Monthly Archives: April 2010

First hand details about the Alter of Slabodka

This building that might have been the

Yeshiva of Slabodka

“Knesses Yisrael”

(picture from here)

I almost had to make sure I wasn’t dreaming, when I download and started listening to the recording of an interview with former Slabodka talmid, and founder of Yeshiva Ner Israel, Rav Yaakov Yitzchok Ruderman zt’l.

The recording of R Ruderman is available here.  The mp3 is a series of questions and answers about the Alter of Slabodka, Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel conducted by students from Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim, prior to 1987 (when R Ruderman was niftar)

Topics discussed include:

  • Churmas/Being Machmir
  • Individuality
  • Limud haMussar in America
  • The Atler’s outlook
  • A personal story about the Alter’s reaction when R Ruderman bought a tallis katon
  • R Ruderman’s view of what needs the biggest tikun in America

Even if you are not so inclined to hear first hand memories about the Alter of Slabodka, it’s worth it to listen to this interview, so that you can hear and experience the love and kavod that a talmid has for his rebbe.

(Post updated with new link on 1/28/18)


This past Pesach was the first time that I, along with my brother, recited  Yizkor for my father a’h. While the text of Yizkor is moving, the idea behind it is that we should donate to a charity in memory of a loved on, as a merit for their soul (I donated to my shul and also to an organization dedicated towards Jewish self-growth).

Being able to say Kaddish daily, in all honesty, helps keep me thinking about my father.  Minyan attendance has always been a struggle for me, but I’m hanging in there.  For those who have moved past period of aveilus, I can see how saying Yizkor, helps them keep the memory of a loved one “alive”.

For me, I’ve found that dedicating a mussar chevrusa in my father’s memory has also been comforting. It’s a measurable way that I know I’m doing something.  Just last week, someone donated a gift certificate to a Jewish book store to me, with the intent that I should purchase a Pirkei Avos (Ethics of the Fathers) to learn in memory of my father. I was touched by this gesture especially because the person who made the donation has asked remained anonymous. 

I’m sure that whatever charity dontated, mitzvos performed, or learning that one does in zechus of a neshama allows one to connect with the memories of those who has gone on to the Olam HaEmes.

Free MP3 Shiur by R Moshe Weinberber on Raising Hashem’s Children

Sent to me from the Aish Kodesh Audio email list:

Dear Chaveirim,

During the first days of Pesach, Rav Weinberger almost always talks about the four sons, and this year was no different.

However, after hearing this year’s drashah, many of us came to the conclusion that Rebbi’s words needed to be recorded to provide chizuk to parents (and their friends) of “wayward” children.

There are almost no communities that are not touched by problems of children involved in drugs or alcohol, of children who have left mitzvos, and children who are engaged in all kinds of self-destructive behavior, and all of us desperately need chizuk and enouragement.

Rav Weinberger consented to our request, and, because of its importance, we are making this shiur available free of charge. Click below for the link…

Chizuk For Parents Who Are Raising Hashem’s Children

Recording Date: 04/15/2010

The Haggadah’s extraordinary introduction to the four sons. The parents’ disappointment about an “unsuccessful” child. When unspoken complaints erode shalom bayis (marital harmony). Hating the child, complaining against Hashem and blaming the spouse. The need to unify Hashem’s name with this very child that was specifically sent into my life. When a child, after all the parents and teachers poured into him, turns his back on everything the parents hoped for. Yitzchak Avinu and Rivkah Imeinu had a Yaakov AND an Eisav. Despite all the pain and disappointment: Baruch Hamakom, Baruch Hu (blessed be Hashem). The two parts of the nissayon (trial). Empathizing with another Jew’s pain is the beginning of geulah (redemption). Loving our children despite their rebellion against everything we believe in. A final seder in the concentration camp.

If you’re not busy this Shabbos afternoon…

…and you live in West Rogers Park (Chicago), then I highly recommend you check out the YU Kollel’s Perek in the Park that is taking place this Shabbos afternoon at 4:30pm in lovely Lerner Park (yeah, learning in Lerner-haha).

I attended last Shabbos Kodesh and heard a great presentation by Rabbi Michoel Teitcher, who based his discussion on the Maharal’s commentary on Pirkei Avos. This week’s event will be lead by Rabbi Mendel Breitstein.  Please check it out and say hi.