Wednesday, 30 April 2014

The Lubavitcher Rebbe - Sicha 28 Nissan 5751 - Video Clip with English Subtitles

The following video clip is of the Lubavitcher Rebbe speaking about bringing Moshiach (with English subtitles.) Following that video I have posted another video clip regarding the Rebbe's answer about what needs to be done to bring Moshiach.

The Rebbe is clear! There is an obligation upon us - every single one of us - to do what we must to bring Moshiach. The focus and message of bringing in the light of Tohu through the vessels of Tikkun is clear: We must be balanced, focused and move ahead with structured power to do everything that we can - everything the Torah demands of us. If it's becoming stronger in Kashrut, Shabbos or following the laws of Family Purity. Further to this - increasing in Tzedakah stands out in the forefront!

The Rebbe asks for just ten people - and then goes so far as mentioning just one, two or three (though I do not understand why he asks for more when he starts with asking for less i.e.  just one(!) person devoted to this task) who will devote themselves to this project - an urgent one.

The second video - just a few months after the first one (and a few months before his major stroke,) once again brings the Rebbe's focus on to what is most important - acts of goodness and kindness. An increase is what is needed. As in the first video - there must be a drastic increase in the giving of Tzedakah. Our generation has never needed it more than now - with more and more Jewish people struggling to live on a daily basis, being insulted because they cannot own their own homes (and forced to move often due to landlords constant increases in rentals and desires,) buy new clothes, or even provide healthy food on a daily basis(!) - while many others live by celebrating two to three overseas holidays each year, purchasing holiday homes, owning at least two of the very best of cars, and engaging in a variety of other additional "pamperings" of life. There must be an increase in the giving of Tzedakah - acts of kindness filled with empathy and caring to those who lack. Our generation is starving for a balance in income levels - and a huge need for all people to be able to live and serve Hashem with true gladness with every good thing.

Are you ready to implement the Rebbe's words? I would personally be happy to hear from those watching this to share with me their own feelings of what you think the Rebbe is demanding. Only positive comments focusing and clarifying what the Rebbe is demanding so urgently for us to do, will be read. Negative comments and anything slanderous are of no interest to the author of this blog.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Living Testimony (of the Holocaust) by Rabbi Michael Mandel (Father of Rabbi David Bar-Hayim)

After the introductory video by Rabbi David Bar Hayim (head of Machon Shilo), the first in a series of 16 videos of Rabbi Michael Mandel (his father) sharing his experiences before and during the holocaust, is presented. The entire series can be found here.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Counting the Omer: Bringing Bounty to All the Worlds (Video Clip of the Lubavitcher Rebbe)

We are commanded to count the Omer starting from the second night of Pesach and ending our final count on the night before Shavuot. For more details and insights about this Mitzvah, including a daily email reminder so you won't forget which day it is, see "Sefirat HaOmer - Counting of the Omer." For a one page chart with boxes you can tick each day when you count (except for Shabbos), see the Torah Tots Omer Calendar.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe teaches us about one of the very special things about this Mitzvah - whether an accomplished Torah scholar or just a young boy or girl, our reciting of the blessing together with counting these days brings bounty to all the worlds created by the Creator of the Universe.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Rabbi Marvin Tokayer - Rabbi in Japan - Encounters With the Lubavitcher Rebbe - Video Clip

Rabbi Marvin Tokayer's life story is not the regular kind. Rabbi of Japan and many surrounding areas for many years. Author of 20 books... in Japanese!

A meeting with the Lubavitcher Rebbe brought him on a path of life he could never have imagined. The video is absolutely fascinating! Enjoy!

Visit Jewish.TV for more Jewish videos.

** Image taken from Rabbi Tokayer's website:

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Love your Fellow as (You Love) Yourself - Video Clip Included!

Parshat Kedoshim - a Parsha dealing with what it really means to be holy - what it really takes to be holy, includes within it one of the core principles of Judaism. After teaching, "Do not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbour and do not bear a sin on account of him," Leviticus 19:18 teaches, "You shall not take revenge and you shall not bear a grudge against the members of your people - and you shall love your fellow as yourself - I am G-d." 

The range of Mussar (/mystical) books available today is overwhelming - from the well known works such as Mesillat Yesharim (Path of the Just by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato,) to Shaarei Kedusha (Gates of Holiness by Rabbi Chaim Vital Chapters 1-2. Chapters 3 and 4 dealing with Divine Inspiration) to Reishit Chochma (The Beginning of Wisdom by Rabbi Eliyahu De Vidas,) there exist every angle of what needs to be done to improve oneself - to become truly holy. Yet Parshat Kedoshim includes it all! 

Rabbi Akiva said that loving another as oneself is a great rule in the Torah. Hillel taught the entire Torah to a convert as he stood on one foot, "What is hateful to yourself, do not do to another," he said. Rules for greatness. Rules for life. How does one do it? Is there a practical example we can learn from?! The Tanya - the Chassidic work discussing the core teachings of Chabad Chassidut, written by Rabbi Schenur Zalman of Liady, teaches in Chapter 32 (Lev - Heart) that one of the most important things is to see the other as a soul. The important thing is not to focus on the other as a body. This is distracting as it causes one to fall for the illusion of the externalities of everything - a veneer that usually masks the true beauty hidden underneath.

When it comes to real love for another, you'll know you have it, when everything of the other is as important to you as your own "everything" is important to you - whether it's money, happiness - or even the other's very own life. That's what real love is. This most beautiful story - told over by the late Rosh Yeshiva of Aish HaTorah, Rabbi Noach Weinberg - is a winner all around. Keep it nearby whenever you feel you need a refresher on what this beautiful Mitzvah of loving another is really all about.

Courtesy of

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Torah Learning in Action: Erev Pesach, Motzai Yom Kippur, Erev Shabbos

There are two main times when one is truly granted the opportunity to put all of one's Torah learning into action - Erev Pesach and Motzai Yom Kippur (the night following Yom Kippur). I guess Erev Shabbos can be added to the list as well - but I'm certain about the other two. It is at these times, that the fullness of one's Middot improvement can be accessed!

I'm fond of seeing the amount of learning that goes into Torah study during the year. I know my own responsibilities, but the "excitement" really builds up when it comes to two special times of the year - just before Pesach and just after Yom Kippur! Let me explain!

On an average day, many good Jews find themselves with a Gemara in front of them. Relaxed as they finally devote a part of their day to Torah learning, the learning becomes filled with life. Real world situations begin to come out from the scenarios brought in the Gemara and other holy books. I know myself how in-depth the conversation can become - but what counts, as the Mishnah teaches, is action. Action is the main thing! We open our books to learn about how we should behave when the time comes. Torah study not partnered with action is worthless. It becomes an intellectual exercise - one in which (often) two people debate a scenario proving how smart they are, only to find neither have understood anything regarding the practicality involved. One can go through the entire Talmud and find that one has learned nothing. One becomes a bag of books! He goes through ShaS (the six orders of the Mishnah) but Shas never goes through him! Many spend their entire day learning Torah - dress the part and walk around as if they have mastered life. Never forget however, that the learning is just the start. What counts is the action!

I've often wondered when would be the best time to keep track of one's progress. I've found it to be no better time than the days preceding Pesach and the night following Yom Kippur. It seems that with all the learning to one's credit, it so often happens that it's simply as if the Torah falls apart on these occasions. Indeed in the days preceding Pesach, children will become more rowdy as parents leave them to tend to their own games as they clean up the house themselves. On Shabbat HaGadol, kids will run up and down the steps as if at a carnival! As a result, neighbours suffer from the constant additional unnecessary noise. People suddenly feel the need to turn on their stereos at highest volume - as they clean up - all in the name of the holiness and preparation for Pesach. The noise continues until the early/late hours of the next morning - again disturbing so many. People feel that when shopping, keeping their position in line is no longer a necessity - as they are the only one's preparing for the holiday and as such, their "right" for first place must be respected at all times. Pushing and insulting is a part of the "holy" preparations.

I've thought about the moments after Yom Kippur - a day when forgiveness is sought (and given!) for all our interactions during the year - between man and his fellow and between man and G-d. Maariv is prayed faster than any prayer during the year - though it should probably be the longest! People who had just the day before driven in to the parking lot of the shul with much respect for each other begin to insult as they blow their horns in order to get out faster. So it goes on.

It seems that all of a sudden, all one's Torah learning goes out the window. 

Let us remember that the days leading to Pesach should bring out the very best of our Torah learning. The evening after Yom Kippur should bring out the very best of the people we have become. If you're looking to truly find out how someone (including yourself) is progressing in their Torah learning - just watch them during these times. The truth of what Torah is doing to them comes out in an amazing way!

Torah is here to improve us, to make us respect each other more, to share with each other and to love each other. Anything less than this - especially at these important times of the year, tells the world that the Torah that's being studied is galaxies away from what true G-dliness and even self-respect is really all about.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

How Handmade Shemurah Matzah is Made - Videos

Have you ever wondered how handmade Shemurah Matzah is made? Enjoy the videos below for a full overview from start to finish of the process involved in making Shemurah handmade Matzah as well as understanding the value of Matzah! Many eat only this Matzah during the entire festival of Pesach. Others eat it only for the Seder. This type of Matzah is generally more expensive than machine made Matzah - but after viewing the video, one can well understand the amount of work involved in preparing these Matzot for all of us. 

While we simply see some 13-18 Matzos in a box of the handmade Matzahs as if they somehow just appeared, the effort involved in preparing them is immense! One is required to know the laws for preparing them as well as have the stamina involved to work many hours for just a few batches of Matzot! It's an incredible process and well advised for those wishing to get a real taste of Matzah to do their best in obtaining these Matzot for at least the Seder night/s. If you're stuck, please feel free to email me for details on where you may be able to obtain yours. If I am able to find out more about your area, I'll let you know!

Visit Jewish.TV for more Jewish videos.

Visit Jewish.TV for more Jewish videos.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

How to Kasher Your Kitchen for Pesach (and all year round) - Video

Preparing for Pesach and not sure what to do? Be certain to read Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg's List for cleaning for Pesach and then check out this great video and learn how to Kasher your own kitchen!!! All questions about kashering or cleaning should be asked to a reliable halachic authority (i.e. your local orthodox rabbi.) Do check out our other Pesach posts from previous years too!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The Princes - You Are a Part of Them

When Moshe Rabbeinu completed erecting the Mishkan (the Tabernacle), the tribes wanted to take part in it in some way. They chose to do so by offering their very own unique offerings. For more on the offerings see Numbers 7:1-88 and the last verse 89 of Parshat Nasso. 

Since it was on the first day of Nissan that the Mishkan was erected and the first offering was offered by the leader of the tribe of Yehuda - Nachshon ben Aminadav, it is brought in Halacha that everybody should recite section in Torah dealing with the offering for the first day then - and thereafter the offerings offered on all the other days until the 12th day when the final offering - offered by the leader of the tribe of Naphtali - Achira ben Einan. An additional day is added for the tribe of Levi on the 13th of Nissan.

The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (107:1) states:

כל חודש ניסן אין אומרים תחנון ולא צדוק הדין ואין אומרים צדקתך בשבת במנחה, נוהגין מראש חודש ואילך לקרות בכל יום פרשת הנשיא שהקריב בו ביום, וביום שלשה עשר קורין פרשת בהעלתך עד כן עשה את המנורה שהוא נגד שבטו של לוי

"For the entire month of Nissan, we do not recite Tachanun or Tzidduk HaDin. We don't recite Tzidkatecha on Shabbat at Mincha time. From Rosh Chodesh and onwards, we are accustomed to recite on every day the section of the prince who brought his offering on that particular day. On the 13th day we recite Parshat BeHa'alotecha until 'Ken asa et hamenora' which corresponds to the tribe of Levi."

What is fascinating to note is that each of the offerings from the different tribes is exactly the same! Yet the Torah goes into extremely great depth to highlight the offering they offered! The Torah is not one to include any additional words - and so the inclusion of each particular tribe's offering highlights just how important it was. The Torah could indeed have simply indicated that each prince gave the same offering as the first prince did!

The Torah comes to teach us the value of every person - and even when it appears that he may be doing the same thing as another. Nevertheless because the person is who he is, everything about the way he gives of himself will be highly different from how another gives of himself! In addition - one can never know the true motives behind why another does what they do - and even this is sufficient to make him stand out from the crowd - even when it seems to all watching that he is doing nothing more than what the others are!

Every year, we have the good fortune to be able to recite these verses discussing the offerings, from the first day of Nissan until the 13th day. We have the opportunity to remind ourselves that whatever we do in our Divine service, when we do it for the sake of Hashem - that even if it looks similar (and in fact exactly the same!) as another person's service, it is in fact quite different. We are all princes (princesses)! To Hashem it is valued on an individual level. Each person's service - is just as great as another's - when done with the right motives - even if nobody else knows why it should be valued so highly!


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