Thursday, 31 July 2008

Books by Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum - For Sale From the Yeshiva

A treasury of sayings, teachings, parables and stories
of the outstanding Chassidic sage, mystic and visionary,
Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810)

Slim, elegant, pocket-size volume 12 x 17.5 cm.
576 pages printed on thin "Bible" paper
Classic gold-stamped, tooled, imitation-leather hardcover binding
Collected in this elegant pocket-size volume are Rabbi Nachman's most inspiring sayings and profound teachings on all aspects of life together with a generous selection of his artlessly beautiful, witty and profoundly deep tales and parables. These are among the most priceless jewels of the Jewish heritage and have universal application to people of all backgrounds and beliefs. All the selections have been newly translated from the original sources into the simplest possible language of today in order for Rabbi Nachman to speak to each one of us softly, clearly and directly, heart to heart
Biographical overview • Notes on Sources • Rabbi Nachman's Grave • The Breslover Chassidim • Rosh Hashanah in Uman
Amidst the confusing choices, contradictions and extremes confronting us on every side in today's world, never has the "flowing stream, the source of wisdom" - Rabbi Nachman's voice of honest truth, sanity, kindness and sound guidance for life - been more essential and necessary for each one of us and for the entire world!

Only ₪130 (Including Shipping)

Kabbalah / Spirituality / Mysticism / Prayer / Temple Studies
Mishkney Elyon

by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto ("Ramchal")
Translated by Avraham Greenbaum

The inner meaning and purpose of the Future Temple are explained in full in Mishkney Elyon, a priceless jewel from the legacy of towering 18th century mystical genius Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato ("Ramchal", 1707-47).
The Temple is the center point where all the branches of the Tree of Life connect with their roots, channeling a flow of sustenance and blessing to the entire world.
Includes overview, diagrams of Temple and Altar
and other study aids
ISBN 965-90120-1-2
Size: 23 x 17cm.
160 pages
Only ₪140 (Including Shipping)

Kabbalah / Mysticism
by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto
("RaMChaL " 1707-47)

A clear, comprehensive explanation
of the kabbalistic system
and its terminology
Translated by Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum

138 OPENINGS OF WISDOM is considered by leading scholars to be the classic exposition of the kabbalistic system, providing the student with all the concepts and understandings necessary to navigate and find meaning in the Zohar , the teachings of the ARI and other kabbalistic and chassidic literature.

138 OPENINGS OF WISDOM was written by Ramchal as the final step on a ladder of initiation into the kabbalistic wisdom that starts with Derekh HaShem ("The Way of G-d") and Da'as Tevunos ("The Knowing Heart").

512 pages HARDCOVER
Size 23.5 x 17 cm.
Classic gold-stamped tooled imitation leather binding

Only ₪200 (Including Shipping)

Health / Healing / Self-help / Kabbalah / Mysticism
The Jewish Healing Tradition in Theory and Practice
by Avraham Greenbaum

This innovative study of healing teachings in the Bible, Talmud, Kabbalah and writings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov has become the authoritative contemporary work on the Jewish healing tradition and its present-day application. A must for doctors, therapists, students of healing and all who wish to explore and understand the original sources of the tradition.
• Healing in the Bible • Kabbalah view of the human body • Healing the Soul • The ten pulse patterns and ten kinds of song • Prayer, meditation and other healing pathways • Care of the body • Recovery and rehabilitation

ISBN # 965-90120-4-7
Size: 23.5 x 17 cm. 500 pages
Available in French.
Only ₪200 (Including Shipping)



Health / Healing / Self-help
"A Call to Live"
by Avraham Greenbaum
First Hebrew edition

"Behind the distress and frustration of illness lies a deeper message. It is a call to LIVE! There is no more effective way to encourage the healing process than by deciding to live life to the full extent that you can now. Making this decision is one of the most important steps you will take to recovery."
Beneath the surface simplicity of this eloquent work lie profound depth and truth. Radiating unshakable faith in the ultimate kindness of God, it will bring genuine comfort and fresh courage to all facing serious illness and crisis.
ISBN # 965-90120-7-1
Size: 21 x 13.5 cm
160 pages. Softcover
Only ₪100 (Including Shipping)


Health / Healing / Self-help
"A Healthy Future"
by Avraham Greenbaum

HEMSHECH BARIE, "A Healthy Future", by Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum, is a handbook in Hebrew for parents and teachers on how to teach children the fundamentals of healthy lifestyle. Tastefully designed in a two-color format with attractive illustrations and visual aids, the book presents classic Torah teachings on the mitzvah of self-care, safety, hygiene, proper diet, exercise, etc. side by side with practical healthcare recommendations based on contemporary medical science.
• Attractive 2-color design with illustrations
"Well written, containing everything necessary on the subject."
Rabbi Chaim Kanievski (son of "the Steipler")
"Done beautifully in good taste and with wisdom."
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Rishon LeTzion
"The books deserve a place in every Jewish home and every Torah educational institution"
Dr. Geoffrey Greenfield, Pediatrician, Jerusalem
ISBN # 965-90120-5-5
21 x 13.5 cm
160 pages. Softcover
Only ₪100 (Including Shipping)

Health / Healing / Self-help
"Care of the Body and Soul"
by Avraham Greenbaum

SHEMIRAT HAGUF VEHANEFESH is a Hebrew pocket-sized practical guidebook specially written and designed to impact yeshiva students in the 13-16 age group, presenting the basic rules of self-care in a simple, practical way fully consistent with the conditions of yeshiva life and values of the Torah world, using a sophisticated and appealing two-color design format.
• Attractive 2-color design with illustrations
"Very important work. All Bney Torah should practice what is written here!"
Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, Rosh Yeshivas Maalos HaTorah
"Yashar ko'ach on this blessed initiative. The healthcare guidance is reliable and fully consistent with the Torah view and contemporary medical science."
Professor Avraham Steinberg
Professor of Child Neurology, Shaarey Tzedek Hospital, Jerusalem
Editor of Encyclopedia of Refuah & Halachah
ISBN # 965-90120-6-3
16 x 10 cm. 96 pages. Softcover
Only ₪60 (Including Shipping)


Please note: Prices subject to change without notice.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Rambam - Laws of Charity 10:4 - Give With a Smile





“Anybody who gives charity with a bad disposition to a poor person, and whose face is bent downwards – even if he gave him 100 golden coins – he has destroyed his merit and lost it. Rather, he should give to him with a shining countenance and with happiness, and he should be empathetic with him regarding his difficulty. As it says, (Job 30:25) “Did I not cry for the heavily burdened, did I not sorrow for the destitute?” And he should speak words of consolation and comfort to him, as it says, (Job 29:13) “I would bring joyous song to the heart of a widow.”


Until this point, the Rambam has made us well aware of the need to give charity. In the previous law, he spoke of the importance of not hiding from giving. In this law he goes one step further. If a person realises that he does need to give, he may still do so grudgingly. He frowns, makes comments (of all sorts!) towards the receiver, and barely able to he extends his hand feeling tremendous pain as he parts with a few coins he has worked so hard to attain! Although giving is a Mitzvah, this does not mean one may do so in the way one wishes to do so. Just because one gives, does not permit one to “behave kindly” with a depressed demeanour. Even attitude is important and giving must be done generously with a smile!

What reason could a person possibly have for hiding from giving to another?! Imagine the scenario – which most of us encounter daily – of seeing another human being in pain. We turn our heads away. Perhaps we are embarrassed that they suffer. Or perhaps we wish to make out as though we simply haven’t even seen them.

For this reason the Torah constantly stresses the importance of “And you shall fear G‑d.” Our rabbis point out that these words very often follow from a teaching related to something where we can hide ourselves from. It’s quite easy to sit on a bus – for example – with our eyes glued to the book we are reading. An elderly person barely able to walk, gets onto the full bus looking for a seat. Being overly righteous, we keep our eyes glued to the book in our hands, pretending that we cannot see that maybe somebody does actually need the seat. We are certainly not to blame for not offering the seat – because there’s really nobody that can prove that we saw the elderly person even board. Nobody, of course, save for G-d Himself! And so the verse states, “And you shall fear G-d.” While it may be that we can fool others in making them think we simply cannot see their pain, G-d examines directly into the heart, there – where He is able to clearly see what our true motives are all about. We can take our thoughts and use them to run and hide from man, but when it comes to G-d, there is no such thing as hiding – anything!

It’s all too easy to keep up an image of righteousness in front of G-d, while hiding from man. When confronted as to why we do not help another in need, we can easily reply that we simply have no knowledge of their pain. And “in truth” nobody will be the wiser. It could well be that we lack the understanding to know of another’s pain – or perhaps we may have not even heard of it. But Someone still does know the real truth.

And so, the Rambam cautions us concerning the issue of hiding. We cannot hide – and therefore, we should learn an additional lesson. Not only is ‘hiding’ something we should stay far away from, but even giving to another with a bad demeanour is something we should run from – in the same way we would run from a fire ready to consume all in its path!

It’s all too easy to imagine that everything in our lives is just fine, and that G-d can take care of the rest of the world. If another is in pain, let him pray for G-d’s mercy upon Him. As for me, I have taken care of myself and my family. All is well in the world! Perhaps, he could even learn a lesson from me – if only he’d just go to university, study hard and actually contribute something to society – just like I am doing! The strength and power of my own hands have brought me this – and G-d helps those who help themselves – if only he would just do something to actually help himself! We tend to feel that so long as we are taking care of ourselves no harm could possibly befall us. The difficulties of wealth only affect those not willing to behave in the ‘normal’ ways of living, getting a steady job etc. But as for our “success” – we have learned the rules of life and are therefore no longer susceptible to the possibilities of poverty.

Were it not for the Torah, we might come to learn life from the (wrong) animals in the world. Seeing how the larger fish swallow the smaller ones, we may well feel that this is what life is all about. So long as I can take care of myself, no matter who may be in the way, I have fulfilled my duties. Perhaps others need to learn these lessons of life too – we think…

Therefore the Rambam “pulls no punches” and tells things as they should be told. When it comes to the world we live in – there are indeed other people in it. And G-d has designed the world in such a fashion as to give more to certain people than to others – not so that they should be able to view their bank balances increasing each month, but rather so that they be able to give more to those in need. In fact, charity is the very vessel for wealth. And therefore, giving is its own blessing for receiving more.

But giving is still not good enough. Giving is about identifying oneself (literally) with the other who may be in pain. One of the greatest pains that any of us can experience is to find ourselves without a coin to our names.


For those never having been in such a situation, perhaps a short meditation would be worthwhile. One in which we close our eyes to imagine what life may be like – tomorrow when we wake up – and find as the day begins, that we have no means of purchasing food for the day. No means to purchase a garment – and to replace the one worn for the past 10 years… No means to pay the rent for the month, and in the post box, a letter of demand to be evicted immediately. Perhaps, the meditation should continue to include that on this morning that we awaken, we find we have no relatives to help, no family at all. And while we awaken relatively healthy to take on the day – we truly have no idea where to turn and who to ask for help. Imagine this for just 15 minutes and contemplate the absolute devastation a person would feel were this to happen to him. What would he do?

And yet, because we are not yet living in the world of redemption – one where peace reigns and everybody is blessed with all their hearts desires for the good – there are indeed many people experiencing these very situations – daily.

Each day, we encounter some of these people. Sometimes, however, we feel we already know their situation. They seem to have shoes on – even though they have holes in them. They seem to be wearing garments – although they are simply filthy. They speak – just like we do. Perhaps the only thing that bothers us is the totally destitute situation they have ended up in. We feel sorry, bend our heads down, unable to help at all. And as we do so, we feel that perhaps we have even fulfilled a Mitzvah. This way, this person may well realise that he cannot rely on others, and he should get himself a “real job” – just like we have!

Job (not the type we have each day) – who is quoted in this Rambam, teaching us the value of empathy – a once wealthy man who lived some two to three thousand and more years ago – and later afflicted with the most terrible of physical situations, losing his wealth, his family and being afflicted with bodily growths and discomfort – understood well what empathy meant. A person in pain deserves nothing less than our total empathy. His tears of pain should affect us so that we too feel just as he does, breaking us down as well. And to those that require some sort of uplifting, our duty is to provide it to the other.

A story is told regarding the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson. He once asked his father – the Rebbe before him – the Rashab, what part of being a Rebbe he found “the most difficult”. His father explained, it was the “changing of the garments.” The previous Rebbe – not yet Rebbe, asked his father to explain. The Rashab elucidated: When a Jew comes to me sharing his suffering and asking for help, I must understand him completely. I do this by removing my own ‘garments,’ and I then clothe myself in his. When I do this, I literally become like him feeling every part of him as if I were him. I am then able to understand him fully, able to give him advice, and help him. When he leaves, I return to him his ‘garments,’ once again putting on my own. Thereafter the next Jew enters with his own tremendous difficulties in life. I once again go through this process.

Imagine for a moment how tired we would become if we were to take off our physical garments and put on someone else’s, and thereafter repeat this process each time we met another – how totally exhausted we would become! Imagine what it could feel like to place over oneself – or into oneself – the soul of another… and then to remove it later, only to once again put on the soul of yet another – and so on… imagine the exhaustion?!

This is true empathy, true kindness, true love. It’s the ultimate way of saying, “I need to be you to understand you”. I cannot turn my head away – G-d forbid, no matter what you are asking for. Instead, I must – even for just a moment – see life through your eyes, feel it – through your body – and through your soul. I must know who you are, even though I am me. And I must become you – even for just a moment – no matter how lowly I could ever think you are…

The Rambam makes sense. Giving charity is about turning towards the other, not away from him. It means giving with a smiling countenance, a radiating face, a glowing aura of enthusiasm – to help the other, no matter how trivial their problems may seem, their financial predicament or their disposition in life in general – and no matter how much they need. There are no limitations when it comes to aiding others – let alone ourselves. The pain of another, is our own. When we realise for just a moment, that in fact, we are truly one body with one heart, two lungs, a stomach, brains and much more – then so too, as a body works in unity causing it to be in a state of health – so too the Jewish people are in need of each person connecting with the other.

A head turned away is a brain cell that has become dead, unable to give life to a part of the body in need. A happy countenance and a cheerful attitude of giving – always – is a brain cell sparked with fire to strengthen another – and in this way, to come back directly to ourselves – and strengthen ourselves as well.

It’s really a win-win. We give to another, and yet another – gives back to us. And so the root letters for the Hebrew word for giving are Nun Tav Nun - נתן. These letters can be spelled backwards the same way as they are spelled forwards – for when one gives, one receives at least an equal measure in return. If we turn and hide – frowning, grumbling and complaining as we give another, then this “giving” will certainly come back to us, and if we smile as we give, we will receive this smile from another as well.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Artistic Jewish Photograph-Magnets of Holy Sites in Israel - With Verses of Torah - For Sale. Perfect Gifts for You, Your Family or Your Friends!


Many of us decorate our fridges with a variety of photographs and magnets. Sometimes, these magnets contain catchy phrases, or phrases to uplift oneself. Every time one goes to the fridge (that means... whenever one is hungry or thirsty!) one is met with these sayings and images.

The Torah tells us that everything we see has an effect on us. Positive phrases of encouragement on a fridge door can only help one in mastering the art of being positive. Even if we don't consciously focus on the images on the fridge door, these phrases and images have a lasting effect on us throughout the day. If so, we should surely be careful in choosing images and sayings that will affect us for the good.

We have created 4 STUNNING IMAGES of various sites of the Holy Land just for you. Each image contains a verse from the Torah which is related to the image. The set below are made up as fridge magnets - 10x15cm (or 4x6") in size. They make for beautiful images to place on one's fridge - or any other magnetic friendly area in your home. We are also working on printing these images in poster sizes, and would be more than happy to print them in a size that suits you best, choose a beautiful frame - and ship it to you - or a friend!

They also make for creative and unique gifts to send others, so don't feel shy about ordering a set for us to send to friends of yours - no matter where in the world they are!

They're there, always ready to inspire you with a powerful and deep thought and idea, represented by both picture and verse. This is just the start though, and there is much more still to come. We would be delighted to design custom made images for you with a variety of images blended in to each other, with verses in Hebrew, English, or both. Images can be printed at a variety of sizes including poster size, and can also be set up in magnet form. In addition, we'd be happy to add your business logo or the like for you to use these images as advertising for your business. They're sure to be put up in a highly visible location which means your friends and clients will be looking at your business details every day.

For more examples of some of our images to give you thought of a unique image for yourself, see our online album at:

Please Note: Logo of "Shear Success Photographers" does not appear on the magnets as indicated in these images, and are only placed this way for copyright reasons.

The entire set is being sold at the
of just $16.50 for all 4 images!
This includes the cost of shipping!

With Rosh HaShanah and the other festivals
just around the corner,
why not consider sending this set
to friends and family overseas?!

To order and get these beautiful images delivered to you,
simply click on the "Add to Cart" button below,
decide how many sets you would like,
let us know your postal address,
and they'll be on their way!

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Zohar - Parshat Va'Etchanan - Singing at the Time of the Resurrection. Humbling the Evil Inclination With the Fire of Torah


With Matok Midvash Commentary

Daf 267b (104-108 in Matok Midvash)



And these words that I am commanding you today should be upon your heart. In order to explain this verse Rabbi Yitzchak opened and preceded to explain what is written, (Psalms 35:10) “All my limbs will say ‘G-d who is like You – deliverer of the poor from one who is stronger than he, and the poor and the destitute from the one who robs him?’” King David said this verse with Holy Spirit as he did all the book of Psalms. There is to ask what it means “All my limbs will say.” For what did he see that his bones should say song? And it answers, rather this verse speaks at the future time that the Holy One Blessed be He will resurrect the dead, and in the future time that the Holy One Blessed be He will repair and vitalize the bones that already decayed in the dust, and to bring close and join every bone to its place. (All the resurrection will be to the bones, but as for the flesh, the Holy One Blessed be He will create anew.) As it is written regarding the dead [in the vision] of Ezekiel, (Ezekiel 37:7) “And the bones drew near, each bone to its [matching] bone.” And it is also written, (Isaiah 58:11) “And your bones will strengthen,” i.e. will strengthen and become healthy at the resurrection of the dead, then at the time in the future they, the bones, will say song!

What song will they say? And it says, (Exodus 15:11) “G-d who is like You” who performs wonders? And this song will be superior and more important than that one that Israel said at the sea when they left Egypt. For they only mentioned the holy Name after 3 words, as it is written in the Song of the Sea, (Exodus 15:11) “Who is like you [3 words in the original Hebrew] among the heavenly powers?” And here they precede the holy Name, as it is written, “G-d, who is like You?”

As for what is written, “He saves the poor from the one who is stronger than he,” this is that the Holy One Blessed be He saves the good inclination which is poor, from the evil inclination which is stronger than it. Since the evil inclination is strong like a stone, as it is written, (Ezekiel 36:26) “And I will remove the heart of stone,” which is spoken about the evil inclination, and the good inclination is soft like flesh, as it is written, (ibid) “And I shall give to you a heart of flesh,” that this is spoken about the good inclination.

Come and see, the evil inclination – to what can it be compared? At the time that it comes to attach to a person it is as strong as iron, and it is very difficult to overcome it, until one immerses it in the fire of Torah, i.e. one humbles it through studying Torah. After it warms itself in the fire of Torah, everything returns to be fire. This means that in reality if one will not listen to the evil inclination, then it will not be able to overwhelm him, on the contrary it advocates good for him. And our Rabbis have said about it, if it is iron it will explode. But after it is warmed through sin, the evil inclination becomes completely like a burning fire and it punishes in the fire of Gehinnom [purgatory].

(As is brought in Tractate Kiddushin 30b, “If this ugly-one meets you (Rashi: The evil inclination incites you), pull him into the House of Study. If he is stone, he will be softened, and if he is iron, he will shatter (Rashi: The Torah is compared to fire which penetrates the iron – as it says ‘Surely my words are like fire, says G-d.’))

Rabbi Chiya said, the evil inclination – when it comes to attach itself to a person, it is compared to a person that is walking along the way and he draws close to the entrance of a house. Since he gets close to the entrance and he sees that nobody protests [against] him from entering, he enters the house and makes himself a guest. When he sees that nobody is protesting [against] him to throw him out of the house to go on his way, he appoints himself over the house and becomes the owner of the house [Daf 268a]: until it is found that the entire house is under his dominion.

From where do we learn this matter? And it says, from the Parsha [section] of David. What is written concerning King David? (Samuel II 12:4) “And a wayfarer – a poor man coming along the way came to a wealthy man” And he is called “A wayfarer” because he drew close to the entrance and did not want to delay there but rather to he wants to go on his way.

So is the evil inclination – just like the wayfarer that approaches the house, so too the evil inclination approaches a person. He awakens him to do a little sin (like the saying of our Sages (Shabbat 105b) – “And so is the craft of the evil inclination, today it says to him do such and such, and tomorrow it says to him do such and such, until it says to him ‘serve idols’ and he goes and worships.” This is only an incidental way. When it sees that nobody protests it and a person does the sin willingly, what is written also there – to do to the guest who comes to him i.e. the wayfarer becomes a guest who lodges in the house. And the allegory is that the evil inclination awakens him to seduce him to sin one more day or two days. Like this guest that dwells in his house one day or two days. Since he sees that nobody protests against him, what is written? (Ibid) “To do for the man האיש [visitor] who had come to him.” Already the guest is called a man i.e. he becomes the owner of the house, like is says, (Genesis 42:30) “The man – האיש , the master of the land.” And it is also written, (Ruth 1:3) “The husband – איש of Naomi” which indicates ownership and importance. So too the evil inclination corresponds to a person who becomes the owner of the house. And then a person connects to its – the inclinations – service. And he does its will.

And therefore a person needs to place upon himself the words of the Torah constantly i.e. that he should never stop studying Torah ever, in order that the evil inclination will be broken through them [the words of Torah.] For there is no prosecutor against the evil inclination that will humble it save for the words of Torah. (As our Sages say (Kiddushin 30b) ‘I have created the evil inclination. I have created for it the Torah as an antidote [lit: spices.]) And about this it is said, “And these words that I am commanding you today should be upon your heart – לבבך.” This means the words of Torah should be upon your two inclinations, the good inclination and the evil inclination. [The ordinary expression would be לבך – your heart. Since this expression is written with two of the letter “Beit”, our Rabbis teach that the verse is coming to teach us that the words of Torah must be brought to both aspects of our hearts – the good and the bad.] And it explains, the good inclination is crowned and perfected through them, through the occupation of Torah (like a person who is crowned with a royal crown which is the complete perfection of a person,) and the evil inclination is humbled through them.

And Rabbi Yehuda didn’t hear what Rabbi Yitzchak concluded, that the good inclination is crowned through them and the evil inclination is humbled through them. Rabbi Yehuda said, he asked Rabbi Yitzchak, the good inclination – why does it need the words of Torah? He, Rabbi Yitzchak, said to him, the good inclination is crowned through them and is perfected through them, and the evil inclination, since it sees that a person doesn’t repent, and he doesn’t want to occupy himself in Torah, then he ascends upwards and accuses guilt upon him. This is what is written, (Proverbs 3:35) “And the fools generate – מרים - disgrace,” for the sinner is called a fool, and he lifts the prosecutor – who informs his shame and his sin – upwards and prosecutes him. [The word מרים indicates lifting something up. Although it is translated as ‘generate’ it actually means ‘to lift up’ i.e. the fool causes the prosecutor to ascend with his shameful remarks about one who refuses to occupy himself in Torah i.e. the fool.]


Bold print: Original Zohar

Ordinary text: Matok Midvash

[Square brackets]: ELIYAHU ben PINCHAS

(Round brackets): Either the source being quoted e.g. Proverbs etc., or alternatively used to quote the kabbalistic language as discussed in Matok Midvash. The Matok Midvash formats the Nigleh side of things in an ordinary print, and the Nistar terminology in Rashi script. I’ve therefore put the Rashi script – the Nistar terminology in round brackets.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

A Lesson in Unity - Learning From Animals


The Baal Shem Tov says we can learn from everything we see and hear. There’s a message in it all. The Torah teaches that were it not for the Torah, we would have to learn from animals. Imagine we human beings with all our greatness and intelligence learning from animals… from an ant (industry), from a cat (modesty), from a stork (kindness to it’s own)…?

What of lions, buffalo and crocodiles?!

For those who enjoy movies over books, skip directly to the first video and then come back and read this – as it includes more than the video.

For those who enjoy the suspense of using one’s own creative abilities in visualizing an event taking place, read this first – and then watch the first video.

Imagine the scene for just a moment. Out in the veld (a South African word referring to the wide open rural spaces – a place of nature, grasses, shrubbery and trees.)

A herd of buffalo enjoying nature, ready to take a bath (perhaps) in the river nearby – or looking for some herbage to eat. On the other side of this scene, powerful lionesses in need of food – and it’s not grass that they are interested in. The more passive, although powerful buffalo continue their walk. One seems to lead the herd investigating if everything is okay to continue the journey. Meanwhile, a lioness crouches with her pride of lionesses nearby – ready to jump into action, perhaps lucky enough to grab some “food.” But the buffalo suspects something, turns around in haste, and begins running. The entire herd pick up that there is danger and all begin to run for their lives – literally. But a baby buffalo, not yet big enough, not yet fast enough to outrun the power and speed of the lionesses falls behind. A lioness – with all her power – chases the baby buffalo, grabbing it, ready to take it away for the entire pride. As this is happening, her fellow lionesses run with her, ultimately all taking a share of the “prize.”

But the buffalo, now caught in the powerful teeth of the lioness remains partly in the river that she fell into – as the lionesses attempt to draw her out. Meanwhile, a lone crocodile - also in need of a meal, becomes aware of the buffalo in the water and stealthily swims up to the buffalo and then – suddenly – pounces out of the water grabbing the buffalo – now caught between the teeth of both the lionesses and crocodile. Who will win the “prize?”

Eventually the crocodile is unable to hold on, giving up, leaving the prey for the lionesses – well deserved, apparently! But it’s not over yet, because the buffalo have not forgotten their baby – ALSO a part of the group. Just when you thought the entire herd had run – escaping the lionesses, you find out that they had actually run to get HELP! And they return with all the help they can get – some 100 buffalo ready to reclaim their child – a member of their herd!

The lionesses become scared, embarrassed (perhaps!) realising the power behind this unity of buffalo as they stake their claim! What should the buffalo do? They’re certainly strong enough to fight the small pride of lionesses. But they don’t. They’re not interested in fighting. In fact, they’re only interested in one thing – a member of their herd – a baby unable to take care of herself. With disgust, the leader of the buffalo herd give a couple of the lionesses a goring with his horns, sending one of them flying in the air, scared for it's life! Within moments, the lionesses can think of nothing more than their own lives. The “prize” for the day – no matter how tasty and satisfying, is simply not worth the trouble – if it will cost them their own lives… and they flee for their own lives – literally!

As for the buffalo – they return together with their member – their friend, their child – their baby – and leave the danger zone!

All ends well for the buffalo. The crocodile will have to search for his own food elsewhere – and as for the lionesses, they’ll have to spend the day recuperating from the “adventure” of the day – and probably end up without their meal for the day…

Do such things really happen? Watch the video for yourself!

But what can we learn from this? We – the world – the Jewish people, each of us as individuals?

Buffalo want nothing more than the grass they eat. They stick together as a group. They love each other, and even when just ONE baby is in trouble – they’ll do everything they can to save it’s life. Don’t think they’re weaklings either. These animals are filled with a massive amount of power that can do damage – even to the king of the jungle!

Crocodiles are creatures for themselves. They don’t need to work in groups (or floats), because they’re all powerful and cunning all by themselves… swimming along silently, secretly waiting for some prey to come by… then suddenly without a moments notice, pouncing on their prey, dragging them to the bottom of the waters by twisting them around and around until their life is completely over with.

Lions – they want nothing more than the meat they’re made to eat. They’re powerful too – but their power is for capturing their prey – not for protecting those closest to them when confronted by real danger. But, they have no choice, being carnivores, they were created to behave this way. They do, however, value family life – and also understand what unity is about – unlike the cunning crocodile.

What can we say of ourselves? Where do we fit in? Are we crocodiles – alone, living our lives for ourselves, ready to jump on any prey no matter how sneaky we may be in obtaining it? Are we perhaps lions, caring for our small family, but still ready to destroy any other “meat” in our way? Or are we perhaps buffalo? Strong and caring. We need our food, but it doesn’t always have to be meat – and we certainly don’t need to tear every being in our path in order to obtain it. Grass is good enough. Do we value unity and appreciate what it really is all about?

The buffalo understand life. It’s about sticking together and being there for every single member of the herd. And when one of them is in trouble, it will go all out to get EVERYONE involved in order to save the life of this one. Does it then take revenge upon the enemy? Well… perhaps a good goring – but it’s not in any need of anything more. It simply wants to be able to get on with it’s own life – if only the rest of the beasts out there would just leave it alone. It needs to tell them this and must do everything it can to get the message across. But it’s no carnivore – it has no interest in destroying the other – save for when it comes to their having prepared to destroying one of them…

Perhaps we can actually learn something from animals. Perhaps in fact, we need to learn from them. Sometimes we may become so involved in human life – that we tend to forget what life is actually all about. In fact, sometimes, we can even study much Torah, only to find that we still don’t understand these important themes. Unity, love, caring – being there for one’s own. Eating what we need – without having to destroy our fellow in the process.

There is much to learn after all from animals – after all.

But watch the video yourselves. Perhaps looking at life through the eyes of the Baal Shem Tov – and being aware that one can learn much from everything one sees, it will help each of us to focus our attention where it needs to be – more than ever right now. We need true unity – even for a lone member of the flock who seems to have already been taken by the beasts – both physical and spiritual – of this world. Let no Jew be left alone, because the loss of one is the loss of an entire world. No matter who or what he may be, if we can help, it is our duty to, and if we can’t, it is up to each of us to gather the rest of group together to make certain that his life is saved.

The world was created with just one man – to teach that each of us is an entire world. Not only this, but each of us is the very centre of the entire world. Each is important, valuable and a contributor – if only we’ll be there for them, bringing them up, protecting them, and aiding them to ultimately take care of themselves, and thereafter be able to also give to the world.


I thought I’d figured it all out. But there was more in store. Are lions really the beasts we saw in the previous video? The Torah teaches that when Moshiach comes, the lion will dwell with the lamb. The ferocious lion will be as tranquil as a delicate lamb. What a wonderful world!

This story brought it all out, but you’ll have to watch the next clip to appreciate it’s beauty.

When one is kind to animals – when one behaves towards all in ways of lovingkindness and goodness, one should know that in accordance with the giving so will be the getting. An animal only becomes ferocious because it has been forced by others into a situation where to simply survive it has become the beast it now is. When, however, even a lion is given the care one might give to one’s lamb… then with all its power, the lion turns into a lamb. It is only violent towards its enemy – but to those who have learned how to love, it too bestows its love upon them. Even a lion can be gentle – but it takes us – as human beings – to make it so. Everything in life is reciprocal by nature – and the more we behave in ways of kindness, the more kindness comes back to us.

When Daniel found himself in the “Lion’s Den”, the lions lay docile next to this Tzaddik. When one is a human being – a soul in a body – who directs his life towards G-dliness, then he himself becomes a G-dly vessel. In fact, such an individual could imagine nothing greater than to be kind to all – even to lions. If so, then even the animals know this and will not harm him. Indeed, this is the protection given to a Daniel!

Animals understand kindness, for themselves and for others. Perhaps, as the Torah teaches – we do need to learn much from them. In fact, perhaps we should take a break, look at the perfection of nature, realise that G-d is in charge, and that our duty is to connect with Him, ultimately bringing Him into this world below, so that we feel His manifestation in every inch of this world, and through this, may we be rewarded with the ultimate manifestation of complete kindness as the world enters a realm of complete freedom and goodness, a world of revealed G-dliness, happiness, beauty and caring of every single creature – for every other single creature – with the coming of Moshiach NOW!

Monday, 21 July 2008

Dedicate a Period of Torah Learning (or a book) in Memory of a Loved One

For more info regarding updates of this learning, see Learning the Entire Shas Mishnayot during the Shloshim (30 days after burial) period.

Due to the varied schedules of our daily lives, we don't always have enough time to dedicate to Torah learning - and especially when it comes to wanting to spend certain days involved in more learning eg. Yahrtzeits - the annual day of the passing of a person.

It is a great merit to learn in memory of a person who has left this world, on the very day of this anniversary each year. One of the parts of Torah that is learned in particular is the study of Mishnayos. Our Rabbis teach us that the word Mishna - משנה - has the exact same letters as the word Neshama - נשמה - soul. For this reason, many people have the custom of spending part of the day involved in the learning of Mishnayos for the memory of the person whose Yahrtzeit it is. Some people even have the custom of reciting Mishnayos that begin with the initials of the name of the person.

While the learning of Mishna is perhaps the most well known custom of learning for aiding in the ascension of the soul to higher worlds, one can learn any piece of Torah in memory of this soul.

While we ourselves may be unable to devote the time we would like to on these special occasions, there are many Torah scholars who constantly involve themselves in learning all areas of Torah all day long.

This makes for a wonderful Shidduch, something akin to the relationship between Jacob's two children - Issachar and Zevulun. While Issachar would spend his days immersed in Torah study - being totally unable to support himself this way, Zevulun spent his days at sea involved in business and commerce, making certain to be successful (via the blessing of G-d Almighty) in generating enough profit to support himself as well as his brother Issachar.

This partnership continues until today for a variety of reasons. Being involved in business does not exempt one from learning Torah - even if one is supporting a Torah scholar. However, the fact that Zevulun aids Issachar certainly accounts for an extremely meritorious act, through which both Issachar and Zevulun share in the respective rewards. Zevulun blesses Issachar with wealth, allowing him to continue to learn and teach the Torah of G-d, while Issachar blesses Zevulun to be successful in business, and in addition shares part of his reward for Torah learning with Zevulun.

This by no means helps Zevulun to know how to behave according to Torah standards - as he must learn on his own as well. It does however create a wonderful unified relationship between the two brothers, allowing each to contribute to the other in ways that both will certainly benefit. When Zevulun are indeed in need of Torah advice, they will have Issachar to turn to.

Were it not for this unique and special relationship, many Jews who have become successful Torah scholars and teachers, would have been unable to continue the heritage of our Torah in teaching it's values in the most upright and beautiful manner. In fact, we well owe it to them for having so successfully passed down the fullness and richness of the entire Torah as we know it today.

So too today, these relationships continue.

If you would like to partake of this relationship and make a contribution to the Yeshiva, we would be happy to arrange a learning session on your behalf for the memory of a loved one - or for any other beneficial purpose. Many people share their wealth with Torah scholars so that through the learning done on their behalf, they too will benefit further in terms of Parnassah, finding a Shidduch (marriage partner), or receiving a Refuah Sheleima (healing from a sickness) which they may be in need of.

We would be happy to learn a section of Torah for you - from all areas of Torah, from Mishna to TaNaCh, Gemorah, Chassidus, Kabbalah etc. We offer learning in sessions i.e. per hour, per day, per month etc. We would be happy to negotiate a learning session suitable for your purposes. Alternatively, why not join Rav Eliyahu for a one on one live Internet learning session or learn in person, a subject or book of your choice, in memory of a beloved one (or for any of the above choices?)

The Yeshiva is in need of additional books, siddurim and a variety of other necessities. If you would like to contribute in some way - whether in a memory of a loved one or for any other reason, all donations - no matter how small - would be greatly appreciated.

There are new students wishing to join the Yeshiva continually - some younger single men wishing to come through to learn as well as to stay in a dormitory. There are other married Talmidei Chachamim who have expressed their desire to be able to come through to learn as Avreichim earning a monthly stipend in the Kollel. And there are even students from overseas with disabilities who would very much love to be able to make Aliyah and stay near the Yeshiva to be able to spend their days in learning and contributing in whatever ways they can. We would like to be able to help all these people and give even more to all of Klal Yisrael. Your donations can go to any of these worthy causes, or alternatively to a cause that you would find beneficial to have within the Yeshiva itself.

Email Reb Eliyahu:
for more information.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Zohar - Parshat Matot - The World is Directed Through White and Red - Kindness and Judgment


DAF 259b (Volume 14 p. 688 in Matok Midvash)



(This entire section is copied from the Zohar Chadash Parshat Matot, and does not appear in the first editions)

And all the children amongst the women that have not known lying with a male you may keep alive [Numbers 31:18]. There we have learned, Rabbi Yehuda said, “The world is directed only through two colors,” i.e. 2 ways of conduct – which are white and red i.e. the attribute of Kindness – Chesed and the attribute of Judgment – Din, which come from the side of the woman i.e. the side of Malchut – which consists of Chesed and Gevurah [Strength] – by whose means the world is lead. That she is found to be wise of heart to conduct the world through judgment and mercy. This is what is written, (Exodus 35:25) “And every wise hearted woman spun with her hands.” Wise of heart hints to Malchut which is called Chochmah Tata’a [Lower Wisdom], “And they brought the spun yarn of turquoise and purple.” And it explains, what was the intention of their bringing? And it says, in order to repair the Techeilet [turquoise] which is the concept of Malchut which is repaired through Chesed, and the Argaman [purple] which is Tiferet of Z”A [Beauty of the Partzuf Zeir Anpin,] which decides between Chesed and Gevurah – which is the attribute of Rachamin [Mercy.] These are colors that are included in all the other colors, for the Techeilet is composed of Black – and both of them point to judgments and strengths, and Argaman consists of white, and both of them point to mercy and kindness. This is what is written, (Proverbs 31:13) “She seeks wool and flax and her hands work willingly.” The woman of valor which is Malchut, seeks to join the white wool which indicates to Chesed and Rachamim, with the flax which indicates to the judgment and strength. This means she seeks to sweeten the judgment with mercy (as is written in the book “Kehillat Yaakov” about flax – “Flax is the aspect of Gevurah, and wool is Chesed.) And it is written, “Spun with her hands.” And it asks, “What does ‘spun’ mean?” What is the secret meaning? Rabbi Yehuda said, they spun with judgment and mercy, that the Malchut joined judgment with mercy in order to sweeten each other.

Rabbi Yitzchak said, he asked Rabbi Yehuda, “Why is she called ‘Isha’ [woman]?Why is the woman called ‘Isha - אשה’ according to the name of the man ‘Ishאיש - ’? [Why is it that the word for woman, in Hebrew ‘Isha’ is connected with the word for man ‘Ish’?] He, Rabbi Yehuda, said to him, “Since she consists of judgment and of mercy.” This means that she by herself is the aspect of judgment, and when the man who is the aspect of mercy joins with her, there is also included the aspect of mercy. And it explains and says, come and see, what Rabbi Elazar says, “Every woman is called ‘Din’ [strict judgment,] for a woman is the aspect of judgment, until she tastes the taste of mercy i.e. until she marries a man and tastes the taste of mercy through her husband who is the aspect of mercy. As we have learned, from the side of man comes white, the white color of the embryo which indicates mercy, comes from the man. And from the side of the woman comes the red, which indicates judgment (as our sages teach Nidah 31a “The father sows the white, the mother sows the red.) When the woman tastes of the white which is the kindness which is the white of her husband, then she feels the white, kindness, is better for her.

[The Zohar points out that while the woman is 'judgment', when she marries and is with her husband - who is 'kindness', she thereby includes the kindness within her, and by doing this literally sweetens judgment. One of the services we work on in this world is to sweeten judgments - to take those things that are filled with negative and turn them into the good and positive. When a woman is with her husband, then on both the physical and the spiritual levels she sweetens judgments.]


Bold print: Original Zohar

Ordinary text: Matok Midvash

[Square brackets]: ELIYAHU ben PINCHAS

(Round brackets): Either the source being quoted e.g. Proverbs etc., or alternatively used to quote the kabbalistic language as discussed in Matok Midvash. The Matok Midvash formats the Nigleh side of things in an ordinary print, and the Nistar terminology in Rashi script. I’ve therefore put the Rashi script – the Nistar terminology in round brackets.


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