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We need not travel to the great Fair in the late summertime, because Hashem, in His great graciousness, brings the Fair to us.  HaRav Chaim Freidlander, ZT’L, (Sifsei Chaim I, page 38) compares the days of Elul to the days of a once-a-year fair, through which an industrious merchant could find and purchase/sell the goods that could support both him and his family for the entire year.  Those individuals, however, who remain at the hotel, to wine and dine and enjoy its various and sundry amenities, walk away temporarily happy--but with empty pockets and warehouses.


The interesting thing about a Fair is that all serious attendees have the same goal--to do business and make profit.  Yet, everyone does so for his own unique business and in his own unique manner.  Reuven, for instance, buys gadgets from Levi, and sells them to Yehuda.  Shimon, on the other hand, buys the same gadgets--but with 220V--from Larry, and through his connections sells them to the U.S. government to distribute to third-world countries.  Levi buys a shipload of watches and sells them to Dan who will trade them for a container of Chinese novelties….


The point is that each and every one of us has a specific role, a specific time, and a specific place in this world.  What each and every one of us does at the Fair is--and should be--different.  A five-year old is elated with her new bicycle, yet a grown adult simply cannot sit down on it and try to start peddling.  Over the past year, the Yetzer Hara has tried, sometimes successfully, to obliterate or at least blur, for you where you are and what you should be.  He is quite satisfied--and enjoys--seeing you ride that too-small bike, even though it is embarrassing to you while riding, and will make you sore and limp afterwards.  We should make sure that our spiritual lives take a lesson from our physical experiences.  Would we stoop down to pick up five pennies or fifteen matches that have scattered across the ground?  Why then should we stoop down or lower ourselves to accomplish far less, or even far worse, goals?


So here we are at the Fair, and we have our heads on straight.  We are going to learn from the mistakes that we made last year, the things we shouldn’t have bought, the items we shouldn’t have sold, the people we shouldn’t have done business with, and the people we should have looked to build a relationship with.  Each one of us is here to use his/her own knowledge, talents, particular expertise--and special challenges --to make this year the most successful one ever.  We may have to think and work seriously over the next little while, but the time is precious and the gains to be gotten are oh so great.




HaRav Eliyahu Dessler, Z’TL, writes that he believes that the reason Teshuva is a difficult concept for many is that people find it too difficult to change, and, being honest with themselves, basically give up on the idea.  When they recite Selichos, say Viduy, or otherwise hear the Shofar or daven the special prayers of the Yomim Noraim, they are indicating that they would change if they could, but do not really feel that it can happen overnight--or even in the present or near future.


The Torah teaches that this seemingly realistic--but negative--attitude is misplaced and, in fact, incorrect.  If one would only recognize that each Mitzvah accomplished, each improvement in conduct or middos, every nice brocha recited, every victory against the Yetzer Hara, actually positively impacts upon and truly completes creation as a whole, he would have a much more constructive approach to the process of self-improvement and Teshuva.  One would view himself as extremely successful if he became a partner at Goldman Sachs or a senior executive at Sony.  Here, one is actually being given the opportunity to be a partner with G-d in Creation itself.  The importance of every act of improvement between man and Hashem, man and man, and man and himself, is detailed in the Nefesh HaChaim ( 2:13 ).  There is truly an air of holiness which not only pervades, but surrounds, each Mitzvah and Mitzvah-doer.  It is quite possible that for this reason we are required to stand in the presence of one who performs a Mitzvah (see Mishna Bikurim 3:3, and Bartenura there).


Today, we enter the 40-day period of the “Yemei Ratzon”, the days of appeasement.  The Tanna D’vei Eliyahu, quoted by the Chayei Odom (Chapter 138), writes that “The month of Elul is the most favorable and auspicious time for a person’s Teshuva to be accepted, for they are days of appeasement…just as Hashem was appeased for the sin of the Golden Calf during these days, He also arouses His mercy on our behalf in our times and is appeased by our Teshuva as well.”


By rejoicing in the prospect of Teshuva, by being happy over the opportunity to improve, by feeling good when giving nachas to Hashem and coming closer to Him, we can benefit from the upcoming unique and special days to their wonderful fullest.




Tomorrow we, Be’ezras Hashem, will begin to blow Shofar and recite an additional Mizmor, Mizmor 27 from Tehillim after davening.  The Shofar blowing is to remind us that the King will soon be arriving, and will sit in judgment.  The Mizmor is recited, some point out, because it contains Hashem’s name 13 times, corresponding to Hashem’s 13 Attributes of Mercy.


It is fascinating to note that, while we continue the Mizmor through Shemini Atzeres, the Shofar is sounded only through the second day of Rosh Hashana.  One possible reason for this may be that the Shofar is to prepare us for the King’s arrival.  Once He has arrived, on Rosh Hashana, we no longer need any reminders of His near-tangible presence.  The Mizmor, on the other hand, through the 13 Names of Hashem, is to remind us that we must constantly plead for mercy, through the judgment for rain on Shemini Atzeres.


Thus, during the upcoming month we are preparing for judgment--and for mercy.  While this may seem paradoxical, it is really quite necessary.  If a person prepares only for judgment, he will tend to view all of his activities in a favorable light, and actually lead himself to believe that he is much better than he really is.  Think about the way a lawyer may prepare a court case--viewing (is distorting too strong a word?) the facts in the most favorable light to his client.  Thus, in thinking about why one needs mercy over the coming days, we will  take a better look at our actions and inactions.


We all know that our Viduy is broken down and recited according to the Alef-Beis.  In addition to the classic words of Viduy (“Ashamnu, Bagadnu….”) found in Selichos and the Machzor, the Chida and the Chayei Odom provide additional insights through the Alef-Beis as to activities of the past year we need to think about.  We plan, b’li neder, through the month of Elul, to provide some of these activities suggested by the Chida and Chayei Odom in the Alef-Beis format.  Although this will definitely lose in the translation, because you may not be able to recognize the Hebrew and understand why this is listed under Alef or Bais or Gimel, we feel that the short daily dose of humbling experiences over the past year may help in the Teshuva and concomitant process of requesting mercy.




We all know that this Friday is the first day of Elul.  The knowledge that it is, however, two days off may allow us to press the “snooze button” one more time.  While on snooze, we urge you to think about Rosh Chodesh Elul in some way.  One thing to consider is that our biggest Yetzer Hara may be complacency.  Being satisfied with a spiritual status-quo, in fact, serves only to lower one’s ruchniyus, as the Torah relates (Bereishis 28:12): “And behold Angels of G-d were ascending and descending on [the ladder]”.  This Pasuk teaches that angels, as spiritual beings, must be ascending or descending.  There is no in-between.  Likewise the Sforno, in his commentary at the beginning of last week’s Parsha (Devorim 11:26 -28), teaches that what is placed before us is a blessing and a curse.  We are to choose the blessing. There is no in-between, such as half a blessing or half a curse.


One may rightfully argue that his achievements and daily accomplishments far surpass the great majority the achievements of those around him.  While this may be true, the question really is--do those achievements and daily accomplishments really and truly reflect my potential and purpose--my ‘Tachlis Hachaim’?  This is truly the challenge of everyone’s life, and cannot be resolved in one sitting.  However, we present two types of simple programs to consider for the thirty days of Elul--as a demonstration to Hashem and to yourself that you are making headway in the right direction, and are not just hanging firmly onto the ladder at that same rung.  Here are our two suggestions, which you may accept, adapt, or use to spur you on to a program more relative to your immediate needs:


  1. If you begin on Friday, the first day of  Elul, to learn just three (3) Mishnayos a day of Mesechtos Rosh Hashana, Yoma, and Sukkah, **starting with** Mesechta Rosh Hashana, continuing on to Mesechta Yoma, then on to Sukkah, you will have completed all three Mesechtos by the middle of Sukkos.  A nice demonstration!!

  2. The Sefer Mesilas Yeshorim is actually not a very long sefer.  If you take your edition, and divide it into 30 segments over the month of Elul, you will find that you need study only a few pages a day to complete the sefer before Rosh Hashana.  Reviewing the Mesilas Yeshorim over the month of Elul is a fine accomplishment, and a remarkable complacency shredder.


Remember, Rav Shmuel of Lubavitch, Z’TL, would say, “The World says, if you can’t go over, you go under; the Torah says, if you can’t go over--you must go over!!”




Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, Shlita in his moving book, Happiness writes that the **three basic principles** of those who have attained happiness in their lives are:

1. Appreciate and enjoy;

2. Find the positive; and

3. Talk and act joyously.

All else, he writes, is commentary.  Try applying these three principles for a few hours in a row, and you will most certainly feel refreshed!


With this in mind, we note that today is the fifth Yahrzeit of HaRav Avrohom Pam, ZT’L, one of the great Roshei Yeshivos of America in our own generation.  Let us study for a moment how he views the beginning of the first basic principles listed above--to appreciate.  The following selection is published in The Pleasant Way by Rabbi Sholom Smith (Israel Book Shop, p. 229-230) which is adapted from the teachings of HaRav Pam ZT’L:


“Every person is a recipient of the kindness and favors of those around him.  One must show gratitude to anyone who does him a service….  Additionally, even if one pays money for a service, he is not absolved from his obligation.  Many people complain about the exorbitant fees charged by certain medical specialists.  They are upset by the difficulties in scheduling an appointment and the hours-long wait until their turn to see the doctor.  All this for a brief three-minute consultation...

“They should take into account that the doctor has devoted many years of his life to gain expertise in his particular specialty of medicine.  A great deal of gratitude is owed to the doctor for doing so…..

“The roots of many Shalom Bayis problems comes from one spouse's lack of gratitude to and appreciation of the other spouse.  The many daily chores that one performs for the other is unfortunately rarely acknowledged.

“Imagine how many fewer disputes would exist in a world of hakoras hatov.  So many of the petty grumblings that people have would be negated if they would acknowledge the many kindnesses they receive from others.

“Imagine how much lighter the crushing financial burdens that Yeshivos carry would be if their alumni would feel a sense of gratitude to their alma maters and would support them....

“A deeper appreciation and realization of the need to express gratitude would go a long way in mitigating many of the problems of life.  Even little children should be taught to say “thank you” when they receive something.  They may not understand what they are saying.  Nonetheless, with time they will be trained to acknowledge that a debt of gratitude exists and to express their thanks….”

So does HaRav Pam teach.  We should utilize this first basic principle of happiness--appreciation--to ready ourselves for the month of Elul.  We should reflect upon all of our gifts--from Hashem directly and from others, and arouse within ourselves a strong desire to be a better person for it.


In that vein, we are linking here a sheet which contains 30 slips with the names of the Jewish Captives being held by ruthless terrorists.  As you enjoy your “freedom”--a very broad word which has millions of daily consequences--we urge you to take the time to use one slip for yourself and hand out the other 29 to other similarly-situated free people. Thank Hashem for your freedom-- and pray for theirs!!!




1.  In response to inquiries, the address for donations to the Yad Eliezer Galil Campaign:


American Friends of Yad Eliezer

1102 E. 26th Street

Brooklyn , New York   11210-4609


Yad Eliezer has no overhead or paid staff in the United States , and is run wholly by volunteers.


2.  In response to other inquiries, the “Yemos HaMoshiach” is found in davening towards the end of U’Va L’Tzion, where we daven “V’Nizkeh V’Nichyeh V’Nireh V’Nirash Tovah U’Brocha Lishnei Yemos HaMoshiach U’Lechayei HaOlam Haba--and merit that we live and see and inherit goodness and blessing in the years of Messianic times and for the life of the Word to Come.”


3.  One of our Gedolim pointed out that there is actually a greater possibility that the Moshiach will come today than it is that you will win the regular weekly lottery drawing.  The calculation is simple--there are 233 years left until the year 6000.  This is only approximately 85,100 days.  Thus, the “chance” that Moshiach will come today is only 1:85,100.  The chance that you will win the New York Lotto is about 1:45,000,000.  Conclusion:  At the very least, we should anticipate and yearn for achieving the Redemption as much as those who are addicted to the lottery hope to win it--since the chances of such an occurrence are truly that much greater!


Now, let us refer to the relevant posuk (Malachi 3:1):  “U’Pisom Vavo El Heichelo… And suddenly, Hashem…will come to His palace.”


Based upon all of the foregoing, it behooves us to ready ourselves in some way.  A wise person who will be sick tomorrow from a tasty food he eats today, will, in fact, be very wary of that “tasty” food.  He will refrain from the temporary pleasure for the sake of his longer-term health.  What better way can we demonstrate that we want our “long-term” health than by overcoming some aspect of our daily Olam Hazeh drives and strivings, and redirecting that particular desire or habit towards that “sudden” arrival, and an eternal future!




The story is told of a frugal gentlemen who passed away and was called to task by the Heavenly Court for not having given adequate charity.  Before he was to begin receiving his punishment, he pleaded “Give me my checkbook!  I will write as many checks as you want me to!”  The ministering Angel responded “Here, we do not take checks.  We only take receipts.”


In the masterful work The Tzedaka Treasury by HaRav Avraham Chaim Feuer, Shlita (Artscroll), the great Rosh Yeshiva, HaRav Shimon Shkop, Z’TL, is quoted to have said that every generation has its stellar, or most appropriate, middah.  In the generation preceding Moshiach, that middah will be Chesed, as is evidenced by the conclusion by the first bracha of Shemone Esrei.  In the first bracha, our forefathers, Avraham, Yitzchok, and Yaakov, are each mentioned, but the bracha concludes only with Avraham--whose middah was Chesed.  This teaches us that, in the end, it will be Chesed that brings us to our happy conclusion.  As Rav Feuer beautifully puts it, the world around us today is an unprecedented self-centered culture dedicated to self-gratification.  Our response, our reaction, must be to practice kindness in a likewise unprecedented way.  This will then bring us, and the world, over the top.


We simply do not properly appreciate the value of each and every act of Chesed we perform in our times.  In this week’s Parsha (Devorim 15:10), the Torah teaches:  “You shall surely give him, and let your heart not feel bad when you give him, for in return for this matter, Hashem your G-d will bless you in all your deeds and your every undertaking.”  Is there any way we can compare the blessing of the head of state, a medical doctor, or, l’havdil, even the greatest Rav in the world, to the blessing of Hashem Himself?!  Here, the Posuk teaches, that not only will Hashem bless you, but that He will bless you in **ALL** your deeds and **ALL* your undertakings.  (Of course, we do not know or fathom each and every one of Hashem’s blessings to or upon us--but we do know that the Posuk is true to its word!)  To bring the significance of the blessing home, the Dubno Maggid brings the following Mashal:


A man while walking down the street, lost 100 gold coins.  Overnight, he was extremely disheartened.  The next morning, while walking down another street, he found 200 gold coins.  His joy was marred by his awareness that had he not lost the first 100 coins, he would have now been the proud owner of 300 gold coins.  A second man, while walking across an open area with a bag of seeds, slipped and fell.  The bag of seeds ripped, and the seeds scattered far and wide.  For quite some time, he was upset over his loss.  Several months later, he passed by the spot where he fell, and realized that the entire area was full of grown stalks of wheat.  His original “loss” was not a loss at all!!!  It took a little longer, but he would reap significant profit for a very long time to come.


Acts of charity and kindness are especially important for us now, as we view the world situation, as we arrive at the gates of Elul, and as we so very much want Hashem’s blessings to and upon our actions.  We should devote at least a little bit of time over the coming weeks to study their laws and applications in the Shulchan Aruch, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Ahavas Chesed (by the Chofetz Chaim), and in more recent masterful English works such as The Tzedaka Treasury and The Laws of Tzedakah and Maaser: A Comprehensive Guide by Rabbi Shimon Taub, Shlita (Artscroll).  If we know what to do and how to do it, we will be blessed by the Source of All Blessings--now and for eternity.




The Navi (Yeshaya 32:17) teaches:  “And the deed of righteousness shall be peace, and the act of righteousness [shall be] tranquility and safety until eternity.”


What then are the deeds and righteousness, the acts of righteousness, that the Navi writes can bring about the true, eternal ceasefire?


The Sefer HaChinuch (Mitzvah 478, found  in this week’s Parsha--Not to Refrain from Sustaining a Poor Man) provides us with essential guidance:


“…train your heart, under all circumstances, in the quality of generosity and compassion, and do not reckon that the matter will mean a lack in your personal wealth, because for the sake of this thing, Hashem …will bless you… and His blessing for a brief instant is better for you than any number of treasures of gold and silver.”


The Sefer HaChinuch (Mitzvah 479--also in this week’s Parsha, the Mitzvah of Charity) beautifully continues this theme:


“The nub of the matter is that whoever benefits his fellow man, whether with goods, food, or any other needs of his, or even with good words, words of comfort--it is all within the meaning of the precept of Charity, and his reward will be very great.”


The Chinuch then pleads with his son, to whom this Sefer is written, “Let my words enter your ears for they are good in an ear that listens...  Chazal also taught that no man will ever be reduced to poverty on account of the great amount of charity he gives…and Jews will be redeemed in the merit of Tzedakah, as the Posuk states ‘…and those of her who return--by charity (Yeshaya 1:27).’”  Finally, in explaining the extensive application of Tzedakah, the Chinuch writes:


“It applies in every place and time, for both man and woman.  If a person violates this and does not practice Charity at the time that he is asked for it, or when he sees the matter is needed and he has the ability to do it, he disobeys this positive precept.”

[All translations courtesy of the 5-volume Sefer HaChinuch published by Feldheim]


Thus, as incredible as it may sound, money that is truly well-spent can buy benefits heretofore unimaginable.  Furthermore, as the Chinuch writes, the mitzvah of Charity is not limited to money, for it includes any act which benefits your fellow man, including caring, sharing, and good words (see the story below).  Peace should not be achieved by the blood of fallen soldiers and civilians; it should be gained eternally, by the acts of righteousness that we are to perform daily.


For those who have not yet contributed to the various reputable funds established for our brothers in the Galil (Yad Eliezer, etc.), then this week, where the Torah teaches it, is certainly the appropriate time to do so.  For those who have already contributed to one or more of the various funds, Yasher Kochachem, but perhaps now is the time to do so again in order to demonstrate our devotion to the words of the Navi, and with the kavannah to obtain that eternal ceasefire!




Today, the 23rd day of Menachem Av, is the Yahrtzeit of the Steipler Gaon, HaRav Yaakov Yisroel Kanievsky, Z’TL.  We bring only one short story (published in Halichos V’Hanhagos, p. 12), which teaches us all what great people are made of.


In his older years, the Steipler had difficulty walking.  Once, after davening Mincha in the Yeshiva, he had walked about 100 meters towards his home.  He then made a sudden about face and returned to the Yeshiva.  An eyewitness who followed him back, related that when he returned to the Yeshiva, he took the Gemara that he was learning at his seat before Mincha, and returned it to the seforim shelf.  He then turned around and once again began his difficult trek home.


We too can take the road to greatness by thinking about how we can help others--even in relatively small matters--and walking those 100 meters to greatness.




In the Kinoh we recite on Tisha B’Av over the Shoah written by HaRav Schwab, Z’TL, we plead to Hashem that He “remember the moans and tumultuous screams…every tremble, every groan, every piercing cry”, and that not even one of the billions of atrocities committed against our people during the Shoah be forgotten or forgiven by His court of judgment.


Today is the third anniversary, more appropriately--the third Yahrtzeit, of the #2 bus bombing in Yerushalayim, in which men, women and children who were already Kedoshim and Tehorim became even greater Kedoshim and Tehorim as they left this world.


In order to more appropriately remember, we provide below the English translation (as set forth in the Artscroll Siddur, Ashkenaz Edition Page 455) of the Av HaRachamim which we recite on Shabbos morning before the Mussaf Shemone Esrei.  Once we take these words and apply them to the memories we all have of that horrifying day, we should take the lesson to recite Av HaRachamim every Shabbos with a level of Kavanah which is befitting the Kedoshim throughout the ages--those great individuals, young and old, man and woman, Rav and layman, who left this world in the holiest and purest of circumstances.  We should revere their memories, and we should recognize that their passing while sanctifying the Name of G-d brings unfathomable and eternal zechuyos for them and all of Klal Yisroel.




Father of compassion, Who dwells on high, in His powerful compassion may He recall with compassion the devout, the upright, and the perfect ones; the holy congregations who gave their lives for the Sanctification of the Name--who were beloved and pleasant in their lifetime and in their death were not parted [from G-d].  They were quicker than eagles and stronger than lions to do their Creator’s will and their Rock’s desire.  May our G-d remember them for good with the other righteous of the world.  May He, before our eyes, exact retribution for the spilled blood of His servants, as is written in the Torah of Moses, the man of G-d:  “O nations, sing the praise of His people for He will avenge the blood of His servants and He will bring retribution upon His foes; and He will appease His land and His people.”  And by Your servants, the prophets, it is written saying:  “Though I cleanse [the enemy]--their bloodshed I will not cleanse when Hashem dwells in Zion .”  And in the Holy Writings it is said:  “Why should the nations say, ‘Where is their G-d?’  Let there be known among the nations, before our eyes, revenge for Your servants’ spilled blood.”  And it says:  ‘For the Avenger of blood has remembered them; He has not forgotten the cry of the humble.”  And it says: “He will judge the corpse-filled nations, He will crush the leader of the mighty land.  From a river along the way he shall drink--therefore he may proudly lift his head.”


The outstanding note in the Artscroll (ibid.) points out:   “We do not pray that we be strong enough to avenge our martyrs; Jews are not motivated by a lust to repay violence and murder with violence and murder.  Rather we pray that G-d choose how and when to atone for the blood of His fallen martyrs.  For the living, decency and integrity remain the primary goals of social life. (R’ Hersch).”


Before we go back to continue our tasks, we should take an additional moment to feel the pain of all of the families affected by this mass murder--and set aside some charity as a zechus for all of the niftarim, and, yibadel l'chaim, their families that have remained with us in this world.




In 40 days from today we, Be’ezras Hashem, will reach Rosh Hashana 5767.  In the key Tefilla of U’nesane Tokef, we cry out: “…and Teshuva and Tefillah and Tzedaka remove the evil decree.”


Over the last several weeks, many of us may have been working on Teshuva and Tefillah.  It is telling that this week’s Parsha, Parshas Re’eh, is a primary source for the Mitzvah of Tzedaka, as the Torah teaches: “…Rather you should open and reopen your hand towards him” (Devorim 15:8).


We present below several important opinions issued by HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, relating to Tzedaka (Derech Sicha pages 552-563):


1.      If a person who appears young and healthy comes before you and asks for Tzedaka, you should not refuse and tell him to get a job.  In fact, HaRav Kanievsky notes that the Chofetz Chaim would say that when Hashem has decreed aniyus (poverty) on a person, He accompanies it with an inability for one reason or another to work or otherwise obtain a livelihood.


2.      If a family loses its breadwinner, Rachmana Litzlan, it is their shul’s primary responsibility to assist the family.  By “shul”, HaRav Kanievsky notes, he does not necessarily mean everyone who davens there, but those who were close to the niftar or otherwise knew him.


3.      The Mitzvah of “V’Kidashto” (Sanctifying a Kohen) requires giving a Kohen precedence in Tzedaka.


4.      If one decided to give Tzedaka to a poor person who had requested it, and thereafter could no longer find the person, one can give the Tzedaka to someone else in his place.


5.      When a Gabbai Tzedaka goes around collecting, one must stand up before him (see the Mishna in Bikurim 3:3 and the Pischei Teshuva in Yoreh Deah 256:1).  We note, of course, that when one gives Tzedaka to a poor person, it should be done standing as well.


6.      If one gives a post-dated check today, for a check to be cashed after Yom Kippur, it is actually considered as if he gave the money today, and he has the full z’chus in his “account” on Yom Kippur.


7.      Even when a Gabbai Tzedaka takes a percentage from the institution for which he is collecting, it is considered as if the entire amount was donated to the institution (for this is how it raises its funds).


8.      If one contributes monthly to Tzedaka by automatic payment, it is still considered as if he is physically doing the mitzvah with his own hands, because he could terminate the automatic payment at any time.


9.      The most important Tzedaka is to support those who study Torah, and the most important Tzedaka within that category is to support Children’s Yeshivos (Tashbar).


10.  If one has a doubt in giving Ma’aser, he should me machmir, because from giving Ma’aser one never loses, only gains.


11.  If one has donated large sums to Tzedaka, and loses significant sums either in the stock market or on a business deal or otherwise, he may view it as a kapara. HaRav Kanievsky gives the following Mashal:


On the day of his ascension to the throne, a King distributed special presents to those around him.  There was one person who owed a tremendous amount of money to the new King.  The King told him that his special present was a forgiveness of debt.  Indeed, a wealthy person who, Be’ezras Hashem, remains wealthy does not have this form of kapara, and will have to obtain his kapara in different ways.


12.  Chazal teach that one who causes another to give Tzedaka is greater than the giver himself. The reason for this is that the giver feels that he has given, and the recipient feels that he has received, but the one who causes another to give does not sense either of these tangible benefits--and still goes out of his way to arrange the act of kindness!




One of the most well-known chapters of Tehillim is Kepitel 91--Yosheiv Biseiser Elyon.  This Mizmor is referred to by Chazal (Shavuos 15B) as the “Shir Shel Pegoyim”--for it provides special protection for us from mazikim and those who wish to do us harm.  The Medrash Shochar Tov (90) writes that this is one of 11 Mizmorei Tehillim written by Moshe Rabbeinu himself.


We can now well understand why this Kepitel is part of our Kryias Shema Al Hamita, as recorded in Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 239:1), and why it is recited on Motzoei Shabbos as we start the new week and pray for Hashem’s protection through the week.


As the terror in Eretz Yisroel globalizes, and the Pasuk “and he [Yishmael] will be a wild man--his hand will be against all, and all will be against him”--takes on a new and unfathomed meaning for most , it is incumbent upon each and every one of us to pray for our own protection, and for the protection of our families, from “pegoyim”--all those forces that attack us.


Let us take a brief look at Mizmor 91:


The very first Pasuk reads “Whoever sits in the refuge of the Most High--he shall dwell in the Shadow of the A-mighty”.  Rashi there (as translated in the Artscroll Tehillim) writes: “The person who…seeks only the refuge provided by the Most High, **will find his faith most rewarded.  He will be enveloped by G-d’s providence…without fear of those who seek to do him harm”** (emphasis added).


Importantly, in the next Pasuk, Moshe Rabbeinu continues: “I will say of Hashem, He is my refuge and fortress,  My Elokim, I will trust in Him.” Rabbi Avraham Chaim Feuer, Shlita, in his wonderful work on Tehillim (Vol. 4:p.1135, Artscroll) explains: “Not only do I find refuge in the A-mighty when He appears as Hashem, the Dispenser of Divine Kindness, but I even trust in Him when He manifests Himself as Elokim, the Dispenser of Divine Justice (Olelos Yehudah).”  A very timely message.


The Mizmor then continues to provide further detail of the person who trusts in Hashem and the results of his doing so, and concludes that Hashem says about him: “I am with him in distress… [and I will] show him My salvation.”  The Meforshim explain that Hashem is with us in all of our trials and tribulations--and even during the pangs in the times of Mashiach and the war of Gog Umogog, Hashem will provide us with salvation.


Let us not hide our heads in the sand.  It would seem that as the times we live in appear to become more and more fraught with peril as the days pass, as the world sways precariously at the edge of an uncertain future, ** WE MUST ACT NOW**--we must do a little more, a little better to bolster and rebolster our faith in, and our commitment to, our only Source of protection and refuge.  Reciting Mizmor 91 before venturing out into the world every day, or perhaps with at least a little more Kavannah in Kriyas Shema Al Hamita every evening, should serve as an important first step for us in finding refuge only in the Most High.




This week’s Parsha contains the Parshas HaYira (Devorim 10:12 -11:9).  This Parsha is published in many Siddurim, including the Artscroll Siddur, at page 181a.  If one cannot ordinarily make the time to recite this Parsha every day, we highly recommend that it be recited at least today or tomorrow, on Shabbos, as it is contained in the Parsha itself.




This week’s Parsha also contains the great Mitzvah of Birchas Hamazon.  Below are several points relating to the Mitzvah:


  1. The Zohar(quoted by the Pele Yoetz, Kaf HaChaim, Yesod V’Shoresh HaAvoda, and others) writes that one should use his best efforts to recite Birchas Hamazon b’Simcha--with appreciation that leads to joy.

  2. The Pele Yoetz additionally writes that, according to Kabalah,the four Brachos of bentching correspond to the four letters of Hashem’s ineffable name.

  3. It is well known that Rav Shach, ZT’L, often emphasized the importance of bentching from a written text, and those close to him testify that he personally was very careful about this (Sefer L’Shichno Tidrishu 1:86).

  4. The Yesod V’Shoresh HaAvoda writes in his will to his children that he would daven prior to bentching that he not be disturbed by a knock at the door or other annoyance, so as not to disturb his Kavana while bentching.

  5. The Sefer HaChinuch (Mitzvah 430) brings the opinion that one who is careful in the proper recital of Birchas HaMazon will have a parnasa b’kovod--honorable sustenance--all of his days.

  6. The Sefer _The Halachos of Brachos_ (by Rabbi Pinchos Bodner) writes that one should be careful, as when making any brocha, not to conduct any other activity (such as moving crumbs, adjusting clothing, or motioning) while bentching.

  7. One should be careful to hear the words he is reciting while bentching (see Chayei Adam 47:13).

  8. There is a well-known story that HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach, ZT’L, once repeated the paragraph of “Nodeh Lecha”(We thank You, Hashem), in which we list many important things that we thank Hashem for.  When he was asked why he repeated it, he responded that he experienced a momentary lapse of Kavana, and that saying “Thank you” without meaning it is not true thanks.  In a related way, Rabbi Yisroel Reisman, Shlita, teaches in the name of HaRav Pam, ZT’L, that one may put out a finger and count each one of the things that you are thanking Hashem for every time you recite “Nodeh Lecha”.  Example: “Al Yisrael Amecha-one, V’Al Yerushalayim Irecha-two etc.”  If you try this, you will see that it is a great method of focusing your appreciation, and rejoicing in what Hashem has given you.


Finally, the extreme importance of Birchas HaMazon is demonstrated by the great emphasis that is placed upon it in the Chinuch of children.  It is one of the first subjects taught to children--and in a joyful and singing manner.  We asked HaRav Chaim Pinchus Scheinberg, Shlita, whether it would be better for a newcomer to Torah Judaism to recite the bentching in English or to listen word-for-word to the bentching of another in Hebrew.  He responded that the newcomer should recite the bentching in English.  While a major reason for this may be the difficulty encountered by a newcomer in following the entire Birchas HaMazon in Hebrew, an ancillary reason for this P’sak may be so that the person who has just eaten can truly appreciate the nature and beauty of Birchas Hamazon.


This Shabbos let us place a special emphasis, care, and love into our bentching, and may some of it carry through the rest of the year….




In previous bulletins, we have emphasized, reemphasized, and could never emphasize enough, the importance of **EACH AND EVERY SINGLE ONE** of our Tefillos for Yeshuos from the war/terror situation in Eretz Yisroel.  We must, of course, always look to the Parshas Hashavua for current guidance and direction.  It is certainly no coincidence (as it never is) that as the war is set to expand, this week’s Parsha contains the Mitzva of--yes, Tefillah.  We must be much, much more persistent in our pleas and cries than the terrorist murderers are as they continue to bombard our brothers with what are now thousands upon thousands of dangerous and dreadful missiles.  We must fight using the “Kol Yaakov” which has saved us so many times in our long history.


Unbelievable as it may seem, the Yetzer Hora is actually trying to have us “get used” to the horrific drawn-out terror scene we are witnessing daily.  THIS MUST BE AVOIDED AT ALL COSTS.  We cannot, we must not become complacent or despairing of the daily injuries, the daily turmoil.  Just as every missile brings with it a new danger of damage and destruction, each one of our prayers must bring with it relief and a prayer for the future.  If your shul does not recite Tehillim after davening at any minyan, make it **YOUR BUSINESS** to go to the Gabbai --or to take charge if no Gabbai is available, and make sure Tehillim is recited--and with fervor.  If no one else is crying out the Tehillem, let it be you!  Those not in Shul should use their more private audience to similarly plead.





As the summer months are upon us, we are faced with some brocha situations not always faced in other months of the year.  We have suggested in the past, and suggest again, that one review the particular laws of brochos on lightning and thunder.  In another vein, we have recently reviewed a fascinating book entitled Rei’ach Hasadeh-The Fragrant Field by Rabbi Hanoch Slatin (Feldheim), which provides many need-to-know Halachos relating to the brochos on flowers, spices, and other fragrances.


Here are just a few interesting fragrances and their respective brochos, and some Frequently Asked Questions, as presented in this important Sefer:


Apple: Hanosein Rei’ach Tov B’Peiros

            As with all fruits, one recites the blessing only when one picked up the fruit with the intention to smell it and there is a strong fruit aroma.  If one wants to both smell it and eat it, a blessing is still recited on the aroma.


Eucalyptus: Borei Atzei V’samim

            An essential oil is extracted from this evergreen tree.  If one smells the oil for medical reasons, to open the nasal passages, or does not enjoy the aroma, no blessing is made.


Lemon (the peel or oil from the peel): Borei Minei V’samim



Frequently Asked Questions:


Q:  I do not have any spices for Havdalah. What should I do?

A:  If you have nothing whatsoever, just skip the blessing Borei Minei V’samim.  If you have cloves or cinnamon in the kitchen, take them, and say the blessing.  If you have an empty spice container which still has a good fragrance, then smell it without reciting the blessing.


Q:  I received some roses, but they barely have any fragrance. Should I make a blessing?

A:  Commercial flower growers produce their goods to have eye appeal, but the fragrance has been largely ignored. If you feel that you do not have any significant pleasure from their smell, do not make a blessing.


Q:  I love the smell of my air freshener. Do I make a blessing?

A:  If you purchased the air freshener in order to overpower bad odors, do not make a blessing.  If you bought it because you like the aroma itself, then it depends.  We usually do not know what the ingredients are, and they are most likely artificial scents.  Since there are differing opinions concerning whether synthetics require a blessing or not, it is best to make a blessing on something requiring a Borei Minei V’samim with intent to include your fragrance in the blessing.  Or you could avoid smelling artificial aromas.  If you have an air freshener the majority of which you know is made from natural scents, then you should make a blessing.


Q:  When I open a new jar of coffee I always smell it.  Do I need to say a blessing?

A:  No, but to be on the safe side you could say Borei Minei V’samim on cloves with intent to include the coffee in the blessing.


Q:  Do I make a blessing if I smell a bottle of perfume?

A:  Since the perfume industry so closely guards its secrets we cannot know what the ingredients are, and whether they are synthetic.  A rule of thumb is that expensive perfumes do have natural fragrances, and cheap perfumes are synthetic.  Expensive perfumes may have as many as 150 different aromatic sources mixed together, so one could say the blessing Borei Minei V’samim. Since there are differing opinions concerning whether synthetics require a blessing or not, it is best to make a blessing on a borei minei v’samim with intent to include your perfume in the blessing.


Q:  If I smell apples or lemons in the market should I make a blessing?

A:  If you do not pick up the fruits, then do not make a blessing.  The grocer most likely did not put his fruits out on display with the intention that the customers will smell them.  However, if you pick up a fruit with the intention to smell its fragrance, then do make a blessing.


Q:  When my wife bakes bread the house smells delicious.  Can I make a blessing?

A:  You can enjoy the aroma, but don’t make a blessing.  Do not pick up a loaf of bread to smell it, since that brings you into a gray area in Halacha.


Q:  Can I smell bread during Pesach?

A:  No. During Pesach we do not derive any pleasure from leaven products, even if they belong to a non-Jew.


We highly recommend this very special Sefer to gain additional knowledge in an area not so widely-known.  Being careful to make Brachos--especially the proper Brachos--is an important sign of our true Emunah in Hashem in these turbulent and changing times.




Today is the fifteenth day of Av, which was celebrated as a day of great Yom Tov in the times of the Beis HaMikdosh.  Because of one of the many great events that occurred on this day, Chazal instituted the brocha of HaTov V’HaMativ--Who is good and does good.  Indeed, Chazal teach that there were no days of Yom Tov for Yisroel like the fifteenth day of Av and Yom HaKippurim.  We refer you to Taanis 27B and Bava Basra 121A for further detail.  In English, see _The Book of Our Heritage_ by Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov (Feldheim) (Volume III, pages 1021-1034, or in some editions, pages 302-314) for a beautiful description of the events of today.


The Gematria of “Hamisha Asur B’Av”--the fifteenth of Av--is equal to that of “Kasiva V’Chasima Tova.”


May the days of sadness we have seen over the last several weeks be converted, commencing today, into days of great joy, and may we experience once again the great joy of Tu B’Av with the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdosh.




In the wonderful work, The Torah Treasury written by Rabbi Moshe M. Lieber (Artscroll, page 456), we find the following important note:


“R’ Yoel Teitelbaum, the Rebbe of Satmar, was famous for his opposition to Zionism and its adherents, and would hold nothing back in expressing what he felt to be the deleterious effect of Zionism on authentic Jewish life and Torah values.


“On one occasion, he was taken to task for his statements by a person who compared him unfavorably to the patriarch Abraham, who beseeched God to save the city of Sodom .  The fellow argued, ‘Certainly, the Zionists are no worse than the Sodomites!  Why then do you have only bad things to say about the Zionists?’


“Replied the Rebbe, ‘The Torah records only what Abraham said to God and Sodom .  Obviously, when speaking with God, he focused only on their saving graces.  But when he spoke with Sodomites themselves, he no doubt rebuked them sharply for their wickedness!’


“The Rebbe concluded, ‘You hear only what I say to the Zionists themselves and to those led astray by their teachings.  You know nothing about what I say to God regarding the Zionists!’”


It seems, then, that the complete position of the Satmar Rebbe is not known to many.  It is quite clear that the Rebbe intensely prayed--as Avraham Avinu did--on behalf of those who were so estranged from his own personal beliefs.  All the more so would have he, and must we who are in constant touch and pain with the current horror in Eretz Yisroel, daven and daven and daven again for the Yeshua of our beleaguered brethren.  We all know the Medrash that teaches that Hashem told Moshe Rabbeinu to stop davening to enter Eretz Yisroel--for if he were to daven just one more time, his request would have been fulfilled.  As we read and read again the troublesome and gruesome war news, we must remind ourselves time and time again that Hashem **HAS NOT** instructed us to stop davening!  The “Kol Yaakov” is our most powerful, effective, and worthwhile tool for success and salvation.  Indeed, prayer is the common thread that ties the actions of our three Avos--Avrahom, Yitzchok, and Yaakov--together, as each of the Avos may be known for a particular great midah, but the Avos are collectively known for their “Koach HaTefilla”.


We must not despair.  Despite the daily rockets and tragedies that have plagued us over the last three weeks, we must again and again realize and truly take to heart that both the temporary and the permanent “cease-fire” will come from our prayers with Kavannah--in the regular daily davening when we look for and focus on the words “Yeshua”, “Geula”, and “Shalom”, and in our selected Tehillim which we take the time daily to recite slowly and meaningfully (especially Chapters 83, 130, and 142) for our beloved brothers in Eretz Yisroel.  We can make a difference--and B’Ezras Hashem we will make the difference!!




  1. Where in our daily davening do we specifically request of Hashem that we live to see the “Yemos HaMoshiach”?

  2. If you were given a 10 minute notice that Eliyahu HaNavi was about to arrive-- or even a one-day notice of his arrival, what would you do?

  3. The mother of Rabbi Mordechai Zuckerman, Shlita, a noted Talmud Chochom in Yerushalayim, davened Mincha close to sunset (which is usually preferred, see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 233:1) every day of the year, except Tisha B’Av, when she would daven Mincha as early in the day as was possible.  Rabbi Zuckerman asked his mother why her practice on Tisha B’Av was different than the other days of the year.  She responded that the Mincha of Tisha B’Av is the one time during the year where we add a special Tefillah, asking Hashem to “Nachem”, to console, the mourners of Zion and Yerushalayim.  She simply could not wait to daven Mincha until later, as this would mean an extra few hours of delay in begging Hashem to console us.

  4. HaRav Yechezkel Levenstein Z’TL (Or Yechezkel, Emunah p. 292) states that he remembers the Chofetz Chaim’s mashal as to how we should wait for Moshiach:  Imagine a person who is very unwell and who is waiting for the expert doctor who will give him the medication needed to cure him of his illness.  When will he arrive?  Every knock at the door…Is it the doctor?…And every delay in his coming causes a greater longing for him.



HaRav Yechezkel Levenstein, Z’TL, compared the arrival of Moshiach to a great, but local, wedding to be held in a small town. All those who live in town are naturally invited, because they all know the Choson and Kallah. However, those coming from out of town would only be relatives or close friends-and they would come only by invitation. 

Many of us today do, and must, empathize with the plight of our brethren in Eretz Yisroel during these terrifying times. We must remember, though, that they are already currently “in town” and when the great wedding day comes soon, we will have to be invited, and they will not! 

So what can we do to get ourselves invited? Chazal, in the Daf Yomi for Tisha B’Av (!) (Yoma 57A) relate that a non-believer remarked to Rebbe Chanina that, after the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash, all Jews are certainly tamei, impure, as the posuk in Eicha (1:9) states “Tumasa bishuleha--her impurity is on her hems.” Rebbe Chanina responded to him that even with this impurity, the Shechina, Hashem’s Divine Presence, is with us, as the Posuk (Vayikra 16:16) states that Hashem is “Hashochen Itam--dwells with them” amid their contamination. It is interesting that the word “shachen,” neighbor or one who resides close by, is closely related to the word Shechina, for it symbolizes how close we should feel to the Shechina. Indeed, Chazal (Yoma 53B) teach, and the Halacha records that, at the end of Shemone Esrei, one should bow while taking three steps back, then additionally bow to his left, bow to his right and then bow to the center, as he recognizes that he is taking leave of the Shechina in front of him. The Gemara comments there that Hashem will destroy a thousand of his enemies to the left and ten thousand to his right (see Tehillim Chapter 91), as he recognizes and takes proper leave of the Divine Presence. 

We all know that the Shechina has never left the Kosel HaMaaravi. We also all know that there is a special, different level of Shechina in our shuls. It is imperative for us to also realize that the Shechina is always with us--even in our current status of Tuma--whoever we are, and wherever we may go. 

Every day, three times a day in Shemone Esrei we state that Hashem is a “Melech Ozer, U’mosheia, U’mogen.” This means that even though Hashem is King of the entire world, He is still an ‘Ozer’--He helps each and every individual with his needs, a ‘Mosheia’--He saves each and every person from tzara, and a ‘Mogen’--He even shields a person before a tzara comes. This is an intense appreciation of the Shechina relating to us directly, which should charge us at least until we recite our next Shemone Esrei. 

Over the next seven weeks, until Rosh HaShana, we should work on feeling Hashem’s Presence with us throughout the day, once again, whoever we are and wherever we may be. We should especially sense that we are standing in front of Hashem during Shemone Esrei, and remind ourselves of His presence, as a Shachen, in front of us, throughout the day. If we feel a strong relationship, a closeness to Hashem, then even we--as “out of towners” will also be invited to that great Chasuna to take place--as the Shechina once again, resides in its full and permanent glory in the third and final Bais HaMikdosh, may it be built speedily and in our days.


The Navi (Yeshaya 1:3, which we read as part of last week’s Haftora) teaches “Ami Lo Hisbonan--My nation did not consider.” 

Rashi adds that the people knew they were acting improperly but “tread with their heels” on this knowledge, and simply “did not take it to heart.” 

We all know too well the desperate straits we are in at this time, in which we deal with the Churban of Eretz Yisroel and Yerushalayim--the defiling of a land and of a people on the one hand; and the turmoil, death and destruction in Eretz Yisroel today--upon which the nations of the world have heaped additional disgrace and scorn, on the other. 

Haven’t we yet reached a point where we will, as the Navi asks, at least “consider”? It is not, it cannot, and should not, be beyond us to go off into a room--our bedroom, dining room, study, or even the floor somewhere, to sit down and cry: “Oh, what has befallen us! A nation in ruins, the holiest people on Earth berated by the lowest nations on Earth. A man whose tenure as leader of the United Nations has been the most corrupt, whose own son was implicated in financial improprieties, berates us as if we are his indentured slaves.... 

What makes us better today than the captives of Judea taken by the Romans more than 1930 years ago? Is it that we have some stained hardwood floors, custom wall coverings, a relatively new Japanese car or kosher sushi? We cannot allow ourselves to be fooled by the amenities, luxuries, or even just the relative comfort in which we live. We have been in exile far too long, and the longer we are here, the worse off we are. Exile does not get better with age like a fine wine; it becomes rancid like a container of open milk on a hot summer day. 

L’Maaseh, living with reality and practically speaking, we are walking about badly wounded in this bitter exile. Even in Eretz Yisroel itself, the very Holy Land, Russian-manufactured missiles, financed by Iran, shipped from Syria and fired from Lebanon, land in the holy cities of Tzefas and Teveria, and terrorize the Galil and the Harei HaCarmel. 

We cannot be ashamed to cry. Ashamed?!--Why, and from whom?! Why can we not pour out our hearts to Hashem, as Yirmiyahu HaNavi cries out (Eicha 2:19) “Shifchi Kamayim Libeich--pour out your heart [to Hashem] like water.” 

At least today, on the eve of Tisha B’Av, and no less certainly tomorrow itself, on the day of pain and mourning over the Chilul Hashem that exists in the world today, over Hashem’s pain which is infinitely greater than ours, over a world that has been lowered to the bottom of the bottom-most depths, over all the individual and communal pain and anguish, over these and much more, we must cry real, very real, tears. 

Yirmiyahu HaNavi further teaches (31:14), “A voice is heard on high, lamentation, bitter weeping, Rochel weeping for her children, she refuses to be comforted for her children, for they are not.” On this Pasuk, the Mahari Kara (in the Mikraos Gedolos) writes that Rochel Imeinu represents K’lal Yisroel, and that our weeping in exile is heard by Hashem’s ears. 

So, as much as we would not like to, we must cry--really cry. We must realize that we are in the nadir of our exile. The Tay-Sachs test, when originally developed, required a person to shed a tear, which was then tested. One had to think of something sad to shed that tear. Is it such a great challenge to cry unabashedly over an unfulfilled world, over the world’s most precious possessions disgraced and derided, over all the unnecessary anguish, unnecessary suffering, destruction, and death that we are currently experiencing?

If, for some reason you cannot cry--at least cry out--as our forefathers did in Mitzrayim. Remember, the gates of tears--and the gates of ruchniyus--are never closed. If we have to sit on the floor in a few hours, it should do more than cause us some temporary physical pain. Plead to Hashem as Dovid HaMelech does: “El Dimosi Al Techerash--Do not be silent to my tears!” (Tehillim 39:13) Hashem, I will not find comfort with the few pleasures I have when the Heavens and the Earth writhe in pain! 

Please join with your brothers this Tisha B’Av, as our sincere tears and cries reach the Heavens. 

May these tears and cries turn into overflowing sounds of salvation for each and every one of us, as we join together to witness the comforting of our people and the ultimate final and glee-filled redemption--speedily and in our days.


Today is the Seventh Day of Av. 

Chazal (Taanis 29A) teach that on the Seventh Day of Av the enemy entered the Heichal, the Holy, and mocked and defiled Hashem and the Jews for three days, until they set fire to the Bais HaMikdosh. 

The Nefesh HaChaim (1:4) comments on this as follows: “...No Jewish person should, Chas V’Shalom, think--who am I and what can I accomplish with my lowly deeds? Rather, he should know and understand that his specific deeds, words, and thoughts, at every hour and minute of the day are never lost. In fact, how great, how very great and lofty are his deeds, as each one rises to the “Govhei Meromim”--to the highest of heights in the heavens above.” 

He continues: “And in truth, one who understands this fundamental principle well will recognize how impactful a sin really is, for the destruction it wrecks in the higher worlds is far greater than the destruction brought about by Nevuchadnezar and Titus. You see, Nevuchadnezar and Titus did not with their deeds ruin or even blemish anything in the above, for they are incapable of doing so....” 

Thus, whatever blasphemous and immoral acts were committed by the likes of Titus in the holiest of places is trifle and insignificant compared to an inappropriate thought, or perhaps some misplaced jealousy, anger, or Lashon Hora on the part of a Jew, which can stir the Heavens above. In truth, we already all know that it was truly our sins, and not the actions of Titus, that destroyed the Bais HaMikdosh. Perhaps we did not previously appreciate the degree of the insignificance of his actions. But, then, isn’t our responsibility too great? Isn’t it too much for us to know that our thoughts, let alone our actions, so severely impact upon the Heavens above?

Actually, it is really only a matter of avoiding getting lost in the forest among the trees. We must take every action--or even thought--on its own value. We should try to strengthen, encourage and develop each and every positive thought that we may have, and as quickly as possible banish the negative and unproductive ones. Chazal teach (Succah 52A) that in the End of Days the Yetzer Hora will appear to the Tzaddik as a mountain. The Tzaddik will exclaim “How was I able to overcome this great obstacle?” The answer will be--because you treated each confrontation (each nisayon)--each thought and action not as a mountain too hard to climb, but as a mere strand of hair to be readily overcome. 

The mightiest leaders in world history and their accomplishments pale in their utter insignificance to those strands of hair we overcome daily. Tisha B’Av and the days that immediately precede it are not only days of mourning, but days of Teshuva. We should take the time over the next few days to appreciate, and to place a greater value upon, the sheer importance of our individual, stand-alone, thoughts and actions. 

Just one more proper thought or deed could very truly rebuild--in a much more beautiful and permanent way--that which Nevuchadnezar and Titus think they destroyed.


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