The virtual Kehilla of Orthodox Jewry of Greater Montreal

Hachnassas Orchim Avraham :: Lot / Prayer for the Evil/ Moshiach

 Considering  the  dangers to Israel and to the world today from those who trace themselves to our Patriarch, Avraham Aveinu, it is worthy for us to study the sedrah in order to deepen our appreciation for his actual holy ways as handed down to us.The possuk actually tells us that in following in those ways, we merit all the brochos:

"כי ידעתיו למען אשר יצוה את בניו ןאת ביתו אחריו ושמרו דרז השם לעשות מדקה ומשפט לצען הביא השם על אברהם את אשר דבר עלון" "That haShem "knows(ie 'loves) Avraham as he will command his household after him to go in the ways of haShem , to do righteousness(Tzedeka) and law ,in order to bring upon Avraham that which was spoken(ie, that through his seed, will the peoples of the Earth be blessed)"

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Kollel Dirshu Of Montreal Makes Second Siyum HaShas

Kollel Dirshu Of Montreal Makes Second Siyum HaShas

( taken from )

Joyous dancing at the Dirshu Montreal siyum

Joyous dancing at the Dirshu Montreal siyum

Rav Dovid Hofstedter addressing the Montreal siyum

Rav Dovid Hofstedter addressing the Montreal siyum

By Chaim Gold

History was made in Montreal on Sunday, 26 Cheshvan/November 8 when Kollel Dirshu of Montreal celebrated its second siyum haShas. Kollel Dirshu has been in operation for more than 15 years and its members have completed the entire Shas twice, taking weekly and monthly tests along the way.

In recognition of this great milestone, virtually every member of Montreal’s rabbinate attended the siyum, held at the Bais Yaakov Seminary Hall. The representation of Chassidic, Litvish, and Sephardic rabbanim testified to the deep esteem and reverence that the entire Montreal Torah-observant community has for Dirshu.

Kollel Dirshu of Montreal began 15 years ago as the second Dirshu kollel in North America, joining its counterpart in Toronto as one of the founding Dirshu kollelim. The kollel began learning MasechtaNazir at Kehal Me’or Hagolah and has since been gathering every weeknight, day in, day out, traversing the entire Shas—not once but twice.

Sanctifying The Mundane

A highlight of the siyum was the attendance and powerful derashah given by Dirshu’s nasi, Rav Dovid Hofstedter, who set the tone by encapsulating the unique simcha of the evening. He said, “One of the ultimate purposes of a Jew in this world is to sanctify the mundane. The idea of a nazir is only found by Yidden. A Yid becomes holy by not being subjugated to the physical.”

Rav Dovid continued, “The ZoharHaKadosh explains that the Torah goes into such detail about SarahImeinu, something not done regarding other women, because until Sarah, no other person was able to withstand a nisayon, a spiritual test like she. She was able to remain a tzenuah even in a place of such ill repute like the house of Pharaoh in the immoral land of Mitzrayim. Until then, Adam and Chava did not pass their test. Kayin did not pass his test; even Noach did not pass his test when he left the Teivah and the first thing he did was plant a vineyard to make wine.”

Rav Hofstedter asked rhetorically, “Was Noach’s action so bad? It is not assur to drink wine!” He explained, “The ultimate purpose of a person is to sanctify the mundane. Regarding Noach’s planting a vineyard, the Torah says ‘Vayachel, Noach engaged in the mundane.’ According to his exalted level, he should have planted vines for a holy purpose, to make Kiddush, to bring nesachim, thereby sanctifying the mundane.”

“Similarly, a nazir is called a kadosh, a holy person, because he refrains from wine, from indulgence in worldly pleasures. Simultaneously, Chazal call him a sinner because he caused himself to suffer by refraining from wine. This seems contradictory. The answer is that the pasuk says after he finishes his period of nezirus, ‘And afterwards the nazir drinks wine.’ Does ‘the nazir’ drink wine? He has completed his nezirus. It should say, ‘The man drinks wine.’ The point of the nazir is that once he completes the nezirus he should be able to return to the mundane world and drink wine l’shemShamayim, in a sanctified way. The purpose of nezirus is not just to refrain but to also elevate oneself to be able to engage in the mundane and elevate it to holiness.”

‘Antidote To The Internet’

“SarahImeinu was able to withstand the test of being in ultra-immoral Egypt. Morai v’Rabosai,” Rav Dovid exclaimed emotionally, “If there is any society steeped in immorality, it is the world in which we live today. We are all akin to having seen a sotah in her kilkul and must refrain from wine. What is our version of refraining from wine? Being part of Dirshu! Dirshu takes over your life—day and night, new learning, chazarah, tests . . . it never ends. It is the greatest shemirah. It is not just a seder, it becomes the most important thing in your life.

“After the Internet asifah that was held several years ago to highlight the spiritual dangers of the Internet, several people came over to me and said, ‘The antidote to the Internet is Dirshu.’ Being part of Dirshu learning and reviewing daily, taking weekly and monthly tests is a way to live in Olam HaZeh but at the same time live a life with total focus on Olam HaBa; to sanctify even our engagement in the mundane through constant preoccupation with the holy. That is what Dirshu has done in Montreal—it has transformed you and the entire city with you.”

The participation of so many of Montreal’s prominent rabbanim was a testament to their esteem for Dirshu and its mission. Among those attending were HaRabbanim Yonason Binyomin Weiss, Yochanan Wosner, Shaya Yaakov Portugal, Osher Mintz, Dovid Elias, Asher Greenfeld, Yaakov Elya Unsdorfer, Yosef Unsdorfer, Aharon Hager, Wolf Ber Lerner, Levi Roth, Mordechai Galitzy, Yechiel Meir Katz, Dovid Merling, Shlomo Shmuel Toledano, Yaakov Meir Forkash, Yoel Chonon Wenger, Uri Deitch, Mordechai Dov Beck, Pinchos Vieder, Moshe Werner, and Rav Rosner, shlita.

Language Of The Heart

The event was opened by Rav Isser Fuerst, menahel of the mesivta, who learns with the kollel every night. He called upon Rav Yonason Binyomin Weiss, shlita, Chief Rabbi of Montreal, to deliver divreiberachah.

Special recognition was given to Reb Avrohom Tzvi Moskowitz and his son Reb Shimon for supporting and being moser nefesh for the kollel.

Another powerful address that ignited the crowd was given by Rav Don Krancer, a participant in numerous programs, who addressed the importance of recognizing one’s own Torah accomplishments as a way to spur himself to even greater heights.

Perhaps the words spoken by the kollel’s maggid shiur, Rav Zelig Waldman, encapsulated the uniqueness of the evening and the kollel most succinctly. Rav Waldman, who was honored with making the siyum, related that the two words most associated with the remarkable Dirshuchaburah of Montreal are “achdus” and “consistency.” The phenomenal achdus, brotherly love, between members of the kollel is legendary. And the consistency, the fact that for nearly 16 years, in Montreal’s bitter winter cold and snow and oppressive summer heat, the kollel members, who hail from both the downtown and uptown neighborhoods, come together, in achdus. The varied spoken languages are English, Yiddish, and French, but the language of the heart is the same for all.

*Note this administrator (ie of was a m'sayim, and am very thankful to have found this article online

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Are We Dreaming?

 Are we Dreaming?

 The Pope kissing the hand of a Jewish man at Yad V'Shem?

Mideast Pope Horo 1 305x172

'Oy Lanu m'yom hadin Oy lanu m'ose bushe'

(As our Rabbis remark when Yosef reveals himself to the brothers OY , from the day of judgement , Oy, from that ultimate shame)

Not yet,quite, but the world is changing.

There aren't supposed to be Yidden living in our homeland,

nor Yidden praying in the Temple area.

But the article says

"How Jews being saved while not believing .. ..  ....can be possible remains an unfathomable mystery..."

Thankyou , no thankyou

But somehow, the world is changing !


The Parshayot of V'Yeshev and Miketz, are usually read Chanuka time.We even find the Gemerra in Mesechta Shabbas which discusses Chanuka, quoting from the posuk from V'Yeshev ,'The pit as empty' , and comments, enigmatically -' except for snakes and scorpions.Such things,especailly in the world of torah, do not 'happen' by chance.

In earler parshiyot , haShem speaks to Adom , to Noach,and to the Patriarchs, who had both prophecy and continual involvement with angels.But with Yosef,as he descends into the darkeness of golus , that direct 'connection' weakens into the confusion of dreams.We see that again later in our history.During the time of the first Temple, we had prophecy.Whereas Daniel,in a very similar situation to Yosef, interpreted dreams.

Again, the "shir hamaalos" in Tehillim which describes the redemption uses the phrase -- Hayenu k'cholmim' - we were like dreamers.

I saw an incredible discussion by the late Rosh Yeshiva of the Philidelphiyia Yeshiva., hagaon Rav Schwei.The interpretations that Yosef, saw in the dreams were not really implicit .After all, a person dreams are a reflection of what they are thinking during the day.Pharao and the winemaker and baker, ere not into high thinking.

But Yosef knew the blessings and promises and the Covenants haShem had made with his forefathers, and he remembered his own dreams.He was anticipating the redemption, so he understood that these 'dreams' had a higher import, and it was that 'Message ' that he saw and relayed.

And that is the real point; the redemption was built on his bitachon;it was the faith with which he grew up, that made him understand there was a message from Above.How much strength, thrown into a pit and sold into slavery by his brothers, and then thrown again into a pit by a libel from his master's wife, how much can one person endure!

It is this bitachon that has kept us alive through all the incredible tribulations of our long golus.There is a famous quote from R' Yonasan Eybeschutz that the greatest of all miracles is our survival amongst the 70 wolves.

So, "as the dreidle turns,'and the people who invented anti semitism and preached it and exported it, see the impossible , according to their dogma, happenning before their eyes, and see also the vengeance of the Ishmael lunatics pouring into the Europe filling the void left from the Yidden they murdered and chased for millenia, the King of Spain says to the Jews - "we miss you".

But we know that all the haShem does in this world ,he does for his Jewish children.And we see, with each disaster,Yidden coming closer together, not just out of fear, but out of love and concern , a sense of 'achdus.'

This ruach of Tahare (spirit of purity) by our people spills out and effects all of Mankind.

We are in golus because of sinas chinom (hate for no reason).

When the brothers came to Egypt , Rashi teaches that they entered seperately (Their father was afraid of ayin hare and they were looking for Yosef).Because of this Yosef was able to test his brothers with a charge of being 'spies.'The source of all the libels against our people is our being seperate.This is what the medrash means, that when they went to graze their fathers' sheep, they went to graze themselves.

This is the real fault and danger of secularism, Hellenism,or whatever may be the name in that generation.The seforim say that the Land of Israel,is what brings us together and makes of all of us a 'klall', a 'People'.We have all heard 'The whole is greater than the sum of its parts' .With Yidden it is more than that. How can one person , alone , truly connect with the 'Ein sof'(the Boundless)?A Jew alone is a half person ,which is the symbolism of the chazi shekel (half a shekel) given for the sacrifices.

When Yehuda haMaccabe said 'Me LaShem Eli!', the people rallied together, and became one people.It was that ruach of purity which won the wars and kept the lights burning for 8 days, as we are taught by the Maharal - 8 is above Nature.

It is that pure light of Torah which keeps us alive through all and above all and enables us to give thanks and praise to haShem as we look forward with bitachon to the time we will be fully 'a litght unto the Nations.'

A freilch Chanuka!









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BS”D    (CREMATION) In this week's Parshah of  “VA’YECHI”, we learn (ch47; 30) of Yaakov (Jacob) requesting of Joseph to insure he be buried in Israel, in Shechem (Nabulus), in what is known as Meoras Hamachpayla; the double cave. Indeed we see the great lengths to which Joseph went through to carry this out. He led an entire entourage, as vice-Roy no less, to Israel, and there he was met with local royalty, and a great honour was paid to Yaakov, in that they all lay their crowns on Yaakov’s coffin.

Why is burial so important? Is anything wrong with cremation?

Apparently, Yaakov did not approve of cremation. Prophet Amos (ch2;1) tells us “I will not forgive Moav for burning the king of Edom, mixing his ash with limestone and plastering the beams.” The Zohar (Kabbalah) tells us it is of great benefit to the soul, for a body to be buried.

So what’s the deal? Let me preface, Judaic abhorrence to cremation is not at all related to Nazi atrocities, and their attempts to bolster and legitimize themselves by dehumanizing a noble people who brought Judaic principles to the world. Our religion by far predates them while the Third Reich of a thousand years has long been discarded to the dustbin of history.  

The first real reason is, it is a commandment #537, Deuteronomy 21; 23, “you shall bury him”, (in reference to even an executed criminal). The Torah commands this because man is created in Hashem’s image. Maimonides (laws of mourning ch12; 1) tells us, this applies across the board. The Midrash teaches us after Kane killed Abel, Hashem caused a raven to bury its mate, so that Kane would learn what to do. Neglecting a body is evidently a matter of disrespect. Even more than a disgrace to the living, it is a disgrace to the spirit within. Hashem placed a Neshomah (holy soul) within each of us. A body is the container for this holy spirit. Just as it is obvious that the parchment of the Torah is holy for containing the letters, so too the body is a holy vessel for containing the soul. A body is to the person, as parchment is to the Torah. Even more so, the body was not just a container, but a tool/machine that was purifying itself and elevating a body from a clod of earth strung up with some acidic DNA, to a spiritual object. Bit by bit, each person at their pace. Tangentially, the Talmud teaches us (Pesachim) Hashem created us that a body decomposes to force people to bury their relatives and not leave them at home as a memory. It is not the physical body that was the person; it is some “je ne sais quoi” which we can call Neshomah, a piece of G-d.

Burial would be considered as a laying to rest in a graceful honourable and undisturbed as possible a fashion. That’s what is done to old Torahs and prayer books. Burning is considered as utter disposal. This is what we do to the chometz on Passover eve. Burning is considered a destructive disposal. It is subliminally conveying a message there was nothing holy within.

The Talmud (kesubos 111b) teaches us; one of the fundamental concepts of Judaism, is the resurrection of the dead with the coming of Moshiach. The righteous are compared to wheat, in that it decomposes and re-emerges. The resurrection will be not so much as a magical reappearance, but rather a reconstruction. As an example, what our minds couldn’t previously comprehend, now views DNA re-composition as a viable possibility. Hashem has His ways, beyond our human minds. Never the less destroying the body is tantamount to symbolically denying the process and the concept of resurrection. The consequence of so doing is that Hashem in sort of a galactic irony will respond; if you choose not to believe in resurrection, well then have it your way. BTW The holy martyrs of WWII have nothing to fear, for such was the will of Hashem, beyond their control. Finally, the Kabala (Zohar) teaches us, earthly burial is a part of the dying process. The soul must divest itself of all vestiges of earthly content it accumulated during its earthly sojourn. This is the cleansing process otherwise colloquially known as hell. (Torture and revenge is not part of the process. It is a purifying of the Neshomah. Like a jeweller boiling gold to remove the impurities) The act of dying is one part of this process, decomposition of the body further aids the process and helps the soul reach spiritual heights. (The righteous, in their holiness start the process while still alive, by adding holy purpose to all their actions; the wicked actively do the reverse). What we can learn from this discussion is not despair but on the contrary, hope and encouragement that we are more than our bodies. We are a spark of G-d / Hashem Himself, and as we age we are not approaching an abyss, rather we are building to bigger and better on a far higher plane.

May we be successful in our endeavours, and take Hashem along on our journey, for He is the destination. The best part is; He yearns for our success. SHABBAT SHALOM J 

75 By; Bryan Abish.  For questions, free subscription or to unsubscribe;  Subject; Dvar.

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אתם נצבים , ערבות ,מלכות - Rosh haShana, Unity, Community, Majesty

The Parsha we read just before entering the New Year, 'Atem Nitzavim' - "You stand all (seperately but) together,expresses the 'Arvis', the responsibility Jews have one for another.The possuk mentiones four different kinds of people,who are unique but stand together ,to collectively sanctify haShem's Name.

The Parsha ends the parshos of severe 'tocheche' (rebuke) with a horrifying vision of destruction, but then assures us with a vision and promise of ultimate 'geulah ',redemption .

It carries a statement of the everlasting love haShem has for His People,whom He has sworn never to exchange for another .And as a result of that love,and that haShem's Name is bound to us,we are destined to merit as a people to do teshuva,and thereby to return (Teshuva) to the Land,where we can learn to truly love haShem and live a life of kedusha.

The Chazal (Rabbis of blessed memory) tell us there is no King without a Nation.Rosh haShana ,the birthday of Adom haRishon,is that time of the year that we proclaim hashem as King,as Adom was that creature capable of acknowledeging the Ribono shel Olam.

With the shofer ,we proclaim haShem's Majesty, and as He is uniquely One, so too is His People.

We want to wish Montreal Jewery a ksve vchatime tove,together with the whole Jewish People,and indeed the world.

At the same time,in our own small way and 'vinkele', being a Jewish community site ,we would like to express hakaras tove to those who have been joining our community ,and also to new (and old) contributors.

First of Rabbi Boruch Abish,after a long hiatus,has given us a long ,but clear understanding of the meaning and practices of Selichot. Rav Boruch has just finished a year of mourning ,capped by the mitzva of ksivas sefer torah,l'iluy nishmas his father a'h.We know that Rav Boruch is an askan in 'kedushas beis knesses 'and in different ways of strengthening youth.May he see much nachas and brocho in all his ways.

Something very new ;when you land on the site,you see a flashing slideshow - A Rosh hashana Primer' by Gitta Bixenspanner.Gitta is a nutretherapist ,lecturer,educator.We asked her if she could submit something we could share with our people,and were totally dumbfounded by such a gift! 

Enjoy and share

A very great Yasher koach!

Hint:If you want to stop on a slide,to study it better,just click and it will stop and fill the screen

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