Photo courtesy of YU
Jewish Action, the magazine of the OU, published an excellent article about the slowly brewing “trend” of Neo-Chassidus in mainstream Orthodox circles. There’s some fantastic quotes from Rav Moshe Weinberger in the article. Here’s one:
“Many of the off-the-derech youth,” he says, “are not running away from authentic Yiddishkeit; they simply never met it.”
The article touches on many different flavors and instruments within this trend. I know, as someone who as been hearing Rav Weinberger’s shiur for 17 years, that certain aspects of Neo-Chassidus work for me. The fact that the OU dedicated an article to it means that hundreds, if not thousands, in OU shuls and beyond might get a little insight into what makes so a bit more excited about their observance. The article can be found here.
Also, a close friend directed me to an interview with Rav Weinberger here.
Every month or so I am completely speechless when it somes to my children’s chinuch. I find myself left without words, not because my children’s education as been ruined by “the system”, but because I’m astounded by how fortunate they are to be learning so many important things that are not always found in a textbook.
A few weeks ago my daughter in second grade told me after shul on Shabbos that she was “mevater (gave up) her lollypop to her older brother”. I was speechless. Not because she gave up a lollypop (althought that was impressive), but because she rocked the term “mevater”. It isn’t a word that gets used a lot in conversation. In fact, I think I’ve only used the term maybe 3 times in my entire adult life. I’m not against the concept of being mevater, however despite the book, Let’s Learn Middos 4: Being Mevater (which we don’t own), I don’t often think of it as a middah. Maybe I should.
For a child (or this blogger) it’s important to understand that “giving up” something can be a good thing. Selflessness, chessed, and understanding what we need vs. what we want are part of growing up. For me, it might also be prudent to be mevater certain inhibitions and notions I have about my own abilities. Can one be mevater the things that hold one back from their Avodas Hashem? Probably, but you have to know yourself and what why you are not doing what you should be doing. Of course, a true student of Reb Nachman of Breslov will comment that one should “never give up hope”, but you could give up what’s blocking you from hope.
For a second grader to understand that all isn’t lost when you give up some candy is an important lesson and one that her Morah has successfully taught. I know the lesson was a success because everyone in my family is on the “mevatar-bandwagon”.
I am always happy when I read something that makes me feel good about myself and what my potential is. This is one of the things at attracted me to mussar seforim. That knowledge of our potential also attracted me to the teaching of Reb Nachman of Breslov. While I own a number of Breslov seforim, I’ll be the first to say that I’m no where near the level of calling myself a chossid of Reb Nachman. I do, however, get a lot of mussar and chizuk from his teachings.
R Lazer Brody recently posted a fantastic essay on the importance of Believing in Yourself. It always amazes me that Hashem allows me to hear a d’var Torah or read something that happens to be exactly what I needed at that time. R Brody’s post was one of those things that I needed to read today.
Here’s a taste of what he says:
Observant Judaism is also like a war. The Yetzer, or Evil Inclination, has an array of weapons and forces at his disposal, to deter and discourage a person from making Tshuva, or to break the heart of a person who’s trying to effectively become a ben- or bat-Torah. If you believe in yourself, you’ll be able to wipe the floor with the Yetzer.
The whole essay in all of its glory can be found here.
Ever feel like you’ve hit a wall and you really have only one option and that option is to just break through said wall?
I’m sure you have. Most of us do. The problem I have, is that I’ve realized that the wall happens to be a mirror and my own reflection is what’s stopping me.
There’s no easy way to say it. It stinks, like the skunk I happened to have ran over the other day. The smell just lingers. I tend, when all is said (or written) and done, to be the one real wall. I am the person who holds myself back from my own goals. Like the many people that read this and don’t comment, I end to chose silence over real action.
Without getting to personal (I leave all the personal chizonius for Facebook), for all of the hours spent in hisbodedus and reading Mussar seforim, I, and all the pleasant insecurities that make me who I am, are the wall that keeps me from going forward.
Reb Nachman said it like this from Likkutei Moharan 2:119:
This world is like a little coin that is before one’s eyes and blocks out a great mountain. One can easily move the coin aside and see the mountain
I just need to grab hold of the coin and put it into the pocket of my khaki pants.
A Simple Jew posted today about a new website by R Dovid Sears called “Solitude-Hisbodedus”. It has great reading material, including a very interesting profile of Novardok and it’s derech in Mussar. Here’s a sample
Just as he spent days and nights in hisbodedus (solitude and contemplation) in a room, or deep in the forest, so did he demand that his talmidim do the same. Thus, a room designated as the beis hamussar was installed in every Mussar-oriented yeshivah, where one could search his inner-self and study Mussar in privacy, whenever the need was felt.
The entire entry is available here .
As sent to me by Ruby Harris:
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Saturday June 14 at Ezras Israel 7001 N California Ave (corner of Lunt) (773) 764-8320: Talk on weekly parshah at 12:00 p.m. after Mechitza Minyan services; Class for Women at 4:00 p.m. THE SECRET OF THE MENORA
Saturday Night June 14 at 10:00 p.m. Musical Café at Young Israel of West Rogers Park 2706 W Touhy,773-743-4900 with Reb Avraham and Ruby Harris. Suggested Donation: $10. Pizza available MUSICAL CAFE MELAVEH MALKA
Sunday June 15, 11:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. at Cook County Forest Preserve, Morton Grove with Ruby Harris and Reb Avraham. Books, autographs, concerts, food and fun GREATER CHICAGO JEWISH FOLK ARTS FESTIVAL
Sunday June 15 at 8:15 p.m. at home of Dr. Julian Ungar 3100 west North Shore (Parkside Estates Complex: Enter from Pratt ADVANCED CLASS ON TEACHINGS OF RABBI NACHMAN 7) Monday June 16 at 8:00 p.m. at Adas Yehuda V’Shoshana (Aysh) 2548 Jasper Court, Sarah Potash Circle, Northbrook IL Phone: (847) 509-9204 PROPHETIC BLUEPRINT FOR THE COMING AGE: EZEKIEL’S ROADMAP
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In line during a very hectic, draining, and busy week for me. I didn’t even read much on anything online, including email. Part of my week took me to the post office. While waiting in line I saw the follow quote from Benjamin Franklin (who’s writings, BTW, influenced this sefer):
Energy and persistence conquer all things.
This happened to be one of several things that I needed to read and think about this week. These also hit home:
Never despair. It is forbidden to give up hope! -Reb Nachman
There is no greater illness than discouragement.- Rabbi Yisrael Lipkin of Salant
Impossible Is Nothing!- Current ad campaign for Adidas
Have a great Shabbos Kodesh!
Pick a, b, or c and have fun!!
The other day I was ________ and I was reminded about very deep mussar concept that is usually overlooked.
a) thinking about Star Wars
b) listening to an old hardcore punk rock album
c) reading either R Hirsch or R Dessler
Interestingly enough this concept was manifested in something my kids _______ last night before bedtime.
I was then reminded of a story about ________ that had a profound impact on me when I was becoming Torah observant.
a) R Yisrael Salanter
b) R Nachman of Breslov
The story has to do with how we use our ________ to the best of our abilities.
b) unique talents
c) free wireless connections
This lesson isn’t really focused on so much in ________, but really starts at home.
a) the yeshiva/day school system
b) most blogs
c) your average kehillah
I guess, in the end, getting to know yourself can be a pretty difficult job. Thanks for reading. An actually post will be popping up soon.
Black Hat tip from Dixie Yid (in fact the post is copied from him).
It’s bad new for the Jews in Uman.
Rabbi Lazer Brody has the full story on what is going on with the corrupt Ukranian government officials that is threatening Jewish ownership and control of the Shul and area by Rebbe Nachman’s kever in the Ukraine. You must read this and then please, contact your Senators, congressman, and the President to ask them to please intervene with the Ukranian government to save Uman!
Regardless of where you live, you can contact them at the following links.
Use THIS LINK to find and contact your Congressman in the House of Representatives.
And CLICK HERE to e-mail or call your Senator about this.
And CLICK HERE to e-mail, call or write the President of the U.S. to ask him to intervene in this scandalous matter with the Ukranian government.
UPDATE: Here are the specific names that you should either contact or ask your representatives to contact. This is from R’ Akiva at Mpaths.com.
Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States:Dr. Oleh SHAMSHUR,
“Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary”Mr. Olexandr ALEKSANDROVYCH,
Embassy Minister-Counselor on Economic, Cultural, and Informational issues.Dr. Olexandr SCHERBA, Embassy Political Department – Counselor to Congress & Jewish organizations.Contact info: Ukrainian Embassy to the United States -tel:1-202-333-0606, fax:1-202-333-0817
For more info read this.
This year I am trying to remember the chessed and Tov that Hashem is constantly showing me. Here are a few highlights of my Rosh Hashanah…
- Erev R”H my family got a call from the Chicago Center for Torah and Chessed, as part of calling post, to remind us to make an erev tavshulin.
- Our neighbor brought us some amazing fried chicken from this place.
- A good family friend gave us a new challah knife as a “segulah” for parnasah in the upcoming year
- We shared the majority of our meals with very close friends
- My son joined me under my tallis for duchenning both days
- Our baalei tefillah used excellent niggunim on both days
- My shul’s Rav used a Reb Nachman story (the king’s wheat supply makes everyone insane, so he and his advisor mark their heads so they know they remember they are insane) on his first day drasha and based his second day drasha totally on an idea from Rav Soloveitchik.
- The following items made by Mrs. Uberdox: Challah, soup, stuffed chicken, Caesar salad w/ steak (better than Dougie’s), and the Chocolate Trifle
- Number of Kohanim in my minyan-6; number of Kohanim sporting velvet kippot-2; number of Kohanim sporting knitted kippot-3; number of Kohanim sporting a seude kippah-1; Number of Kohaim rocking a kittel-1; Being blessed by representatives from Klal Yisrael-PRICELESS
- Shabbos Mussaf also was way beyond what I expected with a great kiddusah. And I got to make a l’chaim with this.
- Motzei Shabbos my wife found that we had a flat tire in the Ubervan. I took it, along with my copy of Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh, to Sam’s Club to get a new tire on Sunday. So, I admit, I had a Bilvavi moment when I started telling myself, “Ribbono shel olam, I know clearly that when I buy this new tire, I do not have control at all as to which tire I will end up buying, but it is all by Your decree.” In then end I ended up with a “Goodyear“. Hopefully this will be a “siman” as well.