Toronto Redux – November 7 – 11, Veterans Day Weekend 2019

Shabbos Parshas Lech Lecha

My Bar Mitzvah Parsha – 1966

 

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Monday – November 4, 2019:

Woke up late and ended up davening at Chodorov.  I was rewarded for my tardiness. I realized that the person who was leining also leined 53 year ago at my Bar Mitzvah at Rabbi Isaac Small’s Shul on Lawrence Avenue. It was Rabbi Avrohom – Allen Isenberg who was about 18 years old at the time.  He only shaved once a week as an 18 year old and now his beard is quite fully grown.

Thursday – November 7, 2019:

Left at 10:00 AM driving to Toronto with the wife and two of my son’s, Sholom and Tzvi.  Arrived in Toronto at 10:00 PM.  

Friday – November 8, 2019:

Went to Shul at 8:00 AM Went to Daf Yomi.  Too fast. Afterwards sat down to learn. I met Larry Gladstone.  We talked for about an hour about kids and other matters. Met Avi Janowski, who is in Kollel at the BAYT.  Told him my Torah. I spoke to him for another hour on Sunday and discovered he is a Green Bay Packer fan and knows everything Green Bay.

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In the afternoon I set up shop at the desk and learned Daf Yomi.

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Shabbos – Friday Night November 8, 2019:

Walked with Sholom and Tzvi to Shul.  Got there when they were already starting Maariv.  Introduced Sholom to Rabbi Korobkin.  

Shabbos  meal was great.  It was nice being with my mother in law,. Serka’s great nephew Shimmy ate with us. He learns at Ohr Chaim in Clanton Park.  Nice kid. After the meal I walked him home, stayed there for about an hour talking Torah to Mordy.  I discussed the Kotzker Rebbe with him and corrected his misconceptions about the Kotzker. I had some great egg rolls.

Shabbos morning – Saturday 9, 2019 – What a great Shabbos

Woke up at 4:00 AM  in the morning and learned Chumosh.  I did not have my Mikros Gedolas. I found Chok L’Yisroel from the Zedi, the Holy Jew, Rabbi Yehuda Leibush Noble.  My son, Tzvi Yehuda Leibush, is named after him. What Siattah Dishmaya. I learned from the same Sefer our Zedi learned from and held.

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I focused on Chapter 12, Verse 2:

בוְאֶֽעֶשְׂךָ֙ לְג֣וֹי גָּד֔וֹל וַֽאֲבָ֣רֶכְךָ֔ וַֽאֲגַדְּלָ֖ה שְׁמֶ֑ךָ וֶֽהְיֵ֖ה בְּרָכָֽה:

The beginning of the Verse say I will bless you and the end of the Pasuk says, you will be blessed.  The Chok has a Perush that I have only seen in the old Mikros Gedolas put out by Penimim that can no longer be found.

The bottom Perush asks: why does Chapter 12, Verse 2 say at the end of the Verse repeat that Avrohom should be blessed, when it says it 4 word earlier that he will be blessed?  He answered that when earlier in the verse it says that Avrohom will have a great name and be well known, people with become jealous and cast on him the “evil eye”. The Eiyan Harah will cause Avorhom to lose his wealth, so he needed a blessing that despite people’s jealousy, the “evil eye” will not have any affect on Avrohom.

At about 6:00 AM went back to sleep.  Got up at 7:15 AM and went  to the BAYT for their 7:30 AM Minyan.  Met Idelis who played with the Diaspora Yeshiva Band.  Afterwards when to an hour long Shiur

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Went upstairs to the main Shul to hear the Rabbi’s speech.  Rabbi Korobkin spoke eloquently. After the speech, I finally found Frank Diament.  At my last trip I was Desperately Seeking Frank, and I found him. We schmoozed for over 30 minutes about Jabotinsky, Menachem Begin, Israel, the book The Prime Ministers, CUFI.  He was familiar with all of it. His father was a Beitar (Jabotinsky) member and Frank grew up being a member. I mentioned that Rabbi Shmuel Bowman talked about Christian Evangelicals at BRS about 5 years ago.  Frank mentioned that Rabbi Shmuel Bowman is at the Conservatory visiting his father. I fulfilled the Chazel that says, if you mention a thought in the name of the person who said it, you bring redemption to the world and I was rewarded with the chance of being re-united with Rabbi Shmuel Bowman. My mother in law lives in the building.

It was already 12:30, very late and I walked to Yisroel and Chai’s house to visit Hudi.  She was sleeping. I showed Yisroel the Chok L’Yisroel from his grandfather.  I spoke over all my Torah, especially the Kotzker on Chanoch. I was smoking. It was 30 minutes of Torah discussion.  Got home at 1:30 PM.  Label walked me home.  Had a great Shabbos meal.

Mincha at 4:45 PM.

I asked the two Gabbais if I could speak right after Mincha and right before the regular speaker for two minutes.  Right before I was getting up to speak, one of the Gabbis, with his British accent that gave off a very Yekkish vibe, said that no, I cannot speak.  The other Gabbai said I should be allowed to speak and did. I proceeded to praise Rabbi Shmuel Bowman, mentioned exactly what he said 5 years earlier, how much I was inspired by him, hugged him  and gave Nachas to his father. I felt the entire time the Yekkish Gabbai and other were staring daggers at me.  

The speaker was excellent.  He is a retired professor of Jewish Studies at McGill University in Montreal.

After Davening I walked and rode with Rabbi Bowman with his father to and on the elevator and to the 6th floor.  He lives on the 7th floor with my mother in law on the 6th floor. I found out the Rabbi Bowman is a Sofer STAM and a motivational speaker, besides operating his NGO, Operation Lifeshield.  I asked Rabbi Bowman, what his thoughts were of the Kotzker Rebbe. Rabbi Bowman answers, Ahavas Yisroel, love of fellow Jews. I was astounded and asked him how did you know this.  Most people would not answer that the Kotzker was all about Ahavas Yisroel. Rabbi Bowman told me through Rabbi Shlomo Carlbach.  

Rabbi Bowman lives in Efrat, a few doors down from his good friend, Dovid Willner, my cousin.  Wow.

Saturday Night – November 9, 2019:

Went to a movie at the BAYT – Prosecuting Evil:  The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz. After the movie the Rabbi and  Jordanna Leibowitz spoke. She is only 23 and was impressive. She is the granddaughter of Judy and Anshel Leibowitz, good friends and neighbors of my in laws, in Clanton Park.  They had the corner home in the Cul-de-Sac. Jordanna’s father is Shlomie Leibowitz. I also saw the other brother, Hymie, whom I hadn’t seen in over 20 years. He looked the same.  There were over 200 people there.  

https://www.cjnews.com/news/canada/survivors-granddaughter-attended-groening-trial-germany

Sunday – November 10, 2019:

 Davened at the BAYT.  Went to the Hakomas Matzvah for Aunt Ruth Noble-Lister.  Label and Yosef Lister spoke. Miriam Lister-Klein came in. 

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For Dinner went to Dr. Laffa in the Soby shopping center.  Danny Noble form New York and Shimmy Rothman came with us for dinner.

Monday – November 11, 2019:

Left for Chicago at 10:00 AM.  It was snowing and the road snow covered.  It took me 13 hours and 10 minutes, I stopped every hour.

 

Shabbos Parshas Breshis 2019

October 25-26, 2019

  • Another great Shabbos at ASBI.
  • Shabbos Mevorchim Cheshvan
  • Shabbos in Lakeview
  • Carlbach Friday Night Davening
  • Rabbi Wolkenfeld’s Torah
  • Midrash Mordechai on Breishis – Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Morgenstern

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I am excited.  Nothing better than Shabbos in Lakeview.

We are now starting from the Beginning of the Torah,  Sefer Breishis.   The Torah of the Breshis is magnificent.  We get to spend the next two months delving into our origins and our holy forefathers.   This alone is a major Simcha and a reason to celebrate.

The Friday night davening was down in the social hall, was a Carlbach davening,  and was magnificent.  I was greatly inspired.  Sholom davened with me.  Rabbi Wolkenfeld spoke out the Malbim at the beginning of Breishis.  Rabbi Wolkenfeld listed the multiple questions of the Malbim on the first Passuk.  Each letter and word had an anomaly and the Malbim asked about 10 questions.  Rabbi Wolkenfeld said that my purpose now is not to say the answers, but to show how much one can ask and learn from every Passuk in the Torah. 1.    He read the Malbim’s opening questions on the first verses of Bereshit and made the point that every act of translation is itself an act of interpretation and that there was no way to derive even a simple Pshat understanding of any Pasuk without engaging in significant questions about the very meaning of words. Is “Bereishit” in construct form (Rashi) or not (Rambam…and King James)?

Went to Tzvi and Sholom’s apartment for the Shabbos meal.  Serka prepared a great meal.  Eli ate with us.

Shabbos Morning:

Got up at 4:00 AM, learned until 5:15 AM, slept until 7:15 AM.  Finished the Parsha.  Went to Daven at the Hashkamah Minyan, had the third Aliya.  Falk davened nicely.  Great Cholent.  Brought the Diet Faygo pop.  Faygo was started by two brothers with the last name Feginson out of Detroit .   Went to the main sanctuary.   Sat in the Shul to listen to Rabbi Wolkenfeld.     He shared his wife’s observation that we read the beginning of the Torah having just completed it and we read the end of the Torah just moments before starting it again. So, even though these chapters are far apart, they are still linked very closely. Moshe is invited to “see” Eretz Yisrael before he dies and how good it is. That isn’t a cruel tease, but an echo to the opening actions of God in Sefer Bereishit who “sees” the new creations and how good they are.   Rabbi Wolkenfeld introduced this by saying that Moshe’s death appears to be depressing and he answered it with his wife’s thought.  Rabbi Wolkenfeld said for years he thought the death of Moshe was unfair and depressing.   Zipporah asked at our Simchas Torah table and I tried to answer it.  However, Rabbi Wolkenfeld and his wife gave the answer a beautiful thought.  Rabbi Wolkenfeld spoke nicely about the Pittsburgh massacre.  Went to the Kiddush and saw Eli.

I gave a large portion of the Dr. Leonard Kranzler memorial Parshah Shiur. My Torah starts at the next page.

The Shiur was over at 2:30 PM after we learned from Sefer Yehoshua.  Tzvi came by and sat in the Shiur.  Tzvi is great.  Orson Welles’s name came up and Tzvi knew about Citizen Kane  and his other great movie, The Magnificent Ambersons.   It was raining all day.  I sat and walked in Shul with Tzvi.

Davened Mincha, learned some Daf Yomi, Davened Maariv, and went home.

Vort #1:

I read the first Kotzker Vort in the Sefer Ohel Torah.  The Sefer is called Ohel Torah because the numerical value of Ohel Torah is the same as Rabbinu Menachem Mendel Z”L.

I  had to read the Vort four times until its brilliance emerged.   Rabbi Wolkenfeld helped in my understanding.  I had these thoughts for a number of years, however, Rabbi Wolkenfeld gave it form and expression.   Source (Ramasaim Zophim 20A)

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Translation:

The Midrash Tanchuma states – This is what the Torah means when it says in Mishlei 3:19 – “God with wisdom founded the earth”.  That is when Hashem was about to create the world, He consulted the Torah and then created the world, as it says in Mishlei 8:14:  Council and wisdom is mine , I am understanding  and, power is mine.  How was the Torah written?  It was written with letters of black fire on a surface of white fire as it says in Shir HaShirim 5:11 –   34 This means that each crowned stroke on the letters of the Torah contains heaps and heaps of law.  This is the language of the Midrash Tanchuma.

The Gemoro in Menachos 29B brings down the statement of Rabbi Yehuda in the name of Rav that when Moshe ascended the heavens, Moshe found God tying crowns to the letters of the Torah.  He said, God, who is preventing you form giving the Torah as it, without the adornments.  God responds – there is one man at the end of many generation and Akiva Ben Yosef is his name that in the future will expound of even crown and crown heaps and heaps of law . . .

The Kotzker continues – with these ideas we can understand the words of our teacher, the Rebi, Reb Bunim of Pershischa, TZL who said, “that they learn with him the letters”.   This is to be understood like we said  that Rabbi Akiva learned many laws from the crowns of Torah, how much more so from every letter there is great amount to expound.  Every letter has within it many letters, Milui and Milui of Melium, and the forms of each letter.  The Rebi, Reb Bunim continued “that he learned from the heavens,”, like the Gemoro says that this learning can only be learnt from the heavens.

The end means that the Torah is so great infused with almost infinity of laws and explanations, put into the Torah by God himself to be learnt and expounded, uncovered by man.  Perhaps the Rebi  is referring to learning with an angel, but I think he is also saying that we can uncover this heavenly Torah but it is hard coded in the words of the Torah.  If I may add that once the Kotzker explained the actions and once the Rebi Reb Bunim learned Torah form the heavens. He bought it down to us and once it was exposed to our world we can learn the same Torah.

Vort #2:

Chanoch walked with God then he was no more, for God took him.  Rashi explains that Chanoch was a righteous mans, but his mind was easily induced to turn form his righteous ways and to become wicked,  God therefore took him away quickly and made him die before his full time . . .

It appears to be very difficult to anyone who reads this Rashi.   Is it possible to say about Chanoch who was “Mitatat”, the official of the inner sanctum of God,  that he was heaven forbid easily influenced to do  evil.

It seems that the explanation is just the opposite – it  was easy for Chanoch to speak to the heart of a sinner to leave his path of wickedness.  God was therefore afraid through Chanoch that free choice (in the world) would be gone;  therefore He hastened to remove Chanoch from this world before his time.   Meaning Chanoch was a super Lubavitcher Rebbe.  (Source Lekutai Magadim, Volume 1 (Page 11A).

Wow.  The Kotzker turns Rashi 180 degrees and says that Rashi is talking in praise of Chanoch.

A few years ago Rabbi Pilchik told  me the above Vort  and said the below follow-up in the name of an anonymous Rebi.  Rabbi Ephraim Twerski confirmed the Vort and after math and told me that it was his  Zedi, the Dizikor Rebbe.

  • The follow-up – The night after saying the Vort the Dzikov Rebbe had a dream where Rashi appeared to the Dizikor Rebbe and thanked him for the explanation. Rashi told him that when Rashi saw Chanoch in the next world, they did not look at each other because Rashi disparaged Chanoch.  Now that you explained what I said regarding Chanoch positively we are friendly.   After they told me this Vort, I found the Vort in this Sefer and also in the name of the Kotzker’s son, Admor Dovid Morgenstern TZL (1809-1873), and was ecstatic.  The Kotzker lived from 1787-1859.

2019 addition – perhaps both interpretations in Rashi can be true at the same time.  The more a Tzadik and people are out in the world interacting with people, the more he can be susceptible to be negatively influenced by the people and society he is trying to help, especially if they are speaking to the inner Neshmah of that person.  Perhaps you can say similar to what  happened to Rabbi Shlomo Carlbach and this is why Reb Shlomo Carlebach’s music is greater than ever, because it came from a holy place.

This Maamer lends an important insight into the Kotzker.  He was always looking to find the positive and good in everyone and everything.  I have found that this mindset influences the writings, ideas, and thought of his descendants.

Third Vort:

This is from my great-Uncle, Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Morgenstern.  He took over after the death of his father, the Pilaver Rebbe.  Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Morgenstern was the fourth generation Kotzker and I am the seventh.  Beautiful.