Monthly Archives: March 2009

Sunday’s Salanter Selection

 Rabbi Yisrael Salanter use to say:  When a child plays with a piece of wood in the bath, and he pretends that it is a ship, if we take the piece of wood away from him he has the same experience as an adult would have if a real ship of his sunk.  For the child, the piece of wood is like an adult’s ship.  When an adult interferes in a child’s play, he steals something from the child. (From Zeriah ubinyan bechinuch by R Shlomo Wolbe z”tl, translated as Planting and Building by R Leib Kelemen)

There are times when we ask our kids to stop playing a game or a Lego construction breaks and our children get upset.  Until I read this, my reaction usually was, “It’s only a game.” or “You can build it again”.  R Salanter shows great insight into the mind of a child, because what he is playing or pretending is his reality.  Hopefully, showing sensitivity to our children when they are young will help them grow to be sensitive to others.

Pesach Shopping

I happen to love Pesach shopping. I know that in most stores it is a zoo, with people grabbing everything off the shelves, but you also get to see a lot of Jews who might not always buy Kosher items during the year. It’s a great opportunity to remember that being polite to other shoppers can be a really big Kiddush Hashem.

(Originally posted on the Facebook group Middos Tovos ) 

R Aryeh Levin article in Hamodia

Hamodia has a great article about R Aryeh Levin zt’l that realy show you why he was a true Tzaddik.
This story was amazing:

I remember another time when Reb Aryeh asked a woman who had come to visit him to give him a brachah that he shouldn’t have to be helped by his children.

Copyright 2009 by Hamodia

I was surprised by him asking such a brachah – he had such chashuvah children, his sons Harav Rafael, Harav Yaakov and Harav Shlomo, and his sons-in-law, Harav Yudelevitz, Harav Yaakobovitz, Harav Elyashiv and Harav Palchinsky, all geonim and talmidei chachamim – so why did Reb Aryeh think it would be so bad if he was helped by them? And why should Reb Aryeh ask for a brachah from this unknown woman in the first place?

After the woman left the room, Reb Aryeh, who had noticed my surprise, explained.

“This woman is a widow who didn’t merit having any children. I was worried that when she saw my grandchildren and great-grandchildren it would make her own sorrow more intense. I therefore tried to ease her grief by showing her that despite my many descendants, a person prefers to care for himself.”

Indeed, after giving the brachah, the widow finally smiled.

Reb Aryeh Levin’s sensitivity is inspiring.  Read the article here .

A letter to my Daughter

Dear [First Name] [Middle Name],

You are now past the middle part of your first grade year and just got your siddur. You came home from school so excited about your “siddur party” and were so proud of yourself.  Mommy and I are very proud, as well.  On Shabbos night we sat together on the sofa, while your older brother played with your younger sister.  I went to the bookshelf and brought down a siddur that belonged to my grandfather, your great-grandfather.  It was printed in 1857, so it’s 152 years old.  This is probably the oldest thing we have in our home.  It’s way older than, even, me!

We sat and opened up this very old siddur and I showed you that it was printed in a place called Vienna, Austria.  Vienna, interestingly enough is where Mommy’s dad, your Zaide a’h was from.  We looked at the tefillos and I showed you that the same things that you daven from your new siddur are also in this very old siddur…even Sh’ma!

I’ll give this letter to you when you are older and, hopefully, will appreciate the idea that are past, present, and future are all connected to davening to Hashem and when you open a siddur you are opening your heart!



Sunday’s Spark of Mussar

Rav Yisrael Meir Kagen, the Chofetz Chaim
R’ Yisrael Salanter once spoke in Vilna about the severity of the sin of loshon hora, and proclaimed, “Would that some chochom would write a sefer about the laws of loshon hora.”  R’ Yisrael Meir heard the words and undertook the task of writing the book, which he called Chofetz Chaim.
From Sparks of Mussar by R Chaim Ephraim Zaitchik