Friday, April 30, 2010

Great Post, Wonder Who Wrote It?

New York - Where Is The Mass Outpouring For Our Lost Kids?

Published on: April 30th, 2010 at 12:16 PM

New York - While our community leaders are busy dealing with the very important issues of helping Rubashkin, Grossman, and other communal issues – there is something happening each week and each day that is receiving very little coverage.

It is a ticking time bomb that is about to explode. Many of our kids have lost their direction.

Yeshiva boys are driving on Shabbos. Not only secretly, but out in the open. They are also smoking on Shabbos. Girls and boys are texting on Shabbos and using their iPods on Shabbos too. Our Yeshiva boys are smoking pot. Yes – pot.

Somehow, someway, we have failed to inspire our children in the traditions of our forefathers – to love Hashem and His Torah.

And it is not just the fringe kids. These are children from good families. Good homes.

The blight is happening across the nation, from California to Monsey to Lakewood and Flatbush. A doctor friend of mine recently observed that one of his patients was not wearing Tzitzis. He commented to the young man about it. The young man responded, “Tzitzis? I just woke up. I am not even holding by Tefillin anymore. Tzitzis is nothing..”

We have on our hands a problem of devastating proportion – the new assimilation that we last saw one hundred years ago when our great-grandparents first steeped foot on the shores of this country. Every Rabbi, every Yeshiva, every Torah organization should be having emergency meetings about it. But they aren’t.

I spoke to a Chassidish business colleague and to my utter shock – they are having the same problems in their communities. Their kids are falling and the Rebbes aren’t talking about it.

Rubashkin may be facing 25 years in jail and that is important. But where are the mass meetings about our fallen children? Where are the petitions and Youtube videos about our sons and daughters? I want a mass tehillim rally. I want to hear our community leaders talking about this.

The problem is so pervasive that there is probably not a Yeshiva in New York without a Pot problem or a “not davening” or “not putting on Tefillin” problem. So why aren’t we talking about it? If it is not spoken about – it won’t be addressed. If it is not addressed, we will lose our children and grandchildren forever. Not just for 25 years but forever.

Agudah, Torah UMesorah, where are you?? I await any response.

You can view this article online at

Lemeidin min Halameid

Just FYI:

Shittas HaBavli is that ein lemeidim min ha'lameid is only a din in Kodashim. Shittas HaYerushalmi is that it is universal (according to R' Yishmael; R' Akiva argues). The Bavli is in Menachos 49b and 57a. The Yerushalmi is in Shabbos 2:1; Sanhedrin 7:5, and primairly in Kiddushin 2:1 (5b in the Vilna edition):

תלמוד ירושלמי מסכת קדושין דף ה/ב
אמה העבריה שהיא קונה את עצמה בסימנים הנרצע נקנה ברציעה וקונה את עצמו ביובל ובמיתת האדון:
גמ' כתיב (דברים טו) כי ימכר לך אחיך העברי או העבריה הקיש עברי לעברייה מה עברייה נקנית בכסף ובשטר אף עברי נקנה בכסף ובשטר ניחא בכסף דכתיב (שמות כא) ויצאה חנם אין כסף בשטר מנלן עברייה למידה מבת חורין ועברי למד מעברייה נמצא למד מלמד עד כדון כרבי עקיבה דאית ליה למד מן הלמד כרבי ישמעאל דלית ליה למד מן הלמד אשכח תני רבי ישמעאל להא מילה (ויקרא יט ץ) וחפשה מלה חפשי מחופשה בכלי אתר לית ליה לרבי ישמעאל למד מן הלמד והכא אית ליה לר' ישמעאל תני לה בשם חכם מנן תיתי רבי ישמעאל שילוח שילוח מה שילוח שנאמר להלן בשטר אף כאן בשטר ולא דמיא תמן רבי מתנייה מכירה מכירה מה מכירה שנאמר להלן בשטר אף כאן בשטר

(Sha'arei Toras Eretz Yisrael p. 135)

Havdala She'eilah

On the 7th night of Pesach, a Sunday night, someone approached me with the following question:

He had made kiddush already, had already began eating, and suddenly realized he had not heard Havdalah the previous night after Shabbos. What should he do?

Having no access to seforim, I intuitively answered that he should bentch al ha'kos and make havdala on that kos in the Yom Tov nusach - viz., "Bein Kodesh l'Kodesh."

When I cam home after Yom Tov, I discovered that this is an issue in a Magen Avrohom (from a Shlah), and that the Be'ur Halacha leaves the matter with a "tzarich iyun gadol", but that in my psak I was mechavein to RSZA (not the after bentching part - that was my idea, the BKl"K). Baruch she'kivaniti!

This is the Be'ur Halacha:

ביאור הלכה סימן רצט ד"ה ולקבל
מי שמתענה ב' ימים וב' לילות קודם ר"ה [ולא היה לו במו"ש ממי לשמוע הבדלה דאם היה לו דעת האחרונים דטוב יותר לעשות כך] ומבדיל בליל ג' ואירע בו ר"ה כתב המג"א דיעשה הבדלה על כוס אחד וקידוש על כוס אחר ולא יעשה שניהם על כוס אחד דאין אומרים שתי קדושות על כוס אחד אלא ביו"ט שחל במו"ש דתרוייהו חדא מילתא היא עי"ש שהאריך עוד בענין הזה ולענ"ד יש לעיין בעיקר הענין טובא אם יכול עתה לעשות הבדלה דהאיך יסיים עתה בהברכה המבדיל בין קודש לחול אחרי שעתה הוא קודש [ולסיים עתה בין קודש לקודש ג"כ לא יתכן כמו ביו"ט שחל במו"ש אחרי שזו הבדלה הוא על של ימי החול] וכמו דאמרינן בגמרא [ק"ו ע"א] דאין להבדיל רק עד יום ג' משום דאח"כ כבר עבר השבת קודש שעבר ותו מקרי יומא דקמי שבתא דלהבא וע"כ אין לומר המבדיל בין קודש לחול דכבר עבר הקודש וא"כ ה"נ בעניננו איך יאמר המבדיל בין קודש לחול כיון דעתה הוא קודש וכבר עברו ימי החול וצע"ג:

RSZA's psak can be deduced from footnotes in the SSK, but is explicit in the Shulchan Shlomo ad loc. cit. se'if 6 note 11. He says that although on a regular Motzo'ei Shabbos one who says BKl"K isn't yotzei, in this case: זו הבדלה של היום

Speaking Schedule

I sent this out as an email, so it is formatted in that manner. Please consider acting on it yourself, or sharing it with the relevant person(s) in your community. Thank you very much!

Shalom Rav!

I am in the process of organizing my speaking and lecturing schedule for the upcoming summer and autumn. I have Baruch Hashem a large and varied repertoire of topics and programs, and have been Baruch Hashem very well received in many venues, including shul and hotel scholar-in-residence events and programs. Please contact me to arrange for me to be Marbitz Torah in your shul.

My phone number is 845.216.1617, and my email address is

Below is a brief bio and information on my online resources.

Thank you very much.

Kol Tuv,

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer

Rabbi Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer is a Maggid Shiur at Yeshivas Ohr Somayach in Monsey, NY and a Rebbe at the Mesivta of Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchok Elchonon (commonly known as MTA) in New York. He is also an editor at Artscroll/Mesorah Publications, at work on the Daily Dose project. Rabbi Bechhofer has served as a Rav, Rebbe and Rosh Kollel in the Chicago and New York areas.

Rabbi Bechhofer is one of the few individuals to have served as Maggid Shiur for both Daf Yomi Bavli and Daf Yomi Yerushalmi, completing both. He is also a senior lecturer for the Aishdas Society, an association devoted to more profound understanding and experience of all aspects of Talmud Torah and Avodas Hashem. He has served as a guest Maggid Shiur, scholar in residence, and lecturer in numerous venues, including Alberta, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Ontario, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin, Israel and England. He is a prolific author. He has published many essays in major Orthodox Jewish periodicals. His published seforim are: The Contemporary Eruv: Eruvin in Modern Metropolitan Areas, Bigdei Shesh on Bava Basra, and Bigdei Shesh on Sefer Shoftim. Well over one thousand tapes of his lectures and shiurim (including the entire Yerushalmi) are available on tape and online (see

Rabbi Bechhofer learned in many yeshivos, including Sha’alvim, Ner Yisroel and both Mirrer yeshivos. He received Semicha from Rabbi Yitzchok Koolitz, Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, and Rabbi Zalman Nechemiah Goldberg, Av Beis Din of Jerusalem. He holds an M.S. in Education (concentration in Counseling and Guidance) from Johns Hopkins University. Rabbi Bechhofer and his wife, Dr. Shani M. Bechhofer, a professor of Jewish Education, have six children and live in Monsey.

Many of Rabbi Bechhofer's shiurim and lectures are available online in either audio or video formats at:

I did not write the article or the response, but I agree with the response: Hashgacha Pratis

The Great Miracle of the Volcano Shutdown

A universal crisis, millions of people stranded, billions of dollars lost, and one volcanic eruption in Iceland causes chaos across the European continent. Within all this tumult, one Jew merits a smile from the Creator of the World, as if G-d was whispering to him - My son, the whole world was not created except for you כל העולם לא נברא אלא בשבילי.

The story begins with a young Yeshiva student, an 18 year old Yerushalmi, who was mortally ill with fulminate hepatic failure.

With little hope of receiving a liver transplant in Israel, Rav Firer sought to send the boy on an emergency flight to Brussels, the world center of liver transplants. The only problem however, is that Brussels under no circumstances transplants non-EU patients, in order to save the scanty supply of livers for Europeans. Nevertheless, it was decided to send him to Brussels despite this knowledge.

The young student had no choice but to include his name on the long waiting list for a liver transplant. In the meantime, he tried to maintain his learning despite the illness, consciously aware that it would takes weeks, months, and even years till he will be able to be given a new liver. Many patients were on the waiting list, and his name was somewhere on the bottom... And when his turn would finally arrive, it had to completely match his blood type and other medical criteria. If not a perfect match, he'd need to continue waiting ... for a miracle.

However, רבות מחשבות בלב איש ועצת ה' היא תקום Many thoughts in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of H-Shem shall stand. H-Shem had a different plan for this young Yeshiva student and H-Shem's loyal servants produced avalanches of hot ash, rock and gas, causing Europe to completely shut down its skies into a no-fly zone. It was during this time that a young Yerushalmi was sitting in the yeshiva learning Torah in the capital of Belgium.

During the course of the shut-down airspace above Europe, a person died in the hospital in the capital of Belgium, a person who had agreed to donate his liver to anyone that might need it. Astonishingly, a liver that was perfectly parametric for our young Yeshiva student.

Health authorities in Belgium began searching the liver transplant waiting list, but ‘unfortunately’ not even one patient was able to fly into Belgium for the healthy liver due to the volcanic eruption.

As they advanced further on the waiting list, they reached the young Yeshiva student, but it was not offered to him due to his lack of citizenship. As the clock closed in on the deadline for time within which the liver would still be viable, however, no one else was able to arrive in Belgium for the transplant except this young Yerushalmi.

With clear Divine Intervention, this budding talmid chacham received the liver and is now recovering from surgery.

The enormity of this miracle was even greater after the successful transplant. The doctors said that the young student's liver was very deteriorated and diseased, and it was a matter of days before it would have stopped functioning completely. The doctors unanimously believe that if he had had to continue waiting for a transplant, he would not have survived.

Who can understand the Ways of HKB'H?


I have a real problem with these stories in general, and I guess this case really underscores why. Just imagine the other stories that are not being circulated on the internet. Young mother/child/groom/ whoever on waiting list, desperate for transplant, the right liver finally available and s/he finally on top of the list – but could not fly to Belgium due to the volcano and, r”l, passed away. I don’t know what happened to whom regarding this liver, but neither do those circulating this story know whose heart could be breaking as they read it. Hashem’s ways are indeed mysterious and above our logical comprehension systems. But let’s not pretend that the hashgacha always works out for the apparent good of everyone affected.

I happen to think we in our generation, and especially from an educational standpoint our young people, are more in need of examples of tziduk hadin and moving forward in life despite disappointment, loss and suffering, than we are in need of further gushes of chicken soup for our already entitlement-ridden souls. Because this genre has become so ubiquitous, and we are encouraging people to identify (as if they could!) ‘hashgacha pratis’ in their lives, I fear we are weakening rather than strengthening the kind of emuna needed to make it through the real lives most of us lead, the ones in which people die, illness hurts, and hopes are dashed, at least sometimes. I find these kinds of stories dangerous, not only because they promote magical thinking and reinforce theological beliefs of dubious basis in authoritative Jewish sources, but because they reinforce some sort of fantasy that we can ignore the gemara about kesheim shemevarchin al hatov etc. When young people raised on this intellectual diet of gruel actually encounter challenges in life, will they have the keilim, and the examples, to integrate them into their mindset and avodas Hashem? Will they conclude, consciously or unconsciously, that they are unworthy because miracles didn’t happen for them? Will they feel cheated out of the hashgacha protis they have been guaranteed and end up angry at their religion r”l?

I don’t know, I just feel sometimes we in the frum community live in a haze of wishful thinking we have allowed and sometimes even encouraged. I don’t mean to be a downer but to say, let’s recognize and fix our problems rather than distracting ourselves from them. For every heartwarming story circulated I’d like to see at least one story that calls us to action, and I mean action to take responsibility for our dysfunctionalities. If only the energy put into the campaign to save Shalom Rubashkin from being overly punished for his crimes could be equally put into a campaign to rid ourselves of corruption and fraud and teach the importance of transparency, integrity, and accountability. I am seriously considering contacting the guy who started the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation and encouraging him to start a new prong of the movement aimed towards Emes and Yashrus.