How do you like the new look? Feedback please.

23 September 2018

The Sukkah is the Most Amazing Place in the World.

By Roy S. Neuberger

The sukkah is the most amazing place in the world. 

Why? Because it is not in this world. 

In the sukkah, the Reality of ruchnius is manifest. You are protected without any physical means of protection; you are elevated while you are seated on the earth; you seem alone, but you are surrounded by tzaddikim. The Arba Minim are also not from this world: these flimsy plants which we wave in six directions constitute a weapon of such towering strength that those who wield it are invincible. 

The mitzvos of Sukkos demonstrate the complete dominance of ruchnius. They demonstrate that “ain od milvado,”there is nothing else beside Hashem. Is this not the very essence of our Holy Nation? Do we not demonstrate by our very existence the complete mastery of the Ribono shel Olam over every aspect of creation? 

If secular logic ran the world, not a single Jew would exist today, and there would certainly be no Jew who lives according to the Torah. We are the nation whose remnant was scattered to “arba kanfos ha’aretz” some two thousand years ago. It seemed clear at that time that we could never retain our cohesive existence and adherence to the Laws given to our ancestors at Har Sinai

But no! Am Yisroel Chai, the Nation of Israel lives forever! The Yiddishe Neshoma cannot die; the flame cannot be extinguished. Amidst the destruction and tumah, the sukkah sits eternal and untouchable. From within its walls emanates a light which illuminates the entire world. 

I would like to tell you a story

Dr. Stephen Trokel is a world-famous ophthalmologist. Why is he famous? For one thing, he is a principal pioneer, inventor and innovator in laser vision correction. According to the “History of Optometric Surgery” from the Optometric Professional Network, “Dr. Trokel introduced Photorefractive keratectomy … He also patented the Excimer laser for vision correction and performed the first surgery on a patient’s eyes in 1987.” In addition, Dr. Trokel is a renowned specialist in thyroid-related eye disease. He is a physician, surgeon and professor at New York’s Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, who still practices medicine at the age of 83! It so happens that he has been my eye doctor for about forty years. 

Although Dr. Trokel’s parents were born in Europe, he grew up in America without the benefit of an observant home or yeshiva education. However, unlike so many contemporaries, and despite his tremendous success, he felt the darkness of a world which tries to forget its Creator. He built a sukkah inside his heart, from which an unquenchable light emanated. 

Several months ago I received a call from a distinguished Rav in Lakewood named Rabbi Aharon Zuckerman Shlita”h, who also happens to be a patient of Dr. Trokel. Rabbi Zuckerman told me how Dr. Trokel continually brought up questions in Yiddishkeit and was fond of discussing his recent trip to his father’s shtetl. Rabbi Zuckerman wondered whether we could work with Dr. Trokel to make up for the Torah which he had missed in his youth. 

From this conversation grew a most amazing event. Several weeks ago, we organized a small minyan in the Upper West Side of Manhattan at which Dr. Trokel put on tallis and tefillin and was called up to the Torah for his bar mitzvah, seventy years after his thirteenth birthday! Rabbi Zuckerman came in from Lakewood, and we had a seudahafterwards at which Dr. Trokel stated that he wanted it to be known that he was “born, lives and will die as a Jew.”He said something which made a big impact on me when he described what he called the “cold spot in the core of man without Hashem.” 

These are extremely graphic and powerful words. Here is a person at the pinnacle of the medical profession, a physician, a surgeon, an inventor and professor at one of the country’s most prestigious medical schools, but that was not enough. Dr. Trokel discovered that, at the core of the world, unless Hashem is invited in, there is only lifeless darkness, “tohu vavohu … astonishing emptiness.” (Beraishis 1:2) Dr. Trokel built a sukkah in his heart. He invited Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov Avinu to join him. The world of Sukkos exists only for those who know Hashem, and Dr. Trokel desired to know Hashem. 

At the seudah, I mentioned that soon we will read Parshas Beraishis, in which the world’s creation is described. What are literally the first words of Creation? “Let there be light … and Hashem saw that the light was good, and Hashem separated between light and darkness.” All creation begins with light. “[Light] is the elevated neshoma, whose light is immense because it is carved from under the Throne of Glory.” (Ohr Hachaim on Beraishis 1:3)

Dr. Trokel’s career is dedicated to bringing light to others. Thousands, perhaps millions, can see and see clearly because of him! I told this story to Rabbi Yechezkel Shraga Weinfeld Shlita”h, Rosh Kollel of Lev Avraham in Yerushalayim, who said, “He who brought light to others, Hashem brought light to him!”

And so, the year begins, a year which we all want to bring light into the world. Dr. Trokel has done it and we can do it. We can build a sukkah in our heart. 

“I will build a tabernacl​​e in my heart to glorify God's honor. And in the tabernacl​​e I will place an altar dedicated​ to His divine rays of splendor.​ For the eternal flame I will take upon myself the fire of the Akeida. And as a korban​ I will offer my soul, my unique soul.” 

(“Bilvovi,” based on a passage in Sefer Chareidim with well-known niggunim composed by Rabbis Yitzchok Hutner zt”l and Shmuel Brazil Shlita”h)

Cain, y’hi ratzon … may it be Hashem’s will!

The author with Dr. Stephen Trokel and Rabbi Aharon Zuckerman 
(Photo Credit: Tsemach Glenn/Ira Thomas)

*          *          *          *

Roy Neuberger, author and public speaker, can be reached at

© Copyright 2018 by Roy S. Neuberger

Flock of Goats Stolen from Avraham the Brooklyn Shepherd

Arabs Steal Flock of Goats from Israeli town in Samaria

Thief saw us and just went into shock’
"These are the goats of The Shepherd from Brooklyn"

Yom Kippur eve: Arabs steal flock from Israeli town in Samaria. Volunteers called despite fast, conduct searches, recover part of flock. arutzsheva After several hours of searching, at around 5:00 p.m., it was decided to terminate the search because of the impending fast.

"We found only ten goats, but the feeling was a return of the honor that's trampled again and again, to see Jews who didn't give up and went straight into villages where the foot of a Jew doesn't tread, and have become safe havens for robbers and terrorists," a volunteer told the HaKol Hayehudi.

Our Ancestors Were Shepherds on the Holy Land

Meandering from Brooklyn to Samaria, Avraham Herzlich shepherded a dynasty

He traded in a 12-cylinder Ferrari for a herding staff, returning to the land of Israel the way he says his ancestors would have done, encountering spiritual highs and tragic lows



New Sefer Torah Donated in Memory of Ari Fuld, HY”D

New Sefer Torah Donated in Memory of Ari Fuld, HY”D

The Rennert family donated a Sefer Torah in memory of Ari Fuld, HYD, on Saturday evening, Sept. 22, 2018. The event was held in the office of Rav Aharon Bina at Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.

Natan Fuld, son of Ari Fuld HY"D, writes a letter 
in the Sefer Torah dedicated in Ari's memory.

Ari was a student of Rav Bina, and every Thursday night, for the past 15 years, Ari would come to the Yeshiva to learn, teach and sing.

Rav Bina found a nearly completed Sefer Torah and organized the donation in just a few short days. Altogether, the Rennert family donated 23 Sifrei Torah in the Yeshiva on Saturday night.

At the ceremony, members of the Fuld family and friends took turns writing the final letters in the Sefer Torah.

Two beautiful Torah covers were also made and written on them is the following inscription:

In memory of
The Hero HaRav Ari Yoel Fuld Hy”d
Son of Harav Yonah and Golda Chaya Mendel
Sanctified the name of the Almighty in his life
and in his death
“Behold a people that riseth up as a lioness,
and as a lion doth he lift himself up”

Article and photos from JEWISH PRESS

21 September 2018

“Reflections from Jerusalem”

Yom Kippur and Succot 5779
Rabbi Nachman Kahana

From my forthcoming book “Reflections from Jerusalem”

On Yom Kippur we read the heartbreaking saga of the “ten martyred rabbis”.
The Torah teaches that Joseph found his brothers in the Valley of Dotan not far from Shechem. After removing his many-colored cloak, the ten brothers involved in the betrayal lowered Joseph into a pit of snakes and scorpions, before selling him to the Ishmaelites and Midianites as it says, “Yosef followed his brothers and found them at Dotan” (Genesis 37:17).
The “Ten Martyrs” (rabbis cruelly murdered by the Romans), were divinely sentenced to death for the sin of Yosef having been sold 1500 years previously. We weep over the fate that befell these great men and the implications it had for the Jewish People. Yet HaShem’s ways are mysterious, and no one can fathom the thoughts of the Creator, whose gaze encompasses all generations from Adam to the last man on earth.
The Mufti of Yerushalayim spent the years of World War Two in Berlin, with his mentor Hitler. The two entered into an agreement: the Mufti would enroll thousands of Moslems from Bosnia and its related areas into the ranks of the SS. In return, the Germans, after conquering Palestine, would construct a major death camp where the Jews of the Middle East would be sent to their death.
In November 1942, General Rommel was defeated at the battle of El Alamein and the murderous plan was averted.
The site earmarked for the camp was the very same Valley of Dotan cited above.
The death of the Ten Martyrs was an atonement for the sale of Yosef. However, the Mufti and the Germans could never have known that the murder of the Ten Martyrs was sufficient to appease the demands of the quality of Strict Justice, and in our day 2000 years later, calamity was averted in the Valley of Dotan.
The composers of the Yom Kippur liturgy who included the saga of the martyred rabbis did so to teach us that a sin left unrepented is not forgiven even after two millennia. However, the composers could never have known the implications the martyrs’ death would have on the Jewish nation 2000 years later, when the sin was eradicated, and the death camp was not constructed in the Valley of Dotan.

Succot – An allegory

Reb Yisrael and his sons erected their sukkah adjacent to the kitchen door of their palatial home in one of the Five Towns, as they had done for many years in the past.
But this year was different. Reb Yisrael had just learned from his rabbi that one of the reasons for residing temporarily in a sukkah is in case one’s destiny was decided on Rosh HaShana to be expulsion into galut, the departure from the comforts of home into the sukkah could be considered to be that galut.
Reb Yisrael, his wife and children left the warm comforts of their beautiful home and entered the sukkah with the knowledge that by taking up temporary residence therein, they would be absolved of any galut-related sins.
As the family continued to reside in the sukkah, they got so used to the pleasant smell of the schach (branches used to roof the sukkah) and the pretty pictures on the walls and the overhanging decorations, that they decided to remain there even after the chag! Even though they were able to peer into their permanent home with its luxurious amenities, electrical gadgets, and state-of-the-art under-floor heating units, thick hanging drapes, lush carpets and much more, they showed no interest in returning there.
As odd as it may seem, the family became accustomed to the crowded, cold interior of the sukkah. Their relatives and neighbors tried to point out the irrationality of what they were doing, but the very idea that this was galut did little to encourage the family to return home.
When their rabbi came to visit, it was surprising that he encouraged them to remain in the sukkah rather than to return home; because it was in the sukkah that the family felt comfortable and closely knit.
In the meantime, several strangers noticed that the previously brightly-lit home was vacant, and they decided to move in as if it was indeed their own!
Reb Yisrael and his wife and children saw the strangers living in the house; but in veneration for the sukkah, they stubbornly bonded with the thin walls and dried-out schach and refused to leave.
The whole thing was so absurd. To leave such a beautiful home for the feeble, fallible construction of the sukkah, despite the fact that their beautiful home was beckoning them to return, was beyond the understanding of any rational person.
Then came the stones thrown by the local anti-Semites who wanted to rid the neighborhood of this sukkah eyesore. Reb Yisrael and his family dodged them one by one and steadfastly remained in their fragile dwelling, rationalizing these acts as irrelevant nuisances.
Then came the terrible night when one-third of the sukkah was torched by the local bullies.
Reb Yisrael and his family were aware of what was happening, but their minds had become so warped that no amount of reasoning could move them.
To them the sukkah was home and their home was galut.
Eventually the sukkah came crashing down, killing Reb Yisrael and his entire family in their beloved galut!

Shabbat Shalom,
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5779/2018 Nachman Kahana

20 September 2018


Parashas HaAzinu
by Rabbi Pinchas Winston Shlit”a

You grew fat—thick and covered with fat. 
As a result, they abandoned G–D Who made them, 
and mocked the Rock of their redemption. 
(Devarim 32:15)

COMPLACENCY IS SPIRITUALLY dangerous! We were warned about it back in Parashas VaEschanan, and we are reminded of it here once again, in this week’s parsha. We want the good, but we have a difficult time balancing it out with our spiritual responsibilities. As the Talmud says, “Few people eat from two tables.” Materialism and spirituality USUALLY, to a large degree, come at the cost of one another.

It’s simple. Just watch the way someone prays to G–D when he is financially hurting, and someone else who is financially comfortable. The distraught person pours their heart out to G–D, but the complacent one tends to use prayer as a way to just “check in” three times a day.

In this world every blessing seems to also come with a curse, and vice-versa. Wealth is great, but it can lead to spiritual corruption. Health is wonderful, but it can make a person forget to thank G–D for it. Family and friends greatly enhance the quality of a person’s life, but can also take a person away from other important matters, or result in additional burdens.

The Talmud says that Torah comes out of the mouths of the poor. Every form of suffering tends to increase spiritual sensitivity, not necessarily in everyone, but in a lot of people. It is easier to sympathize with others, or empathize with them. It’s very hard to relate to other people’s problems if they have never been yours as well.

For a person who does not believe in G–D or the Afterlife, it’s no big deal. They don’t care what other people are going through so long as they don’t have to go through it themselves. As far as they are concerned life is random, and it just happened to pick them to succeed. Luck of the draw, and they have no one to thank for their success.

If you believe in G–D and eternal reward, then SPIRITUAL SENSITIVITY should be the most value commodity in the universe. It’s a reliable mentor. It’s an honorable companion. It’s the truest friend a person can ever know, or need. It not only helps a person to DO the right thing, but it helps them to figure it out when it is not so clear what it is. It’s a beacon by which to steer through the spiritual storm of life, and the sturdy ship on which to survive it.

Since spiritual sensitivity is so crucial to remaining connected to G–D and acting G–Dly, it is the mortal enemy of Amalek. This is why Amalek cut off the Bris Milah of the Jews he killed in battle, and then threw it Heavenward. It wasn’t just the Jew he wanted to kill. It was that which he brought to the world and “imposed” upon mankind, CONSCIENCE being the most reviled of all.

This makes the battle for life the battle for spiritual sensitivity. When you hit your chest on Yom Kippur during Viduy, the Confessional Prayer, you were actually saying, “Sorry G–D for not being spiritually sensitive enough to avoid that sin, and that sin, and that sin, etc. Thanks to Yom Kippur, I AM spiritually sensitive enough to know it was a grave mistake, and I hope to fix that in the upcoming year, b”H.”

This is why Succos comes on the heels of Yom Kippur. So much fun after such a serious day of teshuvah and kaparah? Who doesn’t enjoy going out into the succah for a week and waving the Four Species in shul each day? Who doesn’t look forward to all the dancing on Simchas Torah? 

Well, you certainly SHOULD look forward to it . . . if you’re spiritually sensitive, and want to remain that way the rest of the year. Let’s face it, living in the succah for a week and eating out there is a BIG inconvenience. It’s much easier to seat and serve everyone in the house.

It’s interesting that people willingly take on the same inconveniences when they go camping. When asked why they love it so much, they often talk about being reconnected to Nature, etc. But though they may not recognize it as a spiritual experience, or want to call it that, in the end, that is what they are having. They’re connecting to G–D, on some sublime level, even the Atheist who loves the “Great Outdoors.”

During Succos, I don’t stop loving my dining room table, I just start loving G–D more. I don’t stop enjoying my own bed. I just start enjoying being out there with G–D more. It started in Elul, kicked into gear during Rosh Hashanah, and reached a climax during Yom Kippur, and the entire journey has been one of increased sensitivity. It was bolstered by the constant shofar blowing. Succos is the time to ENJOY all that built-up and enhanced spiritual sensitivity. 

One of the rearrangements of the word “Amalek” is Ayin-Mem-Lamed, and Kuf. “Kof” is Hebrew for “monkey,” and the two parts translate as, “Work of the Monkey.” Because, for all their “humanness,” monkeys are still animals living as animals do. Amalek says, for all our animalness, let’s live like one, which is easy to do if you are spiritually desensitized. 

What a curse! There are a lot of things in life that we enjoy, but which secretly kill us. There is a reason why it takes discipline to eat properly, and to exercise regularly. It’s just so much more fun to eat what you want and be a couch potato. Until that is it brings a person to death’s door.

And that’s what Amalek does, SPIRITUALLY. He feeds you what tastes good, gives you strong drink to wash it down, and helps you make merry. He doesn’t tell you that he is secretly killing you spiritually. You need Yom Kippur for that, or the final Day of Judgment. 

“This is the Blessing,” which is the name of the last parsha of the Torah. What is the blessing? Spiritual sensitivity, because with it, you can become personally fulfilled and a partner with G–D in the perfection of Creation as well as your own. 

Have a “Hug” Samayach by embracing spirituality.

GUARD YOUR HEALTH: Researchers Explore how Curcumin Works Against Cancer at an Atomic Level

It’s no secret that Turmeric offers a host of health benefits. This flavorful, vibrantly colored spice has risen to fame for its ability to fight many types of cancer, ward off inflammation, and may even be useful in the treatment of conditions like type 2 diabetes. Turmeric has definitely earned its place on the spice rack and in the medicine cabinet for good reason — but scientists are still working to uncover the mysteries of this medicinal herb. Studies have already shown that many of turmeric’s health benefits stem from one of the herb’s specialized plant compounds, named “curcumin.”

Researchers from the  University of California at San Diego School of Medicine have been studying how curcumin works against cancer at a cellular level. Working alongside scientists from Peking University and Zhejiang University, the team has discovered how turmeric exacts its anticancer effects.

Understanding Curcumin and Cancer

As Newswise reports, the scientists discovered that curcumin “binds to the kinase enzyme dual-specificity tyrosine-regulated kinase 2 (DYRK2) at the atomic level. This previously unreported biochemical interaction of curcumin leads to inhibition of DYRK2 that impairs cell proliferation and reduces cancer burden.”

Sourav Banerjee, Ph.D., UC San Diego School of Medicine postdoctoral scholar and leader of the the research, xplained that curcumin’s ability to inhibit DYRK2 impedes proteasome, a part of the cell which is responsible for destroying unneeded or damaged proteins. In mice, this suppression is associated with cancer risk reduction. Several types of cancer, like triple negative breast cancer and multiple myeloma, are “proteasome-addicted” cancers. By regulating proteasome, tumor formation can be inhibited.

Co-senior author Jack E. Dixon, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Chemistry and Biochemistry at UC San Diego, commented, “Our results reveal an unexpected role of curcumin in DYRK2-proteasome inhibition and provide a proof-of-concept that pharmacological manipulation of proteasome regulators may offer new opportunities for hard-to-treat triple-negative breast cancer and multiple myeloma treatment.”

“Our primary focus is to develop a chemical compound that can target DYRK2 in patients with these cancers,” he added.

Health Benefits of Turmeric

Turmeric offers a wide array of health benefits, many of which are perhaps beyond the scope of conventional science. Indeed, try as we might, scientists may never understand the gifts of Mother Nature as well as they think. While curcumin is regarded as turmeric’s most active biological compound, studies have shown that in some arenas, the whole plant performs better than curcumin alone. More, the golden-hued root offers many benefits which cannot be attributed to curcumin alone.

Like so many other plant nutrients, it appears that the compounds in turmeric work together in synergy — and so, divvying them up as modern scientists are wont to do, may not actually be the most sensible approach. Regardless, turmeric and its compounds have repeatedly shown that herbal medicine is real medicine, with real benefits that can be proven with science.

Recent research has shown that turmeric is an  ideal alternative for patients with type 2 diabetes, for example. In a recently published study, turmeric was found to address several issues seen in type 2 diabetics, including the characteristic insulin resistance and high blood sugar.

Turmeric has many other benefits to offer. It can improve digestion, support heart health, boost your mood and more. Learn more about the healing power of turmeric and other spices, herbs and more at

Sources for this article Natural News includes:

17 September 2018

The Life of Eternity and Yom Kippur

The Secrets Of The Story Of Jona The Prophet 
(Yom Kippur)

As is the style of Rabbi Mizrachi, he warms up the audience and then gets on fire for the Torah.

Preparations for Yom Kippur