Friday, June 29, 2012


by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

How much of life is seen as a zero sum game? How often do we view our neighbor's gain as our loss? This jealousy/covetousness is the source of evil. When we believe that there is not sufficient abundance in the universe for all of us we resort defensively to a hoarding posture. So, homeopathically, we must eliminate this zero sum thinking with a ritual which embraces the same!

This week we learn about the snake victims. Ironically the symbol for healing is the snake on a pole (Numbers 21:8). Aetiologically, it is falsely attributed to Greek origins. But more than irony is the homeopathic truth which is revealed: The cure is implicit in its (diluted) essence. Gazing upwards to heaven (while looking in the direction of the snake on the pole) is the cure for the snake plague.

The Torah is a blueprint for life affirmation and the implicit negation of death. We are instructed to concoct the antidote to death contamination/impurity. How fitting in the parsha where we see the deaths of Miriam, Aaron, and the snake victims. We are to take a completely red cow- a parah adumah temimah,and slaughter it and burn it completely. Its ashes serve to ritually and spiritually purify us in the face of death and death contamination. The word "tumah" (impurity) itself is the root of the English word "conTAMinate," or "TUMor."

The use of this formula symbolically helps us attain spiritual perfection in the face of death- the highest form of tumah, or spiritual imperfection. It is the highest form of spiritual imperfection because implicit in death is the cessation of spiritual struggle. Struggle is life. Life is struggle. That is why Eden has become a metaphor for the world to come, olam haba, because there is no struggle in Eden. The snake alludes to Eden. In Eden the evil inclination was located outside of humankind. The consequence of Eden was that the evil inclination (yetzer hara) would now be an internal part of humankind's makeup. In death we are once again stripped of our yetzer hara. That is why the soul's growth is limited in olam haba (the coming world) and as much as we seek relief from struggle in this world, in the next world our souls yearn to return back to this world in order to grow and perfect themselves. To return to the peace of Eden we need to earn our way back through taking responsibility for our own part in the struggle.

Tam is short for temimah- which means "perfect" or "complete."Tam spelled in reverse is "meth," meaning death. How appropriate that America's primary drug scourge and the violence it brings in its wake revolves around meth! Inherent in the word itself is its function. That in and if itself is not extraordinary. What compels the imagination is the metaphorical pallandromic aspect inherent within the name itself. Read from either direction we come to understand its meaning.

Interestingly, this "reversal" is similarly attained when we examine what is burned and how it is burned in the process of concocting this mixture of purification. Its skin, its flesh and its blood, the verse says, must be burned- AL pirsha- ON its entrails, not AND its entrails. This serves to highlight the idea of the entrails, the innards, as somehow the focus and foundation of what is to be burned. In essence, then, the Torah is teaching us to look beyond the outer glitz, to peer more closely at what is inside. Ethics and morals, as opposed to glitz and glamour, are what truly count in life.

How much of life is seen as a zero sum game? How often do we view our neighbor's gain as our loss? This jealousy/covetousness is the source of evil. When we believe that there is not sufficient abundance in the universe for all of us we resort defensively to a hoarding posture. So, homeopathically, we must eliminate this zero sum thinking with a ritual which embraces the same!

AL PIRSHA YISROF. ON the entrails it must be burned. The shoresh, the root source of yisroph, is SRF (burn),which is reverse for FRS (innards/entrails). This idea of "reverse consumption" is played out on the macro level with the automatic contamination of the handlers in their very handling of the product which eliminates contamination. In other words, nothing is left over. There is no net gain on the side of purity. If you make something pure on one end, the other end becomes impure. You can't get to FRS without SRF.

Similarly, we don't get to TaM (perfection) without an awareness of the approach of death (MeTh). This certain knowledge compels a sense of urgency and clarity of purpose. To skip to parshat (the INSIDE of the Torah - PaRSha has the same FRS root) Balak, the very next parsha, when Bilaam blesses the B'nai Yisrael (MA TOVU OHALECHA YAKOV- HOW GOODLY ARE THY TENTS OH JACOB) for the sexual sanctity/privacy which he sees when looking out at their encampment (see Rashi here Numbers 24:5), Israel in the very next chapter succumbs to the curse- the REVERSE of the blessing, for taking something which rightlybelongs on the INSIDE (sexuality) and displaying it on the OUTSIDE.

This point is further driven home in the text by the double word meaning of KUBA both as "inside" (Numbers 25:8) and as "curse" (laKov- Numbers 24:10 and elsewhere). In other words, Pinchas' antidote to the curse of public sexuality was to pierce them through in the most private of areas.

Thus the symbolically reverse nature of the red cow formula was terribly played out in real life. The point really is, though, that what must be purified to attain perfection is the INSIDE. The kishkes must be burned through and through to have the highest cleansing!

So we must ask ourselves if we are willing to go beyond the superficial token level to do what is right? Are we content to merely nudge ourselves in the right direction? Or are we ready to commit to what we know is right on the deepest (kishke) level possible?

Are we ready to commit ourselves to Torah on the deepest kishke level, the level which aroused Bilaam's blessings? Are we willing to go the extra mile in our families to make Shabbos special, to make Shabbos sweet? To make it unthinkable for our children to want anything but the deepest Jewish life possible?

In Israel, is the Jewish Nation ready to internalize its faith and devote itself wholeheartedly to renew its commitment to Torah values and wean itself off of empty, vapid western materialism? Are we ready to commit ourselves to a higher transcendant covenantal truth?

In politics, there is the fallacy of all or nothing thinking, for which the red heifer ritual is the homeopathic antidote. It should be appreciated that Israel's blessings are not at the expense of the Arabs' blessings, unless they insist on framing it as such. There is enough blessing and abundance in the universe for all to partake. Those who insist on an all or or nothing solution for life's problems usually end up with nothing. Once the Middle East accepts and embraces the Jewish state in its midst, then all the energies expended on war could be harnessed for unlimited blessing for humankind.

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)

Monday, June 25, 2012


by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

Korach was a man ahead of his time. He was in the right place, at the wrong time. The right goals, but the wrong motivation. He made a claim for equality and egalitarianism - even democracy, but went about it in a way which slandered a righteous, selfless man and sowed divisiveness and disunity among the people.

Korach asked Moses "who put you over all the people to rule over us?" For his insolance against a righteous humble man such as Moses, who was the epitome of the reluctant leader, he suffered a very strange punishment. But rather than seeing it merely as a punishment, we can view his fate as similar to a living time capsule - a time capsule of brazen effrontery and fearless confrontation.

Time capsules are meant to be dug up and retrieved in the future. Moreover, the Torah teaches that Korach went down ALIVE (hayyim) into the pit (NUM 16:33). At the time of Mashiach he would once again be retrieved. His rebellion against Moses was just his rehearsal. The cameras are rolling as the time capsule is being opened. The genie of true freedom is being released, but who will be its master as good and evil vie over its powers?

The fearless students and young people in Iran and Syria and throughout the Mid East are confronting the tyranny machine. The spirit of freedom lives in them. They are shedding their blood, secular martyrs against the repressive totalitarian regimes.

As if channeling the spirit of Korach they proclaim to the mullahs and dictators: who made you lord over us? Who appointed you to rule over us? If our votes don't count then your very legitimacy does not count!

Stabbed, hacked, choked and shot. Rivers of blood. Is the world listening? Does the world care?

Korach is kerach - ice. But the world is heating up now. The ice is melting. The thaw is setting in.

Korach is returning. Rising from his pit. Rising with a vengeance, for now his time at last has come. His holy chutzpah standing up for justice. Standing up for freedom, the inherent right of all people to be free.

It is not climate change we should worry about. Better our hearts should grow warmer. Better we should feel their pain. The world's morality is frozen. They stand by and watch the slaughter. And say nothing. And do nothing. Nothing at all. Except to find a way to fault Israel. Never again all over again. And again. They shed their blood. Does anyone even shed a tear?

While the future Korach struggles to make manifest the true cause of freedom and dignity, devoid of the personal hubris and narcissistic posturing for which he was punished in the Torah, today's Korach types are stuck in the old Korachian paradigm and use the cause of freedom to mask their true evil intentions.

Gaza activist leaders mask their hatred of Israel and Jews and Zionism under the banner of civil rights and human dignity. Ironically though, to fulfill Hamas' intention of genocide against the Jews of Israel and the world would entail the very denial of civil rights and human dignity to the one group of people which introduced those very concepts to the world at large - through the Torah!

Hamas and the international forces against Israel cloak their rebellion against morality and justice in their attempt to deligitimize Israel and dismantle the world's sole Jewish state in the garments of morality and justice. Like Korach, the naive humanists for peace and justice are recruited for activism against Israel by Hamas and their international solidarity movement under the rubric of peace and morality, when the true motive is the ultimate annihilation of Israel and the Jewish people.

May the day come when all humankind will live in peace with one another, with every man tending undisturbed his own vine and fig tree.

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)

Monday, June 18, 2012


by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

Exile can be a state of mind. But it can also be very real. The Nation of Israel was on track to be united with the Land of Israel, when the sin of the spies caused a deep rupture, thus delaying the reunion until the passing of the generation that was accustomed to a negative slave mindset. Thus the exile of the mind led to an exile of the body. Our thoughts determine who we are to become, and what our destiny will be.

The Torah identifies two agents of the exile. One agent leading us to sin was the organ of vision, viz. the eyes. In Eden man saw himself as larger than G*d, and thus his eyes caused him to disobey, leading to the first exile, the exile from Eden. This new exile similarly was caused by the eyes, but this time the sin was that man saw himself as being too small, just the opposite of Eden.

"..We were IN OUR EYES like tiny grasshoppers, that's all that we were IN THEIR EYES (vanhi v'eyneynu kachagavim v'chen hayinu b'eyneyhem - NUM 13:33).

The use of eyes attributed to both the Canaanites and Israel is possibly indicative that this smallness of vision was a universal pathology. The fixing or corrective for the sin of Eden was not that man should think of himself as being small, G*d forbid, but rather that he should see his own greatness as a reflection of G*d's greatness and thus become a partner with G*d to fix the world. Obeying G*d is essentially forming a partnership with the Divine.

The corrective for the sin of the eyes are the phylacteries which are worn during morning prayers. As they are placed as "frontlets between the eyes," they have the power to lift us up to a higher vision of ourselves. Ayin is the Hebrew word for eye, but it also means wellspring, as in maayan. Thus what we focus on with our mind's eye becomes the maayan/source of our inspiration for achieving our own greatness. We should be blessed to focus only on the positive. In other words our thoughts and attitudes markedly effect the outcome of our desired aims.

The other agent of the exile is the organ of action - the arm. Moses in his anger and rage disobeyed G*d and struck the rock to bring forth water. Now he himself, the leader of Israel, would in turn be denied entrance to the Land of Israel. His anger and rage, made manifest in his actions, led to his personal exile. We can apply this to our own lives. How often do our moments of anger cause us to be exiled emotionally from our friends and loved ones? Even an isolated and rare outburst can cause untold emotional damage.

The corrective for the sin of anger and angry action are again the phylacteries - those which are worn during morning prayers and wound around the arm and the hand. As they are tied as a sign upon the hand, they have the power to lift us up so that we engage in behaviors which sanctify the world and which bring humanity closer to its Divine Source.

There is anger, but there is also the acting out of the anger. They are not the same, not identical. G*d became angry at times with Israel, but Moshe was able to assuage that anger. The tefillin on the arm in a sense symbolize that binding, that sense of restraint, that can save us from irrevocable action we may later regret. The yad is the hand, but it also symbolizes the ten spies who spoke negatively about the Land. By gazing at the yad we can recall and fix through our speech that which had impacted us so negatively. We can say dai, enough, by just switching the letters yud and dalet, and become more conscious of how our words can impact others.

At the end of our parsha, Shelach (NUM 13:38), we have the mitzvah of wearing fringes on our garments:...veasu lahem tzitzit al kanfei bigdeyhem ledorotam...have them make tassels on the corners of their garments for all their generations."

This is already a sign of our healing. The reference to future generations speaks to Israel's eternal mission. Tzitz, the singular, is the diadem of gold that the High Priest wore on his forehead (LEV 8:9). Tzitzit is the plural, and yet, it lacks the letter yud which indicates the plural form. It is spelled Tzadi, Yud, Tzadi, Tav. The missing letter Yud (numerical value of 10) reminds us of the ten spies who caused Israel to sin. More importantly, it reminds us that just as the kohen gadol, the high priest, had the words Kodesh laShem, Holy to G*d, engraved on his Tzitz, his golden diadem, so too *all* of Israel, as represented by the Yud, the community of ten, are enjoined to strive to be Holy before G*d for all their generations. Phylacteries are essentially that - spiritual prophylactics to prevent and ward off the potential for spiritual exile which inheres within each of us, both as individuals and as a nation, when we lack control over our attitudes and how we manifest our capacity to become angry at others.

The Tefillin Shel Rosh, the head tefillin which rest above and between the eyes, serves as the symbolic spiritual prophylactic for the nation- in the realm of thought and vision, while the Tefillin Shel Yad, the arm tefillin, serve as a spiritual prophylactic for their actions in the realm of deed.

The Tzitzit, the fringed garment, points to a unity between the people and its spiritual leadership, in that one day all of Israel will come to take on its destined priestly role to serve G*d and to serve the nations, bringing them closer to recognizing the One G*d. The Tzitzit are a fixing for the sin of the spies: one cannot become a model nation for the world to emulate without first securing your own nation firmly in faith.

"Ve lo taturu acharei levavchem ve'acharei eyneychem..." -"and so that you not go on a tourist vacation without responsibility following after your heart and your eyes..."

Being that this passage follows the narrative of the spies and actually uses the same word root (laTuR), it is clear that the tallit is therefore a fixing for the sin of our forefathers when their eyes and their hearts led them astray. Levavchem (your hearts) is in the plural. Just as we have two eyes we also have two hearts: the good eye and the evil eye have their parallels in the good inclination and the evil inclination, which are rooted metaphorically in the heart.

Thus we have the potential for either an ayin tova ( a good, generous eye/disposition) or an ayin ra'ah ( a bad, stingy eye/disposition). Likewise we can have a lev tov ( a good heart - i.e., judging others favorably, or a lev ra (a bad heart - i.e., judging others poorly, without giving them the benefit of the doubt). A lev tov, it is written in Pirkei Avot, encompasses all the other good traits.

The tallit envelops us, ensconces us, serving as a reminder of G*d's own generous eye and expansive heart. The thread of blue in the tallit reminds of heaven. It gives us hope. The Kabbalah teaches that Tikva, or hope, is connected to the word yiKaVu, as in yikavu hamayim, from Genesis. There is an opening created, a channel, allowing the light to pour in. As Leonard Cohen, the poet/singer has said, "there is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in."

Hashem made the first holy crack to let in the holy rays of light.

This supernal ray of light connects us to creation, and in wearing the tallit we connect with the primordial hope instilled within the cosmos at the dawn of creation. Our morning prayers, when we don all the three- the Tallit and the two Batei Tefillin, the two phylacteries, are to bring us closer to the realization of the dream- to end our collective soul exile and thus restore Eden's vision of harmony in our lives. May it come quickly and soon in our day.

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, June 8, 2012


by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin HaKohen Melman

The Torah tells us in this week's parsha, B'ha'alot'cha, that Moshe was"anav mikall adam," meaning that he was"the humblest of all men."

What does that really mean? Now you must understand that this was in the context of Miriam's famous slander episode, by her referencing his marital situation. How did he react to her behavior? Did he submit meekly to her accusations? Did he pretend he didn't know about it? Is ignoring the pain to one's self that is inflicted by others truly the Torah's example for humility which we should embrace? What is true humility according to the Torah? How did Moses exemplify this quality? It is not found in turning the other cheek. The answer is hidden in the word itself.

Anav, meaning "humble," is spelled with the same letters related to the word "answer," or "reply." We might well then ask, what was Moses answering? And to what was he replying? Miriam speaks against him regarding the"Kushite woman." This is what his response was based on. And with regard to Miriam's plight, when he saw that she became afflicted with "leprosy" as a punishment for her words, words said against him, he responded with a short prayer:EL NA REFA NA LA."Please G*d, heal her now."

Now Moses was aware of what had happened. He knew that she, his own sister, had somehow slandered him. Aren't we often the most upset with the ones we love, with the ones we are closest to? If a stranger says something not so nice we often shrug it off. But if a family member says the same thing we tend to take it so much more personally.

"Of all people, THEY should understand me. They're family."

How many families are fractured and split and torn apart over "just words" said in haste or in anger? Now what was Moses' reaction? Did he rebuke his sister? Did he distance himself from her, never to speak to her again? Was he contrite and submissive? The answer is a resounding NO.

Instead of reacting negatively, he said a prayer on her behalf. He was the anav, the one who responds. It is for this reason that Hashem called him the humblest man. He was not called humble because he was modest or self-denigrating or meek. The Torah is telling us that he was called "humble" by G*d because in his pain he reached out to her, to the one who was causing him (in this case) psychic pain.

Instead of turning AWAY from her, and merely defusing the situation by walking away, or retaliating in kind, which would be the most "natural" response, he counterintuitively turned TOWARDS her and offered a healing prayer for her speedy recovery. Moses, Moshe Rabbeinu, is teaching us a lesson. The answer to insult is not further insult, leading to escalating tension. The answer to insult is not retribution. Nor is it grovelling or self-denigration.

The answer to insult is hidden in the very word for "humble,"- ANAV. The answer to insult is to answer with love. If someone insults us, clearly they have some sort of illness, not to see that we are made in G*d's image. Therefore they need a healing. They need a blessing. And they need it fast. May all the fractured families all over the world find a speedy healing. And may Clal Yisrael, the greater Family of Israel, and indeed all the world entire find its own healing immediately, and so bring redemption soon. Amen.

Shabbat Shalom!
Good Shabbos!

© 2000-2012 by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin ben Yisrael Yehoshua 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, June 1, 2012


By Rabbi Baruch Binyamin HaKohen Melman

In this week's parsha, Naso, we have two seemingly unconnected ideas. One, the priestly blessing, is the age-old formula for the kohanim to bestow blessings upon the people. The other is the trial by ordeal of the "sota," the accused adulteress. We will see that they are not so far apart, that everything in Torah deeply connects in an organic, integrated whole.

Children, in order to become healthy adults, need Attention, Love, and Limits. If they don't receive healthy attention, they will seek out unhealthy attention. If we don't praise them for all the good things that they do, they will surely seek out attention for all the bad things that they are certainly capable of doing.

We must give them love. We must give our children unconditional love, a love that is not tied to anything except to their being who they are. They must know that even if they fail at something, we will always be there for them, cheering them on just for trying.

And lastly, we must set limits. Children crave knowing boundaries. Deep anxiety will set in for the child for whom no limits are expressed. The child will constantly push the envelope ever harder and with greater intensity searching for limits which never seem to be indicated.

The same thing with a marriage. We must not ignore our spouse. We must pay them due attention and be attentive to the nuances of their psychic lives. We must love them unconditionally. In Pirkei Avoth we are told that a love which depends on something will fade away when that something disappears- whether it is looks or money or status. But a love which depends on internal, spiritual qualities will endure, for these are qualities which are linked to the Eternal One.

Lastly, we must set limits in a marriage. A marriage without limits will grow so expansively that it will lose its center. Marriage partners should limit their speech- only offering praise, encouragement, and constructive criticism. To be an ezer kenegdo, a "helpmeet," each spouse should carefully praise when praise is called for (ezer) and gently correct (kenegdo) when criticism is needed. They should limit their touch, so as to never grow bored with each other. They should limit their gaze, being careful not to place themselves in situations of temptation. And they should limit their expectations. No one is perfect, and to expect perfection is surely a recipe for unhappiness.

We read about the sota in this week's sedrah. The woman, accused by her husband of infidelity, drinks a potion, whose effects then reveal, it is said, the state of fidelity or lack thereof. Having thus cleared her name and status, the couple are psychologically freed to move on with the marriage. The male's pent up jealous rage is now assuaged, allowing the couple to leave behind crippling suspicions and insinuations.

The sota is indeed a victim. She is a victim of a marriage where partners did not give their A.L.L..Perhaps she did not get the Attention she deserved. Perhaps she did not get the Love that she deserved. And because her spouse did not set Limits upon himself, perhaps she herself was accused of the same projected guilt with which he was consumed.

To reiterate, this ceremony was a merciful ceremony. If she was actually guilty, she would know, and in all likelihood refuse to perform the ritual, fearing the dire consequences. But being innocent, she could thus finally clear her name and her reputation and the couple could then move on. It would end once and for all the endless, merciless accusations destroying an already problematic relationship. If the crazy jealousy he feels can be transformed into a healthy love, by making a fresh start, then the sense of redemption they will feel as a couple will be infinite.

The Shabbos table offers that taste of the infinite. When the husband praises his wife, showering her with poetry of appreciation in the words of the "eishes chayil," he is making a vessel with which to express the deepest love he has for his wife. In our busy lives which we lead, it is often so hard to find those moments of deepest sharing with with which to show our appreciation. Life gets in the way. Without those vessels of sharing, those feelings get bottled up until they burst out in a consumption of manic rage and jealousy. His possible guilt for being a poor husband is then psychologically projected onto her as being a lousy wife. A true shabbos is the antidote to all of that.

And when we bless our children with the three-fold priestly blessing at the start of our Shabbos meal, we are doing the same thing. We are giving them Attention. We are stating our Love for them, and we are Limiting their unruliness by telling them how UNlimited is our love for them.

And these are G*d's blessings for us: to know that He is attentive to us by watching over us, that He loves us by shining His countenance upon us, and that there are limits to the hardships of life because in the end He will grant us His blessing of peace. And what about the husband who showers praise and blessings upon his wife and children? Who blesses him? No need, for in thus becoming a blessing to others, his life itself becomes a blessing.

Good Shabbos. Shabbat Shalom.

© 2000-2012 by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin ben Yisrael Yehoshua 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.

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!