Dec 18, 2022
Difference between Chanukah lights and the lights of Shabbos. Speaking about holiness. The candle of GD is the soul of man. On Shabbos a person has to raise himself up to a certain level to experience the light of Shabbos. Chanukah on the other hand is the kind of light that comes down to us.
Dec 6, 2022
Parshat Vayishlach Ch 32 V 33
Parshat Vayishlach Ch 32 V 30-32
Yaakov just had a big fight with the angel and they wrestled all night long, and the angel changed his name from Yaakov to Yisroel. Yisroel comes from the word that means "you fought". You have to keep fighting for what you believe in.
He got injured and was hurt, but he chose to focus on the good thing. We can translate this to relationships. People are complicated, we can focus on what we like or what we don't like. We should choose how we perceive a person or situation.
Yisroel asks the angel his name. The angel answer, "why do you ask my name" and he blessed him. Every angel has a specific mission and his name becomes his mission.
The sun shined for him (2 hours early), in order to heal his thigh, It is said this is the light that was put away on the first day of light for the tzadikim in a future time.
Nov 20, 2022
Parshat Vayishlach Ch 32 - V 26-29
Yaakov wrestled with the angel all night, which is amazing as he is human fighting a spiritual being. The Angel saw “that he was unable to defeat him”. He saw that Yaakov Avinu was so strong and so perfect that he could not affect him, but he could dislocate his hip.
In the morning, it seems the Angel is nervous and says, "Let me go, for dawn is breaking". Raize gives over that he was nervous, and had to go, because he had to sing for Hashem.
How did Yaakov get hurt when he was the victor? Raize gives over 3 possible answers.
The Angel changes Yaakov's name to Yisroel, which is derived from the word that means struggle and stand up and fight,
L'vado, Hebrew word in Torah that describes the sense of being alone. Yaakov’s state of being alone was that he was totally independent in his own Divine Service and did not need any support from others, and in this way, he resembled Hashem who is totally independent & alone in every way.
May we be zoche, to emulate Yaakov Avinu, in becoming ‘alone’, independent of others and spiritually strong individuals.
Nov 13, 2022
Parshat Vayishlach Ch 32 - V 24 - 26
Today we came to the line וַיִּוָּתֵ֥ר יַֽעֲקֹ֖ב לְבַדּ֑וֹ וַיֵּֽאָבֵ֥ק אִישׁ֙ עִמּ֔וֹ עַ֖ד עֲל֥וֹת הַשָּֽׁחַ And Yaakov was alone!!! It is such a powerful transition in his story. Yaakov is very occupied preparing for and then visiting Esav, all the emotion and work that went into making this a success. And then he crosses the Jabbok ford with his family and possessions when suddenly Torah says something that seems to be a break in the trajectory of this story, it says " Yaakov was alone"! ...and "a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn". So much to learn over here about our own "aloneness". What happens when we are alone, and the yetzer hara comes immediately to wrestle with us? When we don't see it coming, where do we go for our source of power? What a powerful lesson from our Avos Yaakov. He wrestled (in the night) until the dawn (break of light). Yaakov's story strengthens us and infuses within us a constant strength that no matter what, Hashem is our power! That no matter who, where or when we are weakened or attacked, that our source to overcome & persevere is Hashem and that BH!, the sun will always shine for us, Klal Yisroel.
Raize also speaks about Chapter 4:1 of Pirkei Avos. “Ben Zoma says: Who is wise? He who learns from every person ... Who is strong? He who subdues his inclination ... Who is rich? He who is content with his lot ... Who is honored? He who honors others.”
Nov 9, 2022
Parshat Vayishlach Ch 32 - V 23
A woman has the power to influence her husband and the environment around her. What is this power? A woman can turn a righteous man wicked and a wicked man righteous. Women have binah yiserah. "Smart women build their homes". This chochma (wisdom) is a different kind than men, they have binah, which is from boneh (to build). She can build people up. A woman has an intuition. Hashem is in her voice.
Parshat Vayishlach Ch 32 - V 18 -22
Yaakov had sent the present to Esav with a space between each flock and he and his family came up in the rear with his 11 children,. Rashi asks what about Dinah and it makes no mention of her. Yaakov put Dinah in a box, because he was afraid that if Esav put his eyes on Dinah, he would take her as a wife. Yaakov was punished for this, because had she married Esav, she could have turned him around and turned him into a tzadik. This shows us the power of a woman. She could have changed the face of history.
Parshat Vayishlach Ch 32 - V 15-17
Chodesh Mar Cheshvan Class.
We return to our study of Parsha Vayishlach. We discussed that Yaakov is preparing to meet his brother, Esav. He did this 3 ways, The first is with tefelah. He davened and asked Hashem for heavenly assistance, which is a prerequisite for any situation. Next he prepared war strategies. He split his family into 2 camps and gave every member of his family a weapon to keep under their clothing.
Now we are up to the part where Yaakov is preparing to give a present to his brother, to get on his good side and make him feel good. Today we talk about the gift and what he hoped to accomplish. Yaakov teaches us that you have to stop and reflect and choose to see the good in things. We don't choose our circumstances in life, all we can choose is how we decide to see things. Our reactions are the only thing in our control! Hinei tov meod (everything is for the good).
No Class due to observation of Sukkot.
No class due to observation of Sukkot.
Oct 2, 2022
Yom Kippur shiur
What gives Hashem the most pleasure is when we are good to each other. As any parent, when the children are fighting it causes them so much pain, and when the children are loving each other, that is the greatest joy that Hashem has.
Two yud's, are like to Yids. Being next to each other, together, that makes the name of Hashem.
The Beis Hamikdash was built in the place where 2 brothers showed such love for each other and Hashem said, I want my place right there.
4 Steps to teshuvah. Also another way to get your sins wiped clean without these 4 steps and that is a person who looks away and let's go. (kal ha maavir al middotav).
Sep 22, 2022
Rosh Hashanah shiur.
Are you coming into Rosh Hashanah frightened of a divine decree? Or are you coming as the daughter of the King? Know who you are! You have a neshama and are a piece of the divine. Act like it. Pray like it. Behave with the love and dignity your Father desires and merits. You are a new person after Rosh Hashanah.
Rosh Hashanah shiur.
Today Raize gave over the most uplifting and amazing lecture. We need to know that these days before Rosh Hashana we have the opportunity to show Hashem who we really are and who we really want to be. When we daven we have the opportunity to establish a relationship with Hashem. Davening makes us a different person. Teshuvah is not in heaven or across the ocean. It is not so far or so hard. It is right here.
Sep 4, 2022
Aug 27, 2022
Rosh Chodesh Elul
Chodesh Elul is here, and in one month it will be Yom Kippur. Some of us shudder at the thought of its approach and others look forward to it with anticipation. The Yamim Noriyam (Days of Awe) are our Jewish High Holidays. These 50 days of Teshuvah (Repentance) ahead are parallel to the 50 days from Pesach to Shavuot that occur each Spring when we count the Omer.
Elul is the 6th month of the Hebrew calendar, a month set apart for teshuvah, tefillah, tzedaka, in preparation for the High Holidays ahead and are a tremendous opportunity to get closer to Hashem.
Ketivah vachatimah tovah!
Necha Golda was our speaker and gave an excellent shiur on Birchas HaMazon and their basic rules, such has reciting from a bentcher and not by heart, and bentch where you eat; and the power of bentching to bring good things to you.
Remember, thanking Hashem after eating is a Torah commandment., not a rabbinic one.
Unfortunately we did not record this shiur.
We are beginning the Seven Weeks of Comfort
Nachamu, Nachamu. What is comfort?
- Know that Hashem is there for you and we will always be His nation.
- Rabbi Avigdor Miller said comfort one another, be there for one another, with a smile.
Aug 7, 2022
Rosh Chodesh AvHashem Loves Me Stories
The Three Weeks - Mourning the Loss of the Beis Hamikdash
A sad time that is supposed to bring us up! There is more to the Three Weeks than fasting and lamentation. Our sages tell us that those who mourn the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash will be zoche to seeing it rebuilt with the coming of Moshiach.
May that day come soon, and then all the mournful dates on the calendar will be transformed into days of tremendous joy and happiness!
The Three Weeks
The Three Weeks begin today, as we mourn the destruction of the Holy Temple and our launch into a still-ongoing exile. The period begins on the 17th of Tammuz, a fast day that marks the day when the walls of Jerusalem were breached by the Romans in 69 CE. This year the fast day is today as yesterday was Shabbos). Raize speaks about the 5 catastrophes that occurred today and some of the customs observed. The 3 weeks are a time to get closer to Hashem because He is “traveling” and is closer to us. The Three Weeks reaches its climax and concludes with the fast of the 9th of Av, the date when both Holy Temples were set aflame. This is the saddest day of the Jewish calendar, and it is also the date that many other tragedies befell our people.
Jul 11, 2022
Jul 3, 2022
Parshat Vayishlach Ch 32 - V 4
We begin a new Parsha of Torah with a lesson that Yaakov is teaching us on how to approach out enemies. The most important attribute for Jew is humility, which means leaving room for Hashem in my life. Everything I have comes from him.
Jun 26, 2022
Parsha Vayetzei – Ch 32, V 1-3
Completion of Parsha Vayetzei - Chazak, Chazak, V'nitchazeik!! Be strong, be strong, and we will be strong!
May we continue to grow and go in the way of Torah!
Jun 19, 2022
Parsha Vayetzei – Ch 31, V 43 - 54
Lavan said that all Yaakov took with him belongs to him! They made a bris and built a pile of stones to memorialize the covenant between them. Lavan wanted to give the spot an Aramaic name (Yegar Sahadutha) Yaakov wanted it to be a Hebrew name (Gal ed). The gematria of the name of the place is 213. 213 years later, the Maccabees fought war with the Greeks.
Just as Lavan was saying, its okay if you are Jewish, just follow in my ways, so the issue continued in the time of Matisyahu when the Jews followed the Greek culture and way of life.
Parsha Vayetzei – Ch 31, V 36-42
Lavan catches up to Yaakov, and is furious with him that he left without saying "goodbye". Yaakov controls his response, and does not allow himself to show his anger back. This is a lesson for all of us in how to control our negative emotions, ie: anger.
No Class due to observance of Shavuot
May 30, 2022
Shavuot is a day of judgment. We are judged by how much spirituality we have gained in the preceding year. Have we gained in Torah? Mitzvot? Midot? We read the book of Ruth, (David haMelech’s grandmother), to (re)teach acceptance of Torah, chesed toward family, patience and following in the ways of Hashem. Hardship can be a tool for learning and growth. Tell Hashem you want to do better and to be closer to Him.
Sefirat Ha’Omer - Week 6 – Middot of the week Yesod
Lavan berates Yaakov for not telling him that he was leaving.The people realize that Yaakov had been the source of blessing: of sheep, water, etc. Rachel steals her Father’s idols and places them under her seat on her camel. Lavan searches for them, but Rachel explains that "the way of women is on her" and she cannot get up. Later, Hashem punishes Rachel for causing her Father despair over the loss of his idols. Lesson is that we may not cause a parent grief, even if it is for a good reason.
Sefirot, week 6: As chesed (kindness) and gevurah (strength) lead to tiferet (harmony) so do netzach (eternity) and hod (splendor) lead to yesod (foundation). Focus on the existence of Hashem. I shall bring HaShem into my life, place Him before me always, talk to Him. A tzaddik provides the foundation of the world.
May 21, 2022
Sefirat Ha Omer - Middos of the week - Netzach
Sefirat Ha’Omer – Middot of the week - Tiferet
After 20 years, Yaakov told his wives that Hashem came to him and it time to leave. Yaakov gets up and he lifts up his children and wives upon the camels. And he takes all of his cattle and all of his possessions while he was in Lavan’s house to go back to his father Yitzhak to the land of Canon. It has been a roller coaster, Yaakov hardly slept and now it is time to go.
Apr 30, 2022
Apr 10, 2022
15 Steps of the Pesach Seder:
Make kiddush - Drink 1st cup of wine
2. Urchatz – Wash your Hands
Get rid of all the spiritual dirt - Don’t make bracha
3. Karpas – dip vegetable in salt water
Gemara says we take the vegetable and dip in salt water so the children should not fall asleep. This is the child in you.
4. Yachatz - Break the Middle Matzah
Matzah represents emunah, we break it, small piece of emunah now, and bigger piece for later as our emunah grows
5. Maggid - Telling the Story of the Exodus
We have the mitzvah of telling over the story
6. Rachtzah - Wash Your Hands (with a bracha)
7. Motzi Matzah - Blessing Over Matzoh
The only way to test your belief in Hashem is through bitterness, something challenging and that you do not like. Usually when you go through the difficult, it brings out the best in us. Hashem, no matter how bitter, I know it is all you.
9. Korech - The Hillel Sandwich
Emunah on top, emunah on the bottom and we eat it. Hillel represents this sandwich because he never got angry .
10. Shulchan Orech - The Festive Meal
Have a delicious meal. Before you eat, you should think, “I am eating now bc I am serving Hashem”
**Yom Kippur, we don’t eat and we feel holy, but when you eat for purpose and the right reasons, it is even holier. Eating through the physical.
12. Tzafun – “hidden” - Eat the Afikomen
Now we are on the exalted level of emunah and put even higher levels into our system
12. Beirach - Grace After Meals
Mayim Achronim (after waters)- wash fingertips.
13. Hallel - Psalms of Praise
4th cup of wine
On Pesach night we say we are not like the other nations. We supersede the natural order of the world. We take the 4 cups of wine; the 4 ways Hashem takes us out of Egypt.
The number 4 is mentioned many times in Seder. The 4 questions, sons, wine. Who knows 4? 4 are the mothers. 4 represents the women. Women are compared to wine, we have the greatest power to influence the world.
Hashem is pleased with our avodah. Sing love songs to Hashem.
Everyone is on a high and hyper, in an exalted mood.
Turned around, Todah, Hashem!
Apr 4, 2022
Mar 27, 2022
Shabbos Rosh Chodesh is this shabbos.
4 steps to Cheirut (freedom):
• Parsha Shekalim – Everyone had to donate a ½ shekel – the concept of giving – 1st step in becoming free is when you stop thinking about yourself and focus on others. – when you only think about yourself, you are a slave to yourself.
• Parsha Zachor – getting rid of Amalek – You can’t be free when you are bogged down with all the doubts, fears, anxieties trying to take us away from Hashem.
• Parsha Parah – Red Heifer – when a person is unpure, the ashes are sprinkled on him. Walking toward purity. Get involved in purity and mitzvot. In Tehillim 34:15, ס֣וּר מֵ֭רָע וַעֲשֵׂה־ט֑וֹב Sor mei’rah – get away from bad, and v’aseih tov – and move toward the good. The Gemara says that a person who comes to purify himself, gets help from above. Do what you can and ask Hashem for help.
• Parsha Ha Chodesh – One of the greatest gifts we received is the power of renewal, and the ability to start again. The first mitzvah the Jewish people got while still in Mitzrayim. We needed this koach of renewal before we left, as we were on the 49th level of impurity. Hashem said, " no you are not slaves, you are a great nation."
Mar 20, 2022
Today is the Levaya of HaRav Chaim Kanievsky zt"l
From a young age, Rav Chaim Kanievsky zt"l was known as an iluy, (a prodigy) in the Torah world, and as he grew, so did his outstanding capabilities in leadership of Klal Yisrael. He was the son of the Steipler Gaon and nephew of the Chazon Ish.
In 17 days will be Rosh Hashanah Nissan. It is said that the geulah (future redemption) will come in Nissan. We must prepare ourselves spiritually.
Mar 13, 2022
Mar 12, 2022
Rosh Chodesh Adar II
In Adar we read about the Mishkan in all the parashiyot. The Mishkan is the dwelling place for Hashem, in our hearts. We have to make the effort to feel joyous and be in tune to the spiritual surroundings. We need to go deeper and live with our neshama.
Parsha Zachor is read this next Shabbos in Shul, we get rid of Amalek. We remove all doubt so we can feel Hashem with every fiber of our being. Everything that happens in life is Hashgacha Pratis.
Parsha Vayetzei - Chapter 31 - Verse 3-4
For the first time Hashem talks to Yaakov, and tells him to return to his birthplace and that he will be with him. How do we get to have the Shechinah with us? By being righteous, like Sarah; by being in eretz Yisrael (Midrash); by dedicating oneself to others. Bring Hashem into your life.
Yaakov tells his wife he worked honestly. The Shulchan Aruch says to work honestly and diligently. You need your hishtadlus, but your parnassa comes from Hashem.
Parsha Vayetzei - Chapter 31 - Verses 1-2
Lavan’s sons see Yaakov’s sudden and great wealth and assume he stole it from Lavan. They do not understand that Hashem has a plan. There is more to the world than what you can see. Yaakov sees Lavan look at him with huge anger and realizes it’s really time to go. The meaning of this is that you can destroy someone with a look, or you can elevate someone’s spirits or reassure them with a look. Panim (face) also means (inside) in Hebrew. For example, one can radiate on one’s face the beauty that lies on the inside, or one can show the distain and other negative feeling that’s on the inside.
Parsha Vayetzei - Chapter 30 - Verses 37-43
The Midrash tells us that the Torah goes into explicit detail in this story because every piece has deeper meaning. Yaakov is not just peeling sticks. The fact that Yaakov took these 2 trees was about bringing tremendous unity in the world, which will come when Moshiach ben Yosef appears.
When Yosef was born, the power of Moshiach ben Yosef came into the world. And Yaakov understood this. His job is to unite the Jewish people and bring a tremendous achdus (unification) into the world. But before that there has to be unity in the world between the forces of good and evil and Yaakov decided that when Yosef was born he knew that was the time to start, that is why he took the Luz tree (forces of good), and Arnon tree (forces of evil) to do what he did.
Feb 12, 2022
Jan 30, 2022
Jan 23, 2022
Parsha Vayetzei – Chapter 30 – Verse 26-28
Tu BiShvat shiur
We thank Hashem and to connect the special holiness that is in the trees, nature and fruits that HaKadosh Baruch Hu created. We want the trees to have a good judgement, so we thank Hashem for the delicious fruits that he gives us.
Jan 9, 2022
Parsha Vayetzei – Chapter 30 – Verse 22-25
Hashem turned nature upside down and finally Rachel becomes pregnant! Rachel bore a son and said, Hashem has gathered my shame, I don’t have to be embarrassed anymore, so she calls him Yosef. Yosef means “add on” – please add onto me another child. She was already davening for another child. Suddenly after 22 years in Lavan’s house, after Rachel gave birth to Yosef , Yaacov says it is time to go. He wants to go back to land of his people, his parents in the land of Canaan.
Jan 2, 2022
Parsha Vayetzei – Chapter 30 – Verse 16-21
Rosh Chodesh Shevat
Yaakov came from watching Lavan's sheep. Leah goes to greet him and says you come to me, as I made a deal and I paid for you in exchange for the dudaim. He laid with her that night and Hashem himself helped them and that night Leah became pregnant and later gave Yaakov her 5th son (and his 9th) son, Issachar (יִשָּׂשכָר) In Hebrew, Issachar means either “man of reward” or “hired man.” His name is associated with the circumstances of his birth.
Zebulun (זְבוּלוּן) was the 6th son of Jacob by his wife Leah and the 10th of all Yaakov's sons. Leah said, “Hashem has endowed (zabad) me with a good gift (zebed), now my husband will dwell (zabal)with me, because I have borne him six sons”. The name Zebulun means “dwell” (also translated “honor”) and sounds much like the Hebrew words for “gift” and “endowed.”
At this point, Leah made a calculation. She knew through ruach ha Kodesh that there would be 12 tribes. She already had 6 sons, her 2 maid servants each had 2 sons, while Rachel had no children. She realized that her sister would feel short changed and embarrassed if she had another son.
Leah was already pregnant again, and so she davened to Hashem to help Rachel, and to make her child inside her womb a girl., as she had such compassion for her sister. (Everything Leah received was through her tremendous power of tefillah (prayers) to Hashem.) Hashem did have mercy and changed the sex of Leah's child to be female, and she gave birth to Dinah. Hashem then blessed Rachel and she gave birth to Yosef (יוֹסֵף). His name translates to “he will add.” Yosef was Yaakov's 11th son.
Parsha Vayetzei – Chapter 30 – Verse 14-15
Reuven was in the field, and he tied his donkey to a bush. When he came back to the donkey, he saw the donkey was dead. This bush was called dudaim (mandrake), was a sought after plant, as these flowering herbs were thought to enhance a woman’s fertility. It was very hard to come by because whoever pulled it out of the ground died. Reven took the mandrakes and brought them to his mother. Leah & Rachel, then argued over the mandrakes. Leah said, you took my husband, and now you want these. This argument proves to us the greatness of Rachel's deed because of not only in what she did for Leah, but even more so in the way she did it. It is considered the greatest act in the world to come.
Finally they came to an agreement. Leah would give Rachel some of the mandrakes as a trade for allowing Leah to sleep with their husband, Yaakov that night.