Section Events, Jewish Life : 24JEWISH ALERTS large selection in each section

Life after Death by Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi at TORCH


TORCH presents Judaism Worth Spreading with inspirational and exciting Jewish thoughts from the rabbis of TORCH, Houston’s Premier Center for Jewish Learning. TORCH is dedicated to its soul Mission of Connecting Jews & Judaism.

Visit us online –
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This video was recorded live on Monday, December 16, 2013 at Congregation Torah Vachesed (Houston, TX)

yaakov shwekey In Caesarea (קסריה היפה והקדושה)


Beni Melal Women Sung Poetry conference 2013 Hebrew and English


Beni Mellal Conference on Women Sung Poetry among Moroccan Jews 2013 was held at the World Center of North African Jewry in Jerusalem in collaboration with Jewish Moroccan Archive.
The event included a community getting together, Sharing food , A video on Beni Mellal and its surroundings made by Marc Eliany, An Art Exhibition by Marc Eliany on Cultural Transitions between Mountains and Seas, Women Sung Poetry by Zohra Biton Cohen, Lectures by professors Ephraim Hazan and Moshe Amar, Lectures by the Minister Amir Peretz and economy professor Momi Dahan .

The event was sponsored by Victor Biton. Zohra Biton made the conference a memorable event, and
Sidney Corcos, Dan Albo, Mimon Cohen and volunteers too many to list by name, as well as,
The World Center of North African Jewry and The Jewish Moroccan Archive made it possible.
Contact if you wish to organize or participate, exhibit, lecture, or contribute to similar community conferences.

Wedding clips of Leah Shoshana (Laura) Kegeles to Melech Rephael (Myles) Melnicoff


Yay Forever!!!
This is some unedited video footage from my old VidCam of this beautiful wedding. Not professional… the camera was passed around from my daughters to myself and others.
Mazal Tov!

Peter Yarrow performing at Executive Caterers at Landerhaven


Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary performs at Executive Caterers at Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights on Dec. 5. Yarrow was honored with the Alvin A. Siegal Unity and Community Award at Oheb Zedek-Cedar Sinai Synagogue’s annual dinner.

Full story at…

Ivy-Plus Young Jewish Alumni & Friends Winter MixerYale Alumni Magazine

Eli’s Mishpacha invites you to this festive evening at the Jewish Museum. See your friends and make new ones at after-work event brought to you by 
See all stories on this topic »
25 Things for Jews to do on December 25thAish

True, there’s the Kosher Chinese, empty theatres, museums, and events sponsored by Jewishorganizations, but face it. On December 25th the entire 

Jean McClelland: Judaica shows a long, rich history of the Jewish faithHuntington Herald Dispatch

Basically it refers to those items used by Jews in the practice of their religion and culture. Because this religion has been around for thousands of years 
Kesser Torah Proud of its StudentsJ-Wire Jewish Australian News Service

Kesser Torah is delighted to congratulate their HSC cohort of 2013, and to announce that Tikvati Lobel achieved First in Course as well as First Place 
See all stories on this topic »
The Voice of Mainstream Torah-True Religious ZionismArutz Sheva

The traditional Israeli Religious Zionist mainstream must awaken from its torpor and make its voice heard above that of “enlightened moderates” who 
New Torah Reading ClassJewish Times of Southern New Jersey

7, Cantor Ralph Goren will conduct a class in the Beth El Synagogue library for anyone interested in learning the skill of how to read the Torah on 
See all stories on this topic »
Chabad Launches New 10-Week Torah Studies CourseJewish Times of Southern New Jersey

In that spirit, Chabad at the Shore is launching a new weekly Torah Studies class that will explore Judaism’s relevance in modern life. These classes 
See all stories on this topic »
Rabbi Mendy AlevskyCleveland Jewish News

However, let’s take a peek at the first episode of his adult life recorded in the Torah. It’s in this week’s portion: “Now it came to pass in those days that 
See all stories on this topic »
Child RaisingThe Jewish Press

Our people, Am Yisroel, focuses on kedusha and Torah, so we naturally look for all kinds of berachos and segulos to make our children gedolei Torah 
See all stories on this topic »
This $1 Million Brooklyn House Is Filled With Dead AnimalsCurbed NY

To heighten the absurdity, the rundown property at 1605 41st Street (“needs total renovation”)—whose Torah Animal Museum apparently sees 35,000 
See all stories on this topic »
Shemot: A Name Carries Pride Of Self, But A Label Is ImposedThe Jewish Week (blog)

The middle book of the Torah is called Exodus in English and Shemot (Names) in Hebrew. Names play a crucial role in Torah language and thought.
See all stories on this topic »
Oberst to present The Book of Genesis at Strand TheaterGeorgetown Times

The first book of the Bible and of The Torah, Genesis is an ancient text whose authorship is traditionally ascribed to Moses. The Hebrew name for the 
See all stories on this topic »
YU RIETS Israel KollelDivrei Azriel: Not Deities, But MenArutz Sheva

There is a sizable difference between Parshas (Torah reading) Shemos and Parshas Vaera in the telling and retelling of Moses’ birth. In Shemos 2:1-2 

Jewish Top 10s: Television Shows of the YearShalom Life

Both Jewish men and women have contributed significantly to these various industries, and subsequently, we at Shalom Life feel inclined to list the 
See all stories on this topic »
Students Gather Lots of Toys for Sick

The Rohr Chabad Center for Jewish Student Life at Binghamton University has made a big difference this holiday season. For the fifth year in a row, …
See all stories on this topic »
Op-Ed: God Created Me GayShalom Life

… letter written to members of the Knesset; particularly, members of Jewish Home, … I could have presented myself without hiding, describe my life and who I am. … If I muster the courage and do it, it will have a huge effect on my life.
See all stories on this topic »
Chabad Launches New 10-Week Torah Studies CourseJewish Times of Southern New Jersey

“This course is truly novel in the way it probes the depths of classic Jewish thought to address the issues we face in contemporary Jewish life,” says …
See all stories on this topic »
Columnist Stephen Kramer’s Reply to Alan Kligerman’s Response …Jewish Times of Southern New Jersey

I am not “trashing” American Jews, just writing about the results of a significant survey which has deep implications for the continuation of Jewish life in …
See all stories on this topic »
Show support for the Jewish communityHeritage Florida Jewish News

It embraces all aspects of Jewish communal life. I want to support and help make our community a thriving environment for all to feel welcomed.
See all stories on this topic »
Working to change the image of an Orthodox way of lifeCanadian Jewish News (blog)

“I was raised in this very happy, nice, upper-middle-class secular AmericanJewish family… If you want to picture an idyllic life, thank God, that’s what I …
See all stories on this topic »
The Mitzvah Diaries: Neighbors Cheer Up Newly Single ManShalom Life

… Life scour the depths of the web to identify those in our community who are committed to one of the oldest notions in Jewish tradition: the mitzvah.


Section Jewish Communities: 24JEWISH ALERTS large selection videos and feeds in each section

Israel s Other Pioneers Part IV Esther Amsalem of Sedot Mikha


סיפורה של אסתר מעיד על הסתגלותו המהירה של דור שלם של יהודים שעלו ממרוקו לישראל ותרמו ליישובה ובניינה של הארץ. פרק זה מוקדש לדור זה על תרומתו. משפחתה של אסתר, כמשפחות רבות אחרות במושבים, לא התפרנסו מחקלאות אלא מעבודות חוץ. הנסוי בהכשרת העולים בחקלאות הביא לגרעונות וצבירת חובות שהיה עליהם לשלם שנים מאוחר יוצר. Esther’s tale of her family’s adaptation to life in Israel is a tribute to a whole generation of Moroccan Jewish newcomers who made a significant contribution to rebuilding Israel. Esther’s family, like many other families in cooperative settlements, did not make a living from farming but from work outside of the coops. Experimentation in farming by leading authorities led to debt accumulation, which had to be paid in later years

Essaouira Pinto Synagogue


Haim Pinto synagogue in Mogador in renovation בית הכנסת של הרב חיים פינטו בשיפוץ

Edgar Bronfman Dies : Billionaire businessman, Jewish advocate


Edgar M. Bronfman Sr., the billionaire businessman and longtime president of the World Jewish Congress, which lobbied the Soviets to allow Jews to emigrate and helped spearhead the search for hidden Nazi loot, died Saturday. He was 84.

The Canadian-born Bronfman died at his New York home surrounded by family, according to the family charity he led, The Samuel Bronfman Foundation.

Bronfman made his fortune with his family’s Seagram’s liquor empire, taking over as chairman and CEO in 1971 and continuing the work of his father, Samuel. Under Bronfman’s leadership, Seagram expanded its offerings and was eventually acquired by French media and telecom group Vivendi Universal in 2000.

But Bronfman’s wealth, combined with his role in the World Jewish Congress, an umbrella group of Jewish organizations in some 80 countries that he led for more than a quarter century, allowed him to be a tireless advocate for his fellow Jews.

In 1999, President Bill Clinton awarded Bronfman the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. In the citation, Bronfman was heralded for working “to ensure basic rights for Jews around the world.”

In a 1986 Associated Press profile, he said his position and money helped him have access to world leaders.

The year before, he had become the first congress president to meet with Soviet officials in Moscow, bringing his case for human rights and taking a little time to promote Seagram’s interests. He visited again in 1988, by which time Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union, a key goal of the congress, had begun to rise under the reforming leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev.

During the 1980s and 1990s, the congress also helped lead the effort to gain $11 billion in restitution for heirs of Holocaust victims.

Jews in German and Nazi-held countries were stripped of their possessions, their artworks and even the gold fillings from their teeth in the regime’s death camps. Much of the gold wound up in Swiss banks, and the institutions came under heavy criticism decades after the war ended for failing to make adequate reparations.

In 1975, the Bronfman family made the news for a far different reason when one of Edgar Bronfman’s sons, 21-year-old Samuel 2nd, was abducted in a New York suburb.

The family paid a $2.3 million ransom and Samuel was later found when authorities raided a Brooklyn apartment. The missing money was found under a bed and two men were arrested.

The two were convicted of extortion, but acquitted of kidnapping, in a sensational 1976 trial in which the defense accused Samuel Bronfman of staging his own kidnapping as a hoax intended to cheat his father out of the ransom money. Samuel Bronfman denied the allegation and the prosecution called it “ridiculous.”


Edgar Bronfman, Prominent Jewish Philanthropist, DiesABC News

He served as the president of the World Jewish Congress, an umbrella organization representing Jewish communities and organizations worldwide, 
See all stories on this topic »
Jewish Cemeteries Fall Into Disrepair in New York — and Coast to Jewish Daily Forward

In city after city, local Jewish communities – often, as in Bayside’s case, the local federation – are having to step in and put up money to save Jewish 
See all stories on this topic »
Community: A Gift for the Jewish FutureHuffington Post

This post is part of a series from the Ruderman Family Foundation which explores the inclusion of people with disabilities in the Jewish community.
See all stories on this topic »
Making the desert bloom with new Jewish settlementsHaaretz

“The metropolitan area of Be’er sheva must be developed and it’s possible to take care of both Bedouin and Jewish communities,” said Rifman. In the 
See all stories on this topic »
Show support for the Jewish communityHeritage Florida Jewish News

Our community is splintered and many don’t see the relevance of the Jewish Federation. But I know that the Federation is needed now more than ever.
See all stories on this topic »
How Mandela won over the Jewish communityHeritage Florida Jewish News

But he also will always have a special place in the memory of the Jewishcommunity. I first met Mandela in Geneva in 1990 as part of a delegation of 
See all stories on this topic »
US Jewish Journal dedicates cover story to AzerbaijanAzerNews

The Jewish Journal, the second largest Jewish newspaper in the U.S., serving a community of 600,000 Jews in Los Angeles, dedicated its cover story 
See all stories on this topic »
Protecting our Children from TerroristsThe Jewish Press

Every Jewish community must make a supreme effort to ensure the security of its schools. Our rabbinical leaders and elected officials must ensure that 
See all stories on this topic »
In Your TownPress of Atlantic City

25, the Milton and Betty Katz Jewish Community Center in Margate will host an evening of kosher Chinese cuisine, latkes and a comedy show 

Section Jewish Culture & Yiddish: 24JEWISH ALERTS large selection videos and feeds in each section

The Real Answer to the Jewish Problem
Tevet 19, 5774 · December 22, 2013
This Week’s Features

By Manis Friedman

Life Lessons from Parshat Shemot

By Yehoshua B. Gordon
Watch Watch (30:43)

Empower yourself to limit the stress and negativity in life

By Frumma Rosenberg-Gottlieb
Watch Watch (33:35)
By Ben-Tzion Krasnianski
Watch Watch (39:46)
Watch Watch (3:16)

A Taste of Text—Shemot

By Chana Weisberg
Watch Watch (23:09)

The Mitzvah of Pidyon HaBen

Aaron L. Raskin
Watch Watch (25:53)
By Elimelech Silberberg
Watch Watch (52:51)


Reincarnation and the Holocaust

by Sara Yoheved Rigler
Why some Jews suspect they’ve returned.

Mandela and My Walk to Freedom

by Rabbi Zev Kahn
Amidst the crumbling of apartheid and playing rugby, I discovered the depth of Judaism.

Dressing for Distraction

by Judy Gruen
Is the gender gap partially a fabric gap?

A Carpet of Leaves

by Laura Deutsch
Mitzvahs don’t need to be supersized in order to count.

The Loving Slap

by Malka Winner
The mosquito landed on the forehead of my unsuspecting son. I went in for the kill.

Video: The Israel Apartheid Lie

by Ari Lesser and Here is Israel
A music video puts to rest the nefarious claim.

Editor’s Pick:

Is Christmas Good For the Jews?

by Rabbi Benjamin Blech
The greatest challenge to our faith is not another faith, but faithlessness.

Initiative seeking to improve Hebrew literacy in AmericaHeritage Florida Jewish News

But in the fourth week, the talking started-in Israeli-accented Hebrew.  Jersey, aims to make Hebrew a more central part of American Jewish culture.


December 20, 2013
Dating in Brooklyn While Russian
Today, Marina Rubin is a mainstay of the lower Manhattan poetry scene. But in 1989—when most of the stories in her new collection, Stealing Cherries, take place—she was arefusenik, a new immigrant from the Ukraine, a survivor of Soviet anti-Semitism, and a clueless preteen girl lost in theBrooklyn wilds.That’s where these stories begin. Short and sudden, none longer than a page, the tales of Stealing Cherries are funny and embarrassing and sad and honest. In “The Weekend,” she remembers being invited to the Hasidic enclave of Crown Heights for Passover, where “self-effacing families with a gazillion children and barely any furniture fought against rich jewelers for the mitzvah of providing our room and board.””Judaism for Dummies” tells of two teenage boys who have a spiritual epiphany, change their names from Boris and Michael to Moses and Baruch, then get stymied when they return to their dorm and can’t get to sleep with the Shabbat light on.

Tradition intersects with cultural displacement as Rubin tells tales of dating mishaps and wardrobe malfunctions. Cherries is not your typical story of Russian refuseniks—and that’s exactly why we love it.

– Matthue Roth

Stealing Cherries

Conversations image
Filmed live in Jerusalem and New York, Rabbi Wein – and other highly influential Rabbis and leaders discuss topics relating to life, our people, our homeland and more in an informal setting.

Hear their views as they relate their personal experiences and their ideas for the future of the Jewish people. This is your front-row seat to hear the most interesting conversations of the year.

Lectures include:

The Rabbonus / Looking Back & Looking Ahead
Rabbi Wein with Rabbi Emanuel Feldman
Moderated by Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblum

Filmed in Jerusalem
Rabbi Wein and Rabbi Feldman discuss their lives as young Rabbonim in out of town communities – have an inside look at how these experiences shaped their lives and what lessons they learned that informed their worldview today.

Filmed in Jerusalem
Ambassador Yehuda Avner has served the State of Israel as a soldier, advisor and statesman. In a fascinating conversation they share memories, anecdotes, opinions and thoughtful insights on Torah, the Jewish people and the State of Israel, past, present and future. A great listen!

Filmed in Jerusalem
This live video captures the the essence of two of the most popular Jewish personalities of the century. With warmth and humor, these two very good friends paint a picture of their past and how it affects their views today. 

Moderated by Rabbi Yaakov Astor
Filmed in NY
Join these three diverse Torah personalities as they discuss issues relating to the changing face of Orthodoxy in the American community. From differing backgrounds and perspectives, each discuss their views from both the Ashkenzic and Sepahrdicpoint of view.
click here for more details


Partner with Rabbi Berel Wein and Destiny
Our projects have always been primarily funded by public donations and your assistance will help us complete our educational initiatives:
Help us to:
  • Maintain three active websites –,, reaching millions on the subject of Jewish history
  • Complete the 13-part ‘Faith and Fate’ film series – of which 5 episodes (complete with educators’ guides and instant lesson plans) have been produced. Called “excellent and impressive” by the Jerusalem Post, the films drastically and emotionally tell the story of how events of the century impacted the Jewish people and how the Jewish people affected the century.
  • Complete the 5-part animated and illustrated drama series, “Heralds of Destiny”on Jewish heroes and role models.  Two of the films on Rashi and Rambam have been completed – and three more scripts, on the Abarbanel, Dona Gracia, and the Bal Shem Tov are being developed and require funding to go into production.
  • Add to the library of hundreds of YouTube pieces on Jewish history
  • Produce educational curricula that are both interactive and modular, allowing schools to customize material to their needs
Destiny is a 501(c)(3) Educational Media Foundation that has been identified with the popularization of Jewish history for over 25 years.  Fueling this focus has been Rabbi Berel Wein’s passion for the Jewish people and their history. Over 1 million audio lectures have been distributed worldwide.
When doing your year-end calculations, your investment in Destiny and your partnership with Rabbi Wein will impact the Jewish world going forward. If you have already considered Destiny and Rabbi Wein’s efforts, we say thank you in advance.
Accounting for only one quarter of one percent of the world’s population, every one of us counts.
Your donation can make a difference.
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Or become a Destiny Member and not only do you give to the Destiny Foundation but you get to take advantage of all the member rewards!  Click here for membership information
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Section Jewish History : 24JEWISH ALERTS large selection in each section


A Jew And A Latino Walk Into A Recording Studio…WBUR

In November, The Idelsohn Society For Musical Preservation — an organization dedicated to telling Jewish history through its music — released some 
See all stories on this topic »

Jean McClelland: Judaica shows a long, rich history of the Jewish faithHuntington Herald Dispatch

Judaica would almost tell on itself as a word indicating it has something to do with the Jewish faith. Basically it refers to those items used by Jews in 
See all stories on this topic »
Jewish Historical Society awarded Florida Humanities Council GrantHeritage Florida Jewish News

The St. Augustine Jewish Historical Society has been awarded a Florida Humanities Council Grant in support of a two-day commemoration marking 
See all stories on this topic »
Columbia has rich Jewish history to shareColumbia Daily Tribune

David Klatchko, at age 81, is, among other things, a ROMEO. He belongs to the ROMEO Club, an acronym for “Retired Old Men Eating Out.”.
See all stories on this topic »
Jewish studies robust on US college campuses amid challengesHaaretz

Presentations on Jewish Identity and International Pop Music, a panel on using social media as a tool for Jewish history research and talks on 
See all stories on this topic »
History Made and Broke David Laskin’s FamilyJewish Daily Forward

A View Onto History: The world of Doba and her family is explored in a new …Like many American Jews of the baby boom, Laskin grew up in a …
See all stories on this topic »
Celebrating history – warts and allNew Jersey Jewish Standard

Charged with coordinating the Jewish piece of the diversity section, Ms. Sonenfeld reached out to three area rabbis: David Fine of Temple Israel and …
See all stories on this topic »
Ask the ArchivesCleveland Jewish News

Do you have a question about other events in Cleveland Jewish history? Or anything else the CJN has covered? Email
See all stories on this topic »
Drama, art, identity and dessert: Mobile Jewish Film Festival returns …The Huntsville Times –

The struggles of brilliant Jewish musicians during WWII, the stunning history of a gorgeous painting stolen by the Nazis and the tale of a young …

Section This Day, In Jewish History : 24JEWISH ALERTS large selection in each section

This Day in Jewish History / Finnish citizenship for ‘Mosaic Confessors’Haaretz

This Day in Jewish History / Finnish citizenship for ‘Mosaic Confessors’. Which led to the anomaly, in WWII, of a field synagogue in the Finnish camp 
See all stories on this topic »
This Day, December 22, In Jewish History by Mitchell A. LevinCleveland Jewish News (blog)

69: Emperor Vitellius is captured and murdered by the Gemonian stairs in Rome. Vitellius was the third of The Four Emperors. He would be succeeded 


This Day, December 22, In Jewish History by Mitchell A. LevinCleveland Jewish News (blog)

1095: Birthdate of Roger II whose reign over the Ki J ngdom of Sicily was unique for it religious tolerance which allowed native Jews, Byzantine 
This Day, December 21, In Jewish History by Mitchell A. LevinCleveland Jewish News (blog)
69: The Senate acknowledged Vespasian as emperor. This marked the end of the so-called The Year of the Four Emperors during which four 
See all stories on this topic »

This Day, December 21, In Jewish History by Mitchell A. LevinCleveland Jewish News (blog)

Seven years later, Conrad would be one of the leaders of the Second Crusade during which the Jewsof Mainz, Cologne and Worms were all attacked.
See all stories on this topic »
This Day in Jewish History / A writer and champion of Kafka diesHaaretz

This Day in Jewish History / A writer and champion of Kafka dies. Max Brod was a prolific writer in his own right, but is best known for defying Kafka’s 
See all stories on this topic »

Select Section Events, Jewish Life language german : Jüdische Nachrichten, Das Jüdische leben, Das Jüdische Museum 24JEWISH ALERTS large selection in each section

Israel Heute 297

Israelnetz Nachrichten vom 19.12.2013

Rabbiner Shlomo Appel ist gestorben – 20.12.2013 – ARD Mediathek

Audio Rabbiner Shlomo Appel ist gestorben – 20.12.2013: Eine traurige Nachricht aus Straubing hat uns gestern getroffen. Rabbiner Shlomo Appel ist 

Italienische Rabbiner würdigen “Wirbelwind Bergoglio”Kathweb

Vatikanstadt, 21.12.2013 (KAP) Mit der Wahl von Papst Franziskus haben sich nach Ansicht italienischer Rabbiner “beachtliche Herausforderungen

Niederkassel: Jüdisches Schicksal bewegt Ceci-SchülerRP ONLINE

Weil in Köln die Lage für Juden noch nicht so prekär war, zog sie zu einem Onkel ins Rheinland und begann eine Ausbildung zur Krankenschwester.

Aargauer «Judendörfer»: Schtetl im DornröschenschlafNeue Zürcher Zeitung

«Endingen und Lengnau, das ist die jüdische Urschweiz», erklärt Jules Bloch, der Präsident der Israelitischen Kultusgemeinde Endingen, welche die 

Heimatverein: Alte Grabplatte entdecktAugsburger Allgemeine

Nachdem Herbert Auer, Experte für jüdische Geschichte im Heimatverein Krumbach, von dem Fund erfuhr, machte er sich sofort daran, die jüdischen 
CDU vergaloppiert sich bei ihrer Kampagne gegen das Jüdische BundesPressePortal

(BPP) Bei der Archäologischen Zone / Jüdisches Museum Köln handelt es sich um das archäologisch und kulturgeschichtlich wichtigste Projekt des 
Alle Beiträge zu diesem Thema anzeigen »
Archäologische ZoneKölnische Rundschau

Im Streit um das gemeinsame Museum für die archäologische Zone und die Ausstellung zurjüdischen Geschichte auf dem Rathausplatz wird auch 
Alle Beiträge zu diesem Thema anzeigen »

Aargauer «Judendörfer»: Schtetl im DornröschenschlafNeue Zürcher Zeitung

Bis vor knapp 150 Jahren durften Schweizer Juden nur in zwei Aargauer Dörfern wohnen. Heute gibt es in Endingen und Lengnau kaum mehr 
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Der Aufstieg und Fall des Michail ChodorkowskiBZ

Die Eltern sind Juden, arbeiten als Chemiker, leben im Plattenbau. Die erste große Niederlage beim Berufswunsch: Chodorkowski will in der 
Alle Beiträge zu diesem Thema anzeigen »

Select Section Tanya Shiurim: 24JEWISH ALERTS large selection videos and feeds in each section

LESSONS IN TANYA: Sunday, December 22, 2013
Tevet 19, 5774 · December 22, 2013
Today’s Tanya Lesson
Likutei Amarim, beginning of Chapter 12

In the previous chapters, the Alter Rebbe defined the terms tzaddik and rasha. Thetzaddik, he explained, is one in whom the good qualities of his divine soul vanquish the evil qualities of his animal soul, to the extent of completely eradicating them. A rasha,conversely, is one in whom the evil qualities of his animal soul overcome the good of his divine soul, causing him to sin in thought, speech or action.

In this, the twelfth chapter, the term Beinoni — the “intermediate man” who is neither tzaddik nor rasha — will be defined. The Beinoni, the Alter Rebbe explains, is one whose practical conduct in thought, speech and action is dictated solely by the divine soul; it has the upper hand over the animal soul. The Beinoni accomplishes this by not allowing himself to be dominated in any way by the animal soul, even for the shortest duration, never thinking, speaking and surely not acting in a sinful manner. The garments of the divine soul alone — namely thought, speech and action in Torah andmitzvot — are those used by the Beinoni.

Nevertheless, with respect to the essence of the divine and animal souls, i.e., their respective faculties of intellect and emotion, the divine soul does not dominate the animal soul, and the latter remains powerful enough to arouse desires for physical matters. However, through constant vigilance the Beinoni keeps these desires in check, never permitting them any practical manifestation.

והבינוני הוא שלעולם אין הרע גובר כל כך לכבוש את העיר קטנה

The Beinoni (“intermediate man”) is he in whom the evil of the animal soulnever attains enough power to conquer the “small city” (i.e., the body, which is likened to a small city which the divine and animal soul both wish to dominate),

להתלבש בגוף להחטיאו

so as to clothe itself in the body and make it sin.

דהיינו ששלשת לבושי נפש הבהמית, שהם מחשבה דבור ומעשה שמצד הקליפה

That is to say, the three “garments” of the animal soul — namely thought, speech and action originating in the kelipah — (i.e., forbidden thought, speech and action, which derive their vitality from kelipah, as explained in previous chapters) are, in the Beinoni, so subdued that they

אין גוברים בו על נפש האלקית להתלבש בגוף

do not prevail within him over the divine soul to the extent of clothing themselves in the body

במוח ובפה ובשאר רמ״ח אברים, להחטיאם ולטמאם חס ושלום

— (neither) in the brain (so that the brain think forbidden thoughts with the animal soul’s garment of thought) nor in the mouth (to speak forbidden words — the garment of speech) nor in any of the other 248 organs (to act in a forbidden manner — the garment of action) — in none of these do the garments of the animal soul clothe themselves to cause them to sin and to defile them, G‑d forbid, (in which case he would be a rasha, not a Beinoni).

רק שלשה לבושי נפש האלקית הם לבדם מתלבשים בגוף, שהם מחשבה דבור ומעשה של תרי״ג מצות התורה

Only the three garments of the divine soul, they alone manifest themselves in the body, these being the thought, speech and action related to the 613 commandments of the Torah.

ולא עבר עבירה מימיו ולא יעבור לעולם

The Beinoni has never committed any transgression, nor will he ever transgress;

ולא נקרא עליו שם רשע אפילו שעה אחת ורגע אחד כל ימיו

the name “rasha” has never been applied to him, however temporarily, not even for a moment, throughout his life.

The Rebbe notes: “The question is well known.”; i.e., with regard to the statement that the Beinoni is one who has never transgressed, the following question is commonly raised:

Is it not possible, through repentance and subsequent divine service, that one attain the rank of Beinoni despite his previous sins? After repenting one can rise even to the level of tzaddik; surely, then, the rank of Beinoni is not beyond his reach!

The Rebbe answers this question in the following manner:

When the Alter Rebbe states that the Beinoni has never transgressed, he does not mean that the Beinoni never sinned in his life as a human being, but that in his life as a Beinoni he has no history of sin. The Beinoni’s present spiritual state is such that sin — in the past as well as in the future — has no place in his life. He would not sin even if he were subject to the same temptations and trials which led him to sin in the past. It is therefore true to state that from the perspective of his present state he has never sinned.

Likewise, the Alter Rebbe’s statement that the Beinoni “will never sin” is to be understood in the same vein. The intention is not that it is impossible for him to sin; he does not, after all, lose his freedom of choice. Rather, as explained above, his present state is such that it precludes his sinning in the future, despite the trials that the future may bring.

To be classified as a true Beinoni, one must fulfill these conditions. For if one’s spiritual state precludes his sinning only under present conditions, but he would succumb to sin were he subject to the temptations of the past or those the future may bring, then he is, in potentia, a rasha; he could and would sin, except that the prevailing circumstances are not sufficiently conducive for him to do so.

In the same vein, the Alter Rebbe concludes, “The name ‘rasha’ (referring to one who sins in thought, speech or action) has never (again, in his state of Beinoni) been applied to him, however temporarily…” For the Beinoni has reached a state where sin is precluded under any circumstances, whether of the past or future.

It remains to be understood, however, why such a lofty person is considered merely a Beinoni, not a tzaddik. This matter is now clarified.

The Tanya of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, elucidated by Rabbi Yosef Wineberg    More articles…  |   RSS Listing of Newest Articles by this Author

Translated from Yiddish by Rabbi Levy Wineberg and Rabbi Sholom B. Wineberg. Edited by Uri Kaploun.
Published and copyright by Kehot Publication Society, all rights reserved.

Select Section Shiurim Hayom Yom, Today’s Day ,Today’s Mitzvah : 24JEWISH ALERTS large selection videos and feeds in each section

Hayom Yom 15 Tevet 5774


“TODAY’S DAY”: Sunday, December 22, 20134


By Doron Salomon    Beth Habad Charenton-SMaurice
Tevet 19, 5774 · 12/22/2013
“Today’s Day”
Sunday Tevet 19 5703
Torah lessons: Chumash: Sh’mot, first parsha with Rashi.
Tehillim: 90-96.
Tanya: Ch. 12 The “intermediate (p. 47)…throughout his life.

Chabad chassidim have a tradition from generations, instituted by the Alter Rebbe, that every day we study a parsha of Chumash of that week’s sedra with Rashi. This was done by the Rebbe’im, too.

Compiled by the Lubavitcher Rebbe; Translated by Yitschak Meir Kagan   More articles…  |   RSS Listing of Newest Articles by this Author
Compiled and arranged by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, in 5703 (1943) from the talks and letters of the sixth Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, of righteous memory.

DAILY MITZVAH (Maimonides): Sunday, December 22, 2013
Today’s Mitzvah
Tevet 19, 5774 · December 22, 2013
A daily digest of Maimonides’ classic work “Sefer Hamitzvot”

Negative Commandment 317
Cursing One’s Fellow

“You shall not curse the deaf”—Leviticus 19:14.

It is forbidden to curse any Jewish person.

Why then does the Torah specifically prohibit cursing the deaf?

When a person is angered, the measures the person will take to quiet his anger depends on the severity of the (perceived) offense. Sometimes, he will suffice with cursing and shaming the offender. For a greater offense, the person will not be satisfied until he destroys all the offender’s property, or actually hurts or injures the individual. For the greatest of offenses, the victim’s fury will not be placated until he kills the one who hurt him.

Then there’s the smallest of angers. One that can be assuaged merely by cursing the offender—even while not in his presence, even if the offender will never become aware of the cursing.

By commanding us not to curse (even) the deaf, the Torah is telling us that it is forbidden to curse another even not in his presence, and even if he will never find out about the slight.

The reason for this mitzvah is that the Torah is concerned not only with the state of the one being cursed, but also with the state of the one who curses, and wants to ensure that he not become accustomed to harboring angry and vengeful thoughts.

Also included in this prohibition is that one may not even curse oneself.

Full text of this Mitzvah »

Positive Commandment 178
Giving Evidence

“And he is witness, whether he has seen or known of it”—Leviticus 5:1.

We are commanded to testify before the judges regarding matters we are aware of, whether we actually saw an event or heard about it. This is true regardless whether the testimony will cause financial loss for the person regarding whom we testify, or whether the testimony can save a person or his possessions.

One who refrains from giving evidence, is guilty of a grave sin.

Full text of this Mitzvah »

Listen Online | MP3 DownloadWant even more? These mitzvot are discussed at length in today’s three-chapter Maimonides study regimen.