Monday, October 31, 2011

The Rebbe's Letter to a Prospective Rabbi

.....thinking xtians, muslims, mormons and the like should consider this also.....

By the Grace of G-d
23rd Adar I, 5717
Brooklyn NY

Mr. _____
Chelsee 50
Greeting and Blessing:

I received your letter of February 12th, in which you give a brief account of your background and education, and that you are now considering entering the appropriate institution where conservative Rabbis are trained. You ask my opinion on this matter.

My opinion can only be based on the opinion of the Holy Torah, and as it has been formulated by Maimonides, to the effect that he who admits that the Torah is G-d-given, except for one verse which he holds was given by Moshe Rabbeinu himself, such a person is regarded as denying the whole Torah.

Even without the said ruling of Maimonides, this would be self-evident and logical. For one has to be consistent: Either one accepts that the Torah is Divine, in which case a human being with his limited intellect, inasmuch as all creation is limited, cannot possibly fathom the Divine Wisdom that is in the Torah, and cannot, therefore, select passages from it which appeal to his intellect and discard others which do not.

On the other hand, if a human being is so presumptuous as to use his own discretion with regard to the Torah, and accept or reject accordingly, this means that he regards the Torah as something which does not go deeper or beyond his human understanding. Consequently also, the Torah in his opinion has no greater binding force than that dictated by human reason, which in effect means no binding force at all, since no human being can impose his views on any other human being.

From the above, it is clear that Conservative and Reform Rabbis who follow the approach of reform and compromise on religion, completely misrepresent the true Jewish religion and, moreover, mislead those who are under their influence in believing that their own form of convenient "religion" is the kind for which our ancestors have given their lives for thousands of years. They will have their followers believe that their type of man-made religion is the religion revealed to us by G-d on Mount Sinai, and this is the greatest possible fraud. When a career is made of this type of religion, and human conscience and profoundest feelings are made a "trade-in-stock" in this unholy business, then a greater depravity cannot be imagined.

In view of what you write about your own background, I think it is superfluous to emphasize that there is a great difference between a person falling on occasion to withstand a temptation and therefore committing a transgression, and one who tries to justify such sins of omission and commission by saying that they are not transgressions at all, or that the Torah itself permits one to use one's own judgement, for in the latter case it is nothing but falsification of the truth, which is what Conservative and Reform preach. The fact that a Conservative Rabbi may himself be a thoroughly religious person, and observe in his private life all 613 Mitzvos, does not alter the situation if he represents the Conservative movement and disseminates its doctrines.

From the above, it is also evident that the use of the title "Rabbi" in its traditional sense is completely contradictory when it is applied to a conservative, and is in itself misleading and fraudulent to the unsuspecting congregations. Hence, to select such a career in the first place, in my opinion, is completely out of order.

It is well-known that there are many members in Conservative congregations, and sometimes even so-called spiritual leaders in the movement, who themselves negate completely the Conservative philosophy, accepting and following fully the whole Torah, and, in the latter case, have accepted positions as rabbis in Conservative temples for various reasons. This is also the case with regard to the person to whom you refer in your letter, who obviously does not belong at all in the Conservative movement, nor in the so-called "New" brand of Conservatism, which goes under the name of "Modern Orthodoxy". On the other hand, it is clearly obvious that such a situation is pregnant with constant inner conflicts, which are often even outwardly apparent. Therefore, it is certainly advisable and illogical to select a career which is bound to bring with it constant conflict and friction, both within himself and in relation to the environment, etc.

You write that hitherto you have succeeded in safeguarding your immunity from outside influence. But surely this does not jusify to place yourself in a situation which contains more than the average elements of temptations and trials, a road which is fraught with dangers and pitfalls. Rather the contrary, inasmuch as Divine Providence has been kind to you and has safeguarded you from such influences in the past, you should, once and for all, make up your mind to break away from that dangerous path.

If you are bent on a rabbinical career, surely it would be more desiarble for you to enroll into a proper Yeshivah which prepares and trains for the Orthodox rabbinate. If this seems a more difficult climb, nothing stands in the way of determination and will.
With blessing,

found here
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Amazing Story of Gilad Shalit and Chabad Family

The amazing story of how Jerusalem Shlucha Chana Canterman befriended Aviva Shalit and the 20 year old dollar from the Rebbe that resulted in recent blessings.
By COLlive reporter

Aviva Shalit, mother of the now released Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, placed a phone call Monday to Chana Canterman, a Chabad Shlucha in Jerusalem, to update on her son's health.

"He's fine! He's fine!" Mrs. Shalit joyfully said.

The connection between the two who live in the same country but spend time in different spheres began when the Shalit family began campaigning for their son outside the prime minister's residence.

Sgt. Gilad Shalit was captured by Hamas terrorists on 25 June 2006 in a cross-border raid via underground tunnels near the border with Gaza.

Chana and her husband Rabbi Eli Canterman, the Shluchim in the Talbiyeh neighborhood in Israel's capital, were one of the volunteers who provided meals for the Shalits in their protest tent.

The Cantermans had the Sunday shift and have since become close friends with the Shalit family, visiting them often and praying together for Gilad's release from Hamas captivity.

Chana would spend hours shopping and cooking beautiful meals for the family, a friend of the Cantermans said.

"Slowly they had to bring larger amounts of food each week because everyone would visit on Sunday because they loved her cooking," the friend said.


Naturally, they became close friends with Aviva and her husband Noam Shalit, providing not only food but emotional and psychological support during this time.

"When I flew in to New York for the annual Kinus Hashluchos convention on 24 Shvat, I asked Aviva what I could bring her back from the U.S.," recalled Mrs. Canterman in an interview with

"She told me, 'All I want is Gilad. I don't need presents.' All she thought about was her son."

The Cantermans also made sure to come by for holidays, in addition to the Sunday visit. For Purim, they organized a festive meal for family and guests, and brought them Matzah on Pesach. During Lag BaOmer day, children came to the tent to say the 12 pesukim (holy passages).

On April 17th, the day before last Pesach, Chana Canterman brought a special gift to Aviva Shalit along with her meal: a dollar bill that she had received from the Lubavitcher Rebbe that was to be given to a worthy charity.

"Take this dollar," said Chana, "and may it be a Segulah (merit) that Gilad be released this year."

Aviva accepted the dollar gratefully and carried it with her wherever she went.

"It was a very depressing period for the family," Canterman recalls. "We wanted to give them an opening of hope and strength to continue waiting for the healthy return of their son."


On the same day the Shalits received the dollar, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Shalits he replaced the official mediator from Chagai Hadas to David Medan.

Miraculously, Medan began to receive messages from the Hamas with signs of Gilad Shalit being alive and in stable condition.

On Rosh Hashana, Rabbi Canterman came by to blow shofar for them. A week later, they heard that Gilad was going to be released on Tishrei 20 - on Chol Hamoed Sukkos.

The next day, Mrs. Canterman texted Aviva Shalit asking her if she can check the date written on the dollar from the Rebbe (Chabad chassidim often write on the bill when it was received).

Mrs. Shalit excitedly replied that the date on the dollar that Canterman received over 20 years before from the Rebbe, was Tuesday, 20 Tishrei, the date that Gilad Shalit was released by the terrorists.

And the year that dollar was given? 5751 - the Hebrew year chassidim spelled out as "the year we will see miracles and wonders."

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

The 7 Laws of Noah

The 7 Laws of Noah
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HaShem said, "Be Happy!"

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dating and Marriage


free audio here

Part 1 - Torah Perspectives for Dating & Marriage

Part 2 - Evaluating your Readiness for Marriage (A)

Part 2 - Evaluating your Readiness for Marriage (B)

Part 3 - Practical Skills - Do's and Don'ts of Dating (A)

Part 3 - Practical Skills - Do's and Don'ts of Dating (B)

Part 3 - Practical Skills - Do's and Don'ts of Dating (C)

Part 4 - What to Look For

Part 5 - How to Decide
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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Meanings and Reasons of Your Faith

It is the bounden duty of all who are not intellectually incapable of independent thought, to search out the true meaning of the doctrines they accept, and the foundations of these doctrines in Reason.


The faith of the believer is not complete unless he knows the meaning and the reasons of his belief. And this knowledge that enables one to fulfil the duties of the heart, is the hidden wisdom that is the light of hearts and the bright effulgence of souls; and concerning it Scripture says: - (Ps.6) "Behold Thou desirest truth in the inward parts and in the hidden, Thou wilt make me to know wisdom." It is only those of weak intellect who are not culpable if they take on trust what it is man's duty to search out. But whoever has the strength of intellect, and the power to sift and prove, is sinful if he neglects to do so, and also even his lack of knowledge is a sin.

pgs 22-23
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The Gates of Knowledge

Three gates the Creator has opened to mankind, so that they may enter into the domain of spirituality, ethical conduct and the laws divine, that guide us in our works and daily life to health of body and of mind and soul. The first is the lofty portal of pure Reason, with all obstructing errors cleared away; the second is the book of Torah, revealed to Moses, the prophet; the third is built up of traditions.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Satan’s Accomplice - Satan’s Strategies

Shmiras Haloshon Yomi
3 Tishrei, 5772 / October 1, 2011

Day 3 - Satan’s Accomplice
SEFER CHOFETZ CHAIM (or Chafetz Chaim or Hafetz Hayim) (Hebrew: חָפֵץ חַיִּים‎‎) (trans. Desirer of Life) is a book on the Jewish laws of speech written by Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan.

The book is about the mitzvot relating to correct speech and the prohibitions of slander. The title of the work is taken from

Psalms 34:12–15:
"Come, children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of God. Who is the man that desires life; who loves days, that he may see goodness [during them]? Guard your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit; turn from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it."

Preface (Continued)

The Chofetz Chaim has stated and proven beyond any doubt that the sin of loshon hora (gossip), which was the cause of the Second Temple’s destruction, is the factor which up to this day has prevented us from being redeemed through Moshiach’s arrival. The question is, why? How could this one sin be so destructive?

To understand the severity of loshon hora and its ramifications, one must first understand the judicial system in Heaven through which the Jewish People are judged. The Chofetz Chaim explains that the Heavenly judicial process is initiated by words which Jews speak on this world. Our negative conversations are the key which opens the door for Satan to prosecute.

As Zohar states, (Parashas Shelach - read all 7 portions), this sin “brings plague, sword and murder to this world. Woe to those who awaken this evil force, who do not guard their tongues and pay no heed to this! They do not realize that the ways of Heaven are reflective of the ways on this world, both for good and for bad. [Through evil talk,] Satan is aroused to voice accusation against the entire world.”

In this vein, the Chofetz Chaim explains that the teaching (Arachin 15b), “Whoever speaks loshon hora raises sins to the Heavens,” should be taken literally. When we speak negatively of our fellow Jews, this causes the sins of our people to be noted in Heaven, where they are brought before the Heavenly Throne for judgment. We think we’re merely chatting, when in reality, we’re delivering the day’s caseload to Satan.

The Chofetz Chaim offers a second reason why loshon hora is so damaging. Because loshon hora utilizes the power of speech to do its damage, it corrupts this faculty and prevents our Torah and tefillah (prayer) from ascending Heavenward. The Chofetz Chaim envisions the sacred words that pour forth from a mouth corrupted by loshon hora. He sees them heading upward toward our “Heavenly bank accounts,” but never quite getting there. We believe we have accomplished something spiritually, but that’s not what happened. The Chofetz Chaim says, “All the words of Torah and tefillah are hanging somewhere between heaven and earth, suspended in the air.” He concludes: if our Torah and tefillah are not being credited to us, then, “From where will we acquire the necessary merit to bring Mashiach and the Final Redemption?”

4 Tishrei, 5772 / October 4, 2011

Day 4 - Satan’s Strategies
SEFER CHOFETZ CHAIM — Preface (Continued)

“I wondered to myself,” the Chofetz Chaim writes, “how was it possible that this Torah prohibition of loshon hora (gossip) came to be disregarded by so many people?”

The Chofetz Chaim answers this by introducing us to the main strategy of the evil inclination and the tactics which it utilizes to entangle us in the powerful sin of loshon hora.

The average person, writes the Chofetz Chaim, is simply unaware that the prohibition of loshon hora applies to information that is true. (Information that is false is termed hotza’as shem ra, slander.) Therefore, all Satan needs to do is to present information as being true and most people will readily repeat it, though according to halachah (Torah law) such talk is absolutely forbidden.

For people who are more learned, Satan uses a different approach. He convinces the person that the subject of the loshon hora is an evil person and therefore deserves that loshon hora be spoken about him, or that this information is not loshon hora.

If these tactics fail, Satan uses an opposite tactic. He causes the person to worry that every word he speaks might be loshon hora even when it is not. Satan makes it appear that the only choice one has is not to speak at all. Since most people are involved in conversation numerous times each day, the only solution seems to be to ignore the laws of loshon hora, for they are impossible to keep. Satan really is quite clever!

Once Satan has convinced people to speak loshon hora, he goes about spreading his web of misinformation further to draw people into listening to the loshon hora, based on their lack of knowledge of the halachah.

For these reasons, the Chofetz Chaim writes, the sin of loshon hora had become small in the eyes of the world. People became accustomed to speaking without measuring their words against the Torah’s standards. Eventually, loshon hora was no longer viewed as an evil, thereby allowing bitter, damaging conversation to become acceptable, unrecognized as the terrible sin that it is.

Shmiras haloshon, guarding one’s speech, became the mitzvah of the pious, not of ordinary Jews, an irrelevant issue to most people. Satan’s strategies had succeeded. A most severe Torah prohibition, certainly equal to that of eating non-kosher food, was now considered to be nothing more than an optional stringency that only few were concerned with.

All of Satan’s strategies, writes the Chofetz Chaim, were based on his ability to spread misinformation. This was possible because the correct information was generally inaccessible. The laws of loshon hora were scattered throughout the Talmud, having never been collected and organized. People were drowning in the sin of loshon hora simply because they were totally ignorant of it and had no way of learning about it.

It was this tragic situation which impelled the Chofetz Chaim to write his monumental work - Sefer Chofetz Chaim.

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