You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2010.

Since the clear perception of the world, the light of the future, preceded the world, the world is not ready for it.  Faith remains the only way to access that clear understanding.  This clear understanding is reveled without a full awareness, only percived through spiritual feeling, closed from the eyes, and very fine.  The heart can sense it.  Yet the masses, who are covered with the veil of physicality…

Those with understanding, taste at all time small drops of the exalted pleasantness of the light of the future.  This was founded on the prayer of Moses and the dedication of the Tabernacle, “May the pleasantness of God be on us, the work of our hands establish on us, and the work of our hands, establish.”

Rav Avraham Yitschak HaKohen Kook


1 December in History

In 1938, the British Cabinet allows 10,000 unaccompanied Jewish children into Britain in an action called the Kindertransport. (Britain, however, refuses to allow 21,000 more Jewish children into Palestine.) The rescued children come from Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia with the help of British, Jewish, and Quaker welfare organizations. Because of the Holocaust, most of the children will never see their parents again, and many of the Jewish children will be converted to Christianity.

24 Kislev in History

In 520 BCE, the first year of rule of Cyrus, the King of Persia, Jews were given permission to return to Israel and rebuild the Holy Temple. A group of Jews led by Zerubavel set out for Jerusalem and began working on the second Temple. However, the Cutheans falsely accused the Jews of plotting a rebellion against King Cyrus and were successful in halting the construction of the Holy Temple for the remainder of his reign and throughout the reign of Ahasuerus, his successor. Construction resumed in the second year of the reign of Darius, Ahasuerus’s son, on the 24th of Kislev.

Charity is rewarded only according to the kindness with which it is done; as it is written: “Sow for yourselves righteousness, that you may reap kindness.” (Hosea 10:2)

Sukkah Chapter 4


29 November in History

In 1850, during his Thanksgiving Day sermon, Rabbi Morris Raphael rebuked New York’s Governor Clarke for issuing a proclamation inviting “only patriots and Christians to keep Thanksgiving.” At the same time, he commended Mayor Wood for inviting “all the people” to join in observing the holiday.

22 Kislev in History
Rabbi Eliezer ben Eliyahu Ashkenazi (1512-1585) was a highly regarded Talmudist, as well as a physician. He authored various works, including Ma’ase ha-Shem — a commentary on the historical portions of the Pentateuch, also including a commentary on the Passover Hagaddah — and Yosef Lekach.

In three things is the doing acts of kindness greater than charity: Charity is only with money, but acts of kindness is either with one’s money or with one’s person; charity is only to the poor, but acts of kindness is to poor and rich; charity is only for the living, but acts of kindness are both for the living and the dead.

Sukkah Chapter 4


30 November in History

In 1924, today is the birthdate of songwriter and humorist Allan Sherman author of the famous camp song that began, “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah.”

23 Kislev in History

As the “Black Death” plague decimated Europe, Christians accused the Jews of causing the plague by poisoning the wells in an effort to wipe out the Gentile population.

On the 23rd of Kislev 5109 (Nov. 15, 1348), Rudolph of Oron, bailiff of Lausanne, sent a letter to the mayor of Strasburg informing him that certain Jews of Lausanne had “confessed” under torture that they together with their coreligionists had poisoned all the wells in the Rhine valley. This resulted in the masses persecuting and killing tens of thousands of Jews throughout Europe.


Doing acts of kindness is greater than charity; as it is written [Hosea, x. 12]: “Sow then for yourselves righteousness, that you may reap the fruit of kindness.”

If a man sows, it is doubtful whether he will eat from what he plants or not.  If a man reaps, he is sure to eat of it.

Sukkah Chapter 4


28 November in History

In 1908, today was the birthdate of Claude Levi-Strauss. Born in Belgium, Claude Levi-Strauss was the son of an artist, and a member of an intellectual French Jewish family. He was a popular French anthropologist most well-known for his development of structural anthropology.

21 Kislev in History
On Kislev 21 of the year 3448 from creation (313 BCE), there occurred the historic meeting between Shimon HaTzaddik and Alexander (‘the Great”) of Macedonia.

The Samarians, bitter enemies of the Jews, had convinced Alexander that the Jews’ refusal to place his image in their Temple was a sign of rebellion against his sovereignty, and that the Holy Temple should be destroyed. The Kohen Gadol (“High Priest”) at the time was Shimon HaTzaddik, the last of the “Men of the Great Assembly” who rebuilt the Holy Temple and revitalized Judaism under Ezra. On the 21st of Kislev Alexander marched on Jerusalem at the head of his army; Shimon, garbed in the vestments of the High Priest and accompanied with a delegation of Jewish dignitaries, went out to greet him.

The two groups walked towards each other all night; at the crack of dawn they met. As Alexander beheld the face of the High Priest, he dismounted his horse and bowed respectfully; to his men he explained that he often had visions of a similar-looking man leading him into battle.

Shimon HaTzaddik brought the emperor to the Holy Temple and explained that Judaism prohibits the display of any graven image; he offered to name all the male children born to priests that year “Alexander” as a demonstration of loyalty to the emperor (which is how “Alexander” became a common Jewish name). The Samarians plot was rebuffed, and Kislev 21 was declared a holiday. (Talmud Yoma 69a)

According to an alternative version, this episode occurred on the 25th of Tevet.

Listen to these words, that God speaks to you, Children of Israel; to the entire family that I have raised from the Land of Egypt:

Only you have I known, from all the families of the land;

Therefore I will take account of all of your sins.

Amos 3:1-2


26 November in History

In 1944, as World War II entered its last phase, the Germans decided to hide all evidence of the mass murders. On orders from Himmler the gas chambers and crematoria at Auschwitz and Birkenau were blown up.

19 Kislev in History

Today marks the passing of Rabbi DovBer, known as “The Maggid of Mezeritch”, was the disciple of, and successor to, the founder of Chassidism, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov. Rabbi DovBer led the Chassidic movement from 1761 until his passing on Kislev 19, 1772.

27 November in History

In 1924, in the New York City the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was held. Macey’s was not founded by Jews, but it was two Jews, Isidor and Nathan Straus, who took control of the store in 1896 who turned into what was then “biggest department store in the world.”

20 Kislev in History

In 347 BCE, Ezra, head of the Sanhedrin and the leader of the Jewish people at the time of the building of the Second Temple, made an historic address to a three-day assemblage of Jews in Jerusalem, exhorting them to adhere to the teachings of the Torah and to dissolve their interfaith marriages; the Jewish people were on the verge of complete assimilation at the time, following their 70-year exile in Babylonia.

The doing of charity is greater than all the sacrifices; as it is written [Prov. xxi. 3]: “To exercise righteousness and justice is more acceptable to God than sacrifice.”

Sukkah Chapter 4


25 November in History

In 1864, British statesman Benjamin Disraeli declared in a speech: ‘Man is a being born to believe, and if no church comes forward with all the title deeds of truth, he will find altars and idols in his own heart and his own imagination.’ Disraeli had been baptized at his father’s insistence. Disraeli was proud of his Jewish heritage and often vilified for it by his political enemies.

18 Kislev in History
Today marks the passing of Rabbi Abraham Maimuni HaNagid (also called “Rabbi Avraham ben HaRambam”) was the only son of Maimonidies (the famed Talmudist, codifier of Jewish Law, philosopher, physician and statesmen, Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, 1135-1204). Born in 1185, Rabbi Abraham succeeded his father as the leader of the Jewish community in Fostat (old Cairo), Egypt, at the tender age of 19. He wrote many responsa and commentaries explaining and defending his father’s writings and Halachic rulings. Rabbi Abraham passed away on the 18th of Kislev of the year 4998 from creation (1237).

The world view that be revieled in the future, when the world is renewed and is reveled in its new light, this is in truth the Israeli worldview even today.

Since this world view preceded time, it is not bound by time.

Rav Avraham Yitschak HaKohen Kook


24 November in History

In 1884, today is the birthdate of Yitzchak Ben-Zvi, the second President of Israel. After the death of Chaim Weitzman, Ben-Zvi was elected in 1952. He served until his death in April of 1963.

17 Kislev in History

In 348 BC, on this day, Ezra the Scribe went up to the Holy Temple and fasted, prayed, and cried in public. While he prayed and confessed, weeping and prostrating himself in front of the Temple, a large assemblage of men, women, and children gathered around him.

At that time, all of the assembled priests and Israelites swore to send away their non-Jewish wives. Ezra then issued a proclamation that all Jews residing in Israel should assemble in three days’ time in Jerusalem


“The roundness of your thighs” (Psalm of Psalms 7:2)

As the thighs are in a hidden place, so the words of the Law must all be hidden.

Sukkah Chapter 4


23 November in History

In 1924, Herzliya was founded as a moshav. It has since become a flourishing town on the Mediterranean coast.

16 Kislev in History

On this day, the bottom of the Noah’s ark, submerged 11 cubits beneath the water’s surface, touched down and came to rest on the top of Mount Ararat.

“How beautiful are your steps in sandals, O prince’s daughter! How beautiful were the steps of Israel, when they pilgrimaged for the festival!” (Psalms of Psalms 7:2)

“Prince’s daughter” means, daughter of Abraham our father, who was called prince; as it is written [Ps. xlvii. 10]: “The nobles of the people are gathered together, the people of the God of Abraham.”

What does it say, “The God of Abraham,” and not the God of Isaac and Jacob? It means, the God of Abraham, who was the first of the converts.

Sukkah Chapter 4


22 November in History

In 1940, Prime Minister Winston Churchill writes to Lord Lloyd, the Secretary of State for the Colonies who is an opponent of Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel, cautioning him to make that Jewish internees on island of Mauritius be treated humanely.

15 Kislev in History

Today marks the passing of Reb Yehuda HaNasi, son of Rav Shimon ben Gamliel, and redactor of the Mishna (120-192 CE).

If one have before himself many religious duties, he can say: “Blessed be He who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded to us many duties.”

R. Jehudah, however, said: He must pronounce the benediction before each one separately.

The Halakha is according to R. Jehudah.

What is the reason of R. Jehudah?

Because it is written [Ps. lxviii. 20]: “Blessed be the Lord, day by day.”

Sukkah Chapter 4



21 November in History

In 164 BCE on the secular calendar,  Judas Maccabaeus, son of Mattathias of the Hasmonean family, restores the Temple in Jerusalem, events commemorated each year by the festival of Channukah.


14 Kislev in History

Reuben, the eldest son of Jacob and Leah, was born in Charan (Mesopotamia) on the 14th of Kislev of the year 2193 from creation (1568 BCE).  He died on his 125th birthday in 2318 (1443 BCE).

Today marks the passing of Rav Menashe ben Yisrael of Amsterdam, author of Nishmas Odom. He was as friend of Rembrandt van Rijn, who apart from making an etching of the Rabbi also illustrated his books. It was Rabbi Menashe, whom together with Rabbi Jacob Sasportas, pleaded with Oliver Cromwell to allow the Jews to settle in England on philosophical and theological grounds.


The House of Jacob will be fire,
The House of Joseph flame,
The House of Esav will be the straw:

They will burn and devour it,
No surveyor will be left of the House of Esav,

God has spoken.


The liberators will march on Mt. Zion and wreak judgement on the Mt. Esav, and dominion will be God’s.

Ovadiah 1:18; 21


19 November in History

In 1909, at the request of the Hahambashi, the Grand Vizier of Turkey directed the Minister of War to appoint Jewish chaplains to battalions where Jews serve, to grant soldiers the ability to observe the high holidays and to facilitate they be provided with kosher food. The Hahambashi also requested that all teachers in Jewish school and rabbinical students be granted an exemption from military service.

12 Kislev in History

Today marks the passing of Rav Avraham Dov Auerbach of Avritch and Tzefat (1765-1840). He was a disciple of Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev and the first two Rebbes of Chernobyl. Rebbe of Avritch from 1785, he moved to Tzefat in 1830 at the age of 65.

He is the author of Bas Ayin, a commentary on Chumash.

In the deadly earthquake of 24 Tevet 5597 (January 1, 1837), 5,000 people lost their lives, of whom 4,000 were Jews. Although most of the community of the Avritcher Rebbe collapsed, the part where the men were clustered remained upright and everyone was saved. He is buried in the old cemetery of Tzefas.

20 November in History

In 1272, Edward I proclaimed King of England. Edward is remembered as the English king, who, after stripping the Jews of their wealth, expelled them from his realm in 1290.

13 Kislev in History

In the first decades of the 5th century, Rav Ashi (d. 427) and Ravina I (d. 421) led a group of the Amoraim (Talmudic sages) in the massive undertaking of compiling the Babylonian Talmud — collecting and editing the discussions, debates and rulings of hundreds of scholars and sages which had taken place in the more than 200 years since the compilation of the Mishnah by Rabbi Judah HaNassi in 189.

The last of these editors and compilers was Ravina II, who passed away on the 13th of Kislev of the year 4235 from creation (475 CE); after Ravina II, no further additions were make to the Talmud, with the exception of the minimal editing undertaken by the Rabbanan Savura’i (476-560). This date marks the point at which the Talmud was “closed” and became the basis for all further exegesis of Torah law.

The vessels of the Holy One, blessed be He, are not as the vessels of human beings: A human being can put only something into an empty vessel, but if the vessel is full, he can put in nothing; but the Holy One, blessed be He, can add to a full vessel, but can put nothing into an empty one, as it is written [Deut. xxviii. 1]: “If you will surely listen”;  i.e., if you have heard diligently, you can receive more knowledge, but if not diligently, you can hear nothing.

Another interpretation for this verse is this: If you have given your attention to what you have learned before, you can learn from it new things; but if you have turned away your heart from the old teaching, you cannot learn anything new.

Sukkah Chapter 4


18 November in History

In 1906, today was the birthdate of biologist George Wald, American biochemist who received (with Haldan K. Hartline of the U.S. and Ragnar Granit of Sweden) the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1967 for his work on the chemistry of vision. While researching the biochemistry of vision at Harvard University, he disclosed the presence of Vitamin A in the retina of the eye. In later work, he identified visual pigments and their precursors. As a byproduct he described the absorption spectra of the different types of cones serving color vision. His important discovery of the primary molecular reaction to light in the eye represented a dramatic advance in vision since it plays the role of a trigger in the photoreceptors of all living animals.

11 Kislev in History

Today marks the passing of Rav Yitzchak Friedman (1924). Born in Sadigura, both of his parents were grandchildren of the Ruzhiner Rebbe. In 1903, he married, and with the passing of his father, he set up his court in Rimanov. He died during a fund-raising expedition in the United States. A close friend and relative collected hespedim for the Rebbe in a sefer called Akeidas Yitzchak.

For a Jewish unfaithful, even if they pronounce light headed words and of disbelief, in the midst of their soul is the light of God, and clinging and thirsting for the living God, the God of Israel; even to the extent that such a person would be willing to die for God.

Rav Avraham Yitschak HaKohen Kook


17 November in History

In 2001, Daniel Saul Goldin finishes serving as Adminstrator of NASA. Goldin was the first Jew to hold the post. He held the position longer than any of his predecessors, serving under three different Presidents.

10 Kislev in History

Today marks the passing of Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer (1870-1954), author of Even HaEzel, rosh yeshiva of Slutsk and Eitz Chaim-Yerushalayim, disciple of Netziv, Rav Chaim Soloveitchik, and the Chafetz Chaim. Father-in-law of Rav Aharon Kotler, and uncle of Rav Shach.His wife was descended from Rav Meir Eisenstadt, author of Ponim Meiros.

Both Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer and Rav Moshe Mordechai married daughters of Reb Shraga Frank, one of the wealthiest men in Kovno, and in whose attic Rav Yisrael Salanter began teaching mussar to Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel and Rav Yitzchak Blazer.

Abayai said,  “There are no less than thirty-six upright people in the world who receive the appearance of the Divine Presence every day, as it is written [Is. xxx. 18]: “Happy are those that wait for Him (לו),” Him has the numerical value of 36.

Sukkah Chapter 4


16 November in History

In 1921, today is the birthdate of Ben Weisman an American composer and pianist best known for having written many of the songs associated with Elvis Presley. A native of Providence, Ben Weisman was one of Elvis Presley’s chief songwriters throughout the 1960s. He co-composed for Elvis’ movies and stage performances nearly sixty songs that proceeded to go gold or platinum, including “First in Line”, “Got a Lot of Living to Do”, “Follow That Dream” and “Wooden Heart”.

Weisman also wrote songs recorded by Barbra Streisand (“Love in the Afternoon”), The Beatles (“Lend Me Your Comb”), Johnny Mathis (“When I Am with You”), Terry Stafford (“I’ll Touch A Star”), Bobby Vee (“The Night Has A Thousand Eyes”) and many others. Since Weisman’s outward appearance was atypical for a “rock ‘roll guy”, Elvis’ pet nickname for him was “the mad professor”.

Just before Weisman’s last meeting with Elvis in 1976, Elvis proudly announced to the crowd that he had recorded more of Weisman’s songs than those of any other songwriter. Weisman’s most recent musical score was for the 1995 movie Crossroads at Laredo: The Lost Film of Edward D. Wood Jr.

9 Kislev in History

Rav Dov Ber Schneerson of Lubavitch (1773-1827), 2nd Lubavitcher Rebbe, known as the Mitteler Rebbe. He was the son and successor of his father Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the Baal HaTanya (the Alter Rebbe), and uncle and father-in-law of the Tzemach Tzedek.

Rav Dov Ber assumed the leadership of Chabad upon his father’s passing in 1812. In 1813 he settled in the town of Lubavitch, which was to serve as the movement’s headquarters for the next 102 years. In 1826, Rabbi Dov Ber was arrested by the Czarist government on slanderous charges.

His day of release, Kislev 10 is celebrated to this day as a “festival of liberation” among Lubavitch chassidim.

Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai said, “I see the greatest men in the world are very few. If they are a thousand, I and my son are included; if they are a hundred, I and my son are included, and if they are only two, they are I and my son.”

Sukkah Chapter 4



What lesson is Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai teaching?


15 November in History

In 1660, Asser Levy was licensed as the first kosher butcher in New York City. From such humble beginnings came such great institutions as the Second Avenue Deli.

8 Kislev in History

Rav Eliezer Geldzahler (1958-2004), born to Rav Eliyahu Yehoshua Geldzahler, founder of Mosdos Ohr Yisrael of Queens and a student of Rav Shraga Feivel Mendelowitz, Rav Reuven Grozovsky, and Rav Gedaliah Schorr. Rav Eliezer’s mother, Henna Freidel, was the daughter of Rav Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler. As a child, he learned in his father’s yeshiva, where he made a siyum (completion celebration) for Gemara Bava Basra before his Bar Mitzvah. As a bachur (student), he learned at Yeshiva Zichron Yaakov in South Fallsburg under Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel. From there, he went to Yerushalayim to learn in the yeshiva of Rav Dovid Soleveitchik. He spent several years in the Lakewood Kollel.

In 1980, he married Baila, the daughter of Rav Michel and Rebbetzin Feige Twersky of Milwaukee. He opened Yeshiva Ohr Yisrael in Brooklyn and served as its Rosh yeshiva, developing a mesivta and a yeshiva gedola. In January of 2004, the bus he was on in Israel was involved in a crash, and he was critically injured. He never recovered from his injuries and passed away 10 months later.

Hezekiah said in the name of R. Yirniha in the quoting R. Shimon Bar Yoahai, “I could exempt the entire world from from its judgement from the day I was created until now.  And, if you include my son Elazar with me, together we could exempt the world from its judgement from the day the world was created until now.

Sukkah Chapter 4

Rashi comments: Exempt: in my merit, I could bare all the deeds and sins of everyone, and exempt them from judgement.


The Mahrasha comments that R. Shimon Bar Yohai was making this statement in reference to the suffering he and his son endured while hiding in the cave to escape from the Roman authorities.


1.  Why does physical anguish alleviate  judgement?

2.  What does R. Shimon’s statement indicate about the interrelated connection between leaders and the rest of humanity?

3. Notice R. Shimon does not limit his statement to the Jewish people, but to all of humanity.


14 November in History

In 1916, today is this birthdate of writer and producer, Sheldon Schwartz. Schwartz is another Jew who played a key role in the creation of what some call middlebrow American culture. He wrote for Ozzie and Harriet, produced The Brady Bunch and created and produced Gilligan’s Island.

7 Kislev in History

Today marks the passing of Rav Dovid Sinzheim of Strasbourg, France (1745-1812). He served as President of the “Sanhedrin” established by Napolean, the first meeting of which occurred on February 9th, 1807.

On October 6, 1806, the Assembly of Notables issued a proclamation to all the Jewish communities of Europe, inviting them to send delegates to the Sanhedrin, to convene on October 20. This proclamation, written in Hebrew, French, German, and Italian, speaks in extravagant terms of the importance of this revived institution and of the greatness of its imperial protector. While the action of Napoleon aroused in many Jews of Germany the hope that, influenced by it, their governments also would grant them the rights of citizenship, others looked upon it as a political contrivance. When in the war against Prussia (1806–7) the emperor invaded Poland and the Jews rendered great services to his army, he remarked, laughing, “The sanhedrin is at least useful to me.”


So says God,
“A voice cries in Rama,
Wailing, bitter crying is heard,
Rachel is crying for her children,
She refuses to be consoled,
Since they are gone.”

So says God,
“Refrain your voice from crying,
Your eyes from tears,
There is a reward for your work, says God,
They will return from the lands of the enemies.”

Yermiah 31


12 November in History

In 1933, the Nazis received 92% of vote in Germany only a few months after gaining power through an electoral squeaker.

5 Kislev in History

Kislev 5 is the yahrtzeit (date of the passing) of Rabbi Shemuel Eliezer Eidel’s (1555-1631), known by the acronym “Maharsha”. Rabbi Shmuel authored a highly regarded and widely used commentary on the Talmud and its primary commentaries, Rashi and Tosfot.

13 November in History

In 2007, while visiting Israel, Ukranian President Viktor Yuschenko promised followers of Reb Nachman that he would protect the gravesite from sale or commercial exploitation.

13 Kislev in History

Today marks the passing of Rav Yaakov Moshe Charlap (1883-1951). Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Merkaz Harav and Rav of Yerushalayim’s Sha’arei Chessed neighborhood. He was a close disciple of Rav Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook. Author of Mei Marom and Michtavei Marom.

A person must not walk on the eve of Sabbat more than three Parsaoth.

R. Kahna said, “The case is when he goes home, and his family does not know that he will come, and do not prepare anything for him for Sabbath; but if he is going to an inn, he may walk more, because he has prepared everything that is necessary for Sabbath.”

According to others, R. Kahna said that, “even to his house he shall not go, so much the less to an inn.” And he added to this, “It once happened to me that I was coming home late on the eve of Sabbath, and my family did not expect me: I did not find even small fish prepared for Sabbath.”

Sukkah Chapter 4


11 November in History

In 1918, the Western Allies and the Germans signed an Armistice that signified the official end of World War I with an Allied victory. Out of the estimated 1,506,000 Jewish soldiers in all the armies approximately 170,000 were killed and over 100,000 cited for valor. In Germany alone over 100,000 Jews fought for the Fatherland with 12,000 killed. According to Winston Churchill some 60,000 Jews had fought in the Armed Forces of the British Empire. Of these 2,324 gave their lives for the cause and 6,350 were wounded. Five Jewish soldiers won the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest decoration and another 1,533 won other awards for bravery. Considering the small size of the Jewish population, Churchill described the Jewish participation as disproportionately high for such a small number of people.

4 Kislev in History

Today marks the passing of Rav Yaakov Dovid Kalish (1803-1878), founder of the Amshinov dynasty. Reb Yaakov Dovid’s father was Rav Yitzchak of Vorka, a leading disciple of Rav Simcha Bunim of Peshischa and a peer of Rav Menachem Mendel of Kotzk.

When Rav Simcha Bunim of Peshischa passed away in 1827, his followers split into two streams, some of them following Rav Menachem Mendel of Kotzk whose emphasis was on fiery self-discipline, while the remainder adhered to Rav Yitzchak of Vorka whose approach was one of warmth and love. In 1848, when Rav Yitzchak of Vorka passed away, many of his followers wished to follow Rav Yaakov Dovid of Amshinov. He, too, followed the Vorka tradition of kindness and outreach. Rav Yaakov Dovid set up court in the town of Mszczonow, Poland, which became known to Jews as Amshinov. There, he became known as the rebbe of Amshinov.

Meanwhile, Rav Yaakov Dovid’s brother, Rav Menachem Mendel, continued the Vorki dynasty from their father in Vorki itself (1779-1848). Rav Menachem, the oldest of Rav Yaakov Dovid’s three sons, inherited the mantle of Amshinov from his father for 40 years.

The great faith that is in the heart of Israel, has no example and no parable.  Even the ‘non-believers’ of Israel are filled with faith and holiness, so much more than all other nations.

Rav Avraham Yitschak HaKohen Kook


10 November in History

In 1509, Emperor Maximilien issued a second mandate reproaching the Jews of Frankfort for disobeying his first edict and ordering the confiscation of the their holy books to continue.

3 Kislev in History

Today marks the passing of Rav Yaakov Moshe Kulefsky (1921-2000). Born in St. Louis, he learned at Torah Vadaas in his early 20s, while serving in the army. He married Sarah Gartenhaus in 1950 and joined Yeshiva Ner Israel in 1954. He became Rosh yeshiva and replaced Rav Yaakov Weinberg after the latter’s passing.

Rav Kulefsky left two sons (Tzvi Hirsch and Nosson) and three daughters [Esther Chana (Abraham), Ettie (Rosenbaum), and Faigi (Gruman)], 40 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.

A person does not take the Lulav on the Sabbath.

Rabba explained: As a precautionary measure, so one will not carry it to an expert and learn how to perform the obligation, and at the same time one will carry it four spans in public, violating the prohibition of carrying on the Sabbath.

Sukkah Chapter 4

9 November in History

In 1837, British philanthropist Moses Montefiore, 52, became the first Jew to be knighted in England. Montefiore was a banking executive who devoted his life to the political and civil emancipation of English Jews.

2 Kislev in History

Today marks the passing of Rav Akiva Sofer of Pressburg (1960), author of Daas Sofer.  Son of Rav Simcha Bunim Sofer (The Shevet Sofer), grandson of the Kesav Sofer (Rav Avraham Shmuel Binyamin Sofer) and the great-grandson of the Chasam Sofer (Rav Moshe Sofer). Interestingly, three continuous generations – the Chasam Sofer, the Kesav Sofer, and the Shevet Sofer – all served as Rav of Pressburg for 33 years. When Rav Akiva Sofer neared his 33rd year as Rav, he asked his uncle, the Erlauer Rav, what to do. Upon his uncle’s advice, the Daas Sofer moved to Eretz Yisrael in 1940, saving himself from the horrors of Worl War II.

What is the source that obligates us to accustom children to performing the commandments, as soon as they are capable?  “Moses commanded us a Torah; an inheritance to the community of Jacob.” (Deut 33:4)

Sukkah Chapter 3



8 November in History

In 1936, the Maccabees, the champion soccer team from Palestine, plays the final contest of their U.S. tour today at Yankee Stadium. The game is the 11th contest of the tour which has left the Jewish team with a record of 6, 2 and 2.

1 Kislev in History

As per the Talmud, the month of Kislev marks the onset of the winter season in the Holy Land and is the third month of the “Season of the Rains.”

A child who knows how to shake the Lulav is obligated to perform this commandment. If he knows how to wrap himself in a prayer shawl, he is bound to perform the duty of Tzitzith; if he is able to take care of Tefilin, his father may buy for him Tefilin. As soon as he can talk, his father should teach him the Torah, and to read Shema.

Sukkah Chapter 3


7 November in History

In 1916, Woodrow Wilson was re-elected President of the United States. From a Jewish perspective, Wilson is best known for his appointment of Louis Brandeis to the Supreme Court. Wilson enjoyed the support of many of Jewish leaders and Jews played an active role in the peace negotiations at Versailles that marked the conclusion of World War I.

30 Cheshvan in History

Today marks the passing of Rav Asher (Oscar) Fasman (1908-2003). Born in Chicago, he served as Rav in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Ottowa, Canada, before returning to Chicago. He developed Hebrew Theological College from an afternoon only school to a full-time yeshiva, bringing gedolei Torah as Roshei Yeshiva. He was president of the yeshiva from 1946 to 1964, and also served as president of the Chicago Rabbinical Council and rav of Congregation Yehuda Moshe in Lincolnwood, Illinois. His son, Rav Chaim Fasman, is Rosh Kollel in Los Angeles.

From the sun’s shining until it has gone,
My Name is great among the nations.

Every place where incense and offerings are, the are for my Name, and the pure flour offering.

My Name is great among the nations, says God.

Malachi 1:11


5 November in History

In 1902, Herzl’s London representative, Leopold Greenberg, met Lord Cromer, British Counsel-General in Egypt, and Egyptian prime minister Boutros Ghali Pasha. He succeeded in winning them over to the Zionist cause.

6 November in History

In 1840, at Constantinople, Sultan Abd Al-Majid issued a statement declaring that Jews did not use blood in their ceremonies, and for any of the Sultan’s subjects to say the Jews did was not truth. Moses Montefiore met with the Sultan and helped to secure this Decree.  The Sultan issued the firman to protect the Jews of Rhodes and in Damascus, who were being persecuted by this old anti-Semitic remark.

28 Cheshvan in History

Today marks the passing of Rabbeinu Yonah (ben Avraham) of Gerondi, France (1200 [1180]-1263). The Ramban’s mother and Rabbeinu Yonah’s father were siblings. Many years later, the Ramban’s son, Rav Shlomo, married the daughter of Rabbeinu Yonah. Thus, the two great rishonim were mechutanim (related through marriage) as well as first cousins. He was a student of Rav Shlomo ben Avraham Min Ha’Har. When King Louis XIV of France, “Saint” Louis,” burnt all the copies of the Talmud in Paris in the Square of the Louvre, Rabbeinu Yonah, one of the Rambam’s main detractors, felt that the events in Paris were a sign that he and the other opponents of the Rambam were seriously wrong. He then composed his work Shaarei Teshuvah (Gates of Repentence), in which he outlined the methods of doing Teshuvah (repentence), and he traveled from place to place preaching about the need to back away from matters which cause division among the Jewish People.  Among his students are the Rashba and Ra’ah.

29 Cheshvan in History

The city of Mumbai, India, was hit with a series of coordinated terror attacks, starting on Wednesday evening, the 29th of Cheshvan 5769, which left close to 200 dead and scores more injured.

One of the terrorists’ chosen targets was the local Chabad House, known as the “Nariman House,” operated by Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries Rabbi Gavriel Noach (Gabi) and Rivkah (Rivki) Holtzberg.

In the subsequent standoff, which continued until Friday afternoon, Gabi and Rivki and several other Jews in the Chabad House – Rabbis Bentzion Chroman and Leibish Teitelbaum, Norma Schwartzblatt-Rabinowitz and Yocheved Orpaz – were killed in cold blood.

Miraculously, the Holtzbergs’ two-year-old child, Moshe, was saved by his nanny.


R. Jeremiah asked R.. Zrika, “Why do we say the blessing (Blessed are You, God, ruler of the universe, who commanded us to take the Lulav) and only mention Lulav in the blessing (and not any of the other fruits)?”

He answered, “It is higher than the other kinds.”

“But let one lift up the citron, and pronounce the benediction over it?”

He answered, “Because by nature it grows higher than the other kinds.”

Sukkah Chapter 3




4 November in History

In 1956, an IDF force of 180 vehicles successfully made the trek through the Sinai wilderness and took Sharm es Sheikh from the Egyptians. After six hours of fighting, the IDF prevailed and opened the Straits of Tiran.

27 Cheshvan in History

On the 27th of Cheshvan of the year 1657 from creation (2104 BCE) “the earth dried” (Genesis 8:14) completing the 365-day duration of the great flood that wiped out all life on earth save for the eight human beings and and the animals (two of each species) in Noah’s ark; on this day God commanded Noah to “Come out of the ark” and repopulate, settle and civilize the earth.


When the greatest faith shines on the soul, the entire world is filled with light; a tremendous, inclusive capability,  the great light that shines on the soul of those who are holy to God, clinging to the Life of all the worlds.

Just as capability and limited strength appear at the beginning of one’s picture of holiness, so it grows and raises in the intelect and in action until: “You will decree, and it will be established for you; light will shine on your ways.” (Job 22:28)

Rav Avraham Yitschak HaKohen Kook


3 November in History

In 1604, today was the birthdate of Osman II, a Sultan who reigned during the 17th century which was a period of decline for the Ottoman Empire and its Jewish subjects. Unlike many of his predecessors, it appears that Osman did not employ an Jews as court physicians or close advisors.

26 Cheshvan in History

Today marks the passing of Rav Raphael Hoken of Hamburg (1723-1803). Born in Liphland to Rav Yekusiel Ziskind, the Rav of the town, Reb Raphael was taken to learn with the Shaagas Aryeh (the great Torah scholar), a relative of theirs, in Minsk, at the age of 12.

At the age of 19, Rav Raphael replaced his rebbi as Rosh Yeshiva in Minsk. Four years later, he was chosen as Rav of Rakow, and later of Smilowitz. In 1763, he became Rav in Pinsk. There he wrote Toras Yekusiel on Yoreh Deah, with an appendix of laws pertaining to agunos (married women who have been left by their husbands).

Later he became Rav in Posen, and in 1776 of the three kehillos of Atuna, Hamburg, and Wandsbeck (AH”U). He also authored Sheilos Hakohanim Torah on the service the priests served in the Temple, Sh’Ut Veshav Hakohen, Mapei Lahon on the prohibition of slander, and Daas Kedoshim.



If one is traveling, and has no Lulav, when he gets home he must shake it before his meal. If he has not done it in the morning, he must do it toward evening: the obligation may be done during the whole day.

Sukkah Chapter 3

2 November in History

In 1898, Theodore Herzl was part of a delegation of Jews who met with Kaiser Wilhelm II in Jerusalem. Herzl’s meeting with the Kaiser was part of his plan to rebuild the Jewish national home by gaining the support of leading political leaders. The Kaiser had his own agenda in the East. A settlement of German Jews in the Middle East would have provided him with leverage in dealing with the English in Egypt. But the Kaiser was afraid to give Herzl too much support lest he offend the Turks who ruled the ancient Jewish homeland.

In the end, Herzl accomplished much less with this meeting than he thought he had.

25 Cheshvan in History

Today marks the passing of Rav Elya Yurkanski (1908-2005). Born in Minsk, he and two brothers were smuggled over the order to Poland, on a recommendation by the Chafetz Chaim; Reb Elya was not yet a Bar Mitzvah, and he would never again see his parents. He spent almost 10 years in Baranovich with Rav Elchonon Wasserman before leaving for Mir in 1929. He traveled with the yeshiva to Shanghai and eventually join the yeshiva in New York, where he remained his entire life.

He was a Rosh Yeshiva with Mir for over 55 years.

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November 2010