Monthly Archives: January 2006

EH 23: The Sin of Wasting Sperm


In light of the following posts (Lazer Brody: Beating the Porn addiction & The War of Kedusha) I decided to write up an abstract from the Nishmat Avraham on this topic. It is a fantastic set of seforim translated from the original Hebrew into English and is published by Artscroll

(Abstract from Nishmat Avraham Even Haezer [Artscroll] Pg 110 – Pg 112, Pg 118)

Even Haezer Siman 23: The sin of Wasting Sperm

1) It is forbidden to emit sperm to waste and this sin is greater than any other sin of the Torah.  Thereby a man many not perform coitus interruptus nor may he may he marry a girl too young to have children

3) It is forbidden for a man to cause self-erection or to think erotic thoughts. If such thoughts do come to him he should discard them for Torah thoughts since the Torah is liken to a “beloved hind inspiring favor” Thus it is forbidden for a man to sleep flat on his back, but he should turn slightly to one side to prevent him having an erection. He must not look at male and female animals or birds that are copulating. If his work is breeding animals he may manually help them in the process since he is then occupied with his work and will not come to erotic thoughts

The Maggid Mishneh writes that the source of this halacha is Gemera (Niddah 13A). Rebbe Yochana said: He who emits sperm to waste is punishable by death as the verse says (Bereishit 38:10:” And what he did (coitus interruptus – spilling the sperm outside) was evil in the eyes of Hashem and for this he too died” The Levush (Bereishit 38:10) writes that it is forbidden to emit sperm to waste and that this sin is very great since sperm was created in man for the specific purpose of inhabiting the earth, as the verse says (Isiah 45:18) “Hashem did not create the earth for emptiness; He fashioned it to be inhabited.” And when one emits sperm to waste it is as if he destroys the earth. This is what the generation of the flood did as it says of them (Bereishit 6:12) “For all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth,” that is, they destroyed their sperm (the interpretation is based on the the Hebrew word corrupted which has the same root as the word to destroy – author)… There are many verses which teach us this as a basic halachah and not merely as a homiletic exegesis. This was the sin of Onen with Tamar, and it was for this that he died (end of quote from the Levush)

The Aruch Laner (Niddah 13B) and the Binyan Tzion (Sh”T Siman 135) writes that perhaps the admonition not to destroy ones sperm comes either from the verse (Deverim 20:19) “Do not destroy its trees,” a general commandment which includes harming oneself, or perhaps it is a halachah that was taught to Moshe Rabbeinu at Sinai.

Rav Auerbach zt”l wrote to me that the basis for the prohibition of emitting sperm to waste requires further study; for if a mans status was a matter of doubt in that the might be either a Cohen or a mamzer he cannot marry (If he is a mamzer he can only marry a mamzeret or a giyoret; on the other hand if he is a Cohen he can neither marry a mazeret nor a giyoret – author). Since he would not be able to fulfill the mitzvah: “He fashioned it to be inhabited,” would he be permitted to emit his sperm to waste? The statement of the Aruch LaNer that this is part of the general commandment prohibiting destruction also requires further study. For cutting down a tree or harming oneself is permissible if it is done for one’s benefit. On the other hand, if the prohibition is a halacha that was taught to Moshe Rabbeinu at Sinai, then one may not rule leniently in any circumstance, even if the sperm was emitted for medical reasons in order to fulfill the mitzvah of “Be fruitful and multiply” (end of quote from Rav Auerebach zt”l)

The Pnei Yehoshua (SH”T Pnei Yehoshua Even Haezer Chelek Beis, Siman 44) writes that the prohibition of emitting sperm to waste is not included in the prohibition of gilui arayot or of murder. For although Chazal have stated that if one does so it as if he has committed murder, they meant to emphasize that the sin was as great as sin of murder. And, when they compared it to sin of gilui arayot they meant that this was at a Rabbinic Level, for the Rambam (Issurei Biah 21:18) writes of this sin and does not rule that one is flogged for it in the way that he writes of the other acts enumerated there. Moreover, he does not even write the person is given Rabbinically ordained lashes, only that he is excommunicated. Rabbeinu Tam (Tosfot Niddah 13B) also writes that when the Gemara says that one who willfully causes an erection should be a in of state of excommunication, it means that Beit Din should excommunicate him. If this was forbidden by Torah Law, why should the Gemara need to tell us that he excommunicated; even one who transgresses Rabbinic Law is excommunicated.

Rav Aurebach zt”l wrote to me wondering why ones punishment for emitting sperm to waste should be flogging; if we compare it to adultery, it should be punishable by death. He also noted that excommunication for causing erection only is an innovative ruling.

The Torat Chesed (SH”T Chelek Beis, Siman 33) writes that whether emitting sperm to waste is forbidden by Torah or Rabbinic law is a subject of debate among the Rishonim. It would appear that the Tosafot (Sandhedrin 59B) believe that it is forbidden by Torah Law. However, the Meshivat Nefesh disagrees, writing that it cannot be forbidden by Torah Law. But the Mishnah LaMelech (Laws of Kings, 10:7) also questioned the Tosafots opinion and gives an answer. Since the opinion of Tosafot is no longer under question, it would appear that emitting sperm to waste is forbidden by the Torah and the prohibition is included with the overall mitzvah of procreation, The Torat Chessed, however, proves that the Ramban and the Meshivat Nefesh believes that it is only forbidden by Rabbinic Law and not a prohibition by Torah Law (See Otzar Haposkim Daf 83A)

Rav Auerebach zt”l wrote to me that the concept of including the sin of emitting sperm to waste within the framework of the overall mitzvah to procreate is very difficult to accept. For if this were true, then if the husband travels abroad or his wife is old or has a had a hysterectomy, it should be permissible for him to waste sperm (that is, since he cannot keep the mitzvah of procreation, he would be permitted to waste his sperm, this cannot be – author) (end of quote from Rav Auerebach zt”l)

The Igrot Moshe (Even Haezer Chelek 3 Siman 14) writes, perish the though that the one should think that emitting sperm to waste is only forbidden by Rabbinic law. Emitting sperm to waste is forbidden by Torah law and is punishable by death by Heaven, as Rebbe Yochanan states (Niddah 13A). It is such a terrible sin that he Shulchan Aruach writes that it is the most severe of all Torah forbidden sins. And even though this is not to be taken literally, for the sexual act with a married woman or a woman who is niddah are very severe sins as stated by the Beit Shmuel, nevertheless the Shulchan Aruch would not have used such strong language if wasting sperm were only a Rabbinically forbidden. For Rebbe Pinchas ben Yair (Ketuvot 45A) derived the prohibition of thinking unseemly thoughts, from the verse “You shall guard against anything evil”, explaining that this was so that he would not have a nocturnal emission. And Tosafot state (Avodah Zara 20b) that this was to be thought of as a true understanding of the verse (which would give the prohibition Torah status – author) Certainly then, the act of emitting sperm to waste is included in this negative commandment. That it is not to to be found in the Rambam’s list of negative commandments does not prove that it is not forbidden by the Torah, for there are many Torah prohibitions which are not included in this list. Perhaps this is because the Torah only states that is punishable by death but not that it is forbidden to do so (the three hundred and sixty-five negative commandments listed by the Rambam each have two separate verses in the Torah, one stating that it is forbidden, and the other, the punishment for its transgression – author). The negative commandment: “You shall guard against anything evil,” includes other forbidden acts in addition to unseemly thoughts and therefore the Rambam did not wish to number it as separate negative commandment; see Sefer HaMitzvot that the Ramban did count it as a separate commandment, mitvah number 11 (end of quote from the Igrot Moshe)

Dvar Torah from a Mishna in Shabbat

As mentioned previously I am currently learning Mishnayot (I am currently up to chapter 22 of Shabbat, G-d willing I will keep on going strong). In the earlier chapters of Shabbat, I came accross an interesting tid-bit that I feel can serve as a valuable hashkafic lesson. It is Mishna 6:4. Below is a translation courtesy of the wonderful picture sefer "Pnay Shabbat: The illustrated Mishnayoth Shabbat" published in English by Feldheim.

A man should not go out with a sword, a bow, a shield, an Alloh, or a spear. And if he did go out, he is liable for a sin-offering.
R Elizer says: they are Ornaments for him
But the Sages say: they are nothing but dishonourable, as it is said:
"And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears in pruninghooks:
nation shall not life up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more (Yeshayahu 2:4)

May this time be soon, in our days.

Thoughts on the Media (Part 2): Confessions of an experienced TV watcher

Updated: Here is my new list of cartoons and movies, in alphebetical order. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to download (available here)

I’ll be honest – I used to watch a lot of tv growing up. A friend and I actually decided to sit down one day and reflect how much we could remember of the shows we had watched. We actually compiled a list (see above) and came up with about 100 kids television shows we could remember. Now that doesn’t include sitcoms, movies, the news, dramas, music, etc. Lets think about this for a minute, 100 shows x 30 min (the average duration of a show) = 3,000 minutes (500 hrs). Now we definitely didnt only watch one show, but a whole series. Say a series consisted of 30 shows (there was probably much more, but lets just stick with 30 shows) that leads to 15,000 hrs+ of TV and as mentioned that doesn’t include all the other movies, etc (my list so far of movies I can remember is about 200 with the help of IMDB database).

I have a lot of unresolved questions in my mind about growing up with TV. There is much I have benefited from and much I have been disadvantaged in. I hope to share my reflections on this at a later stage (its 11:38pm at the moment and I need to get up early tommorow, so I will call it a night for now – stay tuned)


The following are some very brief thougts and observations, some general that can be extended to all forms of media and some more specific to myself and my own personal experience.

1) TV is definitely entertaining (thats why people watch it). It literally takes you to a different "universe", a place where you never enter in your wildest dreams. The characters, the story lines, the theme songs, the special effects, those famous one liners great create emotions, insight and experience that I personally think you could not have gotten in the real world. The laughs, the tears, the memories stay with a person for a life time. (My favourite movie I would have to say is the Shawshank Redemption as a side point)

2) By being brought up on TV, one  automatically becomes a product of Western Society as the media has a great influence on peoples attitudes, opinions and behaviour. Peoples fashions, tastes and what is "cool" are all defined by Hollywood. Characters and those famous one liners eg ‘Astalavista Babe’ (Terminator) become part and parcel of peoples general knowledge and cultural affiliation.

3) There are however some devasting effects of television and as a person who has more observant over the years, this is a major challenge for me now and then. Reality is TV has a lot of foul language, coarse humour, pornagraphic imagery, violence, adult themes, etc. If I had to reflect back, I would have to say that there were shows and movies I saw growing up that kind of exposed me to the "adult side of life" removing much of my childhood innocence (perhaps before the appropriate time). Certain images and movie scenes are those I wish I hadn’t seen as they are eternally burned onto my subconcious.

However, I then question how much a person could live in a bubble. I often wonder how much I would of been "me", if not for the 1000’s of hours of TV watching. I question whether or not when I get married and have children (G-d willing) whether I would have a TV in my house. And if so, what programmes / movies would I let them watch. I question the negative effects, yet on the other hand I question that perhaps I would be severly depriving them. Is not a world without TV, radio, internet(?) a rather empty one? I dont have answers to these questions, maybe the readers can offer me some insight.

The following quote from Rabbi Mayer Shiller’s article ""Torah U’Madda" and "The Jewish Observer" Critique: Towards a Clarification of the Issues" from Torah U Madda Journal 6 1995 – 1996 (available here) comes to mind on this issue:

" Recently I sat with a prominent mitnagdic Rosh Yeshiva who waxed rhapsodic over Ebbets Field, Happy Felton’s Knothole Gang, "Campy" and "Pee Wee" and yet, felt obligated to declare those wonderous memories of his youth "shtusim". (26)

(26) Another mitnagdic Rosh Kollel told me that a trip to Niagra Falls would be "bittul Torah". However when reminded of the Abbot and Costello routine of "Niagra Falls", he laughed so hard he could barely catch his breath. I asked him what he thought G-d felt about the joy he experienced at the moment and he was a at loss to answer."

4) I personally watch very little TV at the moment due to the problems raised in point 3, and also because of other commitments (Torah Study, Uni, etc). I just do not have as much time as I used to. I usually watch the news every night, an occasional cricket game and the occasional episode of the Simpsons. However even when I do watch TV, I feel a sense of guilt. Reality is no matter how hard one tries, one cannot escape the "tumah". Even when watching the News, one cannot escape the half naked lady trying to sell you a toothbrush or some sports car. I  ask myself that perhaps my standards are "too frum" and that if that is my attitude I shouldnt walk in the street. I then ask myself what I am going to do for entertainment? (a huge problem with this generation, and I think I speak for myself and everyone here is our constant need for instant gratification including an endless need for entertainment and fun).

These are some of my thoughts, I would really like to hear what the readers have to say on this issue. Email me or leave a comment. Among the things I would like some input on are:

1) Is TV as inappropriate as we make it out to be, or are us Orthodox Jews just too super-sensitive? I mean isn’t the Torah a pretty adult- themed book with stories of murder, rape, incest, lust, etc? Doesn’t the Gemera contain seemingly rude comments / jokes / observations?

2) What do you do for entertainment? Do you have a TV in your home? Do you practice censorship with yourself or your families? What shows do or did you watch?

3) Do you feel the media in general or TV in particular has made you a better or a worse person? When you think back to your youth, do your favourite TV shows form part of your warm fuzzy memories? What have been your favourite shows / movies that have effected you in a positive way.

4) Anything else, etc, etc

Looking forward to some insightful comments. I would just like to congradulate the readers for the counter has just recently ticked over to 6000 hits. Great stuff, and keep on reading. This has been an absolute honour to be able to share my thoughts and I appreciate you all coming back to read. Its now 1:55 am, Thursday 19 January 2006 (Sydney, Australia). I had a sleep this afternoon and that is why I am still up :) Anyways off to go and sleep. Good night.

Some ideas from Orot Hateshuva by R’ Kook

Here are some beautiful quotes from R’Kooks sefer Orot Hatushuva (Translated by Dr Alter B.Z Metzger, 1978, YU Press). In [brackets], I put my understanding of what R’Kook is saying.

Chapter V, pg 38

"Repentence is the healthiest expierence of the soul. A healthy soul in a healthy body must inevitably attain the great happiness of repentance, and in the this state the soul will feel the greatest natural pleasure. The casting out of the harmful substances exerts its virtuous and healthful effect upon the body when the body is perfect in its character; and the spiritual voiding of every evil deed and all the evil and corrupt impressions caused thereby, of every evil thought, of every withdrawel from the Godly emanent content in general which is the basis of all evil, the casting out of all coarseness and ugliness must inevitably come – when the organism is healthy both in terms of its spiritual and material aspects."

[R’ Kook is comparing the act of teshuva to the process of excretion by the human body. A normal human body has a desire to get rid of all its waste, (waste being a symbol of a  persons sins) to cleanse and purify itself so that it can continue to function. If a body does not desire to get rid of its waste you would say the body is sick and not functioning. So too with teshuva, if a person does not wish to get rid of their sins and allows the sins to corrupt and pollute their soul, you would say that person is "sick" and not healthy. Hence every normal person should have a desire and will to perform teshuva as it is an innately natural process that is fundamental to our existence]

Chapter VII, pg 45

"It is the nature of repentance to give unto man peace and oppressiveness of mind simultaneously. Man is consoled with even the slightest thought of repentance, within one small point of its great light there rests already the lofty and exalted happiness of an entire univserse. At the same time, it constantly places before the eyes of his spirit the obligations of fulfillment, which save him from arrogance and cast upon him a sweet light, giving great and constant value to his lift.

The concept of reprentance transforms all inquities and their confusion, their spiritual suffering and their ugliness, into conceptions of happiness and contentment because, by measns of the inquities, there emanates unto man the profound knowledge of hatred for evil, and love of virtue grows stronger within him with noble strength. Beyond all reckoning and knowledge, he derives from the joy of solace the Divine pleasure which is solely for those who have repented. Most pleasurable of all is this feeling when joined with the refining sense of a broken heart and contrite soul, a soul united with deep faith in redemptions and enternal salvation"

[R’ Kook is saying that the nature of teshuva is paradoxical. On the one hand it gives on a sense of relief and peace of mind (because you have escaped punishment), yet on the the hand it leaves one feeling "oppressed". I would imagine this feeling comes from the fact that although you have repented and asked forgiveness for ones sins and will therefore not be punished, there is still a void that you feel is left within you – You are troubled how you could have steeped to such a low, and even if the sin is forgiven, you yourself feel that it is not forgotten (expecially by yourself or by other people involved, never mind in the eyes of G-d). However R’Kook is saying that it is that precise feeling that makes your teshuva genuine. These feelings will cause you to forever feel humbled, constantly watching yourself.  You will be keept from arrogance for you know that you are not a saint and have sinned, but yet these feelings allow you to carry on growing because you are constantly reminding youself and trying to rectify your personality so that these deeds will not occur in the future.]

The Value of Learning Mishna

As previously mentioned I am currently doing a perek of Mishna daily. So far I have completed Brachot and have done about 9 perekim of Shabbos There are many advantages to doing a perek a day and they are as follows:

1. Time frame

Daf Yomi for Gemera takes 7+ years. It takes an extreme amount of commitment to stand out those seven years, including every shabbat and yom tov.  To go through daf yomi will take at least an hour every day, sometimes more if the content is more technical. I have heard some shiurim where they literally just fly through a whole daf in half and hour. Lets be realistic people, honestly, how much can you possibly take in that half an hour? Also if you are a novice learner like myself where the langauge and punctuation of the gemera is a stumbling block, you wont be even able to review the page afterwards without audio tapes or an Arstscoll.

In contrast the Perek a day cycle for Mishna is much shorter, it is a year and a half. There are 525 perekim of Mishna, that amounts to 525 days. If one does 12 mishnas a day you will finish in a year. By the time your daf yomi pals have finished one cycle you could have finished the entire of mishna 4 or 5 times.  Secondly one must remember that their is no Gemera on Taharot, so that entire section of Torah (126 / 525 perekim) is something they will have never learn’t, and that is a great shame.

To learn a perek of Mishna a day with a chevrusa can take anywhere between 30 minutes and a hour (depending on the subject matter, the amount of shmoozing in between and your concentration span). During that time I work on learning all the vocab and know pshat in each mishna, something for me which is feasabile. Of course it requires review, but I’ll eleborate on that later.

2. Level of Depth

Now the argument can be that learning Mishna is very superficial, to that I counter “it depends”. If one would learn just simply with Bartenura / Kehati one will get a very thorough understanding of the pshat in each mishna, the use of illustration books, eg the beautiful set by Feldheim for Shabbos defintely helps with conceptulising the more abstract cases. To be able to know pshat in each mishna, go through all the opinions and know all the vocab so one can review, is a pretty fine achievment in my book. How many people doing daf-yomi can say that after each daf?

However there is much more bi’iyun that one could learn if one wanted to. If one had to learn as well the parush of Rashi, Rambam, Melechet Shlomo and Tiferet Yisrael, the GR”A, Tosfos Yom Tov, etc there is no end to how deep one can get. Even just learning the Mishna the with Yad Avraham parush from Artscroll will give you a very deep insight into each mishna (each one of their volumes is like 300 plus pages!).

3. Review

To review a perek of mishna once you know it will literally take about 5 minutes. Once one has all the vocab and pshat one can just review many times during the day. If one has a very sharp brain one can even remember it off by heart. Each day one can review over what one did the day before (thats what I do with my chevrusa). Also every shabbat one chazer over what he did the whole week (7 perekim). To chazer a whole week of daf-yomi is basically impossible (7 daf) unless one has a Vilna Gaon type brain and an immense amount of time in ones hands. Also as I mentioned before, how much of it will you know?

Do not get me wrong, I am not here to “diss” Daf – Yomi, I just feel (and I am not the first to say it) that people learn Daf – Yomi because that is the current fad, the material goes in one ear and out the other and that is no time to review. I also feel that many novice learners like myself are put into learning daf-yomi because that is the only option – well my friends, there is a better way!

Getting started:

First of one needs a plain set of Mishna for Chazera. The only way to see if you really know something is just to have the plain mishna text in front of you with no commentaries. I recommend for that the following: Mishna Sedura by R’ Eliyahu Chaim Dordak. It has the text of the mishna arranged into columns with nekudot with a beautful typeset and nice a font size and layout. It costs 43.95 USD (see here for a place to buy and also for images of the actual pages). For three volumes for the whole of Mishna I feel it is pretty good value for money.  Mishna Sedura also has good summary charts at the back and a calender to help you monitor your progress. It is lightweight with a nice clean cover and I have been very happy with my investment.

Second one needs a Mishna set to explain to you pshat. For that one has many choices from Kehati (English / Hebrew), Artscroll (Yad Avraham), plain Bartenura set and many other volumes that are available in Hebrew. Just go down to your local seforim store or to see what is available. This is a personal choice. I personally love the Kehati English (Large edition) because it gives you a nice pshat without much complication and many Mishnayot can be found in a single volume. If one wants the small pocketsize english version is also available for travel on the road.

Third one must set a daily set time to learn and set time to review. That is left up to the individual. I personally am on vaction at the moment so I learn an hour after davening every morning. I do my review on Shabbat, and during the day I practice what I learn’t each day to remember the vocab and pshat. I enjoy learning with a chevrusa, because one can go through it together, test each other and also it is good company. However for those who wish to learn in the privacy of their own home, there are plenty of options out there

a) Audio Shiurim

In case you are not aware there are some great audio shiurim out there for Mishna Study

Rabbi Chaim Brown (

A very short simple shiur, each shiur goes according to the 2 mishna a day cycle (If one does that one will finish in 6 years). Explains pshat in each mishna is good for review. Just about all of Mishna is available online

Rabbi Meir Pogrow (

Very indepth bi’inyun shiur that goes for an hour a perek. Goes through many meforshim and gives great insight into all the mishnayot. Not all of his shiurim are up at the momenet but more are said to be added.

Rabbi Grossman (

Of fame. A more bekiut type shiur, similiar to R’ Chaim Brown

b) Other online resources

Kehati Mishna Archives


Contains all of the Kehati Mishnayot (in English!) for many Sederim of Mishna (By the looks of things has the whole of Moed, Nashim, Nezikin and some of Kodshim). To the best of my knowledge there is no copyright infringement as this is the actuall company / organisation who publishes the English version of Kehati

Mishna (

All of Mishna available online for easy printouts and also for review online

If one has any other resources please leave a comment to notify me and others.

I really feel that a perek a day is a worthwhile endevour and for those who wish to start it I wish hatzlacha and look forward to the siyum in a year and a half :)

Update: Other Sites (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Wikisource’s Open Mishna Project is developing Mishnah texts, commentaries, and translations. The project is currently available in four languages: Hebrew (the largest collection), EnglishFrench and Portuguese.

Other electronic texts

Mishnah study and the daily Mishnah

  • Aaron Ahrend, “Mishna Study and Study Groups in Modern Times” in JSIJ 3: 2004 (Hebrew). Available online here (Word & PDF).
  • Mishna Yomit – One Mishnah per day. (Note: this study-cycle follows a different schedule than the regular one; contains extensive archives in English).
  • Mishnah Yomit – hosts a weekly publication complementing the learning of people studying the regular program. It include articles, review questions and learning aids.
  • Mishna of the Daf – a new Mishnah study cycle that parallels the progress of the Daf Yomi.
  • Kehati Mishna a program of two Mishnayot per day. Currently inactive, but archives contain the complete text of Kehati in English for Moed, Nashim, Nezikin, and about half of Kodashim.
  • Dafyomireview – custom learning and review programs for Mishnah.
  • MishnaSdura – layout especially designed for review and memorization, review charts, Mishna songs and recordings.
  • Perek HaYomi – in Hebrew. Host to Shiurim, and learning and review according to the Perek HaYomi in Mishna instituted by the Maharal.

Audio lectures

Oral traditions and pronunciation

What I have been doing lately….

For the last month I have been on Summer vactaction. Uni starts again in the first month of March.  For the last 2 weeks my daily schedule has been as follows:

Between 7:30am & 8:00am – I get up in the morning
8:45am -> 9:30am I have a shiur in Tanya (Sefer by the First Lubavitcher Rebbe, Reb Shneur Zalman of Liady). I am not a Lubavitcher Chassid, but I find Tanya to be a very interesting Sefer to learn and it serves as good preperation before davening

9:30am -> 10:30am Davening
11:00am -> 12:00pm Shiur in Mishna. I learn a perek every day with a Rebbi of mine. We learn with Kehati and Bertunura. So far we have done Brachot and up to perek 9 of Shabbos. I also use the picture book on Mesechta Shabbos by Feldheim, I would be so lost without it. Over the next year or two the hope is to finish all of mishna. The goal of the shiur is to learn all of the vocab and pshat in each mishna. It is a very worthwhile endevour and I highly recommend it to everyone. I’ll will be writing a post about the value of studying mishna at a later stage.

12:30 -> 1:30 Shiur in Gemera. I am learning various sugyas of Mesechta Shabbos with a Chavrusa. It is a more bi’iyun shiur and we usually do quite a few tosfos.

During the Arvo I either read, hang out with friends, go for lunch, have a sleep or a mixture of all of the above. In the evening I daven at 8:00pm Mincha/Maariv and finish at about 9:00pm. On Monday and Tuesday nights I have a gemera shiur (Pesechim, Second Perek) from 9:00pm till 10:15pm. Mostly pshat bekiut learning but with a very good maggid shiur who is very pacient and explains things clearly and precisely.

I have done quite a bit of reading in my spare time. Everyday I read my Areivim and Avodah posts and check out my favourite blogs and torah sites (see my side bar for some of them). I am currently reading the following books:

Thinking G-d  by Dr Allan Brill of YU on R’Tzaddok Ha-Kohen of Lublin. It is interesting well researched book, but in all honesty I am finding it a bit of a hard read, abit too academic for my liking, but it is a good book if you want a sefer on the life and influence of R’Tzadok Ha-kohen and a analysis of his derech in chassidut.

I am reading Orot Hatshuva by R’Kook transleted by Dr Metzger and published by YU. It is much easier read than Orot translated by R’ Bazelel Naor (he did a superb job, but Orot itself is a very complicated sefer, which in all honesty I understood very little, the concepts are very abstract and the language is very poetic. If anyone can explain pshat in that sefer I would be most appreciative :)

A great book which I highly recommend and which I greatly enjoyed is "Eyes to See: Recovering Ethical Torah Principles lost in the Holocaust" by R’ Yom Tov Schwarz. See here for more info on the book. It is so refreshing to see a Chareidi author be critical of the current Chareidi establishment. It is well researched, articulate and has many great mekorot. He basically attacks: the lack of ahavas yisrael among Jews including towards the non observant, the lack of respect for the gentile populace, the large amount of individuals in kollel who are not working and a lack of sensitivity to the holocaust. Fantastic book, tell everyone about it.  It literally does open up your eyes, and after finishing it I was left with the feeling "This makes so much sense, its so simple, one can everyone else not just see it like this"

That is all I can think of for now, I am just about to go eat a fried egg as a late dinner. Looking forward to comments. The crowd has been a bit quite lately (although according to my counter there still many people reading B"H). Write in and tell me what you been doing. I always look forward to comments. Until then, take care and G-d bless.

New Website on Tosfos

I was told about this website today Tosfos – . Seems as if they are going though of all of Tosfos and translating it according to the Cycle of the Daf Yomi (WOW!). Please spread the word about this site.