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Remembering Rebbetzin Miriam Libby Weiss, Zt”l, Zy”a Part One
By Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss
ast week, I related the story behind my Rebbitzin’s birth. But, there is a story that is worthy to be recorded that predates that column’s drama. When my shver’s mother, a”h, was pregnant, it was a dangerous pregnancy. The custom in those days was that, if the pregnancy was hazardous, they went to the rebbe and the rebbe bought the baby. In this way, it would be the rebbe’s child and under his umbrella of protection. So, they went to the Kapiznitzer Rebbe and the Rebbe bought the baby. My shver was actually born in their own home and everything went okay. I used to joke with my wife that she was a Rebbische Kind, since she was bought by the Rebbe. But, as it turns out, it wasn’t a joke because, in many aspects, she was like a rebbe herself. Especially in the area of giving blessings. Up to the last days of her life, she was giving heartfelt blessings. I had told her many years ago that the Ben Ish Chai, Zt”l, Zy”a, said that a person’s mazal is stronger on their Hebrew birthday and that therefore it is a time when they could give blessings to others. This turned her birthday into a major event each year, not like by most people who receive gifts, but rather she was on the phone most of the day calling people to give them blessings. Her day went from calling people to wish them better shalom bayis or hoping that they would be blessed with children, or bentching them that they should find their basherta. After a while, people would wait eagerly by the phone to receive her good wishes. I remember that she would ask me at what time could she still give blessings and I told her that she could keep on going until the Rabbienu Tam’s zman of 72 minutes after sunset.
to get down the stairs and I took her to a kallah’s house, a girl who was getting married that night, to give her a blessing. The week before she went in to the hospital with a serious infection that would render her semiconscious for almost a month, another bride came to the home and my Rebbetzin blessed her passionately on her wedding day. Just a week before her pertira, our children Dovid and Devora Rosenberg were blessed with a baby girl. Since my Rebbetzin had a narrow escape from death just a few days before the baby was born, they called our grandchild Chaya, Life, to celebrate that her bubby was still alive. How we will always remember my wife in the last week of her life holding Chaya with her ebbing strength and blessing her with arichas yomim, with long life. We captured it on video and it will be something for Chaya to treasure for years to come. A wise woman in our kehilla, Mrs. Liefer, a”h would often say “Give a bracha, get a bracha.” This is based on what Hashem told Avroham, “Va’avorcha mevorachecha – I will bless those that will bless you.” This was not only said to Avraham, but also to his descendants. So, whenever we say to someone “Shalom Aleichem, peace unto you,” “Good Shabbos,” or “Mazal tov,” and we say it meaningfully, we are recipients of blessings as well. So indeed, like a rebbe, my Rebbetzin gave brachas all of her life. She also gave wise counsel like a Rebbische Kind, but we will talk about that in future articles. In the merit of showering others with heartfelt well wishes, may we be blessed with long life, good health, and everything wonderful.
What she adopted as a birthday custom spilled over to the rest of our family. Now, all of us, children and grandchildren, daughters and daughters in-law, sons and sons in-law, spend our birthdays calling each other and wishing each other well. When my Rebbetzin got sick, she felt that the Shechina was with her since I told her the pasuk says, “Hashem Yishkevenu al eres dvoi,” that Hashem’s Presence resides especially with one who is sick. So, she intensified her habit of giving brachas. I remember once, when she could barely get off of the couch, she somehow managed
Sheldon Zeitlin takes dictation of, and edits, Rabbi Weiss’s articles.
PLEASE LEARN, GIVE TZEDAKA, AND DAVEN L’ILUY NISHMAS OF MIRIAM LIBA BAS AHARON.
Start the cycle of Mishna Yomis with Rabbi Weiss by dialing 718.906.6471. Or you can listen to his daily Shiur on Orchos Chaim l’HaRosh by dialing 718.906.6400, then going to selection 4 for Mussar, and then to selection 4. Both are FREE services. Rabbi Weiss is currently stepping up his speaking engagements. To bring him to your community, call 718.916.3100 or email RMMWSI@aol.com. To receive a weekly cassette tape or CD directly from Rabbi Weiss, please send a check to Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss, P.O. Box 140726, Staten Island, NY 10314 or contact him at RMMWSI@aol.com. Now back in print is a large size paperback edition of Power Bentching. To order call him at 718-916-3100 or email at above. Attend Rabbi Weiss’s weekly shiur at the Landau Shul, Avenue L and East 9th in Flatbush, Tuesday nights at 9:30 p.m. Rabbi Weiss’s Daf Yomi and Mishnah Yomis shiurim can be heard LIVE on KolHaloshon at (718) 906-6400. Write to KolHaloshon@gmail.com for details. They can now also be seen on TorahAnyTime.com.
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Every day, articles appear in one publication or another lamenting the high obesity rate in the USA. Fast food, poor nutrition, soda intake, lack of sufficient exercise are all being cited.
Accusing the government officials of creating a “nanny state” is self-defeating. We should know caloric and other counts on restaurant offerings. Regarding sodas, especially “diet,” these add weight and are empty calories. All add to weight, diabetes and other health problems.
Someone was describing to me about school lunch programs. From what she’s The Department of Education is seen, there has been an undesirable adding physical education/gym classes change and great waste since many back on the curricschools in many New Food Pyramid 2018 ulum; There are states stopped more incentives to cooking lunches on join sports teams. their premises Still, outside within the past eight (backyard) years. Success is in free-time at those schools where schools is not food is fresh and being well-utilized. ethnicity and good Going home to a choices are taken “couch potato” into consideration. status remains more the norm Fast food places today. are relished by a percentage of the Therefore, we must encourage famipublic. Meals are tempting and low cost. Credit must be given to the CEO’s. These lies to “get up and get going”. Also, what a difference it would make if more past two years, healthier menu options children could walk to school. Exercise, are being offered, as well as salt and communication, observation, Vitamin D sugar reduction. No longer could production, are all resulting benefits. A research be ignored: The IQ’s of children lot of emotional and physical suggeswho have grown up on fast food have tions that would increase health and been shown to be lower than low-income happiness are easier said than done. children who consistently ate simple, Let’s at least try! nourishing, home-cooked meals. Lynne Stone, RN is a self-employed Childbirth Educator and Lactation Consultant. She is located at 227 Woodward Avenue, in the Willowbrook section of Staten Island. She also has an oﬃce in Boro Park, Brooklyn • 718-761-8403/ 718-698-5718 10
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Mushroom-Onion Hasselback Chicken Recipe INGREDIENTS: 4 large chicken breasts 1 cup portobello mushrooms, finely chopped 1/2 cup sweet white onion, minced 1/2 cup basil, chopped or 5 cubes of frozen basil 1 t garlic, minced 2 T margarine 1/2 cup chicken broth + 1/3 cup for oven 1 t dried thyme 1 t sea salt 1/4 t black pepper
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INGREDIENTS: 2 medium sweet potatoes 1 tablespoon vegetable oil Salt and black pepper, to taste 2 tablespoons margarine, melted 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ¼ cup chopped pecans ¼ cup maple syrup ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (218 degrees Celsius).
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Drizzling hasselback-cut sweet potatoes with maple pecan mixture
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By: R. Yitzchok Landa, Assistant Rabbi at New Springville Jewish Center
The Market is Due for a Correction?
he driving force behind the founding of Reform and Conservative “Judaism” is the claim that Torah is ח”וoutdated. The supposed appeal of these movements to their members was the theory that Torah was designed for an ancient, historic society, but lacks adaptive mechanisms to keep up with changing times. These streams of “thought” attempted to supply those mechanisms, to invent reforms to apply “enlightenment” and “modernism” to the Torah they claimed to hold dear and aim to preserve. Let us examine one particularly sensitive area of Torah, which to the unschooled eye seems out of date: Finances. The Torah teaches us that we are not to loan money with interest. It is permitted to give another Jew use of his funds, but forbidden to charge for the time another has the use of his resources. Another loan-related halacha is the concept of hashmattas ksafim, which stipulates that once in 7 years all loans are canceled. One may not demand payment of loans or accounts receivable that have remained due across the cancellation deadline. A third related mitzva is that of yovel, which dictates that real estate may not be permanently sold, and all lands return to their ancestral owners every 50 years. These three rules, appear to be directed at a primarily agricultural society, in which land ownership defined one’s income. Capital loans in such a society are dispensable, and the Torah can order them canceled or given for free. Land should be returned to its ancestral owners to maintain equality and prosperity. Today’s economics are vastly different. One may argue that such rules deny the reality of current financial concerns. Modern markets run on the cost of money; ie how much a business must spend for the use of investment capital. Stocks, bonds, investment banking, mortgages...endless markets revolve around the industry of loans and investments, which all fall under the Torah’s first above-mentioned prohibition,
that of ribbis – interest and usury. Were modern finance to adopt the second law – the cancellation of debt every 7 years, much of the United States’ trillion dollar finance markets would come crashing down. If you can’t safely lend, you can’t borrow, can’t acquire investment capital, can’t start a business. Imagine if yovel was still around. You couldn’t buy a house for more than 50 years. You couldn’t invest in real estate, because you would lose it every 50 years. Businesses accruing assets in the form of real property would become impossible. In short, business as we know it could not function under the Torah’s directives. So are they dated to agricultural societies, only? How do modern Jewish businesses function, particularly in Israel, without violating the directives of the Torah? By means of circumvention. Chazal gave us pruzbul, a tool to allow debts to remain collectible after shemitta; later authorities gave us heter iska to allow apparent interest and mortgages. Yovel is no longer extant. Most Jewish businesses now function just as non-Jewish ones do, the only difference being a signed heter iska hanging on the wall or perhaps languishing in a desk drawer; and a pruzbul filled out every few years. Otherwise, it’s business as usual. Is this what the Torah had in mind? A laundry list of technical loopholes, a number of distractions that need to be dealt with, until we can do exactly what the nations of the world do? If this is our attitude, it’s no wonder are hemorrhaging our youth. But what are supposed to do, and why did the Sages give us these loopholes? As with all mitzvos, the Torah’s directives speak to a utopian society, one in which mankind are inspired and eager do what is right and good. For them, the biblical commandments establish the guidelines for a perfect society.
And as with all mitzvos, the Sages, Chazal and later, are charged with adapting the Torah’s guidelines for an earnest society, to the unfortunate reality of people as they are. All rabbinical rules are aimed at bridging that gap- applying the Torah to people who are fallible, foolish and sometimes depraved. These areas are no exception. Chazal and the authorities gave us pruzbul, heter iska, and more because we choose to create an avaricious society. The Torah would have given us a perfect society, but we insist on a twisted one, therefore Chazal bridge the gap to make life liveable until we improve. The Torah’s rules restrict man from exercising his tendency towards greed, to amassing wealth for no functional reason other than snobbery. Giant behemoth businesses cannot grow without buying the use of money; without long term loans; without long term property ownership. But who needs giant behemoth businesses? In a utopian society as described by the Torah’s rules, one works to fill his needs, and then stops. One provides a marketable service to others, and stops. One does not amalgamate nonessential wealth. One has a home to live in and work on, and no more. One spends what he has, and no more. One does not jump
through financial gymnastics in order to attain capital to spend and grow his possessions beyond what he can now. That is not necessary, not recommended, distracting, avaricious, greedy, and stupid. You don’t need it, and neither does anyone else. It creates a consumerist society with insatiable materialism. Therefore, the Torah restricts us from building big businesses and amassing property. You can’t borrow too much, you can’t own too much. You can earn what you need, and that’s all. Imagine a world in which everyone had what they needed, and no more. Competition and greed, snobbishness and oygen-shteching were unheard of. A small percentage of the day was spent earning a living, and the rest spent actually living, and learning. Resources were evenly spread, no one had too much or too little. No one was bothered by not having wealth or luxuries, because no one else had them either. (Sound like a failed communist dream? It is. Failed because we insist on hanging on to our bad middos for dear life. Chazal therefore give us tools to survive until we can wake up and do things right.) This is the world that exists within the parameters of issur ribbis, hashmatas ksafim, and yovel. Now who thinks the current state of affairs is enlightened, or modern, or anything other than terribly unfortunate?
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Remembering Rebbetzin Miriam Libby Weiss, Zt”l, Zy”a Part One By Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss
WWMLD: What Would Miriam Libby Do?
Dear Reader, Since it was just my beloved Rebbetzin’s shloshim, I am interrupting my recounting of my Rebbetzin’s life and lessons to share with you this important list. I presented at the shloshim. In our family, my children put up a reminder with the pneumonic, WWMD, What Would Mommy Do, and then reflect upon it when they confront certain life situations. So, for example, my daughter Devorah was woken up in the middle of the night by her daughter, Batshava Esther, asking her for a tissue. Her gut reaction was to tell her to get one from the bathroom. But then, she remembered WWMD and got out of bed to get one herself. Then, I got to thinking, why shouldn’t I share my dear wife’s unique practices with everyone? So that all of us could benefit from WWMLD, What Would Miriam Libby Do. Here they are. I hope they inspire you and cause you to imitate her beautiful ways. Please feel free to copy this and spread it in your schools and shuls.
1. Set your clock (with your spouse’s permission) to wake up early (sometimes at 4:30 a.m.) to wish someone a successful surgery. 2.
Leave a muffin with a thank you card in the mailbox for your letter carrier.
Adopt an older senior and brighten their life once a week.
Have as many best friends as you possibly can.
Always put your spouse first and let them know that you do!
Bring out a cold drink in the summer or a hot tea in the winter for the sanitation men.
Never ever embarrass someone when giving tzedakah.
Read the obituaries in the newspaper to learn how to be a better person.
9. Answer the phone (To a person of the same gender) with “Hello, Gorgeous!” or “Hello, doll face, what can I do for you?” (Without checking the caller id first!)
Read the classified ads and cut out job offers for people who are looking for a specific job.
Send a Mother’s Day card to someone who is like a mother to you (besides your own mother).
Don’t wait for your friends or even your children to call you. Pick up the phone and call them.
When you see a group of special needs children, give their counselor a dollar for a snack for each
Treat your in-law children even better that your own children!
When a collector comes to the door, besides a dollar, give them a drink and a snack.
Let your children know you are always there for them and love them “to pieces.”
When shopping, buy what your spouse asked for before anything else.
Always have a Shabbos party with lots of nosh for the grandchildren. Say you saw it in The Express Lane • 718-215-1258 • firstname.lastname@example.org • www.expresslanesi.com • February 7, 2018
19. Spend your Hebrew birthday giving brachos to as many people as you can – since your mazal is strong on that day. 20.
Do at least one act of kindness every day.
What you do, if possible, keep between yourself and Hashem. No one else needs to know!
Give many compliments. It costs nothing and brightens someone’s day.
23. Even when she was in terrible pain, Miriam Libby prayed “Please, Hashem, Don’t take away my sense of humor.” So learn to make a joke and laugh to diffuse tension. 24.
Go to a Tehillim group – before you need to go!
Smile and the world will smile with you! Smile as often as you can!
Never forget someone who did you a favor – so you could always show your gratitude.
Say the names of all the cholim you know after lighting the Shabbos candles.
If you need someone’s help, don’t refuse it. Remember, everyone needs zechuzim (merits)!
Find something nice to say to everyone; the janitor, pizza maker, window cleaner, etc.
“Adopt” a sister for someone who doesn’t have a sister.
Please send stories about Miriam Libby Weiss to email@example.com
send a check to Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss, P.O. Box 140726, Staten Island, NY 10314 or contact him at RMMWSI@aol.com.
Please learn, give tzedaka, and daven l’iluy nishmas of Miriam Liba bas Aharon. Sheldon Zeitlin takes dictation of, and edits, Rabbi Weiss’s articles.
Now back in print is a large size paperback edition of Power Bentching. To order call him at 718-916-3100 or email at above.
Start the cycle of Mishna Yomis with Rabbi Weiss by dialing 718.906.6471. Or you can listen to his daily Shiur on Orchos Chaim l’HaRosh by dialing 718.906.6400, then going to selection 4 for Mussar, and then to selection 4. Both are FREE services. Rabbi Weiss is currently stepping up his speaking engagements. To bring him to your community, call 718.916.3100 or email RMMWSI@aol.com. To receive a weekly cassette tape or CD directly from Rabbi Weiss, please
Attend Rabbi Weiss’s weekly shiur at the Landau Shul, Avenue L and East 9th in Flatbush, Tuesday nights at 9:30 p.m. Rabbi Weiss’s Daf Yomi and Mishnah Yomis shiurim can be heard LIVE on KolHaloshon at (718) 906-6400. Write to KolHaloshon@gmail. com for details. They can now also be seen on TorahAnyTime.com. Rabbi Weiss’s Daf Yomi and Mishnah Yomis shiurim can be heard LIVE on KolHaloshon at (718) 906-6400. Write to KolHaloshon@gmail.com for details. They can now also be seen on TorahAnyTime.com.
Attention STATEN ISLAND Residents If you like working with Individuals with special needs, this job is for you! Seeking a dynamic & frum male Com Hab worker to work one-on-one with a child with developmental disabilities who lives at home in the Willowbrook community. Flexible hours over the weekend. Please call: 718-854-2747 Ext. 118 31
What'sthedifference between a WORD? By: Rabbi Reuven Chaim Klein,
A published author, studies in the world-famous Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem and writes on many topics. He received rabbinic ordination from several authorities in Jerusalem and currently lives with his wife and children in Beitar Illit, Israel.
Myself and I
he Ten Commandments famously open with the words, “I am Hashem your G-d who took you out of Egypt…” (Ex. 20:2). In this context, the Hebrew word for “I” is anochi. But try using the word anochi to mean yourself in Modern Hebrew, and you will encounter chuckles and guffaws. The word anochi is considered somewhat archaic; the way one refers to himself in Modern Hebrew is ani, not anochi. In fact, even in the Bible the word ani appears more than twice as many times as does the word anochi. So are these two words truly synonymous? Is there any difference between them? The Maharal of Prague (1520–1609) writes that the difference between ani and anochi is that ani is the simple way of expressing first-person, while anochi refers to a reflexive first-person, i.e. when one stresses oneself. In other words, ani simply means “I”, while anochi means “I [myself]”. Similarly, Rabbi Shlomo Pappenheim of Breslau (1740– 1814) and the Malbim (1809–1879) explain that both the words ani and anochi are used to highlight a novelty, but the difference between them is in where the novelty lies: When using the word anochi, the novelty is in the subject (“I [and not someone else] did such-and-such”), but when using the word ani, the novel idea focuses on the predicate. Accordingly, ani omed (“I am standing”) means, “I am standing [as opposed to sitting]”, while anochi omed means, “I [as opposed to someone else] is standing.” According to these authorities, when G-d began saying the Ten Commandments by proclaiming, “I am Hashem your G-d…” He meant to stress that He— and no other—is our G-d who took us out of Egypt.
from his intended audience, while anochi connotes the first-person’s intimacy with his audience in his role as their benefactor. By this rubric, G-d used the word anochi when introducing the Decalogue in order to establish His closeness to the Jewish People, especially in His role as their G-d and in taking them out of Egypt. This explanation somewhat echoes the Midrashic tradition that the Hebrew word anochi in the Ten Commandments is related to the Egyptian word anoch, which means “love” and “endearment”. Rabbeinu Bachaya (1255–1340) writes that the word anochi has deeper, Kabbalistic implications than the word ani does, but he does not explain this any further. This might imply that the word anochi alludes to one’s soul, while the word ani represents his body. However, there is evidence to the contrary: Ibn Ezra explains that the word anochi is related to the Hebrew word anoch (plumb line). Based on this, Rabbi Yehuda Leib Edel (1760–1828) writes that anochi recalls the bob at the bottom of a plumb line that serves to anchor the straightedge. This is analogous to the role of the body vis-a-vis the soul, as the body serves to anchor the soul in This World by containing it within physical boundaries. Accordingly, Rabbi Edel argues that although the words anochi and ani both mean “I”, they refer to two different elements of one’s personal existence. When a speaker uses the word ani he speaks on behalf of his own soul. But, when he uses the word anochi, he refers to his body—his anchor to This World. As an interesting side point, Rabbi Yaakov Tzvi Mecklenburg (1785–1865) proves from various sources that although the word ani is usually a common noun that refers to the first-person, when G-d uses that word, He sometimes uses it as a special name of Himself.
Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808–1888) offers a slightly different twist on this discussion. He explains For questions, comments, or other feedback, that ani connotes the first-person speaker as distinct please email RabbiRCKlein@gmail.com 32
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