Monday, December 30, 2019

Judaism and Racism Part 1

In the wake of the Jersey City and Monsey attacks, first part (IYH) of an overview of Judaism and Racism. A Toras Dovid (former Ohr Somayach) shiur.

Soliciting Material for the Fourth Edition of TCE

B'ezras Hashem, Feldheim will issue a fourth edition this coming spring, in time for Daf Yomi Eruvin. If you have any comments, ideas, suggestions, stories, pictures etc. that would be suitable for inclusion, please share then with me ASAP. Thanks!

Thursday, December 26, 2019

My Seventh Siyum on Bavli

Snippets from my seventh siyum of Bavli earlier today. First snippets of the Menahel, Rabbi Berel Leiner שליט"א, then of my close friend from Kindergarten, Reb Aaron Berger נ"י. Then of myself making the siyum, and last but not least, snippets of the dancing. Thank you to Mr. Ian Nagel נ"י and to the entire YBH administration, for the vision and the orchestration of the event, which IYH will be a source of inspiration for the talmidim.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Two Answers to the Beis Yosef's question and Why We Eat Donuts on Chanukah

Image result for sufganiyah

The first answer is simple, and I am sure someone said it before me, but I have never seen it: Were Chanukah to be seven days, its Chanukiyah would have seven candles, and it is either forbidden or severely frowned upon to have a seven-branched candelabrum outside the Beis HaMikdash.

The second answer is more complex. It is based on the teshuvah on Yom Tov Sheni from the Cairo Genizah that we have been exploring for, so far, four sessions. The links to the videos are in recent posts on the blog. The teshuvah itself is at

The revolutionary idea in the teshuvah is that Yom Tov Sheni's origin is as a Tosefes Simchah to substitute as best as possible for the lacking aliyah la'regel:

הראשון הוא החובה מן התורה והשני הוא אשר הסכימו לקבל אותו עליהם בתמורה לעלייה לרגל ולקרבנות שאינם יכולים לעשות, כמו שנאמר ונשלמה פרים שפתינו, ולשמחה הגדולה בקיום המצווה שנצטוו עליה בדברי הכתוב ושמחת בחגך, המתוארת בדברי הכתוב השיר יהיה לכם כליל התקדש חג ושמחת לבב כהולך בחליל וגו' כדי לבקש בזה את קרבת האל וכדי לשקוד על ההודאה על חסדיו ולבקש את קיום הבטחתו להחזירם אל ארץ ישראל וכדי להיזכר בשמחה הגדולה החסרה, כדי שלא תישכח, כמו שנאמר אם אשכח ירושלם וגו' תדבק לשוני לחיכי וגו'.ג

The teshuvah goes on to say that the introduction of two days of Purim was only possible, and based on, the minhag nevi'im  of Yom Tov Sheni! So, although Chanukah was introduced in Eretz Yisroel, Chazal foresaw that this would be the quintessential chag of Galus, and that its hadlakah would be the long-lasting substitute for Hadlokas HaNeiros in the Beis HaMikdash (see the Ramban at the beginning of Beha'aloscha). They therefore added a day for the same reasons that the teshuvah gives for Yom Tov Sheni.

ולפי"ד we have an answer to the Chida's question in Birkei Yosef 670:2:

הקשה הרא"ם בתוספותיו אמאי לא מדלקינן ט' ימים מספק וכו'. ע"ש. וכבר עמד על זה בספר העתים והביאו בספר ארחות חיים. ותירץ דהטעם לפי שחנוכה מדבריהם לא החמירו כל כך. וכן תירץ הרב פר"ח ושאר אחרונים. ודבריהם תלמוד ערוך במנחות דף ס"ח ע"ב, דר' פפא ור' הונא בריה דרב יהושע אכלי חדש באורייתא דשיתסר נגהי שיבסר קסברי חדש בח"ל דרבנן ולספיקא לא חיישינן, רבנן דבי רב אשי אכלי בצפרא דשיבסר קסברי חדש בח"ל דאורייתא. הרי מוכח דלכ"ע במידי דרבנן לא חיישינן לספיקא דיומא. ואחר זמן ראיתי למורינו הרב הנז' בבית ועד דאייתי סוגיא הנז'.ז

According to our explanation, there is no ninth day of Chanukah because its Yom Tov Sheni is the eighth day!

As to donuts... 

דאנוט in gimatriya is 70=סוד. That is why we must eat a filled donut, because of the nes nistar of the victory of Am Yisroel over the Greeks. But סופגניה in gimatriya is 214=חור. That is why we must also eat a donut with a hole in the middle, and that represents the nes nigleh of the pach shemen. So one must be machmir and eat both types of donuts on Chanukah. The only weak point in this explanation is that stam donut is one with a whole, while stam sufganiyah is one with a filling, so the representations seem reversed, וצע"ג. 

ואולי יש ליישב בדוחק שיש כאן רמז לבחינת ונהפוך הוא אשר ישלטו היהודים המה בשונאיהם, ודו"ק.ג

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Sunday, December 15, 2019

A Revolutionary Take on Yom Tov Sheni, A Teshuvah from the Cairo Genizah...

Third in a series (IYH) on Minhag Avoseihem b'Yedeihem/Al Teshanu Min ha'Minhag.You can find the teshuvah at

All audio recordings have been fixed - Yerushalmi Online

All audio recordings have been fixed - Yerushalmi Online

As of December 14, 2019 all Yerushalmi audio recordings that have been missing or incorrect were replaced with new recordings done by Rabbi Bechhofer. The updated recording are marked in orange color in database and have their new dates shown. Enjoy.

Yasher koach to Reb Eli Gurevich נ"י on his tremendous efforts to further the learning of Yerushalmi. Dozens of people have contacted me over the years to express their hakoras hatov for being able to learn Yerushalmi through these shiurim. May our collaboration continue to make the Yerushalmi accessible to more and more learners.

A special thank you to my cousin, Reb Aharon Robbins נ"י, who drove me to complete the missing and incorrect shiurim and recorded them with me.

Thanks again to the original מסיימים of Daf Yomi Yerushalmi with me, Reb Joel Zuger ז"ל and יבדלו לחיים טובים וארוכים, Rabbi Meyer Magence and Dr. David Spindel.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Kol Isha, Recorded or on the Radio

Second in a series (IYH) of shiurim on the teshuvot of Rav Ovadia Yosef zt"l in the new volume of Yechaveh Da'at (vol. 7). A Toras Dovid (former Ohr Somayach) shiur.


Monday, December 02, 2019

Birchas HaGomel and Dreams

First in a series (IYH) of shiurim on the teshuvot of
Rav Ovadia Yosef zt"l
in the new volume of
Yechaveh Da'at (vol. 7).