Student “Dilemma”

26 02 2009

Okay, so I started following some classes on your website, and it was terrific. But now, every time I log on there is another amazing class that I would love to take! When the shiurim are so tempting, it’s hard not to try to follow all of them.  You are doing an amazing job! I think I may have to become a full time student again. (How will I explain this to my husband and children?) This is very difficult!!! Any suggestions? Thanks for a wonderful resource, and happy Adar!

Mindy Mandel   Passaic, NJ

‘Chofetz Chaim: Laws of Speech’ by Rabbi Beinish Ginsburg

25 02 2009 welcomes a wonderful new addition to its courses, Rabbi Beinish Ginsburg’s class “Chofetz Chaim: Laws of Speech”. The class is a wonderful insight into the Sefer Chofetz Chaim, the paramount book on the Laws of Proper Speech. Rabbi Ginsburg begins each class with textual analysis of Sefer Chofetz Chaim (written by Rav Yisrael Meir Kagan), and then discusses practical applications of the material discussed.

Topics so far have been:

The Power of Words
Your Words Create You
Axiom for Avoiding Aveirot
Lashon Hara: The Root of Destruction
Ignorance Causes Improper Speech
Lashon Hara: ‘Mother’ of Aveirot

Rabbi Ginsburg’s ultimate goal is to encourage self awareness and self-improvement in the areas of Mitzvot bein adam l’chavero (human relations). May this new class help improve the lives of Naaleh students and those around them.

Summary of Parshat Terumah by Shira Smiles

24 02 2009

‘PARSHAT TERUMAH A Give and Take Relationship’

Shira Smiles Shiur  Summary by Channie Koplowitz Stein

Parshat Terumah begins with a curiously worded command to start the building of the Mishkan, the Sanctuary: “Let them take for Me a portion, from every man whose heart motivates him you shall take My portion” (25:2). Since this is a command to donate materials for the building of the Mishkan, it seems contradictory to say “take” rather than give.

Give and take are the two partners in any transaction. If one is always the giver and another the taker, the transaction is lopsided and unfair. It is only when each side both gives and gets that a meaningful relationship can be built. Such is the case, so to speak, of our relationship to Hakodosh Boruch Hu. At Sinai, Hashem was the giver, and we were only takers. With our acceptance of the Torah and the beginning of the building of the Mishkan, we take control of the relationship by our giving and our generosity. Yet through our giving, we receive more than we give.

The key to giving in a way that will reap untold rewards lies in the motivation with which we give. It is not just a dollar amount, but the generosity of spirit that is important. Is my donation for His work, whether for the maintenance of His house or the maintenance of His people, given with the passion of fulfilling His will? Then I will be rewarded by feeling His closeness as I partner with Him. Do I offer a smile and a sense of dignity to those who come knocking on my door for a donation? Then I understand that we are all God’s children, and the beggar is really my own brother. Our mutual Father has entrusted more wealth to me so that I can distribute it to my siblings/ His other children in His stead. It is not my money I am giving, but His.

In this vein, our Rabbis tell us, “More than the homeowner does for the poor man (knocking at his door), the poor man does for the homeowner.” If all the wealth that a man has is only his on loan from the Creator of the world, then the only wealth he takes with him in the end is the wealth he used to help others and do good deeds. This is true both in this temporal world and in the true world to come. Money we give to tzedaka is never spent; it somehow always comes back to us. In fact, some of our unforeseen expenses, (a parking ticket, a home repair, etc.) may be the way Hashem is taking back money we should have given to tzedaka. It never belonged to us to begin with, so Hashem took it away. And Hashem will always replace the money we use for His purposes, but we may not recognize the reward either.

As we enter the month of Adar and anticipate the redemption of the month of Nissan, let us remember what the Prophet says, “And her return will be through tzedaka.” Let us give our tzedaka with a passion and love for Hakodosh Boruch Hu and His people and merit the redemption IY”H this year.

The Whole Truth – Parshat Mishpatim Summary of Shira Smiles’ Shiur

23 02 2009

The Whole Truth – Parshat Mishpatim

Summary, Shira Smiles Shiur  Edited by Channie Koplowitz Stein

While Parshat Mishpatim deals with civil law (as does much of Sefer Shmos) the themes that weave Torah law together are universal and need to be impressed into the soul of every one of us. One of these major themes is the love of truth. This theme is stated even more powerfully as, “Distance yourself from falsehood” (23:6), stay way from any groups of people, places, and ideas that might bring you to fudge the line between truth and falsehood not only outwardly, but even in your thoughts. EDITOR’S NOTE ” This, I believe, is what is the basis of the chareidi world’s shunning mass media, especially TV. ” END – editor’s note.

Truth is seldom appealingly dressed up. “It is what it is,” we say. Yet we are easily led astray by the trappings of falsehood, by appearances. Whether we believe a better-dressed person over a poorly dressed person, or the handsome gentleman over the plain one, the Yetzer Hora is using our eyes to mask our judgment. We are giving honor and credibility to external factors rather than to the inner truth.

Or the Yetzer Hora uses our egos to entrap us. For example, it will convince us to exaggerate our role in a project to receive greater credit or honor. Our warped reasoning convinces us that we did contribute something to the event, however minimal, and can therefore take credit. Or, we feel if we bring home a large paycheck and can afford luxuries for our families, we are doing the right thing. But we may be sacrificing our relationships with our family and with Hashem, the most valuable of assets, those that are a reflection of the world of Truth, for more hours at the office to create a sham of value.

Hardest of all, perhaps, is to admit our mistakes. This too is necessary if we are to embrace truth and shun falsehood. How much heartache and how many misunderstandings causing strife could be avoided if we could only say, “I’m sorry; I was wrong.”

By being scrupulously truthful and honest, we avoid Falsehood’s partner, Destruction, and bring our neshamas back to their source from under the Divine Throne, for Hashem’s seal is Truth.

‘A Beautiful Way of Keeping Up Torah Education’

18 02 2009

Thank you for creating such a project. Its a beautiful way of keeping up Torah education. I appreciate all the time, effort and patience that must go into this. Hashem should bless this organization and those involved with much brachah and hatzlachah. This should be a zechus for you, your family and all of klal yisrael.

Ahuva S.  Brooklyn, NY

‘I Don’t Know Where to Start’

16 02 2009

Thank you for this site. I just discovered it, yesterday and can’t leave it. It has so much learning material, I don’t know where to start. What a great problem to have! Hatzlacha with the site and please keep up the phenomenal work. It is people like yourself, B’H, that make learning accessible and encourage others to learn or to increase their learning.

Chaya Selig  Far Rockaway, NY

Class Notes on ‘Parshat Yitro by Shira Smiles’

9 02 2009

One of the most prominent aspects of Parshat Yitro is that it contains the
Aseret Hadibrot, the Ten Utterances. The first and last of these, “I am the
L-rd your G-d,” and, “Thou shalt not covet,” seem to form bookends to
encompass the essence of all ten. How is “Thou shalt not covet” an
appropriate summation to this cornerstone of our Judaism?

Coveting is one of the most universal of feelings, yet we are told we must
rein in this emotion and stop it cold. Contrary to current culture which
values total freedom in all we do, say, or even wish, the Torah tells us
that the way to true growth is through placing limitations and boundaries on
ourselves and rising above them. I once heard a secular, business tape that
pointed out that in order to be a true DISCIPLE, one must practice
DISCIPLINE, one cannot learn without self control. This is precisely what
the Torah teaches us with Matan Torah and with the Aseret Hadibrot. First,
set boundaries of time – three days – and of space – around the mountain.
Then set boundaries to your beliefs, your actions, and even your emotions.
If we can restrain our covetousness, we will come to no other sin.

We are given the opportunity to rise higher than the angels who were
hesitant to let Moshe bring the Torah down to earth. We have the opportunity
to sanctify everything on earth and, through how we use them, raise
ourselves up so that we continue to grow spiritually, as no angel can. But
we can only do this if we understand that “Anochi Hashem… ” comes first,
and all that we have on this earth actually belongs to Him. It is lent to us
so that we can use them in our unique mission on earth. In this context,
whatever was not given to me is unnecessary for my mission and may in fact
be harmful to me, much like taking someone else’s prescription. If we can
achieve this mindset, we will not fall into the trap of coveting that which
belongs to another while failing to appreciate that which we have and can
utilize effectively for all our needs. We will also understand that by
desiring that which belongs to my neighbor, I am upsetting the equilibrium
necessary for the unity of Am Yiroel and may be hindering my fellow from
accomplishing his mission.

There are several approaches we can take to overcome covetousness. First, we
can put the object of our desire out of our mind and pretend it doesn’t
exist. Then we can say that it is so beyond our reach that it would be
unnatural to continue to desire it, like a peasant wanting to marry a
princess. Or, in an about face that renews our pride and dignity, we can
reaffirm that we are children of Hashem, princes and princesses, and
desiring these insignificant objects is beneath our dignity.

These are the values we want to pass on to our children, the knowledge that
each of us has a unique mission on earth and that Hashem has given us each
the tools necessary to accomplish our mission, and everything else is
extraneous and therefore unworthy of our desire.

Chanie Stein  West Hempstead, NY

‘This Will be a Lifeline to Me’

9 02 2009

I went to hear Rebbetzin Heller speak in Brooklyn, NY last week. As usual, I was very inspired. She mentioned this site – and it would have been worthwhile to go the shiur just to hear that this resource is available. I am very excited to start learning again! As a mother of small children whose husband is out each night learning leaving me unable to leave my home to attend shiurim- this will be a lifeline to me.

Zahava G.    Brooklyn, NY

‘This Site is Amazing’

3 02 2009

This site is amazing – I load up on shiurs on my ipod and listen to them while I clean and cook and the baby is sleeping. I love it. Makes me happier, more aware of what I am here for, and why I am a mother. I am also a big fan of Rebbetzin Heller she is brilliant.

Leah Mullokandov    Neve Yaakov, Jerusalem

New Class: ‘Insights Into the Chassidic Masters’

3 02 2009

Naaleh is privileaged to have an amazing new teacher on staff, Rabbi Moshe Weinberger, Spiritual leader of Congregation Aish Kodesh in Woodmere, NY. Rabbi Weinberger, in his course “Insights into the Chassidic Masters”, which is taught and recorded at Aish Kodesh, takes students on a journey through various essays and Chassidic discourses by a range of Chassidic Masters, such as the Ba’ale HaTanya, the Rebbe Rashab, and others. The deep spiritual and esoteric teachings of the great Chassidic giants is now available via Rabbi Weinbergers powerful course at Naaleh.

The following classes in this series are available now:
Standing Before G-d
Knesses Yisrael
Endless Circle
Connecting to the Source
Creating One Nation
The Bond of a Bris
Understanding a Bris
Rejuvevating Our Bond
Seeking G-d
G-d as Part of the Jewish Nation