Monthly Archives: March 2010

An inspirational moment

Four years ago on the 5th of January 2006, I wrote a post entitled the Value of Learning Mishna outlining the benefits of learning Mishna, links to online mishna classes and some general guidance for starting your own mishna seder.

On the 5 of January 2010, I received the following email, which I post with the authors permission as is.

i dont know if you remember me or not – we emailed back and forth almost exactly 3 years ago about the mishnayos learning and trying to do all mishnayos in a year
well thanks to you I FINALLY DID IT
i just turned forty erev chanukah and one of my goals was to finally actually get thru all mishnayos by the time i was 40
i arranged my carpool schedle so at the school in the morning and afternoon i have 10-15 minutes of time to just sit in the car – i took my mishnayos with me every day – and actually did them all in less than 7 months – i am sure that is too fast and that nothing sunk in but i am hoping to keep it going and do all mishnayos again and again in less than a year
anyway i just wanted to share my good news with you and thank you for the encouragement you gave me 3 years ago – i didnt forget – i just kept missing my goal – in the past 3 years i have had 2 more children and had other things come up – not real obstacles but excuses which i used to slack off
i want to make sure you realize that this is because of you and that you are due the credit
hope all is well with you
thank you again
yitz fleischman
baltimore, maryland


I cannot put into words what tremendous joy I feel from receiving this email, knowing that one blog post by a guy in Sydney, Australia inspired Yitz Fleischman of Baltimore to complete the entire of Mishna. Incredible! On behalf of myself and all my readers, I congradulate you Yitz on this tremendous milestone and may you  go G-d willing from strength to strength in all your future learning endevours, keep us posted!

As for myself, I unfortunately have not be so resilient in my learning efforts, however this email from Yitz has really got me inspired to get back in the game and go on to finish mishna myself. I hope this post will inspire you as well, Yitz is proof that it really can be done and we should all aspire to his example and go from strength to strength in our learning. Amen.


Wisdom at its finest

If you ever have 10 minutes to spare and want to learn something intersting, check out

Plan B

By Tzvi Freeman

At the outset of Creation, He removed all light. And that is the source of all that ever goes wrong.

Why did He remove the light? Why did He choose that things could go wrong?

Sometimes we say He wanted darkness as a background, a place to shine a new light and make a world of light. The darkness, we say, is there for the sake of light. Pain exists for the sake of healing.

But this could not be the entire answer.

Why? Because darkness for the purpose of light is not complete darkness. This darkness was absolute, a void, an emptiness, the diametric opposite of the Infinite Light that preceded it. And so, too, we find evil in the world that has no explanation, no answer, no light to shine.

The entire answer must be that in Light alone, G‑d cannot be found. For He is beyond dark and light, presence and absence, being and not being.

And so, just as darkness is there for the sake of light, so is light there for the sake of darkness—to reveal its true purpose, to allow knowledge of a wholly transcendent G‑d to enter His world.

Rav Kook and Hebrew University

MISCONCEPTION:1 In 1925, in Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook’s invocation for the inauguration of the Hebrew University, he applied the Biblical verse “Ki miTzion tetzei Torah, u’devar Hashem meYerushalayim, For out of Zion shall go forth Torah, and the word of God from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3; Michah 4:2).2 This is an oft-used criticism cited by denigrators of Rav Kook who claim that by quoting the verse, he proved that he viewed the scholarship that was to come from the Hebrew University as the fulfillment of the Prophet Isaiah’s vision of Torah “going forth from Zion.”

FACT: The invocation by Rav Kook, the first Ashkenazic chief rabbi of Eretz Yisrael, was a brave exposition of Biblical verses and Jewish history designed to sound a cautionary note regarding potential dangers inherent in the founding of a Jewish university. His paraphrase of the verse about Torah emanating from Jerusalem did not refer to the Hebrew University but rather was part of his concluding prayer in which he pined for the Messianic era

To find out more, see: What’s the Truth about… Rav Kook’s Hebrew University Invocation By Ari Z. Zivotofsky

Worlds Oldest Man lives in Israel

An envoy from the Guiness Book of World Records is coming to Israel to formalize 115-year-old David Pur's title as the oldest living man on earth. 

….He has trouble seeing, but as one who has repeated the prayers for more than a century, he knows them by heart. David Pur, age 115, continues to learn Torah and to pray every day, now in the nursing home to where he moved just three months ago.

….The old man is known for his smiles and for laughing and joking with the various members of his large family, who visit him daily. “The main thing is not to lose your optimism,” he said. “I, who buried the woman of my life 50 years ago, and six of my children – I understand that we must not let bitterness take hold of us.”

….For nearly 110 years he smoked, but he says the damage was minimized because he “never swallowed the smoke.” At breakfast, he drinks a glass of brandy and eats nuts. “It is best not to eat on [from on-the-street establishments],” he advises, “because who knows when they change the oil, and you could unknowingly swallow poison. I avoid meat and fried foods, and eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible."

(Source: )

Amazing! May he only go from strength to strength B"H

Rav Kook and the Chofetz Chaim Part 3

 Please see parts one and two here:

"Y. Mirsky in his dissertation on R' Kook notes that – Rav Kook wrote an approbation to the Liqutei Halakhot, a volume by the celebrated sage and saint Israel Meir Kagan (a.k.a. Hafetz Hayim) on the laws of Temple sacrifices, understandably, a less-visited precinct of Talmudic study.

I noticed a first-hand report (based on a conversation with R' Kook) in HaHed (7:6) that states that the Chafetz Chaim has initially asked R' Kook to help him write the sefer:"

Click on the image below to expand it:

(Source: Ishim V'Shitot Blog )