Weekly Dvar Torah
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Thursday, July 23, 2015 / 7 Av 5775
Mourning the Loss of Potential
By: Michael Winner

With the arrival of the baby, for the first time, we are a “boy family.” I’ve been wondering if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. I happen not to like boys. They're useless, dirty, don’t listen, obnoxious, etc. However, I’ve seen that generally, when they grow older, they’re good to have around (and I’m starting to see that as well). Girls on the other hand are fine when they are young. They are cleaner, they help out, and they will listen to you. Of course, when they get older, they become emotional time-bombs, and remain that way forever. So this is part of the “back and forth” I was having in my head. That ended two days ago, when my wife told me what happened when I was in kollel. It seems there was a fly that was bothering the baby, so somehow, my six-year-old was able to swat it on the floor, where it landed on its back. Of course, he had to finish the job and squish it with his foot. Naturally, he wasn’t wearing any shoes. After “the smoosh,” he picked off the dead fly from his sock, looked at it, and proceeded to chase the girls around the room with it.

There is no longer a question in my mind: boys are better.

Rav Shimshon Pincus writes, “Tisha B’Av is a day of mourning, as reflected in its halachos. Over whom does one mourn? Not over a person who fell sick! Mourning is only over someone who died.

“Let’s try to understand who died, over whom we are mourning. Did Yerushalayim die? Did the Beis HaMikdash die? Certainly not. The Zohar says that Hashem swore He will not enter the heavenly Yerushalayim until the Jewish people enters the earthly Yerushalayim (Zohar, Naso 147b). The heavenly Yerushalayim exists; the Beis HaMikdash exists. It is being held in storage above, where it is waiting, ready to come to us.

“So perhaps we are mourning over the Jewish people? This can’t be either, because the Jewish people survived, and will live forever. And if you say we are mourning over Dovid HaMelech, over the Davidic Kingdom, this, too, is not so. ‘Dovid Melech Yisroel chai v’kayam!’ (Rosh Hashanah 25a).

“So who died? Who are we mourning for? We are forced to say that we are mourning over ourselves. Each person is mourning over his own life that perished!”

What does Rav Pincus mean “over his own life that perished”?

My Rosh Yeshivah, Rav Asher Rubenstein, used to say that after 120 years, we will all go up and they will show us two movies. One movie will be our life as we led it. The second movie will be about what our life COULD have been had we used all our potential that He gave us.

We mourn over Tisha B’Av because we mourn the loss of potential, and the continuous loss of potential that we experience in exile.

To put this into better perspective: Around a year ago, I was having trouble learning a particular halacha in the Shulchan Aruch. The Shulchan Aruch was clear, however, I was having issues with some of the commentaries. I went to a friend to help me out on it, and after pointing me in the right direction, he remarked, “It’s amazing when you think about it. Here we are learning ‘The Shach’ and ‘The Taz’ and other works. For many of them, they lived in times of turmoil and were being chased from one land to another. They experienced many troubles, yet they were able to produce important works that are being learned 400 years later. Yet, we are sitting in an air-conditioned beis medresh in relative comfort, with homes and food on our tables, and we are racking our brains trying to understand them!”

Perhaps by using the next nine days to think about where we are holding in life and what our potential really is, we can better use Tisha B’Av, and more importantly, better ourselves for the future.

Have a meaningful Tisha B'Av.
Friday, July 17, 2015 / 1 Av 5775
Mourning Our Potential
By: Michael Winner

With the arrival of the baby, for the first time, we are a “boy family.” I’ve been wondering if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. I happen not to like boys. They're useless, dirty, don’t listen, obnoxious, etc. However, I’ve seen that generally, when they grow older, they’re good to have around (and I’m starting to see that as well). Girls on the other hand are fine when they are young. They are cleaner, they help out, and they will listen to you. Of course, when they get older, they become emotional time-bombs, and remain that way forever. So this is part of the “back and forth” I was having in my head. That ended two days ago, when my wife told me what happened when I was in kollel. It seems there was a fly that was bothering the baby, so somehow, my six-year-old was able to swat it on the floor, where it landed on its back. Of course, he had to finish the job and squish it with his foot. Naturally, he wasn’t wearing any shoes. After “the smoosh,” he picked off the dead fly from his sock, looked at it, and proceeded to chase the girls around the room with it.

There is no longer a question in my mind: boys are better.

There is no longer a question in my mind: boys are better.

Rav Shimshon Pincus writes, “Tisha B’Av is a day of mourning, as reflected in its halachos. Over whom does one mourn? Not over a person who fell sick! Mourning is only over someone who died.

“Let’s try to understand who died, over whom we are mourning. Did Yerushalayim die? Did the Beis HaMikdash die? Certainly not. The Zohar says that Hashem swore He will not enter the heavenly Yerushalayim until the Jewish people enters the earthly Yerushalayim (Zohar, Naso 147b). The heavenly Yerushalayim exists; the Beis HaMikdash exists. It is being held in storage above, where it is waiting, ready to come to us.

“So perhaps we are mourning over the Jewish people? This can’t be either, because the Jewish people survived, and will live forever. And if you say we are mourning over Dovid HaMelech, over the Davidic Kingdom, this, too, is not so. ‘Dovid Melech Yisroel chai v’kayam!’ (Rosh Hashanah 25a).

“So who died? Who are we mourning for? We are forced to say that we are mourning over ourselves. Each person is mourning over his own life that perished!”

What does Rav Pincus mean “over his own life that perished”?

My Rosh Yeshivah, Rav Asher Rubenstein, used to say that after 120 years, we will all go up and they will show us two movies. One movie will be our life as we led it. The second movie will be about what our life COULD have been had we used all our potential that He gave us.

We mourn over Tisha B’Av because we mourn the loss of potential, and the continuous loss of potential that we experience in exile.

To put this into better perspective: Around a year ago, I was having trouble learning a particular halacha in the Shulchan Aruch. The Shulchan Aruch was clear, however, I was having issues with some of the commentaries. I went to a friend to help me out on it, and after pointing me in the right direction, he remarked, “It’s amazing when you think about it. Here we are learning ‘The Shach’ and ‘The Taz’ and other works. For many of them, they lived in times of turmoil and were being chased from one land to another. They experienced many troubles, yet they were able to produce important works that are being learned 400 years later. Yet, we are sitting in an air-conditioned beis medresh in relative comfort, with homes and food on our tables, and we are racking our brains trying to understand them!”

Perhaps by using the next nine days to think about where we are holding in life and what our potential really is, we can better use Tisha B’Av, and more importantly, better ourselves for the future.

Have a great Shabbos!
---
Mourning Our Potential
By: Michael Winner

With the arrival of the baby, for the first time, we are a “boy family.” I’ve been wondering if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. I happen not to like boys. They're useless, dirty, don’t listen, obnoxious, etc. However, I’ve seen that generally, when they grow older, they’re good to have around (and I’m starting to see that as well). Girls on the other hand are fine when they are young. They are cleaner, they help out, and they will listen to you. Of course, when they get older, they become emotional time-bombs, and remain that way forever. So this is part of the “back and forth” I was having in my head. That ended two days ago, when my wife told me what happened when I was in kollel. It seems there was a fly that was bothering the baby, so somehow, my six-year-old was able to swat it on the floor, where it landed on its back. Of course, he had to finish the job and squish it with his foot. Naturally, he wasn’t wearing any shoes. After “the smoosh,” he picked off the dead fly from his sock, looked at it, and proceeded to chase the girls around the room with it.

There is no longer a question in my mind: boys are better.

Rav Shimshon Pincus writes, “Tisha B’Av is a day of mourning, as reflected in its halachos. Over whom does one mourn? Not over a person who fell sick! Mourning is only over someone who died.

“Let’s try to understand who died, over whom we are mourning. Did Yerushalayim die? Did the Beis HaMikdash die? Certainly not. The Zohar says that Hashem swore He will not enter the heavenly Yerushalayim until the Jewish people enters the earthly Yerushalayim (Zohar, Naso 147b). The heavenly Yerushalayim exists; the Beis HaMikdash exists. It is being held in storage above, where it is waiting, ready to come to us.

“So perhaps we are mourning over the Jewish people? This can’t be either, because the Jewish people survived, and will live forever. And if you say we are mourning over Dovid HaMelech, over the Davidic Kingdom, this, too, is not so. ‘Dovid Melech Yisroel chai v’kayam!’ (Rosh Hashanah 25a).

“So who died? Who are we mourning for? We are forced to say that we are mourning over ourselves. Each person is mourning over his own life that perished!”

What does Rav Pincus mean “over his own life that perished”?

My Rosh Yeshivah, Rav Asher Rubenstein, used to say that after 120 years, we will all go up and they will show us two movies. One movie will be our life as we led it. The second movie will be about what our life COULD have been had we used all our potential that He gave us.

We mourn over Tisha B’Av because we mourn the loss of potential, and the continuous loss of potential that we experience in exile.

To put this into better perspective: Around a year ago, I was having trouble learning a particular halacha in the Shulchan Aruch. The Shulchan Aruch was clear, however, I was having issues with some of the commentaries. I went to a friend to help me out on it, and after pointing me in the right direction, he remarked, “It’s amazing when you think about it. Here we are learning ‘The Shach’ and ‘The Taz’ and other works. For many of them, they lived in times of turmoil and were being chased from one land to another. They experienced many troubles, yet they were able to produce important works that are being learned 400 years later. Yet, we are sitting in an air-conditioned beis medresh in relative comfort, with homes and food on our tables, and we are racking our brains trying to understand them!”

Perhaps by using the next nine days to think about where we are holding in life and what our potential really is, we can better use Tisha B’Av, and more importantly, better ourselves for the future.

Have a great Shabbos!
---
Mourning our Potential
By: Michael Winner

With the arrival of the baby, for the first time, we are a “boy family.” I’ve been wondering if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. I happen not to like boys. They're useless, dirty, don’t listen, obnoxious, etc. However, I’ve seen that generally, when they grow older, they’re good to have around (and I’m starting to see that as well). Girls on the other hand are fine when they are young. They are cleaner, they help out, and they will listen to you. Of course, when they get older, they become emotional time-bombs, and remain that way forever. So this is part of the “back and forth” I was having in my head. That ended two days ago, when my wife told me what happened when I was in kollel. It seems there was a fly that was bothering the baby, so somehow, my six-year-old was able to swat it on the floor, where it landed on its back. Of course, he had to finish the job and squish it with his foot. Naturally, he wasn’t wearing any shoes. After “the smoosh,” he picked off the dead fly from his sock, looked at it, and proceeded to chase the girls around the room with it.

There is no longer a question in my mind: boys are better.

Rav Shimshon Pincus writes, “Tisha B’Av is a day of mourning, as reflected in its halachos. Over whom does one mourn? Not over a person who fell sick! Mourning is only over someone who died.

“Let’s try to understand who died, over whom we are mourning. Did Yerushalayim die? Did the Beis HaMikdash die? Certainly not. The Zohar says that Hashem swore He will not enter the heavenly Yerushalayim until the Jewish people enters the earthly Yerushalayim (Zohar, Naso 147b). The heavenly Yerushalayim exists; the Beis HaMikdash exists. It is being held in storage above, where it is waiting, ready to come to us.

“So perhaps we are mourning over the Jewish people? This can’t be either, because the Jewish people survived, and will live forever. And if you say we are mourning over Dovid HaMelech, over the Davidic Kingdom, this, too, is not so. ‘Dovid Melech Yisroel chai v’kayam!’ (Rosh Hashanah 25a).

“So who died? Who are we mourning for? We are forced to say that we are mourning over ourselves. Each person is mourning over his own life that perished!”

What does Rav Pincus mean “over his own life that perished”?

My Rosh Yeshivah, Rav Asher Rubenstein, used to say that after 120 years, we will all go up and they will show us two movies. One movie will be our life as we led it. The second movie will be about what our life COULD have been had we used all our potential that He gave us.

We mourn over Tisha B’Av because we mourn the loss of potential, and the continuous loss of potential that we experience in exile.

To put this into better perspective: Around a year ago, I was having trouble learning a particular halacha in the Shulchan Aruch. The Shulchan Aruch was clear, however, I was having issues with some of the commentaries. I went to a friend to help me out on it, and after pointing me in the right direction, he remarked, “It’s amazing when you think about it. Here we are learning ‘The Shach’ and ‘The Taz’ and other works. For many of them, they lived in times of turmoil and were being chased from one land to another. They experienced many troubles, yet they were able to produce important works that are being learned 400 years later. Yet, we are sitting in an air-conditioned beis medresh in relative comfort, with homes and food on our tables, and we are racking our brains trying to understand them!”

Perhaps by using the next nine days to think about where we are holding in life and what our potential really is, we can better use Tisha B’Av, and more importantly, better ourselves for the future.

Have a great Shabbos!
Friday, July 10, 2015 / 23 Tamuz 5775
Return Books to Their Place
By: Michael Winner

Welcome back everybody.

Hopefully, we’re back into business. Given the situation, things have been a bit hectic and busy, but thankfully everything is in relative order and we’re back to a relative schedule. Sort of.

I guess one of the most memorable points over the last month is when the day before the bris, my son asked me, where exactly they do the bris. I replied, “Take a guess.” He thought for a moment, his eyes opened wide, and he said, “Noooooo…. Not THERE!! Can’t they do it on the finger instead????”

Classic reaction.

Okay, on to Torah!

“Take for yourself Yehoshua bin Nun, a man which there is spirit” (Bamidbar 27:18)

Hashem told Moshe, “Your sons sat back and did not study, while Yehoshua served and honored you. He would arrive early to the study hall and remain there late. He would arrange the benches and spread out the mats. Since he served you with all his might, he is worthy of serving Israel.”

It is told that Rav Shach, despite being the Rosh Yeshivah, would be in the yeshivah early to put back the books from the tables onto the shelves where they belonged. Once, somebody asked him why he uses his time in such a manner when there is somebody hired to do so. Rav Shach replied, “Leave me be. If only I was worthy of having such a job!”

On the flip side, I once saw that Rav Chaim Kanievsky wrote that a person who does not return the books he used back to the shelf where it belongs is guilty of “bittel Torah” (wasting time from learning Torah). For when a person fails to return the book, and somebody else needs it, that second person needs to waste time trying to find it!

From these two small pieces, we see the importance of returning books that belong to the shul, yeshivah, or kollel to their place. On one hand, failure to do so will result in a person’s becoming guilty of bittel Torah, yet on the other hand, when a person does so, he is given great reward.

Have a great Shabbos!

Michael Winner
Monday, June 15, 2015 / 28 Sivan 5775
Frum.org Vacation
By: Michael Winner



Frum.org will be taking a small vacation over the next few weeks due to the birth of a baby boy in the family!

We hope to continue writing as soon as everything is back under control.

Until then!
Friday, June 12, 2015 / 25 Sivan 5775
The Power of Eretz Yisroel
By: Michael Winner



“The land that we crossed to explore is a land that consumes its inhabitants. All the men we saw there were huge!” (Bamidbar 13:32)

In this week’s parsha we have one of the most terrible episodes to have occurred to the Jewish nation. After their return from Eretz Yisroel, the spies spoke poorly of Eretz Yisroel and scared the nation into not wanting to enter. They explained that it “is a land that consumes its inhabitants.” The Hebrew word is “yoshveha” or literally, “those who sit on it.”

Eretz Yisroel has a powerful force. It can work to one's detriment, or it can slingshot people to unbelievable heights. When a person is in Eretz Yisroel and he is merely “sitting” on the ladder of growth, then the result is the land “consumes” him. He either does poorly or he is “spit out” and is forced to return to wherever he came from. However, if somebody is constantly “on the move” upwards, then the land could be turned into a giant, thus fulfilling the verse, “All the men we saw there were huge!”

Please note, I am NOT advocating aliyah. In fact, I’m strongly against people with children moving here, due to the terribly high rate of spiritual/emotional trauma that has plagued new olim and has caused tremendous amounts of pain. However, I’m simply pointing out the unbelievable power of Eretz Yisroel.

We all know that an embassy has the status of that particular country that owns the embassy. The United States Embassy in Tel Aviv has the legal status of the United States and not the State of Israel. The same is true in a person’s home. When a person comes from America and brings his “Americanisms” to his home in Eretz Yisroel, whether it be his television, his internet, his mentality, or any of his . . . sorry, but non-Torah things and attitudes, he is not living in Eretz Yisroel. Rather, he is living in his American Embassy located in Eretz Yisroel!

However, if a person is willing to forgo all of these things and work on himself as a Ben Torah, Eretz Yisroel will provide a proper springboard for him to soar to heights that he could never have done outside of Eretz Yisroel.

I should note for those who are not able to live here, Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinski, who lived up until the beginning of World War II, said that in his time the study halls of Torah had the status of a “branch” of Eretz Yisroel (similar to the embassy comparison mentioned above). So, if a person is outside of the physical borders of Eretz Yisroel, it is still possible to get a “taste” of Eretz Yisroel when he resides in his local beis medresh, yeshiva, or kollel.

With that, I wish you all a wonderful Shabbos!

Michael Winner






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