Sunday, October 31, 2010

Best Sicha Ever

This week is Parshas Toldos, and last year at this time I posted this post, about what I called the best sicha ever on the parsha.
So make sure you read that!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Shidduchim

That's right, it's the "S" word that is on the minds of bochurim my age. It used to be this one, about bochur shlichus. (That post was written about two and a half years ago.)
Now, let's look at the following image:
Pay attention to this guy's face. Does it look like he's interested in shidduchim? To me it looks like he'd rather be sitting and learning, than being chased like this.
Just an observation.

*A possible caption for this picture could be: "Shidduch Crisis".

Monday, October 25, 2010

Leaves

Do you think it is depressing for leaves that the only time we write cutesy poems about them is when they are changing colors, dead and falling off the tree, and not when they are full of life and green?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hospitality

We learn from Avraham Avinu that Hachnasas Orchim (receiving guests) is greater than Hakbalas Pnei HaShchinah (receiving Hashem), from the fact that he put the Aibershter on hold in order to be host to some Arabs walking nearby.
The Rebbe asks some really good questions:
1) We know this is the proper thing to do, since our precedent is Avraham. How did he know that this was the correct behavior!!???
2) These "Arabs" weren't real people; just angels. So he didn't really perform the mitzvah of Hachnasas Orchim, which is hosting people, not fake people who don't need to eat!! This means that it wasn't proper of him to push pause on his conversation with Hashem, since it wasn't for the real mitzvah of greeting guests!??!

Think you know the answers? They are worth a lot of YossiPoints. Feel free to email me your answer, and feel free to keep it to yourself and share it at your Shabbos table. Either one.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Being a Tatty

A friend of mine is, B'ezras Hashem, expecting to be a father this winter. I asked him if he was nervous about becoming a Tatty.
"No," he told me, "the only thing I'm worried about is choosing a name."
This was an unexpected answer. I was already planning a comforting line about how I know he'll make a great father... So instead I just said with a warm, supportive smile, "Don't worry. You'll come up with a great name!"

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Don't be bitter

While we were bentching the month of Cheshvan, some days ago on Shabbos Beraishis, I remembered reviewing a farbrengen in which the Rebbe said something along the lines of: Chas V'Shalom that you should say that Mar Cheshvan is called that because 'Mar' means 'bitter', and there are no Yom Tovim. 'Mar' means ______.
I couldn't remember the rest, or where I had seen it.
The Chabad House in my town has a very small Chassidic library, and there were only two volumes of Hisvaadius on the shelf. To my luck, in a farbrengen in the year 1988, I found something similar to what I had remembered.
A small part of the sicha was discussing how 'Mar' means 'a drop', and that this is a time for drops of rain, bgashmius and bruchnius. The Rebbe quoted a posuk from Yeshaya (Isaiah 40:15) that reads: "The goyim are [like nothing] like a drop in the bucket", and in Hebrew: Hen goyim k'mar m'dli.
However, I looked up the posuk, and Rashi brings two reasons why "Kmar M'dli" means a drop from the bucket, and why it actually means the last drop of the bucket. Either because the last drop is bitter, because it physically has all the gross stuff at the bottom of the bucket, or as an expression, like one would say: the bitter end.
Which means that the only reason "mar" means "tipah", or "a drop" is because of its main translation of "bitter".
So I'm still on the lookout to see if the Rebbe brought a different type of pirush somewhere else, or if this is what I remembered, after all.
Regardless of what I find, this month should have nothing bitter in it, and only dripping with sweetness!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

He'll remember me forever

My taxi driver, Afzal, says he'll remember me forever. I guess that means I can get a free ride with him, if I manage to find his taxi again on the streets of NYC.
Afzal took me home to Crown Heights from the airport last week, and we made quite the connection. It started when he saved my life.
We were sitting at a light, and a scary man started crossing the lanes of traffic, with what looked like murder in his eyes, heading straight towards the backseat of our taxi. I was sitting in the backseat! I was a deer in the headlights, and could not move, as the man walked in a frightening way, towards us. At the last second, I hear all the locks click, and the man walked behind our car and continued on his way. Was he going to rip open the door and mug us? Possibly. I looked up into the rearview mirror, and locked eyes with my driver, giving him a teary eyed thank you look, one that gave him a glimpse into my soul.
Later, our conversation turned to religion. I told him I was an aspiring Rabbi, and he told me about his Muslim beliefs. We spoke about the hardships to the peace process in the Middle East. He asked me the Torah's opinion on Islam.
Then he asked me for a good word from the Torah, that he could have at the ready. He wanted something good, and he wanted me to write it down so he could memorize it. It also had to be something that would help him in life and business.
I was thinking of giving him the old "Shfoich chamascha" that some bochurim tend to tell goyim to say, when we meet an annoying one on mivtzoim who complains that he wants to do a prayer, also. I realized this wouldn't fly. If he found out that I gave him a verse asking the L-rd to pour out His wrath unto the gentiles, he wouldn't be too pleased with me, nor with my religion.
Instead, I wrote down the words: Uverachacha bchol maasei yadecha, and I translated for him: You should be blessed in all your work. I did not want to give him any of G-d's Holy Names.
Then he had me sign the paper with my name, and told me, "Yosef (although he probably would have spelled it Youssef), I'll always remember you! I'm going to keep this [paper] in my wallet, forever!!"
Then he asked me to pray for him, and that his name was Afzal.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Serious Halachic Inquiry

The colder weather approaches, and with it a question of halacha. I was inspecting my snuggie and it has four corners. I am asking from my readers if any of you has already asked a rav about wearing your snuggie, and whether it needs to have Tzitzis. This would save me the time and embarrassment of going to a rav myself.
You can reach me by email.