Friday, February 24, 2012


by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

Is G*d's holy presence reserved solely for Israel? Or may others who recognize G*d's Oneness and Uniqueness also maintain a connection to Him? Is the manifestation of G*d's Presence, the Shekhina, an exclusive club, or does G*d's love extend to all the righteous among the nations of the world? The answer is subtlely revealed depending on how we read the text.

EXODUS 25:8 says "v'asu li miqdash veShachanti betocham." Chazal, the sages of blessed memory, teach that it means, "and they will make for Me a sanctuary and I shall dwell among them." Well it can also be read differently, with very different implications. Instead of reading asu in the third person plural, we can also read it in the second person plural imperative. Thus it can also be understood alternatively as "and you (plural) will make for me a sanctuary and I shall dwell among them." If the you is plural, i.e., referring to the B'nei Yisrael, the Children of Israel, then the verse can only make sense if the word "them" refers to some other group. But to whom?

Whereas the first reading implies "them" to be the Children of Israel, the second reading implies another recipient of G*d's Indwelling Presence: the Righteous Among the Nations, the Tzadikei Umos HaOlam. This second reading allows us to celebrate a universalistic interpretation of G*d's mission vis a vis the chosen nation of Israel. The sanctuary, eventually to become the Beis HaMiqdash, is to serve as a locus and focus of holiness both for Israel and the world at small (it was once large in the imagination, but no longer/and Israel was once small in the imagination, but no longer).

The Temple offerings served to bring atonement not only to Israel but for all the world as well. This concept is pointedly evidenced by the seventy bullocks offered at the Festival of Sukkoth, the Feast of Tabernacles. Each of the atonement offerings corresponded to each of the proverbial seventy nations of the world, the Shivim Umos HaOlam. It has even been said that had the Romans known how our Holy Temple was for their benefit, they would have never destroyed it. But indeed the concept of a transnational deity was entirely foreign to their way of thinking.

Therefore, when we read about the construction of the mishkan, the holy tabernacle, we should be inspired to reflect upon how revolutionary was the Jewish idea, that the G*d of Israel transcends all borders, all nations, all races and creeds. As the G*d of Israel made His home among Israel, so that His word and message could be spread among all the earth, so too would His Temple, in the words of the prophet Isaiah, one day be a House of Prayer for all the nations - "Ki beisi Beis Tefillah, yikarei lechol he'amim."

Shabbat Shalom!
Good Shabbos!

© 2000 - 2012 by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

These words of Torah are written in the merit of my beloved father, Israel J. Melman, obm, Yisrael Yehoshua ben Harav Ya'aqov Hakohen Melman, z"l and in memory of my beloved mother, Esther Melman, obm, Esther bat Baruch z"l.

Friday, February 17, 2012

MISHPATIM; From Six to Eternity

by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

This week's parsha, Mishpatim, follows on the heels of the Decalogue and immediately we read about the Eved Ivri (Hebrew slave/servant). The plain meaning, of course, is that it refers to the Hebrew slave who refuses manumission in the seventh year. Why does it it follow the Aseret HaDibrot, the Ten Commandments? A seemingly pedestrian legal ruling appears in the Torah immediately after the most awesome, literally earth shaking event in human history!?

But the deepest understanding of the Hebrew Slave (eved ivri), is that he really is each and every one of us who chooses to remain with his ultimate Master, Hashem, and more poignantly, that Hashem reciprocates by choosing to remain with us. It is a metaphor. We are each one of us an eved (servant) of Hashem, and Hashem therefore will never abandon us as we collectively vow never to abandon Him.

Sinai was the pledging of eternal love. Now we see that love being tested! Upon insisting he remain with his Master, the eved (servant/slave) makes a declaration saying, AHAVTI ET ADONI VE'ET ISHTI VE'ET BANAI LO ETZEI CHOFSHI. (Ex 21:5) This is usually translated as "I LOVE my master and my wife and My children - I will not go out free." But it is not "I love" in the present. It reads Ahavti "I loveD"- PAST TENSE! "In the PAST I loved ..." This is not to say that he doesn't love them in the present. Of course he does.

What's important to understand is that the Torah recognizes that the intensity of romantic love necessarily fades over time. The heady impact of standing at Sinai fades over time. The certainty of keeping the Torah that was so clear at the smoking mountain becomes less clear down the long road of time's journeys. Hashem is saying, "You can go free if you really want to. You can be free of your obligations to me, and vice versa." But the eved says "NO." "And although the intensity of the romantic love may have faded, I still want to stay with you forever." He says, "my wife and children (my Torah and mitzvot) are connected to me so deeply. How could I dare live apart from them?"

Hashem was Israel's spouse under the Sinai Chuppah as the mountain was held over their heads. But it was not to crush them if they didn't accept the Torah, rather it was to be the biggest chuppah (wedding canopy) the world had ever seen!

Hashem, You say, You shall LOVE the L*rd your G*D..." And what if, CV"S, I have lost that loving feeling? Maybe the outer shell has faded, but the inner love core is still there. The Pintele Yid remains forever. Because the root of love in Hebrew Is HAV, which means to give, know that all we have given to each other counts for something. What we have each given is the core, is the principle of the investment. The principle has never been diminished.

So Hashem, even as you are my master, you are also my partner, my spouse. I will be loyal to you and to your Torah even after a thousand generations have passed. Even if my/our love for you may have faded over time, know that I pledge to you my eternal fidelity for the sake of all the good we have given each other over the years. We have been together for six good years. I won't succumb to a seventh year itch! I would never leave you. I would rather bore my ear and be yours forever for all time.

And so the Master takes his eved's OZEN, his ear, and bores a hole in it, marking it with a RETZUAH, a strip. Where else do we see the word a retzuah? With tefillin! When we don our Tefillin's RETZUOT/straps, we are to remember this eternal fidelity. No matter how onerous and burdensome it seems to get up early to phylacterate, we are to be reminded of our love for our true Master when we don the straps. Straps can be used for beating a servant, G*d forbid, or they can be used instead for connecting, or tying ourselves so deeply to our Heavenly Master.

Our tefillin straps are for connecting and tying ourselves to Hashem. Because we refused to leave Hashem, Hashem refuses to leave us. And why the ear? Because it says OZNO, which really means "I will give him my sustenance" -MAZON. "You stay with me, remain loyal, and you will never lack for a life of purpose or meaning."

"You had your chance too leave me but you did not. Because Israel did not abandon me in the sixth year when he could have, even as the door was left open, I will be there for Israel for all eternity - and beyond."

Good Shabbos!
Shabbat Shalom!

© 2000 - 2012 by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

These words of Torah are written in the merit of my beloved father, Israel J. Melman, obm, Yisrael Yehoshua ben Harav Ya'aqov Hakohen Melman, z"l and in memory of my beloved mother, Esther Melman, obm, Esther bat Baruch z"l.

Chabibi stands for CHidushei Baruch Binyamin ben Yisrael Yehoshua
(a chidush, from the word chadash, means a new, original or fresh perspective)

Friday, February 10, 2012


by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

Everybody knows that the dove with the olive branch is the symbol of peace. It's even the logo for the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival. But why is that exactly? The dove's return to Noah's ark with an olive branch symbolized a new era of peace. Granted, after the flood narrative's depiction of the violent end of life excepting the ark's inhabitants, any harbinger of the receding waters deserved an elevated status, for humanity will now be entering a pristine dawn of a new covenantal moral awakening. It is a cultural assumption that such a linkage exists. But this is only derived from an implicit contextual understanding. Can there be yet an even deeper connection?

Only in parshat Yitro is there an explicit, yet concealed, connection between the dove and the idea of peace (shalom) per se, where we see hints in the text which reveal a hidden link between Noah and Yitro. The key factor lies in understanding that the first time a word appears in the Torah it is the foundational prism by which to understand all subsequent usages of that word throughout the Torah (espoused by Rabbi Tzadok Hakohen, an early Hassidic Kabbalistic master).

The word SHaLaCH (sent) is the explicit link. The dove was sent out to bring proof of the receding waters so that Noah and his family could free themselves of the confinement of the ark and begin life anew. Israel, quite dovelike, was thrust out of the confining Egyptian ark (Mitzrayim-MeTZeR/confinement) to seek freedom and to bring a new awareness for humanity that freedom is the birthright of all peoples and that tyranny and despotism are evils that must fail/fall. Here is the SHaLaCH, or "sending" comparison. This is the foundational basis of the link between these two narratives. Moses says to Pharaoh: Sh'lach et ami! Let my people go!

In Parshat B'SHaLaCH we saw Israel as the Yonah (dove) for Humanity. The rising and falling waters of the Yam Suf drown the violence prone Egyptians, echoing the drowning of the generation of the flood who were corrupt- and violent (Hamas).But the linkage goes even deeper in Parshat Yitro. Jethro (Yitro), Moses' Father-in-law, meets up with B'nei Yisrael once they leave Egypt. He brings with him Moshe's wife, Tzipporah (literally BIRD!) who had been SENT home earlier (achar SHiLuCHeha- EX 18:2). So here is the dove parallelism.

In the flood narrative the dove returns to the ark with an ALeH Zayit, an Olive branch. ALeH is spelled ayin lamed hey. In this week's parsha (EX 18:12) Yisro takes an OLaH uZevachim (burnt offerings and other sacrifices for G*d) as an expression of praise to G*d for Israel's deliverance. OLaH and ALeh are both spelled with the same letters - ayin-lamed-hey. They are only vowelized differently. And this is the first time OLaH appears after we see the same word in the context of an ALeH (literally leaf). And the letter zayin is shared by both the words Zayit (olive branch) and Zevachim (burnt offerings).

The Children of Israel, having emerged from the world wide deluge of the 20th century Holocaust as a burnt offering, wants peace more than any other nation on earth. But the peace of life as opposed to the peace of the grave. A patch of dry land to call home once the waters have subsided. And thus the olive branch analogy.
Finally, Jethro gives his sage advice to Moses to appoint capable G*d fearing leaders (anshei chayil) to administer justice to thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Moses would only see the hardest cases. He concludes, saying (EX 18:23): "if you agree to this and G*d concurs, you will be able to survive. This entire nation will then also be able to attain its goal of PEACE/SHALOM." And so finally- the peace connection.

Freedom and survival are thus not ends in themselves. Ultimately, the goal is to live covenantally in PEACE. So finally we see the explicit linkage between the dove and peace. This linkage traverses time and terrain, and involves the utilization of esoteric hints, and yet is clearly there for those who have the eyes and the inclination to see it.

The Torah employs holy gentiles each time as the heralds of a new covenantal relationship between humanity and G*d. Noah brings humanity to a new "Rainbow Covenant" expressing ethical monotheism, while Jethro (pre-conversion) appears in the narrative immediately before the Theophany of the Ten Commandments, where his kehuna status (priesthood- literally intermediary servant) is echoed by the Covenant of Sinai, whereby Israel becomes a Nation of Priests and a Holy People in order to convey a modeling of ethical monotheistic teachings to all humankind.

The Torah is truly universal- a blueprint for the transformation of human consciousness, both Jew and gentile. It is a narrative of successive covenants. Noah's rainbow covenant symbolized humanity's embrace of ethical monotheism. Israel's Sinai covenant symbolized G*d's embrace of a nation molded by the imprint of slavery and genetically programmed to aspire to peace and freedom for both themselves and the world at large. The dream of peace, love and musical harmony of the Woodstock Nation is mirrored by that of the Hebrew Nation's Shabbos Kodesh Sabbath Day. And while the earth is once more filled with Hamas/violence, may both Israel and all humanity finally come to soon see a real and lasting SHALOM/PEACE in our day and for all time. And may all the doves yet fly again soon. Amen.

Shabbat Shalom.
Good Shabbos!

© 2000 - 2012 by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

These words of Torah are written in the merit of my beloved father, Israel J. Melman, obm, Yisrael Yehoshua ben Harav Ya'aqov Hakohen Melman, z"l and in memory of my beloved mother, Esther Melman, obm, Esther bat Baruch z"l.

Chabibi stands for CHidushei Baruch Binyamin ben Yisrael Yehoshua
(a chidush, from the word chadash, means a new, original or fresh perspective)

Friday, February 3, 2012


by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

Is this world all there is? While on Tu Bishvat we develop a love and appreciation for trees and the gift of nature, should there be any limits to that love? Or rather than set limits, should we perhaps balance that love with a countervailing infinite love of nature's Creator?

The splitting of the sea that we read in the Torah invites reflecting on the notion of balance. The division implied in compromise is a positive division, a splitting of differences for the sake of achieving unity. The word in Hebrew for compromise is peshara, an anogram of shefer, meaning beauty, as well as reshef, meaning spark. Efsher, meaning "possible" in both Hebrew and Yiddish, shares the same root as compromise- P-SH-R, as if to teach that with fair compromise, anything is possible.

The mezuzah on our homes is a product of the spirit of compromise. Some held it should be affixed to the door post in an upright position, while others said it should be placed horizontally. In the spirit of compromise, and as a metaphor for the principle of Shalom Bayit, it was decided that the mezuzah should be affixed diagonally! In Jewish and Western thought, compromise is seen as a sign of strength, while sadly enough, in the tribal warrior culture of the Middle East the opposite belief obtains.

To be able to compromise, to appreciate opposite notions of reality, is a Jewish value and a manifestation of beauty when it creates a spark for reigniting unity. Seen in this light, the mezuzah on our doors is emblematic of the value of reconciling opposites, of seeking compromise, symbolized by its angled positioning- neither vertical nor horizontal. Peace in the home (entering the home) as well as peace in the marketplace (exiting the home) depends on the ability to compromise and to split the difference.

The notion of splitting for its own sake is fraught with danger. The splitting of the atom can be used for massive destruction or for its opposite - energy independence and world peace. We can be consumed by the energy released in its splitting, or we can become its consumers.

We are wont to celebrate nature and to give thanks to the Alm*ghty for creating such a beautiful world, but at the same time we dare not see that same nature as the be all and end all of existence. G*d, though having had created this world, is yet both in it as well as beyond it.

Human consciousness invites despair when it fails to balance the material with the spiritual. The ability to connect to a higher realm beyond nature gives one the tools to better navigate the challenges of this world. Our parsha this week, Beshallach, coincides with the same week in which we celebrate Tu Bishvat, the New Year for the trees.

The Torah uses nature-based terminology in describing the miracle of the splitting of the sea. "A strong east wind blew all the night" (EX 14:21). Clearly, though based in natural language to explain the occurrence, we need to go beyond our understanding of the usual machinations of nature to fully appreciate the extent of the miracle. While the natural world may exist as a foundation for experience, the final fruition of our life's journey unfolds beyond the parameters of this world.

Those elderly facing the prospect of the loosening of the proverbial mortal coils, who lack this appreciation, often succumb to severe depression while contemplating this bitter reality. The very language of salvation in the physical plane hints to our ultimate salvation in the spiritual plane, serving as a means of avoiding debilitating depression and even embracing the possibility of joy in the knowledge of eternal life.

More pointedly, this concept is encrypted symbolically in the language of the text itself. The Az Yashir narrative richly alludes to the association between being tied down to the natural world and falling, literally drowning. The word TeVA itself bespeaks this dual imagery of both nature and drowning. (Ex 15:4):

"...umivchar shalishav tubu beyam suf...and the pick of his officers were mired (drowned) in the Sea of Reeds."

The word tubu (they drowned) has the same Hebrew root as the word for nature. TeVa is the Hebrew root for both nature and drowning! What this means on a symbolic level is that we must not become so enraptured or enveloped by the forest beauty of the physical trees that we forget that idealized spiritual Tree of Life, located in the proverbial Edenic center to which we all strive to return. Turning the adage on its head, we don't see the Trees (of Life and Knowledge) for the forest.

Exiled from the Garden for our lack of a sense of responsibility for our actions, only upon embracing responsibility from*within* the natural world, the world of the material trees, can we once again attain the possibility of reunion with the supernal etherial tree. The Torah's code of ethics, morality and responsibility is the sign post guiding us along the path back to eternal life.

"It is a tree of life to those who holdfast to it. Eitz Chayim leMachazikim Ba."

The wooden handles to which the Torah scroll is attached are called eitzei chayim, the Trees of Life. Indeed, the very blessing made at the Torah says,

"...vechayei olam natabetocheinu......and eternal life you have planted in our midst..."

"You want eternal life?" G*d is asking, "I have already planted it in your midst! Grab on to its branches." As Reb Shlomo once remarked at my alma mater, Brandeis University, in the early 1950's, and as Reb Zalman once recounted (they were recruited to be among the very first college outreach emissaries by the "fryediker" rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson, z"l, whose yahrzeit is today, yud shevat, 1880-1950):

"Os Mein Halt Zich Oohn Oiven, Falt Mein Nisht Hinten...If you hold on to Above, you don't fall from Below."

This was in response to the question as to how in the depths of winter they could skip down the icy steps without falling, whereas everyone else would be hanging onto the railing for dear life with each timid step lest they slip and fall.

The Egyptian charioteers only held on to Below, and therefore sunk down ever deeper into the muck and mire of the swirling waters. Israel, having been miraculously saved to remain physically alive, is now blessed with the possibility of attaining eternal life. By holding on to Above, by connecting to the Torah, we are kept from falling.

For what higher purpose in life were we saved from drowning, if not to come to Sinai and receive the Torah, our Tree of Life. This world is physically beautiful, but it is only spiritually beautiful when we see it as a vessel for fulfilling heaven's dream of peace, love and world harmony. This is Teva's deepest meaning.

Shabbat Shalom!
Happy New Year of the Trees!
Rosh Hashana la'Ilanot!
Happy Yud Shevat!

© 2000 - 2012 by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

These words of Torah are written in the merit of my beloved father, Israel J. Melman, obm, Yisrael Yehoshua ben Harav Ya'aqov Hakohen Melman, z"l and in memory of my beloved mother, Esther Melman, obm, Esther bat Baruch z"l.

Chabibi stands for CHidushei Baruch Binyamin ben Yisrael Yehoshua
(a chidush, from the word chadash, means a new, original or fresh perspective)


by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

The Talmud teaches us Rachmana Liba Baee, meaning "G*d wants our hearts." G*d wants us to have a heart connection with Him. And if we are to have a heart connection with G*d, how much more so are we to try to achieve such a connection with G*d's creatures, our fellow creatures! It's hard enough to love a stranger, but does that extend to our enemy as well?

In Leviticus 19:18 the Torah says that we should "love our neighbor as (we love) ourselves." The Hebrew reads ve'ahavta le're'acha kamocha. Reah, meaning "neighbor," has also the same spelling as ra'ah, meaning "bad" or "evil." So it could also be understood as teaching that we should try to love our bad or evil neighbor as ourself. This makes sense, because through the act of trying we could ignite a change and turn him around. We may fail in the end, but we need to try just the same. To give up trying is to abandon hope for a better world.

Many people react instinctively and mimic our actions or emotional states. Some people may respond to a loving gesture with love. The answer to darkness is light. The answer to hate is love. But hard core evil is oblivious to such gestures. Such evil is beyond the pale. But only through showing love can we learn to tell the difference between redeemable evil and unredeemable hard core evil, that we must then vainquish or be vainquished in turn.

In the story of the Exodus from Egypt, the usual translation tells us that Pharaoh's heart was "hardened." But those who know Hebrew know that root for the word "hard" is "KaSHeH," with the letters koof, shin and hey. But the Torah uses the root word KaVeD, with a koof, a vet and a dalid. This means heavy, not hard.

Parshat Bo Ex 10:1"...Bo el Paro ki ani hichbadti et libo...""...come to Pharaoh because I made his heart heavy..."

In a sense, G*d wants Moshe to come to Pharaoh to cheer him up, to bring him out of his melancholy and sadness. The Torah thus is teaching us that there is a special value in comforting the sad, even those who intend us harm. Perhaps the act of kindness will awaken them to do teshuvah and repent of their ways.

Can you imagine how unbelievably sad Pharaoh was to have been oppressing Israel? When you oppress others and cause them pain you are really projecting your own sense of unworthiness onto the other. That is the reason why Pharaoh's heart was heavy. It wasn't "hardened," as is often mistranslated. His heart was heavy. The pain you inflict on others ALWAYS come back to you, adding layer upon layer, weighing you down with unbearable heaviness. The more pain he inflicted on Israel, the more his own burden increased. This is a life lesson of universal truth for each of us to ponder.

The word BO reflects the intimacy of casual relations. Moshe could enter Pharaoh's presence at will. Why? Because Pharaoh drew deep pleasure from Moshe's presence. Anyone so connected to Hashem ultimately brings pleasure to the soul of even the wicked, so as to assuage the sense of utter abandonment from the Source of Life. No guards were necessary. Moshe could enter at will. Pharaoh saw to that!

So in a sense, the deepest sense, actually, Pharaoh enjoyed Moshe's presence in the same pathological sense that a naughty child enjoys negative attention. Negative attention is better than no attention at all! Moshe's pointed admonitions were actually gratifying to one who had always seen himself as the ultimate ruler, who now realizes that his evil is coming back to haunt him and that his evil may have placed him beyond the pale, placing him beyond Hashem's mercy. Even Hashem's harsh judgment on some level is better than being ignored!!!

So here the Torah is actually speaking on the deepest level about human relations. The soul craves a Divine connection. Preferably a connection of mercy. But lacking that, even harsh judgment will suffice. This is a parable for all of us, and for each of us. The eschatological end times of ultimate Messianic redemption will dawn among us either from a quality of delicious sweetness, or CV"S ("G*d forbid"), a quality of harsh judgment.

Maaseh Avot Siman LeBanim. The deeds our forefathers are signposts for their children (us). Those who oppress and show cruelty to others have, in a sense, chosen Pharaoh as their father. It is said that we choose our parents before birth. We are Rachmanin b'nai Rachmanim, merciful ones descended from merciful ones. May our actions reflect our parentage and bring down mercy from heaven in their holy merit.

Shabbat Shalom!
Good Shabbos!

© 2000 - 2012 by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

These words of Torah are written in the merit of my beloved father, Israel J. Melman, obm, Yisrael Yehoshua ben Harav Ya'aqov Hakohen Melman, z"l and in memory of my beloved mother, Esther Melman, obm, Esther bat Baruch z"l.

Chabibi stands for CHidushei Baruch Binyamin ben Yisrael Yehoshua
(a chidush, from the word chadash, means a new, original or fresh perspective)

Reb Shlomo with Reb Zusha ben Avraham Zimmerman

Reb Shlomo with Reb Zusha ben Avraham Zimmerman

What mind is it?

"Great minds discuss ideas;
average minds discuss events;
small minds discuss people."
-Eleanor Roosevelt


"If you believe that you can damage, then believe that you can fix..... If you believe that you can harm, then believe that you can heal..........." Rebbe Nachman of Breslov
"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."

- anonymous
"Perhaps the greatest force in the entire universe is compounded interest."

- Albert Einstein
When I was young I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.- Abraham Joshua Heschel
The whole world is a very narrow bridge. And the most important thing is to not be afraid.
-Rebbe Nachman of Breslov
"The greatest thing in the world is to do somebody else a favor." - Aish Kodesh
"As you want G*d to give you a chance, give everyone else a chance to also begin again." - Shlomo Carlebach

About Me

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I played violin with Reb Shlomo and studied under him for over nine years at hundreds of concerts and learnings. Shlomo wanted to give me smicha before he passed. Deepest influences: My father,obm, who was a great scientist and human being, and my grandfather, obm, who was a great Torah scholar who was a musmach of the Mir Yeshiva and taught in Slobodka in Russia before WW1, and was also personal friends with the Chafetz Chaim and came to America in 1914. He knew the Talmud by heart! You could stick a pin in a word and he could tell you what word was on the other side! And my mother, Esther bat Baruch, z"l, who was a scholar of classical Hebrew and Tanach and who gave me a love for the language. And her mother, Anna (Sucher) Deutsch, who was born in Horodenka, spoke six languages, and shared her aged wisdom and eternal sweetness with me. I studied at Brandeis, Hebrew College, Pardes as well as seven years at The Metivta/ITJ earning my Advanced Semicha (yoreh yoreh)under Rav Halivni. What's truly amazing is that Shlomo and Rav Halivni each received semicha from Rav Hutner! But my deepest influences of them all are my sweetest sweetest girls who have taught me the most!