back to the family in a remote mall in Alabama, inspiring their spiritual journey.


Source: by Yerachmiel Tilles of Ascent Tzfat from a submission by Chayim Berkowitz of Tsfat, who received it from Yosef Hurwitz 

Getting It All In

The Mishnah states " The day is short and the task is abundant " this is simply understood and teaches us  that ever day we have much to accomplish and must not waste time. 

A wise man once said " People say, Time is money, but it is much more valuable than that, Time is time "

Here is a story that highlights this message.

In 1970, I was a bochur learning in Eretz Yisroel. After  Tisha B' Av, three bochurim and I went to Netanya for Bein  Hazmanim. One morning, right around sunrise, we went down to the sea, which was accessed by descending several flights of stairs. Between each set of steps, there was a walled landing, where one could  rest and enjoy the view.

As we were walking down the steps, we saw tha goan Rav Chaim Shmulevitz, rosh yeshivah of Yeshivas Mir, learning on the wall and looking down at the sea, which shone brilliantly.

Rav Chaim, who didn't notice us standing behind him,began talking to himself. " Chaim, Chaim, der Aibeshter hut dir gegeben nuch ah tug. Voss geist du tuhn mit der tug voss der Aibeshter hut dir gegeben?  - Chaim, HaShem gave you another day. What are you going to do with the day HaShem has given you?

He started crying and continued, " Chaim voss du  getuhn mit dem nechtegen tug voss der Aibeshter hut dir gegeben?  Voss du getuhn mit dem nechtegen tug, az der Aibeshter zull dir geben nuch a tug? - Chaim, wat did you do with the last day  that HaShem gave you?  What did you do yesterday  that HaShem  given you another day?  Still crying, he repeated, " Chaim, voss hust du getuhn mit dem  nechtegen tug, az der Aibeshter zull dir  geben nuch a tug? - Chaim,what did you do yesterday that HaShem should give you another day?"

We couldn't move. We just stood there listening to one of the gedolei hador, someone wo they say never stopped learning, who couldn't understand why the Aibeshter had given him the gift of another day, since in his view, he hadn't made good use of the day before.

This is a short, but very powerful mussar derashah.

The Month of Tammuz

All names of all the months in the Hebrew calendar are Babylonian. During the seventy- year exile, the Jewish people adopted the names. But of all names given, this one stands out most, because it's a name of a Babylonian deity and idol. Then why would the Sages allow a name of idolatry given to this month?


The answer is simple, as our role is not only to combat idolatry by defeating it, because idolatry is not to be cured in that way. By transforming the negative inclination that leads to idolatry into something positive. Perhaps, this was the Sages choice of the name of the false God Tammuz, and gave us the oppertunity to come up with a solution, to combat the problem that leads to idolatry.


Tammuz lives off our sense of self- pity and our tragic sense of life in this time of year. Now how do we protect ourselves against the crazy times we live in? What do we do, as we hear more en more stories that really put fear into us? We can't walke away from it, as it is everywhere around us, whether we watch the news or not, we keep on hearing it. And sometimes it takes all our time and energy during our waking hours and bothers us while we sleep.


Sometimes these things can be so overpowering, that we need to built a wall around us in order to protect us, from getting even more fear and anxiety. We can built a pwall to protect us and keep us safe. This wall is our defense, not listning 24/7 to anyones stories, limit the time on social media. It is not that we have to cut ourselves off completely of the world, but we don't need to be busy with it every day, every minute and every second. All information that we receive, from various resources, may or may not be true, as it is not also explained in the right context..


There is so many going on, really bad and evil things, that we don't see the good things that are  happening anymore.


When HaShem took us out of Mitzrayim, and made us wait 50 days before giving us His commandments and the Torah. Back then we were emotionally and spiritually very sensitive, eventhough we were on all time high with our newfound freedom and the giving of the Torah. Moshe gave us 40 days to study the commandments, and we knew that he would be gone for 40 days. But a small group of people, got worried that Moshe may not return at all. The fear based on false stories and assumptions, rocked their foundation of faith and this led to idol worship of the  Golden Calf, and this small group affected the whole nation in a very negative way.


That day, was the 17th of Tammuz, the day of false stories that led to panic and panic created our worse fears.This day is a tragic day in our history, the breaced walls of Jerusalem by the Romans, which led to the destruction of Beis HaMikdash.


The 17th of Tammuz is a fast day, a day of repentance and a day of reflection. A day that we could ask ourselves, what we could do to make our foundation of faith rock- solid and our trust in HaShem even stronger than ever.


Whatever comes on our path to deal with, our worries or troubles. We can always talk to HaShem, daven to HaShem and asking Him to help us, with observing the Mitzvos and showing gratitude.


Remember HaShem is always with us.