Rabbi Yehuda (Leonard) Blank MS, BCC
Vice President of Professional Development and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
917-446-2126  rablenblank@gmail.com
===Thursday August 31, 2023, Elul 14, 5783===

Think positive. Everything is possible.

Sadness – Hope- Happiness- Simchos

From Good to Great

Losing money found by a poor person is a blessing-
a happy ending instead of being sad.

The Key to a Happy Marriage.
Remembering the days of courtship.

Another example of a marriage made in heaven.

Sameiach Vesamach
A birthday celebration filled with tremendous
spirit, kedushah, happiness and joy.


Picture this: If it would be possible to attach a device to the head of a person, the persons thoughts, worries, anxieties, concerns, sadness, happiness, wishes, prayers for simchos, and so much more would have  no room to move. 

On the one hand looking back, one could find times of sadness, catastrophes, tragedies, situations one wishes he could brush under the rug as if they never happened.  But, the realities of life know, that it is not possible. Speaking from the position of a chaplain or a rav, listening to the sorrows of a patient, or a congregant, we cannot tell that person not to worry. That it is in the past and they must forget what happened.  Life goes on but it’s foundation is in the past. We try to help understand and if possible to accept that Hakadosh Baruch Hu has His reasons for everything. What about all of the dreams a person has for the future have not materialized.  We don’t give up hope that those dreams can still come true. The emotions, the feelings, the aspirations, the dreams, the wishes, the hopes, all of those can still happen. We are not therapists, nor mental health specialists, but within the realm of our own profession as rabbis, rebbetzins and chaplains we can be uplifting. It is possible to connect with our congregants and those who we minister to and help make sense of how their emunah, their hope, and their betachon can make a difference in their lives. We don’t know what the future holds for us, but we can do more than dream, we can do more than pray, we can do more than hope, we can do our hishtadlis by finding a meaningful life. There is nothing H cannot do for us. We must acknowledge that H will decide one way or another and we must never give up hope. We are not perfect. No one is, whether it be physically or spiritually. Each of us with our own imperfections have so much to give to each other, and ourselves. We should as rabbis, rebbetzins and chaplains help inculcate the spirit of meaningful life no matter what one’s shortcomings might be. We all have tremendous potential to be a somebody. Life can be complex. There are many concerns, issues and dynamics in each person, that make the challenges often difficult to deal with. Yet, with  self-confidence, emunah and betachon in H, the opportunities of success and happiness are possible. Think positive. Everything is possible!

From Good to Great

From Yamim Noraim with the Maggid by Rabbi Paysach J. Krohn Artscroll Series Mesorah Publications Ltd. “From Good to Great” Pages 27 “We can all be good and we can even be great. Rav Yitzchok HaKohen of Lublin (1823-1900) writes that just as one must believe in H, he must believe in himself (Tzidkas HaTzaddik, note 154). We underestimate our qualities and potential. We realize that we are not perfect, as Shlomo HaMelech said, Ki ein adam asher lo yecheta, for there is no man who never sins (I Melachim 8:46). (Ki adam ein tzadik ba aretz asher tov velo yecheteh, for there is no man so wholly righteous on earth that he (always) does good and never sins (Koheles 7:20). 

As we enter the forty hallowed days from Rosh Chodesh Elul to Yom Kippur, we should not let our missteps bring us down. We should not let our errors depress us so that we think we cannot change our ways. Rav Yeruchem Levovitz (1873-1976), the Mashgiach of the Mirrer Yeshiva, would often say, “As important as it is for one to know his faults so he knows what he must amend, it is even more important for one to know his virtues to know what he can accomplish.”

Losing money found by a poor person is a blessing-
a happy ending instead of being sad.

From the English Darash Moshe by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein zt”l Artscroll Judaica Classics Mesorah Publications Ltd. Parsaha Ki Seitzei Devorim Page 313 “When you reap your harvest in your field, and you forget a bundle in the field, you shall not turn back to take it; it shall be for the proselyte, the orphan, and the widow, so that H, your G, will bless you in all your handiwork (24:19). “Rashi comments that from this verse we may derive that if someone loses money which is then found by a poor man who uses it to sustain himself, the person who lost the money receives a blessing. This conclusion is difficult to understand on the surface. We can see why a farmer who forgets a sheaf in his field is blessed for not returning to retrieve it, since it was in his power to do so once he remembered his omission. Someone who loses money, however, usually does not know where he lost it and therefore has no way of recovering his loss even if he does eventually notice it. Why should he be given a blessing when made no conscious decision what benefited the poor man?

According to the Torah, however, from the moment the farmer forgets a sheaf, it ceases to be his and becomes reserved for the first poor person who finds it. If the farmer turns back to pick it up, he is no more than a thief taking something that does not belong to him. Why should he be blessed merely for leaving something that is not his?

We must say, therefore, that the farmer receives a blessing simply because a poor person has derived benefit from grain that was formerly his, even though this happens only through the farmer’s forgetfulness over which he has no control. Similarly, then when someone loses a coin and a poor man benefits from it, the loser is entitled to a blessing, even though the loss occurred against his will and possibly even without his knowledge.”

The Key to a Happy Marriage.
Remembering the special days of courtship.

From A Vort from Rav Pam by Rabbi Sholom Smith, Artscroll Series, Mesorah Publications Ltd. Parshas Ki Seitzei Pages 224- 225 “ The Key to a Happy Marriage” 

“When a man marries a new wife, he shall not go out to the army, nor shall it obligate him for any matter; he shall be free for his home for one year, and he shall gladden his wife whom he has married. (24:5)

The Torah gives a man special exemption in the first year after his wedding. Rashi says, “This pasuk is rendered by Targum Onkelos as he shall gladden his wife. But one who translates the words as he shall be glad with his wife, is mistaken, because this is not the translation of vesimach, but rather vesamach.

There is a vital homiletic message in this comment of Rashi, which contains one of the major pillars for successful shalom bayis.” 

The husband obligations are to be kind, caring, loving, respectful and be to his wife as if she is a queen and is a very  important part of his life. Of course, he is to his wife a major part of her life as well.

“Rabbi Smith mentioned when he became a chassan on Erev Succos in 1981, he went to Rav Pam’s home to tell him the good news. He will never forget the sight of seeing Rav Pam, the Rosh Yeshivah of Torah Vodaath and a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, vacuming the carpet in his dining room. That alone was a vivid lesson in how a husband can and should help out at home!” 

A newlywed should put every effort into making every single day of marriage as special as can be. The husband for instance, must never lose sight of what his own responsibilities are to make his wife happy and the wife will reciprocate with her own care and sincerity. Happiness in a marriage is not an overnight success. It takes immense effort of caring from one’s heart. From the moment in the morning to late evening, there should be devotion, and dedication to each other. There must be feelings, tenderness, sensitivity, and the desire to love one another with a full heart. When a husband returns home, he should make every effort to want to listen how his wife’s day was and he could help her. She in turn, should reciprocate.  A husband and wife should think back to the time when they became choson and kallah and how wonderful and exciting those times were when they could not wait to see or speak to each other. The effort that one puts into marriage will only produce not just good, but great results. 

Another example of a marriage made in heaven.

In the past several years, I shared stories and thoughts about men and women of diverse ages, various medical conditions, physical disabilities, widows, widowers and divorcees who became engaged and married. I would like to share with you a video of an interview of a father in Eretz Yisrael who desired for his daughter with her disability to some day become a kallah, marry and live a meaningful life. The video includes the kallah and her choson boarding the Light Rail, the kallah choosing her wedding gown, the couple under the chupah and segments of the dancing at their chasunah. 

Twelve years ago, Alei Siach received an unusual request. Rav Drukman and his wife wanted their daughter Shulamit to get married to Reuven ben Ezra – both of them individuals with high functioning Down’s syndrome.

When they got down to practical details, they realized that for a home like this to be viable, they would need a full support system so they set out to look for one. Rav Drukman turned to Rav Perkal saying: without Alei Siach, I can’t dream of marriage for her.

Rav Perkal received the request, and, never having refused a cry for help, in addition to being forward-thinking about anything to do with people with disabilities, he consulted with Gedolim and with their approval, gave the green light to the project. After a long consultation with the Welfare Ministry, Alei Siach broke new ground and founded Ofek, a full support system for married couples with disabilities.

At that first chupa, as Reuven’s emotional voice was heard saying “You are sanctified to me according to the laws of Moshe and Yisrael”, there was not a dry eye in the hall. It was almost like an opening ceremony for a real change in the way people viewed adults with disabilities.

Since then, we have repeated the process again and again and each time, we accompany these special couples with deep emotion and a prayer on our lips: Let them be happy and allow us to be true helpers to them.

But the path is not always smooth.

And when we see them looking at each other with such pure love, we know we’ve done the right thing.

Because they deserve this opportunity.

About us:
Alei Siach is a non-profit organization which was set up to provide a solution for disabled adults in the charedi-dati communities. Today Alei Siach has branches around the country and provides a warm, all-inclusive, supportive and professional environment where hundreds of individuals can develop and become integrated into the wider community

Sameiach Vesamach
A birthday celebration filled with tremendous
spirit, kedushah, happiness and joy.

On Thursday of last week, I attended the special birthday celebration of my einekel, Moshe Blank. It was his Hebrew birthday, Zayin Elul. Last year he celebrated his bar mitzva on Shabbos with an outdoor minyan and a full delicious kiddush. During the week he was feted with a beautiful bar mitzva dinner with the help of the Tzantzers. There was lots of music and dancing. It was attended by a tremendous crowd and chashuva Rabbonim. Last Thursday on Moshe’s birthday, Reb Sholi Rosenblum together with Reb Sruli Glassman whom are part of the Tzantzers organization in conjunction with L’hisaneg and Ten Chiyuch brought other volunteers and helped put together a birthday celebration filled with tremendous spirit, kedusha, happiness and joy which was so uplifting to my dear son Aryeh my dear daughter-in-law Tzivia, their other wonderful children Tzvi Dov, Chaya Rivka, Tehila Rochel and  Moshe’s other Zaidy and Bubby, Rabbi Yisroel and Mrs.Lifsha Kleinman. Reb Sholi and Reb Sruli, arranged to have the well-known singer Michoel Pruzansky and the well-known musician Ari Baumann on his keyboard sing and play beautiful and lively songs.

The group who attended were full of unbelievable spirit as you can see in the video and pictures. What really was so special was the tremendous enthusiasm of Aryeh and Tzivia celebrating another milestone of Moshe and the non-stop love they have for their children. Their Emunah, Bitachon, Ahavas Hashem, Ahavas Torah and Ahavas Yisrael is truly special. Aryeh and Tzivia truly exemplify and are role models of how a home should be filled with tremendous love, care, sensitivity, and a Bayis Neeman B’Yisroel. 

(The following was given to me some years back
from one of my patients.)


Hope looks for the good in people
Instead of harping on the worst.

Hope opens doors where despair
closes them.

Hope discovers what can be done instead of
grumbling about what cannot.

Hope draws its power from a deep trust
in G and the basic goodness
of human nature.

Hope “lights a candle” instead of
“cursing the darkness”.

Hope regards problems, small or large,
as opportunities.

Hope cherishes no illusions, nor does it yield
to cynicism.

Hope sets big goals and is not frustrated
by repeated difficulties or setbacks.

Hope pushes ahead when it would be
easy to quit.

Hope puts up with modest gains,
realizing that “the longest journey
starts with one step.

Hope accepts misunderstandings
as the price for serving
the greater good of others.

Hope is a good loser because
It has the divine assurance
of final victory.


Despite any setbacks we might have experienced or bumps in the road, having a positive attitude is vital to our existence and any success we are seeking and mispallel for. There is much to be appreciative for all that Hakadosh Baruch Hu continuously does for us. We should value Him, our spouses, our dear friends, our family members, and everyone who contributes to our well being, small or large. We are grateful to the Ribono shel Olam for every opportunity He gives us to be helpful and kind to others and for any successful achievements large or small we are able to make.  May He bless us to continue to inspire others and whenever and however to make a Kiddush H with all of our hearts and souls. May we be zoche to help bring Klal Yisrael together with achdus and for Chaveirim Kol Yisrael, Am Yisrael Chai and Shalom al Yisrael.

May we zoche to have good health, simchas hachaim, kindness, goodness, joy and sincerity in our lives and in our hearts. May all those who are seeking to meet their zivig be zoche for it to happen. May our emunah, our faith, our hopes and most of all our betachon our trust in H remain strong and steadfast with our immense love for Him. May everyone have a kesiva vechasima tova and a shana tova umesuka. 

                            Sincerely, Rabbi Yehuda Blank

Click on this link for the video of the Choson and Kallah and interview
of the Kallah’s father which is in Hebrew with English subtitles.

Click on this link for the video and pictures of the birthday celebration.