Author: The Thinking Yid

True Simchas Hatorah

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Something that always irked me but I never really spoke about was the current state of Simchas Torah in our community. To me, Simchas Torah was represented by the usual assortment of rowdy individuals, many of whom picked up a Gemara* maybe 12 times this year, dancing in a raucous crowd of giddy, inebriated, and puerile adults.

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Kol Nidrei: Redux

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I must admit, that as each year passes, on Yom Kippur at the Chassidsha Shul where I regularly daven (pray), it got more and more “less enthusiastic”. As I get older, it seems the schlepping (drawn out), screaming of the chazzan, hitting the bimah (lectern) got the better of me. I know Yom Kippur is a time for intense praying, and many people are indeed inspired by this way of praying. However, people are not the same (more…)

Neturei Karta Argumentation

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Sep 26, 2016 was when the Republican and Democrat candidates debated for the first time this cycle. While the candidates were arguing inside Hofstra University, the Neturei Karta had a protest outside. Rabbi Weiss, who is one of the chief agitators of the gang, gave an interview. I thought I would provide a point by point rebuttal to the drivel. (more…)

The Tetragrammaton

Note: This article is missing Hebrew lettering that has been replaced with English lettering, we will fix A.S.A.P.shema

Each year Yom Kipper night before Kol Nidrei in many shuls, including ours, we ask forgiveness from each letter of Hashem’s name. Many people don’t understand the significance of each letter and think it is some secret prayer for forgiveness. The following is a little better understanding of what we are saying.

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Keep The Faith, Lose The Chassidus

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People write about pet peeves all the time but I couldn’t call this issue a pet peeve. Firstly, the very word “pet” connotes something beloved, cherished and possibly furry. When I think of this matter, that if I wouldn’t care about my blood pressure, would have me exploding all over the place, the only furry thing I see is Bigfoot – the most apt description I can think of when trying to describe the crude, humorless, uneducated, unkempt, “chossid”. (more…)

Zionism: Defeating the Slave Mentality

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Zionism: Defeating the Slave Mentality

The Prophets of old inspired the Jewish people: speaking of pursuing justice, admonishing kings for their sins, and exhorting their listeners to drop their evil ways and pursue Godliness and righteousness. It is with some interest, then, that we read the book of Nachum (Nahum), which deals primarily with the non-Jewish Assyrians and their capital, Nineveh. The Assyrians had been brutalizing and subjugating Israel for a long time, culminating in the reign of Sargon II, when the Northern Tribes of Israel were expelled from the land. (more…)

Bein Hazmanim, Do It Right!

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Bein Hazmanim, Do It Right!

The torah tells in Bereshis 49:14 Yissachar Chamor GorimYissachar is a strong-boned Donkey. Rashi explains this is referring to a Torah Scholar, as bearer of the yoke of the torah. Rovetz Bein Ha’misfasayimCrouching down between the Boundaries.  Rashi further explains; just as a donkey broods along day and night merely crouching down to get a brief rest between the city limits, so is the way of the Torah Scholar.

The Chofetz Chaim, based on this verse write – The way of a True Torah Scholar is, he wearies day and night in studying Torah, (more…)

Whitewashing Gedolim

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Whitewashing Gedolim

Why do we whitewash the lives of our gedolim? Why is that we feel that if we say a gadol made a mistake, or wasn’t the smartest person in the room, or wasn’t always ecstatic that it in some way takes away from their greatness? Why does every gadol story go something like this: He mastered chumash by age three, Mishnah by age five, and Shas by age ten. He never was unhappy a day in his life. (more…)

Recapturing the Spirit of Zionism!

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Recapturing the Spirit of Zionism

How to discuss Zionism? The apathy among Jews on the question of Zionism is a listlessness that has spread throughout the Jewish people. Few could even remember of the tremendous energies and passions that were the hallmarks of Zionism just some decades ago. Perhaps there is no longer a need for remarkable energy and passion in our support of Zionism. (more…)

Right is Left and Left is Right!

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“Right is Left and Left is Right”: A Rebuttal

In the “About” section of Acher’s Musings Blog, https://achersmusings.wordpress.com/about/, it says thus:

“Many people are… fooled into believing that they cannot think for themselves. They need a Rebbeh, a Gadol to think for them and to get them closer to Hashem. That is diametrically opposed to the views of Judaism. We believe that each… person has the ability to connect with Hashem on their own. They can look to others for inspiration but…”

How to square the circle? I am referring to what is called Daas Torah. (more…)

Segulah or Avodah Zarah?

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Thoughts on Segu’los

Recently I was in the Living Torah Museum in Boro Park, New York. As the fascinating tour was going on the guide mentioned three different segu’los. While thinking about the subject of segu’los in general it occurred to me that there may be a great downside to this practice. In a way this idea takes our focus away from the One who provides the bracha, Hashem, and refocuses us on what an object can do for us. (more…)

Rebishe Perks

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Published February 2016.

Shabbos Drasha, Parshas Tetzaveh

Rebishe Perks

This week’s Parsha starts off by telling us “V’yikche aylechu shemen zeis zoch” to take pure olive to burn in the lamp continuously. We see the Torah instructing us in a chronological order. In last week’s parsha it gives the exact details and the intricate measurements on how to build the Mishkan – the Tabernacle. Now that we have the Mishkan up and standing, we are told on who should be the ones to Minister in it, to do the Avodah. In the first part of this week’s Parsha we go through the details on how to make the vestments for the children of Ahron, the Kohanim, on how they should dress while doing the services. (more…)

Haters of the Draft

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This article was written a few months back.

Haters of the Draft

With the day of “demonstration and prayer” in Israel and the one in New York over, the Israeli cabinet is set next week to take up the Shaked commission’s resolution to have a universal draft for all. This will require a good part of the Charedi community to join the army. Speaker after speaker, article after article in the Charedi newspapers condemned this as an “attack on Torah”, saying there is no other reason for this, other than to destroy torah learning. (more…)

What Has Happened To Lakewood?

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WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?

I vividly remember my first impression of Lakewood almost 30 years ago, when I visited family members living in the small kolel town in New Jersey. In those days the kolel families were pretty much contained to a few block radius. There was a sense of comradeship and belonging that created a wonderful “one big happy family” type feeling. Simchas were a community event. (more…)