Rosh Hashone

Dear Chaveirim.

Before we begin the mamar for the new year on Rosh-HaShone, I want to kneel down on my hands knees before our creator the king of all kings who gave us his holy Torah on mount Sinai Hakodosh Boruch hu, to express from the depth of my heart and soul my greatest thanks and praise, for being so kind to me, giving me the strength and wisdom, as a truly free gesture, not deserved by my poor deeds, to put together our weekly mamorim on the parsha and Yomim Tovi, this and more, for giving me the great zechus and honor of sharing it, with so many of my dear fellow friends and brothers all over the world.

In the same time we pray to HKB”H: Please tate in himel, continue to show us your great chesed and love. Open our eyes and minds to find new depths and understandings of your holy Torah which is endless. Open our eyes so we can find the right way in the dark Golus. Give us health and happiness so we can continue to fulfill our mission in this world. But more than all else it is time that you free your holy Shechino from Golus and bring about the Geuleh shleime.

I want to wish all Chaveirim a Kesive Vachasima Tove. A good gibentched year with all the trimmings. Long good healthy years full of Torah and Avode. Great Naches from all your lechtike Kinderlich. We should be zoche to hear the shofar of Mushiach Tzidkeinu Bimhiru Beyumeinu Omein.

Pinches Friedman




The Important Lesson from the Wailing of Sisro’s Mother

The Holy Shechinoh our Mother Sobs over Us:
Why Are You My Children Lingering with Your Teshuveh?


In the mamar for the upcoming Rosh-Hashone we discuss an amazing point concerning what we learn in the Gemoreh, that all of the sounds of the Shofer that we blast on Rosh HaShonoh, are learned from the distressful wailing of Sisro’s mother. Her wailing gave rise to the uncertainty of whether the “teruoh” is best represented by long sobs or by short whimpers.

Hence, it is worthwhile to examine the pesukim and gain a better appreciation of who Sisro was — the man whose mother moaned when he failed to return home in a timely fashion. The pessukim portrait the manner in which he went out to wage battle against Yisroel as follows (Shoftim 4, 13):

“Sisro mustered all his chariots — nine hundred iron chariots… Devoreh said to Barak, “Arise! For this is the day when Hashem has delivered Sisro into your hand”… Barak descended from Har Tavor with ten thousand men behind him. Hashem confounded Sisro and all the chariots and the entire camp by the edge of the sword before Barak; Sisro dismounted from his chariot and fled on his feet… to the tent of Yael… Yael went out to greet Sisro and said to him, “Turn aside, my lord, turn aside to me, do not fear.” So he turned aside to her to the tent, and she covered him with a blanket. He said to her, “Give me now a bit of water to drink, because I am thirsty.” She opened a skin of milk, gave him to drink, and covered him… Yael, wife of Chever, took a tent peg, placed a hammer in her hand, came to him stealthily, and drove the peg into his temple and it went through into the ground — while he was sleeping deeply and exhausted — and he died”.

Devoreh HaNevueh and Barak ben Avinoam sang a song of praise to Hashem in response to this amazing miracle. Within their song, the possuk describing the sorrowful moaning of Sisro’s mother is found (Shoftim 5, 20):

“From heaven they fought, the very stars from their orbits did battle with Sisro… Blessed by women is Yael, wife of Chever the Kenite; She hammered Sisro, severed his head, smashed and pierced his temple… Through the window she gazed; the mother of Sisro sobbed by the window–wondering why his chariot was delayed in returning and why the sound of its horses’ hoof beats was late”.

This sobbing, this “yevoveh,” was already alluded to by HKB”H at Matan Torah, when he commanded us: “Yom teruo yihye lochem”, which is translated in Targum Unkeles to Aramaic as: “Yom yevovo yehei lechon” — you shall celebrate a day characterized by the wailing.

The Meforshim all express their amazement over the surprising fact that HKB”H chose to teach us the sounds necessary for the Shofer-blasts, specifically from the reaction of Sisro’s mother. What is the connection between her wailing and the blowing of the Shofer?

We suggest an explanation based on the lesson taught by the wisest of all men (Koheles 7, 14): “Ze leumas ze oso hoelokim”All things in this world were created by HKB”H with equal and opposite counterparts — establishing a form of balance in the universe. So, just as a kingship and kingdom of kedusheh exist — revealed by the revelation of the Shechino on earth — a parallel kingdom ruled by the negative forces of the universe, the klipoh, also exists; these two powers are constantly at war with one another. From this we can comprehend, that the mother of Sisro, the infamous warrior who rose to crush Yisroel, represents the kingdom of the klipoh that is in constant battle with the Shechinoh and the kingdom of kedusheh.

This then is the reason that HKB”H arranged that we derive the sounds of the Shofer from Sisro’s mother’s form of crying. He wanted us to understand that just like when she realized that her son Sisro — the heroic military leader who went to war against Yisroel with nine hundred iron chariots — was delayed in returning home, she let out a wail, a “yevoveh,” expressing her extreme pain over the defeat and elimination of the forces of the klipoh: “Why is his chariot delayed in returning and why the sound of its horses’ hoof beats is late”. In a similar fashion, the holy Shechinoh, the mother of the Klal Yisruel, gazes out the window and wails from the domain of kedusheh: Why are my children taking so long to return home to me by performing wholehearted Teshuvoh? Why do I not hear the hoof beats of your carriages leaving this bitter exile and returning home to the place of the Beis HaMikdosh in the rebuilt Yerushalayim? This should awaken us to perform Teshuvoh, by means of the Shofer, to quiet the sobs and whimpers of the holy Shechinoh.


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Rosh Hashone 5772

Translation Rosh Hashone 5772


Parshas Ki-Sovo

The great gift to pay all our debts of punishments
Just by reading the Tochachos with Kavone on Shabbos!


Bezras Hashem.

Dear Chaveirim.

In this week’s parsha, parshas Ki-Sovo we read the “tochachos” – 98 dreadful curses that will befall on those who won’t keep the mitzvhos of the Torah. These are in addition to the “tochachos” of parshas Bechukosai – 49 curses.

In our mamar we try to explain the reason for these 2 “tochachos” – the one of parshas Bechukosai and the one of our parsha. The Gemoreh (Megilloh 31:2) says that the first tochaha was issued by HKB”H himself while the second one in this parsha was issued by Moshe rabeinu with Ruach Hakodesh. We need to ask ourselves the obvious question: Why did Moshe rabeinu, the great and devoted shepherd of Klal Yisruel, add his own curses, as if it is not enough the curses HKB”H casted in parshas Bechukosai?

I  think that this can be explained by what we learn in the Gemoreh (mentioned above) that Ezra HaSofer established that we read the curses found in parshas Bechukosai before Chag HaShavuos and the curses found in parshas Ki Sovo before Rosh HaShoneh. The reason for that is: “Tichle shone vekilleloseiho, tocheil shono ubirchoseiho” – “So that the year may end along with its curses and the new year will begin with its blessings”.

The “Tiferes Shlomo” explains that since we are able to fulfill our duties with bringing the korbonos by saying the parsha of korbonos, as it is said: “Uneshalmo porim sefoseinu”  – “with our saying of the lips we are able to substitute for sacrifices”. So even if there have been terrible decrees upon us because our sins, this reading of the curses will be considered as if we have gotten these harsh punishments and paid for our sins. In return we will be purified and cleansed from all our wrong doing and left with only the mitzvhos and good deeds we did.

This gives us a new insight and a beautiful explanation as to why Moshe rabeinu found it necessary to add new curses in parshas Ki-Sovo. He knew beRuach Hakodesh that by doing so Ezra HaSofer will establish that we read the curses in parshas Ki Sovo before Rosh HaShoneh, so that it we will be considered as if we were punished and be over with all the curses and begin a new year of blessings.

This idea connects so beautiful with an amazing observation the Radba’z (2:769) points out: While in the curses of parshas Bechokosai the name of HKB”H the shem Havaya is hardly mentioned, in the curses of our parsha, parshas Ki-Sovo the shem Havaya is mentioned almost in every second or third possuk. We suggest: Since Moshe rabeinu added these tochachos because of his great love for Klala Yisruel; because he wanted for us to get our punishment only by reading the Torah, therefore he mentioned so many times the shem Havaye – the name of HKB”H that reflects midas hurachamim – divine mercy.

“Dina kashya” versus “Dina rafya”

We continue our journey to explore the reason for the two “Tochachos” with the deep teaching provided for us by the mekubel eloki the Arizal, in Shaar HaKavanos (Rosh HaShoneh, Drush 2), citing the Zohar hakadosh (Pinchos 231b). He teaches us that on the two days of Rosh HaShoneh, HKB”H judges all of creation with two categories of justice. The first day is characterized by “dina kashya” – strict justice; while the judgment of the second day is characterized by “dina rafya”, a more lenient form of justice.

The Arizal adds a most interesting and important knowledge: Some people are judged on the first day by the standard of by “dina kashya”, while others are judged on the second day by the measure of “dina rafya”. HKB”H judges them on the second day because He wants to show them mercy. He also says that when someone broke into copious tears spontaneously, on his own, whilst praying, it was a sign that he was being judged on high at that moment–whether it was the first day or whether it was the second day. 

Based on all that we have discussed, let us propose, with reverence and appreciation, that the Tochachos in parshas Bechukosai correspond to “dina kashya,” the severe form of justice; this explains why the name Havaya, representing mercy, does not appear even once within that set of curses.

Moshe Rabeinu, the devoted shepherd, who only wished to insure Yisroel’s well-being, realized that if HKB”H would punish them based on this stricter, harsher standard of justice, they would not endure. Therefore, he devised a plan which coincided with HKB”H’s will — to incorporate a second set of curses, in parshas Ki Sovo, representing the more lenient measure of “dina rafya.” This is why Moshe Rabeinu mentions the name Havaya so many times within the body of these curses — to lessen the severity of these decrees, reducing them from a standard of strict justice to a standard of lenient justice.

So dear brothers and friends, the message here is crucial. This Shabbos, during the Torah-reading, each and every one of us is obligated to focus with extreme reverence and Yiras Shomayim. By having in mind that the reading of the parshe of the Tochachah should act as a substitute for our having actually received the punishments described therein, we hope to fulfill the promise of: “let the year end along with its curses.” By having received our just punishments, we can merit, in the year to come, a “Kesiveh Va’chasimeh Toveh,” and a year of blessing and all that is good.

Have a sweet & wonderful Shabbos


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Translation Ki-Sovo 5771 

Parshas Ki-Seitze & Elul

Chodesh Elul is the Ideal Time to Free our
Pure internal Jewish Spark from Captivity


Dear Friends

Concerning this week’s mamar for parshas Ki Seitzeh, it is only appropriate to connect the parsha with Elul, the month of teshuveh. The Parsha begins: “Ki seitze lamilchomo al oyvecho”…

“When you will go out to war against your enemies, and Hashem, your G-d, will deliver him into your hand, and you will capture its people as captives; and you will see among its captivity a woman who is beautiful of form, and you will desire her, you will take her to yourself for a wife. You shall bring her to the midst of your house… She shall remove the garment of her captivity from upon herself and she shall sit in your house and she shall weep for her father and her mother for a full month; thereafter you may come to her and live with her, and she shall be a wife to you.”

The Koshnitzer Magid in “Avodas Yisroel” based on the Zohar Chodosh, interpreted these pesukim as referring to the Neshome, who is comparable to a “woman” in her purest form, devoted to serve and enlighten the body to fulfill Hashem’s will.  It is this Neshomeh that Shelomo Hamelech refers to in Mishlei (31:30): “A G-d-fearing woman is to be praised”.

As a result of our sins; seeking worldly and forbidden pleasures, the Neshomeh who didn’t succeed to enlighten the body is full of pain and wallows in captivity. She is wearing the sullied clothes of captivity which we created by our sins. Consequently, she closes up and does not wish to illuminate its existence.

Yet, the Torah teaches us: “Ki seitze lamilchomo al oyvecho”, if you will wage a war against your enemy who is the yeitzer hurrah, and you will see in captivity a pure woman, who is actually your Neshomeh, that you yourself put in captivity by not listening to her advice; by running after forbidden lusts.

The Torah says: “If you desire to bring her – the Neshomeh – back into your life, then you should remove the garments of her captivity that were created by your sins; and she shall weep tears of teshuvoh, repentance; for the sins that you her body had done against her Father in Heaven – HKB”H, and against her mother who is the holy Shechinoh. “Yerach Yomom”  — refers to the entire month of Elul; during the month that Moshe rebeinu ascended the mountain to plead for HKB”H’s mercy in the aftermath of the sin of the eigel; if you’ll do all of these things, the Neshome will come back to you and shine with her full glory.

The maamer continues with the Sfas Emes who explains, based on a known kabalistic concept, that every Jew, no matter how a great sinner he is, still has a “Nekudeh Penimis” – the pure internal Jewish Spark that can never be sullied. It is similar to the Black box in every plane that cannot be destroyed.

The Sfas Emes goes on to explain that Elul is a perfect time to free the “Nekudeh Penimis” from her captivity. This is the meaning of: “Mazel elul besule” – representing the innermost pure Jewish Spark that is closed off from the world and completely unsullied. No matter how much a person sins it remains pure. This part of our soul is constantly connected to Hashem but we can’t always access it. However in Elul, when we are focused on teshuveh we can get close to it and we can use it to purify our whole body.

We can learn from this that when the possuk says: “and you will see among its captives a woman with a beautiful form”, it is referring to this unblemished Jewish Spark part of our Neshomeh. When we follow in the ways of the Yetzer Harah, she remains a captive. So says the possuk: If you will desire to release her from captivity, you should make sure to: “Remove the garments of captivity from her”, the clothes which are created by our sins; “and she shall sit in your house crying for her father”, Hashem, and “for her mother”, the shechino whom we sin against, “for a full month”, Elul, the month in which we have the ability to release and access this special part of our neshomeh.

The Chidushe Harim says a great chidush concerning the name of the month ELUL. Dovid hamelech says in Tehilm (100:3): דעו כי ה’ הוא האלקים הוא עשנו ולו אנחנו עמו וצאן מרעיתו – “Know that Hashem, He is G-d, He makes us and we are His”. The word for “His”, ולו is written ולא with an Aleph, meaning “we are not with Him”, but we read it ולו with a Vav, meaning “we are with him”.

The month of אלול is made up of the letters of how “LO” is written and how it is readלא –  and לו. Our job in this month is to understand that our soul is hidden because: “we are not with him”, but we have the opportunity “to be with him” if we use the opportunity given to us in this special month, to reveal and free from captivity the “Nekudeh Penimis” – the pure internal Jewish Spark, so it can illuminate our entire being, filling us with a yearning to connect to HKB”H like  what ELUL is an  abbreviation of – Ani Ledodi Vedodi LI, I am to Hashem and Hashem is for me, a strong holy bond of love and connection.

By working to utilize the month to its fullest capacity we can merit what it says in Mesechte Yuma (86) that Teshuva is so great that it hastens the geula.

May we be zocheh, to start working on our teshuveh now when it still the beginning of the month, so we can have the maximum time to use the power of this special month to its maximum potential and to finally bring the geualla shleimah bimheirah beyameinu Amein.

A wonderful & sweet Shabbos


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Ki-Seitze Elul

Translation Ki-Seitzei 5771