Category Archives: Uncategorized

5 reasons you need to order foil pans from my son

Stock photo, similar to items being offered

Stock photo, similar to items being offered

My son is selling foil pans, plastic containers, and fancy paper and plastic plates. This is the fundraiser for his school’s 8th grade trip to Washington, D.C. in the spring. I’m reaching out to my blog readers to ask for your help. If you live within the Chicagoland area and are interested send me an email and I’ll reply with an order form and other details. I thank you, in advance for your help. Here are five reason Chicagoland residents need to order foil pans from my son:

  1. Foil pans are great percussion instruments if you put them upside down on a table.
  2. If you want to make brownies that have that crust on top (like on a brownie mix box) you have bake them in a foil pan.
  3. Foil pans are also “Snap Liof” backwards.
  4. You will be helping an a young adult visit our nation’s capital and see the cool sites from the “National Treasure” movie.
  5. They are great for cooking, baking, storing, and freezing food for upcoming holiday events.

You can email me at neilsharris@gmail.com and I’ll send you the forms. Your items will be delivered prior to or on September 3rd, 2013.

Initial review on the Jaffa Edition of Mesillas Yesharim

MY Jaffa

I received a copy of this new edition on 8/4/13. I currently own the classic Feldheim version, The Ofeq Institute’s Complete Mesillas Yesharim, and Rabbi Yakov Felman’s translation with commentary (highly recommended, if you can find it). I also have both “Lights Along the Way” by Dr. Rabbi Abraham J. Twerkski and “The Shmuz on Life- Stop Surviving and Start Living” by Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier, which are based on various teachings from Mesillas Yesharim.

I have read 30 pages (well into Chapter 1) of this new edition that Artscroll unveiled and it’s simply a treat for the soul. The commentaries, pulled from many baalei Mussar and other rabbinic sources ranging from the Rambam to the late Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe are refreshing and the text is formatted using the phrase-by-phrase translation, which is very helpful. Over the past 275 years many publishers and authors have given birth to many translations and commentaries of this book, but Artscroll has invested time and talent into making this new edition very reader friendly.

Artscroll and the authors and editors involved in the Jaffa Edition of Mesillas Yesharim have repackaged a familiar book and that will totally redefine how people will understand and experience this classic mussar work. While there are many self-help books on the market, both secular and Judaic, Mesillas Yesharim for many people is a seminal work.  Just glancing through this book, both the scholar and the student will begin to see this work in a whole new light. On the practical side, I found that the book wasn’t too heavy and is only 9×6 inches (the Daf Yomi editions of the Artscroll Tamud are 10×7). It’s small enough to carry with you, yet big enough that you don’t strain your eyes reading it. In an age that is saturated with many traditional Jewish works that are growth-oriented, I think this edition of Mesillas Yesharim will be a game changer in reintroducing a classic to the hearts and minds of today.

(Originally posted on Amazon.com)

5 Reasons why TorahAnytime Beta is awesome

A number of months ago I was asked to beta test the all new reloaded TorahAnytime.com. Their amazing website recently went live and here are 5 reasons it’s awesome.

1. Incredibly easy on the eyes. The site was designed so that you can easily see newly added videos and also navigate to different pages from the toolbar.
2. Videos shown by category. Lets say you are looking for a video shiur on the parsha, halacha, or from a Seder, just scroll down and see rows of videos that are available.
3. Member login and donations. On the Right side of the page it’s really easy to login. Just under that is info about making a donation. This site is constantly updated and it needs our support.
4. It’s all about the partners. Toward the bottom of the homepage on the right you’ll see logos/links of organizations and institutions that have partnered with TorahAnytime.com. One of the signs of any organization is that they are willing to share the credit.
5. It’s a great use of the web. If you are reading this post then you know that we can use technology to better who we are. TorahAnyTime does exactly that.

Free booklet- “Elul, Returning to Hashem” (link)

http://holysparks.org

http://holysparks.org

Hi, I was just told about this wonderful free booklet by a friend (he wrote the essay on page 13). As we move ourselves from mourning on Tisha B’Av and really look towards the Geulah (Redemption), our thoughts turn towards Elul and Tishrai. This exceptionally awesome booklet was compiled by someone living in Eretz Yisrael and this Breslov Research Institute has made it available to the public. It is very inspirational and helps keep us focused on the bigger picture of embracing our individual and national avodah of serving Hashem. Please take a look and tell your friends, too. The booklet is available here.

PS- Thanks for taking a look.

 

 

Postings upon the 20 yahrzeit of Reb Dovid

The 9th of Tamuz is the yahrzeit of Rabbi Dovid Lifshitz, Z”TL, the Suvalker Rav.

Micha Berger has a great post about Reb Dovid, his rebbe on his blog:
http://www.aishdas.org/asp/2013/06/veahavta-rebbe.shtml

There also is a nice article in the Jewish Press:
http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/my-rebbes-rebbe/2013/06/13/

Also, there is a story about him in my first blog post:
http://uberdox.blogspot.com/2006/04/mussar-from-haircut-wecome-to-my-first.html?m=1

May Reb Dovid’s neshama have an Aliyah.

Amazing pictures from Lithuania

Rabbi David Lapin, of iAwaken.org was recently in Lithuania and shared a number of really amazing photos on the iAwaken.org Facebook Page. I am only posting a few of the pictures.

 

Chofetz Chaim's Kever

Chofetz Chaim’s Kever

Chofetz Chaim's Kever

Chofetz Chaim’s Kever

Chofetz Chaim's Yeshiva in Radin

Chofetz Chaim’s Yeshiva in Radin

Chofetz Chaim's Yeshiva

Chofetz Chaim’s Yeshiva

R Shimon Shkop's kever

R Shimon Shkop’s kever

R Shimon Shkop's kever

R Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor’s kever

Reb Yisrael Salanter's Beis Medrash in Kovno

Reb Yisrael Salanter’s Beis Medrash in Kovno

Volozhin Yeshiva

Volozhin Yeshiva

The Plane Truth

I always try to find a positive outcome whenever I see things in the news that make Torah observant Judaism seem less than an ideal lifestyle. In the media, yesterday, I was saddened to hear about a group of senior yeshiva high school students who were escorted off an airplane. They were taken off the plane for not following federal laws regarding the use cell phones on airplanes. 

Many papers, news agencies, and CNN covered this story. Why? Because, like it or not, an observant Jew is always in the spotlight. It is part and parcel of our National mission to represent the will and sanctification of Hashem’s name. 
I have been on planes when people are still checking email or playing Angry Birds  despite the announcement to turn off all electronic devices. In essence, if you don’t follow this rule prior to take off, you are delaying the flight, which affects everyone on the flight. 
It is those times that we wrongly think that our own rights/needs supersedes the rights/needs of others what leads us astray. [You can tweet that]
As mentioned in this blog, written in articles, taught in yeshivos/day schools (hopefully) people are either givers or takers, as taught by Rav Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler zt’l. Throughout life you are one or the other. Unless you are living isolated in a cave or on an island by yourself, people are watching you and making judgements and assumptions based on your actions. 
Just last week, I was pulled over by a police officer because he thought I was driving while using a handheld device. It turned out, as he saw, that I was holding a chewy granola bar. However, I was extremely polite to him because I was representing our people. 
I can only guess that yesterday’s news was because we, well at least I , needed to be reminded of this plane truth (pun intended).