Monday, October 5, 2009

Hevel Havalim

סאִיז דָאךְ אַלְץ הֶבֶל הַבָלִים, אֵין עוד מִלְבַדו

"This is all fleeting and transient, there is nothing but Him(Hashem)!" ("Hevel Havalim" is found a few times in Koheles-1:2 and 12:8. "Ein Od Milvado" is found in Devarim-4:35)

Rav Shimshon Pincus ZT"L, in his sefer Shabbos Malchusa, speaks of a very meaningful concept; When someone is so overcome with emotion, to the point where no words would suffice to describe what he or she is feeling, one just breaks out in song. This, he states, is why we sing as we welcome in the Holy Shabbos, or more specifically, why we sing certain verses in 'Lecha Dodi' pertaining to Yemos Hamashiach (Days of the Final Redemption). Just as we may prepare all we can for The Redemption to come, and once it does come it will be so beyond anything we could have anticipated, so too by Shabbos-we go through the mundane week, preparing for the Kedusha (Holiness) of Shabbos, but once it arrives, we see how we could have never anticipated such an elevated state of existance that is the Kedusha of Shabbos. We are speechless. This is why, at that point on friday night, we break out in song.
What does this vort have to do with the song above you may ask? Well, after the words in this niggun there's a 'nay nay nay' type of chant that we sing (hopefully I'll have a clip so you could hear it). So, I would like to submit, that here too the 'nay nay nay' is representing our "breaking out in song." I've spoken before about the concept of recognizing the existance of a Borei Olam (Creator of the Universe) in all His Glory bringing an individual an unbelievable level of simcha (happiness). For such a simcha, there are no words. All we can do is break out in song. "...There is nothing but Him!!-Nay nay nay nay nay...!"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Yamim Noraim Songs

In addition to "Chamol," Check out some of these previous posts of songs you may be interested in during this time of year-(just click)
Melech, Ata Vichartanu, U'vchein Tzaddikim, Ein Kitzva, L'maancha Elokeinu, Ko Amar Hashem.

Chamol Al Ma'asecha

חֲמוֹל עַל מַעֲשֶׂיךָ, וְתִשְׂמַח בְּמַעֲשֶׂיךָ, וְיֺאמְרוּ לְךָ חוֹסֶיךָ, בְּצַדֶּקְךָ עֲמוּסֶיךָ, תֻּקְדַּשׁ אָדוֹן עַל כָּל מַעֲשֶׂיךָ. כִּי מַקְדִּישֶׁיךָ בִּקְדֻשָּׁתְךָ קִדַּשְׁתָּ. נָאֶה לְקָדוֹשׁ פְּאֵר מִקְּדוֹשִׁים

"Have compassion on Your handiwork and be glad with Your handiwork. May those who take refuge in You say - when You vindicated those borne by You - 'O Master, may You be sanctified upon all your handiwork.' For with Your own holiness You have sanctified those who sanctify You. It is fitting that the Holy One be glorified by holy ones." (Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur Davening. Also in Selichos)

The ten days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, say Chazal, are the most exalted and majestic days of the year. Aside from being days of intense Tefilla and Teshuva, one is expected to display an added degree of piety and commitment in the realm of Halacha. Specifically, the Shulchan Aruch states that only bread produced in a Jewish bakery [or home] may be eaten during these ten days, not from a bakery operated by a gentile [even if the bread is Kosher] (OC 603, 1). One might ask- of what good is it to "step it up a bit" if the sense of commitment is only temporary?
The following parable sums it up beautifully. A king decided it was time to pay a personal visit to the people of his kingdom, and letters were sent to each household informing them of the kings expected arrival. "The king is coming", said one husband to his wife, "and our house is run-down and outdated. I'll go out and by some new furniture and fix this place up a bit before the king's arrival". "But there's no way we can afford it", replied his wife. "Besides, the king is coming to see 'how we live'. Well then, let him come and see exactly how we live!" "Listen", said the husband, "if the king was only interested in seeing 'how we live' he would have showed up at our doorstep unexpectedly. The king sent out letters in advance to let us know he would be coming. If so, the king isn't only interested in seeing 'how we live'; he also wants to see what we're ready to do in his honor!". The King of all Kings is coming, and we know it. Already since the start of Elul, Hashem has left His heavenly palace and is "in the fields", says the Zohar. Soon enough, during these ten days, the King will be dwelling amongst us. He wants to see what we will do in honor of His presence. So for ten days, as long as the King is "in town", let us show Him what an honor it is to have Him with us and what a privilege it is to be part of His kingdom... (Thanks to Rav Josh Rubenstein Shlit"a for this beautiful piece)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Esa Einai

אֶשָּׂא עֵינַי אֶל הֶהָרִים, מֵאַיִן יָבֺא עֶזְרִי. עֶזְרִי מֵעִם ה', עֺשֵׂה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ. הִנֵּה לֺא יָנוּם וְלֺא יִישָׁן, שׁוֹמֵר יִשְׂרָאֵל

"I raise my eyes to the mountains; from where will my help come? My help is from Hashem, Maker of heaven and earth... Behold, [He] neither slumbers nor sleeps, the Guardian of Israel." (Tehillim 121:1-2,4)

Dovid Hamelech asks: "From where will my help come?" How can he ask such a question?! Dovid Hamelech, someone so conscious of Hashem, definitely knows that Hahsem is our only source of help. So I heard a while back that this serves as a very big lesson for any truth-seeking person: You gotta ask questions. I know from experience that sometimes we have a question, something so fundamental that is bothering us, and we just feel too embarrassed to ask it. We must know that there is no such thing as a stupid question when it comes to finding the truth. We have to leave no stone unturned, digging deeper and deeper until we eventually start gaining clarity. With Hashem's help the clarity does come. For some people it comes quicker, for some it takes a lifetime. But one can never give up in search of the truth. The Chovos Halevavos (Rabeinu Bechayeh) speaks of the unbelievable simcha (happiness) one experiences when catching a glimpse of the truth. It's a feeling of comfort and security, knowing there is a Borei Olam (creator of the world) who loves and cares for us every second of our lives.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Tzama Lecha Nafshi

צָמְאָה לְךָ נַפְשִׁי, כָּמַהּ לְךָ בְשָׂרִי, בְּאֶרֶץ צִיָּה וְעָיֵף בְּלִי מָיִם. כֵּן בַּקֺּדֶשׁ חַזִיתִךָ, לִרְאוֹת עֻזְּךָ וּכְבוֹדֶךָ

"Thirsts for You does my soul, longs for You does my flesh; in a land parched and weary with no water. So, too, in the Sanctuary to have beheld You, to see Your might and Your glory." (Tehillim 63:2,3)

These words came from Dovid Hamelech when he was in Midbar Yehuda (the wilderness of Judah). Even in that desolate place, after being exiled from nation, family, and home, he never wavered in his love for Hakadosh Baruch Hu. These same words are the words coming from the deepest places within every Yid in the choshech (darkness) filled world we live in. We have to purify ourselves through Torah and Mitzvos in order to bring these words to the surface until they burst forth from our lips with emesdike (true) yearning for closeness with our Creator and the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash.

Monday, February 23, 2009

It's Been Too Long

The Velt, AMUSH
I'm sorry I haven't posted any songs in a great while. Things have been very busy lately with Yeshiva and college etc. I hope to be back into the swing of things very shortly.
Kol Tuv to all and a Gutten Chodesh! "MiShenichnas Adar Marbin B'Simcha!!"
ps. keep spreading the words!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Yevanim Nikbitzu

יְוָנִים נִקְבְּצוּ עָלַי אֲזַי בִּימֵי חַשְׁמַנִּים, וּפָרְצוּ חוֹמוֹת מִגְדָּלַי וְטִמְּאוּ כָּל הַשְּׁמַנִים. וּמִנּוֹתַר קַנְקַנִּים נַעֲשָׂה נֵס לַשּׁוֹשַׁנִּים, בְּנֵי בִינָה יְמֵי שְׁמוֹנָה קָבְעוּ שִׁיר וּרְנָנִים

“The Greeks gathered against me, then in the days of the noble ones [the Chashmona’im]. They breached the walls of my towers and defiled all the oils. But from the one remnant of the flasks a miracle was wrought for the roses [Bnei Yisrael]. Men of insight – eight days they established for song and jubilation.” (Maoz Tzur)

The Kedushas Levi, Reb Levi Yitzchak Mi’Barditchav, asks an intriguing question: What's the reason that Chazal established an obligation for us to light Neiros Channukah for these 8 days-corresponding to the neis (Miracle) of the Menorah that occurred back in the day? Why don’t we have the same thing by other nissim that we’ve had- like by Pesach and Purim? Why aren’t we told to do some type of Mitzvah with water on the 7th night of Pesach , since that night was Kriyas Yam Suf (The splitting of the sea)? Or some Mitzvah with wood (eitz) on Purim for the neis of the hanging of Haman (al ha’eitz)? And the things we DO commemorate on Pesach weren’t even for nissim! The Maror is for the bitterness of our experience as slaves in Egypt; the Matzah is a sign of our freedom; since we left so quickly, the dough didn’t have time to rise…! So what's the chiluk (distinguishing factor) between the neis of Chanukah, for which we have a specific commemoration. And other nissim of Yom Tov, for which there is no obligatory commemoration?The answer he gives is moradik (awesome)! The other nissim done for Klal Yisrael were done for the purpose of saving us. Those nissim were the vehicle through which Hashem took us out of Mitzrayim, and saved us from being wiped out by Haman harasha. But the neis of the oil was more special (so special that there is an obligatory practice of lighting candles to commemorate it, and we even daven a full Hallel!). Through this neis we were given a glimpse of how much Hashem cherishes our efforts in serving Him, in our observance of His Mitzvos. The explanation is like this: The Halacha is that if someone is an oness (something out of his control impedes his ability to perform a certain mitzvah) he is pattur from doing that Mitzvah. The Gemarah in Brachos even says that if he thought about doing the Mitzvah, and then something prevented him from doing it, it’s as if he actually did it! So once the one day worth of oil they found was used up, they were pattur from the Mitzvah! And still, Hashem made a neis and had the oil last for another 7 days- This is a clear showing of the chiba (preciousness) Hashem feels (kevayachol) towards his children’s avoda (service). The Miracle of the oil wasn’t necessary- it was totally extra- an expression of love.
(Top pic courtesy of
(Bottom pic courtesy of

Monday, December 22, 2008

You Gotta Check This Out...

PLEASE check out this post on my friend's blog. I think its important everyone sees this...
B'lev Echad
[And while you're there feel free to check out other vortlach and stuff on his blog-He's got some pretty juicy stuff on there]

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Zara Chaya

זַרְעָא חַיָּא וְקַיָּמָא, זַרְעָא דִּי לָא יִפְסוֹק וְדִי לָא יִבְטוֹל מִפִּתְגָּמֵי אוֹרַיְתָא

“…Offspring that live and survive, offspring who will not interrupt and who will not cease from the words of the Torah.” (Yekum Purkan-[Shabbos])

This Tefilla, which praises those who involve themselves in Torah, follows the Torah reading on Shabbos. It blesses them with offspring that will constantly be involved in Torah. Why is it so important for the children to "never interrupt" and "never cease" from the words of the Torah? Why does the Tefilla find it necessary to use this double lashon? I heard a mashal (parable) from R' Nissan Kaplan Shlit"a that I think will shed some light on the issue. It goes as follows: Someone has a hot water urn filled with water that they want to heat up. They plug it in for 5 minutes and then unplug it while they go out of the room for something. They return 10 minutes later and plug it back in for another 5 minutes before they are interrupted once again. This goes on until the urn has been plugged in for a total of 25 minutes and yet, the water was still cold! They wonder how this could be! They know their friend had their urn plugged in for just 10 minutes and their water was boiling hot! He assumes the plug must be broken and he tries it somewhere else... The mashal goes on but I think the point is clear. The only way for someone to make a real kinyan (acquisition) in Torah; to have Torah really affect their life, is with consistency. 'The sum is greater than all of its parts.' An hour of learning straight is exponentially greater than 3 scattered 20 minute shifts.
When we leave the Beis Medrash we shouldn't 'unplug' ourselves from the Torah we learn there. As we kiss the Mezuza on the way out we should have in mind that we are taking the Beis Medrash with us. Only with this mentality will we be able to achieve real d'veikus with Hakadosh Baruch Hu. Being an emesdike Eved Hashem (a true servant of G-d) is a constant job without rest. Hashem has blessed us with a constant opportunity for gaining meaning, accomplishment, and ultimately-eternity.
(Top pic courtesy of
(Beis Medrash pic courtesy of Shor Yoshuv)

Monday, December 8, 2008


וְיֵדַע כָּל פָּעוּל כִּי אַתָּה פְעַלְתּוֹ, וְיָבִין כָּל יָצוּר כִּי אַתָּה יְצַרְתּוֹ, וְיֺאמַר כֺּל אֲשֶׁר נְשָׁמָה בְּאַפּוֹ, ה' אֱלֺקֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מֶלֶךְ, וּמַלְכוּתוֹ בַּכֺּל מָשָׁלָה

“Let everything that has been made know that You are its Maker, let everything that has been molded understand that You are its Molder, and let everything with a life’s breath in its nostrils proclaim: Hashem, the G-d of Israel, is King, and His kingship rules over everything.” (Rosh Hashana Shmoneh Esreh)

What's pshat in the 2 different terms used here? We have פָּעוּל, which means ‘made,’ and we have יָצוּר, which means ‘molded.’ The Malbim explains that these words refer to two different types of people on different levels. The word ‘made’ implies something imperfect that is continuously being worked on towards completion. On the other hand the word ‘molded’ implies a finished product that is faithful to its inner essence. So this Tefilla is referring to different types of people who will ultimately come to recognize the Borei Olam. First to a common, imperfect person, and then it goes on to someone who is more fully developed, closer to his/her shleimus (completion).
I believe it’s the Chovos Halevavos who speaks of the unbelievable simcha (happiness) that one achieves when he b’emes recognizes the existence of Hashem as his Creator and King. This amazing simcha stems off the recognition that we exist in this awesome world that Hashem has created, and even more so that we are His chosen nation, his beloved children As the passuk states: “Banim atem L’Hashem Elokeichem.” “You are children to Hashem your G-d.”
(King pic courtesy of
(Sunrise pic courtesy of