The virtual Kehilla of Orthodox Jewry of Greater Montreal

Massive Event in honor of theYahrzeit of Tosfos Yom Tov : War Rumblings

On Vav Elul, August 28th, a massive event from the “Stop the Talking In Shul” organization was held in Ateres Avrohom Hall, commemorating the yahrtzeit of Rav Yom Tov Heller zt”l, the author of the Tosfos Yom Tov (a famous commentary on Mishnayos).

Rav Yom Tov Lipman Heller zt”l, lived during the times of Tach VeTat, the infamous Chelmenitzky massacres, r”l. These massacres caused terrible damage to Klal Yisroel, killing hundreds of thousands of Yidden. We can perhaps relate to these massacres, as akin to the Holocaust, which happened not so long ago.

We know that there is a reason for all Tzaros, and as Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz zt”l used to say, it is only Gedolei Torah and our Rebbeim that can interpret these events properly. When Tach VeTat happened (in the years 1648-1649, lemisparam), the Baal Tosfos Yom Tov realized the importance of interpreting this event properly. Based upon his own tzidkus, he was zoche to discover (some say with a shailas chalom, a question posed and answered in a dream) that the reason for this tragedy was due to showing a lack of respect to Batei Kenaisios and Batei Midrashos, including talking during davening (prayer) and Krias HaTorah (reading the Torah).

As a result of this revelation, the Tosfos Yom Tov composed a special Mi Shebairach that is still read in many Batei Keneses and Batei Midrash even nowadays.

(taken from the )

We know that many great gedolim ' lived with the parsha'; I thought to share a thought I had on learning the parsha, on the mitzva of 'שילוח חקן', 'sending away the bird.'

Perhaps a remez (sign ) that the mitzva has to do with the mitzvos and kedusha of shuls , is that we find those laws in shulchan aruch starting in  'סימן קן ', chapter 150, the numerical equivalent of nest.

The mitzva starts  ,'if we find a bird hovering over the egg or chick' .We find actually a very similar word in the In the narrative of Breishis -  'ורוח א מרחפת על המים ' - the spirit of Elok.., hovered over the waters, and Rashi says 'like a bird over it's nest'.The medrash says - the spirit of Moshiach.

We have all heard of the  'Big Bang' theory.Whatever can be the theory of the day, one who only knows nature, will say , Creation and all it's laws erupted into existence; everything afterwards just followed the mechanics inherent in nature.

This is not our emunah.The spirit of haShem was hovering over the waters actively guarding and guiding the universe towards its purpose and fulfillment.

The bird , hovering over its nest, is actively emulating that attribute of the Holy One.'The Ribono shel Olam gave over to man the whole world to conquer and use for its intended purpose and so to raise and bring back to its source.So, if we decide to take the egg, at least, we cannot take the mother which is acting to build and preserve the universe.

In medrash , we find the  'יונה ' , the dove, in particular compared to 'כנסת ישׂראל ', the Jewish people (which really means more than an assembly of its people , more the souls of all, in unity over time and place).We find the dove returned to Noach in the ark on the 7th day(and we sing about that occurence as we enjoy our shabbas meal).

The other  'building ' with which the dove is connected to would be the beis hamikdash , where it was brought as a sacrifice.

The beis hamkdash represents the ultimate era when the presence of haShem is here , recognized, "down on earth". so to speak .As we were sent into golus, Yirmiah taught us that the shuls will  be for us, a 'beis hamkdash m'at' - a small beis hamikdash.

The zohar is quoted to say that when we take the egg or chick , the mother cries out and this ultimately arouses in the Creator the middah of rachamim towards our People in golus.

As we end the year 'תשׂע״ז' and see ominous war clouds sorrounding Israel, and challenging our people's greatest champion amongst the nations, America, how much we need to treasure the few moments we have to speak and supplicate before the Ribono shel olam and to keep that 'mikdash miat' truly kodesh and dedicated to his hallowed Name.'

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The Eclipse and the 400 men of Eisav , Malchus b'Yisrael

We ,in Montreal, had 'only ' a partial eclipse for viewing(safely).For the gentiles around us, it was an 'event'; for ourselves, the  'event ' coincided almost exactly with our beginning of Yom Kippur Katan prayers. It seemed extremely appropriate as our relationship to a 'likuy' of the sun ,is to increase introspection and davening , and this is especially so for Yom Kippur Katan , for Ellul.

In my general readings about this  'predictable 'coinicidence' of an event, which we as Yidden , know that nothing is simply a 'coincidence',I was somewhat caught up on the number I saw in the 'Aish ' site and elsewhere,that  this 'coincidence' could never happen if not for the fact that the sun is 400 times further away than the moon , which is 400 times smaller that the sun.

In fact there are hundreds of moons in the solar system , and none of them effect such an eclipse on their 'mother planet'.

This made me think about the 400 men who came with Eisav whenwhen he went out to meet his brother Yaakov, which taught Yaakov , that he kept his hate alive in his heart^

We know there is a 'kabbalah '(brought down orally ) from the beis medrash of the Gaon from Vilna) that the last stop in our golus (which we know is called Golus 'Edom' ,ie 'Eisav') will be America.

What was special about this specific  'coincidence '^.It was the first full eclipse to take in all of America since its being founded as a nation (and only America).

Another eclipse, a lunar eclipse is also very connected with the beginnings of the Americas.The story is  of how Columbus was saved by a full lunar eclipse , when the natives lost patience helping his stranded crew, until (guided by the prediction..................................


On Oct. 12, 1492, Columbus came ashore on an island northeast of Cuba, which he later named San Salvador (Holy Savior). Over the next 10 years Columbus would make three more voyages to the "New World." On his fourth and final voyage, while exploring the coast of Central America, Columbus found himself in dire straits.

He left Cádiz, Spain, on May 11, 1502, with the ships Capitana, Gallega, Vizcaína and Santiago de Palos.Unfortunately, thanks to an epidemic of shipworms eating holes in the planking of his fleet, Columbus was forced to abandon two of his ships and finally had to beach his last two caravels on the north coast of an island now known as Jamaica, on June 25, 1503.

Initially, the native peoples (Arawak Indians) welcomed the castaways, providing them with food and shelter, but as the days dragged into weeks, tensions mounted. Finally, after being stranded for more than six months, half of Columbus' crew mutinied, robbing and murdering some of the Arawaks, who themselves had grown weary of supplying cassava, corn and fish in exchange for little tin whistles, trinkets, hawk's bells and other trashy goods. With famine now threatening, Columbus formulated a desperate, albeit ingenious plan. 

Almanac to the rescue

Coming to the admiral's rescue was Johannes Müller von Königsberg (1436-1476), known by his Latin pseudonym, Regiomontanus. He was a highly regarded German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer. Before his death, Regiomontanus published an almanac containing astronomical tables covering the years 1475-1506.

Regiomontanus'almanac turned out to be of great value, for his astronomical tables provided detailed information about the sun, moon and planets, as well as the more important stars and constellations to navigate by. After it was published, no sailor dared set out without a copy. With its help, explorers were able to leave their customary routes and venture out into the unknown seas in search of new frontiers.

Columbus, of course, had a copy of the almanac with him when he was stranded on Jamaica. And he soon discovered from studying its tables that on the evening of Thursday, Feb. 29, 1504, a total lunar eclipse would occur, beginning around the time of moonrise. 

Armed with this knowledge, three days before the eclipse, Columbus requested a meeting with the Arawak chief and informed him that his Christian god was very angry with his people for no longer supplying him and his men with food. Therefore, he was about to provide a clear sign of his displeasure:  Three nights hence, he would all but obliterate the rising full moon, making it appear "inflamed with wrath," which would signify the evils that would soon be inflicted upon all of them.

Bad moon rising!

On the appointed evening, as the sun set in the west and the moon started emerging from beyond the eastern horizon, it was plainly obvious to all that something was terribly wrong. By the time the moon appeared in full view, a small but noticeable dark scallop had been removed from its lower edge. [How lunar eclipses work (Infographic)]

And, just over an hour later, as evening twilight ended and full darkness descended, the moon indeed exhibited an eerily inflamed and "bloody" appearance: In place of the normally brilliant late winter full moon there now hung a dim red ball in the eastern sky. 

According to Columbus' son, Ferdinand, the Arawaks were terrified at this sight and "with great howling and lamentation came running from every direction to the ships laden with provisions and beseeching the admiral to intercede with his god on their behalf." They promised that they would happily cooperate with Columbus and his men if only he would restore the moon back to its normal self. The great explorer told the natives that he would have to retire to confer privately with his god. He then shut himself in his cabin for about 50 minutes. 

While in his quarters, Columbus turned an hourglass every half hour to time the various stages of the eclipse based on the calculations provided by Regiomontanus' almanac.

Just moments before the end of the total phase Columbus reappeared, announcing to the Arawaks that his god had pardoned them and would now allow the moon to gradually return. And at that moment, true to Columbus' word, the moon slowly began to reappear, and as it emerged from the Earth's shadow, the grateful Arawaks hurried away. They then kept Columbus and his men well supplied and well fed until a relief caravel from Hispaniola arrived on June 29, 1504. Columbus and his men returned to Spain on Nov. 7.

(as taken from


Of course , there is all kind of talk that Regiomontanus was a Yid (and Columbus a Marrano) ; maybe, but what is more interesting to me, is what a difference to history if Columbus did not return ! As we all know Columbus set out on his 'mission ' , 'coincidentally , when the Spanish exiled the Yidden form Spain (on the 9th day of Av, 'coincidentally ')- the Refuah before the Makkah (Hashem prepares the medicine before the punishment).

Last week we saw a terrible divisiveness in America, and we saw a president ,unable to lay blame .

Chazal say "Why is Eisav compared to 'chazir' , because it will ultimately return ('chozer") Malchus to Yisrael.Many were hoping that this would be the job of this president, but a chazir has another sign - it's  signs of kashrus are only on the outside, but inside , a chazir is still treif.

I am not very qualified to write , but from the little I've seen , din, the middah of Eisav , divisiveness, has to do with the number 2: 2x2 = 4 10x10 = 100.The 400 men of Eisav.And when Yaakov realized that Eisav was coming with 400 men , he prepared by dividing his camp -- as the middah of Eisav is divisiveness.As Yaakov had told Rachel years earlier, he would fight the bad with their own middos.

We all know the medrash how ,originally the two 'kings ' the sun and moon were equal.The moon complained to haShem , who said to the moon to make itself small.We saw the moon  at the eclipse reassert itself for a fleeting few moments.But malchus Dovid is compared to the moon , which comes , wanes and returns.but our real glory is to reflect the light of haShem , as we make ourselves small,not necesseraily the blinding light of the external world (such as that of the 'Startup Nation').

I don't believe it is for naught that we lained this week about the mitzva of appointing a a king.In fact for those hwo have a custome to learn a portion of the parsha every day , the eclipse happened on the day of that reading.

Dovid haMelch's 'Malchus' is compared to the moon which wanes, disappears  and then regrows.The Seforim say 'les leh m'gromeh clum' - nothing from himself; all reflected light, the quiet inner light of revelation.

I was thinking that on the simplest plane we could take a limud from this eclipse erev rosh chodesh Ellul, that we are not bound by fate. If the Chazal talk about a 'bad omen' it does not need to be the reaction of those Indians of Columbus.If all is pre ordained mathematicaly ,that is also a 'bad omen' because then there is no 'avodah ', service of haShem.The possuk says in Mishley  'ein kol chodesh tachas hashemesh ' , but Rashi commnets that 'above the shemesh , there is new.'For us , going into the New Year , this should be a sign  to remember what was said to Avraham 'Go out from your astrology', we can serve haShem directly.Ultimately all reflects our avodah.

This week's parsha deals with setting up courts guided by judges who are not afraid to speak the truth, and the appointment of a King who is guided only by our holy torah.The Rambam says the torah was given to us to bring peace to this world.

Never in history has mankind been in such danger as it is today , to, chas v'sholom , obliterate itself.

As this year ends ,let us pray for bias haMoshiach quickly in our day!






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אחר׳ מות קדוש׳ם מםלכת כהנים וגוי קדוש

רעך ורע אביך אל תעזב   -     ואהבת לרעך כמך זה כלל גדל בתרה

Love your friend like yourself This is a general rule of the torah

Your friend and the friend of your father , do not forsake

We read the parshios of achare mos and kedoshim between Pesach and Shevuos.Achare mos prepares us for our  national mission to be a 'Kingdom of Priests' while Kedoshim prepares us to be a 'Holy Nation', to bring that elevated service into our worldly ways, to sanctify our daily lives.

Beginning with the service of Yom Kippur which unifies and purifies our people, we tremble remembering the sons of Aharon who were consumed with  'ahavas haShem' and came too close.We mourn them for all time.

Kedoshim is taught to us with all the people together -'b'hakhel,' a preperation for the unity we had when we accepted the torah.

Rabbi Akiva , who taught 'to love your friend as yourself is a general principle of the torah' , exemplified that attribute.While being the leader of his generation in torah, so that he was considered the 'Honour of torah', and could unearth fountains of wisdom in every line, he also was the gabbai tzedeke and collected for the poor.

Perhaps that is why the middas hadin was so severe with his talmidim who died between Peasch and Shevuos and whom we mourn in these days.We love every fellow jew whose neshema is a 'chelek eloka mimaal' - a portion of haShem above.But it is only with the torah that we can recognize this which raises above all wordly matters.With love for each other , we become one people; with honour for each other's torah and understanding we can grow in our own torah.

Israel is now going through a self searching process looking for antional identity.A new bill tabled by Likud ,according to jpost, states that “the State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, in which it realizes its aspirations for self-determination according to its cultural and historic traditions. The realization of national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.”

There is plenty of opposition from the left who call it apartheid and anti democratic, and ,of course, the extreme chareidi,won't accept the idea of 'self determination.'And ,we living here in the golah , can't escape the issue.How do we relate to Israel which is the focal point for all of us, who accept Sinai in our lives, and how do we relate to our fellow jew,right here.

HaShem is 'Moshel b'Goyim' - rules the nations, but Melech b'Yisrael- a king in Israel.The Gaon from Vilna explains the dfference.Kingdom is a loyalty given by the people, whereas a ruler, rules by force.

If we truly love every jew and we truly believe in our mesorah, there is no other way; it has to come from the people - after all, we lost our right to the Land twice because we didn't live there with the torah and its ideals.We believe that our people have a unique mission in this world , to bring it to its completion , and tikkun, but that can only be when we live as a holy nation , by definition , holy- seperate, in the holy land.When we merit that time, the peoples of the world will want that too.

Actually , this site reflects those ideals.We call it a 'virtual kehilla', but only because the old European style kehilla, not only unified, but also excluded certain elements.We can't do that today.So we try to fulfill many of the functions of the old kehilla, though it is open to all.

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'Mi LaHashem elai'

Rabbi Pesach Lerner has come out with a call for all Torah True Jews of every stripe to come out vigorously against Israeli recognition of the Reform movement.I saw that Rabbi Grylak in the Mishpacha magazine also joined the call.I'm a simple jew and felt a need to write a few questions.I doubt that my few words will be published,

So, I'm taking the liberty to copy below what I wrote to the magazine.Maybe my thoughts will benefit someone.


Rabbi Grylak’s joining Rabbi Lerner’s cry ‘Mi la Hashem eilai’ for torah true jews of every stripe to come out vigorously against recognition of this heretical sect, is of course, well taken. But nevertheless, with all due respect , I’d like to point out that we, still living in the Diaspora, have some fundamental

issues to deal with.

                First of all, in today’s world when Israel is a major power , we all must ,individually and collectively, wonder if Moshe Rabbenu’s anger at Bnei God and Bnei Reuven doesn’t apply to us as well. I saw in the name of Rav Finkel zt’l that Moshe compared them to the m’raglim  because if the m’raglim would have loved  the land , ‘ahava m’chase al kol pesha’, they wouldn’t have seen the problems they encountered as problems. ,and so too with Beni god and Bnei Reuven.

                It’s , after all, kind of chutzpadik for us as foreigners, and maybe ludicrous too,  to try to impress ourselves on a sectarian government , especially on their ‘supreme court’, which many of us probably consider the most heretical institution in the world , on the validity of our ‘brand of religion’. The only thing these people are really interested in is the financial impact of the Diaspora on their land.

This past Tishrey (Oct 5), Mishpacha published an article about a dear friend of mine, Yosef Busner, who needs a new kidney .You mentioned there a business he started, buyapieceofisrael. You mistakenly wrote that the business  encourages people to buy agriculture land and work it. Actually they encourage the golah to buy land and partner with Jewish sharecroppers who work it for us, thereby fulfilling the mitzvos hatluyos b’aretz, and keep the land Jewish. They also encourage the golah to buy real estate and hire jewish maintenance, strengthening the yishuv.

                Since I became a partner some years ago, I’ve been steadily pleading with my friends to join us, but very few have listened , even though , the group  has gone to great length to make this affordable to all.

                Ultimately it is the ‘Mama Land’ which unites all our people, of ‘all stripes.’ Israel is no longer so dependent on the Diaspora for support. It is the ‘Startup Nation ‘ in which goyim are rushing to invest. What would be if we, the ‘Torah True Jews’ would start to invest in the land itself and its people, would that not have a real impact not only on the government of Israel, but on ourselves too^

Perhaps that sense of unity of our People would bring all of us to truly yearn together for the Redemption which we need so much. Only then will we merit to see Moshiach bimhera b’yamenu.

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March for destruction of Israel .... Cut off with Diaspora Jewry

An Open Letter

Two troubling articles surfaced today , so much so, that I felt a need to share them with our readers, and ask for some soul searching..

Herzbollah rally in Berlin slammed

Nothing new ; Lapid slams the Berlin held Herzbollah Rally calling for the Destruction of Isael.What is especially disconcerting , at least to me, is the picture of three  chassidim marching together (Woops, just took a better look the picture is two years old!Hopefully , this is an example of fake news).

The other is the article describing the outrage of

In Unprecedented Move, Jewish Agency Slams Netanyahu for Western Wall Decision

Of course , as a religious jew, I am overjoyed that the sanctity of the kosel and ,of prayer in general, has been upheld.But the article went on to say.....

   In an unprecedented move, the Jewish Agency rebuked the government of Israel over the recent decision to cancel a plan to create an egalitarian prayer section at the Western Wall.

"We deplore the decision of the [Government of Israel] which contradicts the vision and dream of Herzl, Ben-Gurion and Jabotinsky and the spirit of the Zionist movement and Israel as a national home for the entire Jewish people and the Kotel as a unifying symbol for Jews around the world,” the Times of Israel quotes from a unanimously adopted statement from the Jewish Agency.

“We declare that we cannot and will not allow this to happen,” the statement added. “We call on the GOI to understand the gravity of its steps and accordingly reverse its course of action.”

The Agency also stated that it would dedicate its entire upcoming agenda "in order to address the ramifications of these decisions."

Rabosay , to whom do you belong?

I am serious  with this question.

Visitors to this website and my private friends,know that I have been backing for years an organization which enables those in the goleh to partner with Yidden in Eretz Yisrael, keeping the Land Jewish and productive, according to halacha.

Buy a A Piece of Israel , in the Galilee, enables us to do Rotzon haShem;-  the will of the Ribono shel Olam , in the land , much of which precedes the medina.Who gives those , so called Ultra Orthodox, the right to take that away from me?

On the other hand , the Jewish Agency claims they represent the connection with Diaspora Jewry -- and all their money.Why is it , that so many of my friends who are capable of joining me refuse to show their love for the Land and its people .If we were to show financial interest in the Land, not just as tourists, but as real stake holders, would we not be showing ,once and for all, that the Land of our forefathers belongs to those who still treasure it as the Holy Land ?

I ask you , Rabosay -- to whom do you belong ?


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