Rabbi Yehuda (Leonard) Blank MS, BCC
Vice President of Professional Development and External Affairs
<><><>Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim<><><>
Thursday February 23 ,2023 Adar 2, 5783
I dedicate this Moments of Inspiration to Rebbetzin Sarah Tannenbaum and her mishpacha on the yartzeit of Rav Gershon Tannenbaum zt”l, Rosh Chodesh Adar. Rav Tannenbaum was the Director/Menahel of the Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim during the years 1990 -2016. Rav Tannenbaum personified the essence of Kiddush H. His love of the Ribono shel Olam, Klal Yisroel and all human beings was truly remarkable. He was a role model for Klal Yisroel and showed by example of what an ambassador of the Ribono shel Olam should be like and for others how to follow in his footsteps. His kindness, his goodness, his maysim tovim and all of his gemilus chasadim knew no bounds. He was respected and admired for his sincerity by all of the Jewish Faith and those of non Jewish backgrounds. He was proud of who he was and he was regal in his attire . Rav Tannenbaum was an inspiration to one and all and his mesorah will continue until the coming of Mashiach. May the neshama of Rav Gershon ben Moshe Yaakov zt”l be a meilitz yoshar for his Rebbetzin, his mishpacha and for all of Klal Yisroel. May his legacy,his mesorah of seeking Shalom al Yisroel and peace amongst all people continue for many years to come.
The importance of being proud of who and what we are.
Rebbetzin Sheila Feinstein’s A”H firm words about
how only Moses could change the law.
Rabbi Lieff’s acts ( 5 x’s) of goodness and kind words changed our image.
In the Tefillah of Az Yashir, the posuk says,”Ze Keyli veanveihu “.
This is my G and I will glorify Him. How do we glorify H,
by always behaving in a manner that creates a Kiddush Hashem
“Nowadays, it is vital for every Jew to be committed to increasing the degree of
Kiddush H in the world and avoiding the desecration of H’s name at all cost;
That is Klal Yisroel’s mission at this juncture in history.”
Rav Mattisyahu Solomon Mashgiach Ruchani
Beth Medrash Govoha Lakewood, New Jersey
( From the Living Kiddush Foundation)
A sweet story of a 4 year old and Rav Moshe Feinstien zt”l
A fantastic video by the reknown Rabbi Yoel Gold “Mench of Malden Mills”
A $300 Million Dollar Kiddush H story.
Click below this article to view the video.
From A Vort from Rav Pam by Rabbi Shlomo Smith Artscroll Series Mesorah Publications Ltd Parshas Tetzaveh Page 112-113 White Garments (5746/1986) “ A major portion of Parshas Tetzaveh deals with the special priestly garments worn by the Kohanim. It was forbidden for them to perform any part of the avodah (Divine service) or offer sacrifices if they were not wearing these vestments. The Kohen Gadol wore eight garments; the ordinary Kohen wore four. On Yom Kippur, the Kohen Gadol wore the special Bigdei Lavan, white vestments, for certain parts of the avodah (see Vayikra 16:4). In fact, this is the source of the custom to wear a white kittel during the Yom Kippur davening, since white is a symbol of purity and forgiveness.
Nevertheless, white clothing is not limited to the spirituality elevated Yamim Nora’im period. Shlomo HaMelech says in Koheles (9:8), Let your garments always be white. Rashi illustrates this pasuk with the parable of a man who has been invited to a royal banquet but does not know when it will take place. Therefore, his clothing must be clean and neat at all times, in order to be ready to attend the feast at any time. So, too, must a person always “clothe” himself with good deeds because he never knows when he will be summoned to the World to Come for his eternal regard (see also Shabbos 153a). The Vilna Gaon adds that the reference to white clothing alludes to the character traits of a person: they, too, should be free of blemishes and stains. (cont.) By definition a talmid chacham is a person who is fluent in the entire Torah and can answer any questions without hesitations ( see Shabbos 153a). There are those who say very few people today quality for this title and its stringent requirements. This is not true, as can be seen from the following incident: The Chofetz Chaim once saw his son Reb Leib do something. He told him, “A talmid chacham like you should not do that, because it can cause a chillul H!” Reb protested,” But Father, I am not a talmid chacham !” “For chilul H,” replied the Chofetz Chaim, “you are enough of a talmid chacham…”
In our time the bar has been lowered even more. Every Jew who wears a yarlmuka on his head and, certainly, any Jew with a beard, must realize that he is under observation by those around him. People analyze his behavior and especially his interpersonal relationships. He may consider himself unlearned, unworthy of the title “talmid chacham”, but to the world at large, he is a symbol of Torah, a representative of H, as it were, and his behavior must be impeccable. Let your garments always be white is a fundamental part of being a Jew today.”
I heard the following from several sources which I will paraphrase. Someone had asked the Rosh HaYeshiva of Staten Island Rav Reuven Feinstein shlita why there are frum people who are ashamed or embarrassed to display their Jewishness in public . Some responded it is because of the environment of anti- semitisim. However, Rav Reuven felt perhaps the feeling was not wanting to be conspicuous but the desire to blend in with others. One person mentioned that when he was on a plane sitting next to a non- Jewish individual he felt odd benching and would hide his bencher behind a napkin. Rav Reuven felt a Jew should be proud of who he/she is.
Rav Reuven told a story about his Rebbetzin Sheila A”H who was always known to look and act professionally. When she was taking courses some years back, at the end of the semester, the professor announced there would be a celebration at a restaurant. Rebbetzin Sheila who by the way went by Mrs. as a teacher and later on as a Principal in the public school system told the professor she would not be able to attend because the restaurant was not kosher. He was shocked as she did not give the appearance of being archaic in old fashion Jewish traditions. The professor suggested that she attend and does not eat. Rebbetzin Sheila declined. She told the professor that not until Moses will come down to say it is permissible to attend the celebration in a non-kosher restaurant would she attend. She must keep true to the Jewish laws.
Some time later while looking in the newspaper of wedding announcements, she noticed the announcement by Dr. & Dr. Fox about their daughter’s wedding. That was the name of her professor, so she called to offer congratulations. He told her about the impression she had made on him and the fact she was adamant of her Jewish traditions. He conveyed his feelings to his daughter who became an Orthodox Jew marrying an Orthodox Jewish man. Rebbetzin Sheila was a remarkable ambassador of H and Klal Yisroel making a Kiddush H very important in her life.
From Motivated by the Maggid Inspiration and Introspection from the lectures of Rabbi Paysach J. Krohn Artscroll Series Mesorah Publications Ltd Page 70 “Easy to Make a Chillul H …and a Kiddush H” “Rabbi Moshe Tuvia Lieff gave me permission to tell this story. Rav Lieff was on an El Al flight, sitting in an aisle seat in the economy section. Two women came to his row-one American, and one Israeli- and neither of them looked happy to be seated next to a rabbi. Rav Lieff broke the ice and said, “Ladies, I’m sitting in a very privileged seat, but it’s also a seat of great responsibility. This aisle seat is called the ‘excuse me’ seat. That means, if either of you has to get out at any time throughout the trip, even if I’m sleeping, you just have to say, ‘Excuse me,’ and I’ll get up. So don’t be hesitant. I am here to be of service.”
All in all, they woke him five times during the trip. Rav Lieff told me that when he landed in Eretz Yisrael, his son met him at the airport, and they went to the parking lot where the car-rental agencies are located. He was talking to a rental agent when he heard the screech of a car behind him. A tall Israeli got out of the car together with his mother. Who was she? The Israeli woman who sat next to Rabbi Lieff on the plane! She said to her son, “Zeh ha’ish, this is the man! If all the Jews and all the rabbis were like this man, there would be no problems in Klal Yisrael!”
What a kiddush H! Rabbi Lieff repaired the image of thousands of people with just one line. If you do something right, you can change people’s attitudes. Rabbi Lieff says, “It’s true that it’s easy to make a chillul H, but it’s also easy to make a Kiddush H.”
(ibid) Pages 75-76 ‘Kiddush H for Jews’ “Rav Pam writes in Atarah LaMelech (p79) that most people mistakenly thing that a Kiddush H can only be made with non-Jews. He quotes a pasuk to prove that the primary mitzvah of Kiddush H is made among Jews (Vayikra 22: 32-33) “ I should be sanctified among the Children of Israel; I am H Who sanctifies you, ‘Who took you out of the land of Egypt….” In other words, the purpose of H taking the Bnei Yisrael out of Mitzrayim was to sanctify Him- to make a Kiddush H- among Klal Yisrael.
In Australia, Dr. Danny Lanzer told me that there are many baalei teshuvah in Australia.
Many years ago, organized a seminar for prospective baalei teshuvah couples in Melbourne. One young couple stood out. The wife really wanted to become more observant, but the husband didn’t want to. He attended the Shabbaton only because his wife wanted to go.
They slept in Danny Lanzer’s home, as did many other people. On Shabbos morning, this young man announced that he decided the night before that he wanted to begin keeping the Torah. And today he is a full- fledged baal teshuvah. What changed his mind? He had awakened in the middle of the night and walked into the living room. There he found Danny Lanzer sleeping on the couch. The young man realized that so many people were staying in Danny’s house that all his children had given up their beds and moved into their father’s bedroom. His kids were sleeping in his bed, so he – the owner of the house! – slept on the couch.
This young man was so impressed that he decided then and there to take on Torah observance himself. One man changed his image of what Jews are like. And it made a lifetime of difference.”
We know that over the centuries, Jews in many countries and societies throughout the world died al-kiddush H. Today, in free countries we are more obligated than ever before to live al kiddush H.”
In Parshas Emor (23:32) “You shall not desecrate My Holy Name, rather I should be sanctified among the Children of Israel: “The primary privilege and responsibility of every Jew, great or small, is to sanctify G’s Name through his behavior, whether among Jews or Gentiles- by studying Torah and performing the commandments, and by treating others kindly, considerately, and honestly, so that people say of him, “Fortunate are the parents and teachers who raised such a person, “Conversely, there is no greater degradation for a Jew than to act in a way that will make people say the opposite (Yoma 86a).” Translation and commentary The Stone Edition Chumash Vayikra Artscroll Series Mesorah Publications Ltd.
Before I conclude I would like to share with you this sweet and innocent story
“Verbal Purity” from The Grandeur of the Maggid by Rabbi Paysch J. Krohn
Artscroll Series Mesorah Publication Ltd Page 59. “In a delightful series of articles regarding gedolim who stayed in people’s homes when they had to travel, Mishpacha magazine (Succos Edition 2022, Issue 931) included a segment by Rabbi Aaron Sochet. He related an incident that occurred in 1970 when Rav Moshe Feinstein (1895-1985) flew to California to raise money for his son Rav Reuven’s newly opened yeshiva in Staten Island.
Rav Moshe was in Los Angeles for two days; he visited the Sochet home for dinner on the first night he was there. Aaron was nine years old at the time, but when the doorbell rang it was his younger brother, four-year-old Chaim Baruch, who ran to answer it.
Taking one look at the hadras panim of the gadol, Chaim Baruch asked,
“Are you H?”
Rav Moshe smiled and replied, “Nein, H is in der Himmel, No H is in the sky.”
Chaim Baruch thought for a moment and then declared, “Well, then you must be his best friend.”
Innocence, holiness, piety- what more can we want from our children.”
Rabbis, Rebbetzins and Chaplains have awesome responsibilities through our daily lives and interactions with those we offer our care to. However, no Jewish person can say the responsibility of Kiddush H is about others. We all have a responsibly as ambassadors of the Ribono shel Olam to inspire and create opportunities of enhancing Kiddush H, bringing achdus amongst, and between each other and Klal Yisroel. We should be proud of who and what we are, continuing to enhance not only the quality of life, but also spirituality, kindness, goodness, with pride in all the mitvos, maysim tovim and Kiddush H.
A special appeal to all my readers. We must not forget those who are desolate, are alone, home bound, and those who do not have the financial means of giving more than a simple mishloach manos. There might be individuals who will have been passed over by others not having been invited to a Purim seuda and all the other fun activities. Loneliness can be devastating, hurtful and very sad. Loneliness does not only mean living alone but feeling alone. Perhaps he/she has no family members, is a widow or widower or someone who is divorced. Perhaps, the person is single and feels alone hosting a seuda by themselves. One other thought, no one should be embarrassed or ashamed of not giving expensive Purim gifts. The mitzva is at least two different items with two different brachos that could be eaten at the meal or anytime. Such a mishloach manos should be given and received with Purim joy. If someone wants to give something more elaborate that is fine but most importantly we should remember the meaning of all the mitzvos. Open your heart and care for others. There are a multitude of gemilus chasadim a person can do for others.
Mishenichnas Adar Marbim Besimcha
May we be zoche to have much simcha in this month of Adar
and all the year around.
Thank you. Sincerely, Rabbi Yehuda Blank.
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