2007 Annual Rabbi Frand Teshuva Drasha/Shiur

The sound quality isn’t great and the volume is a bit low, but here it is! As always, Rabbi Frand gave his shiur to probably well over a thousand people, all crammed into Shomrei Emunah. Enjoy, and have an easy fast.

The actual mp3 is around 18mb (didn’t have time to shrink it too much), so give it time to load.

[odeo=http://odeo.com/audio/16572823/view]

(link to last year’s drasha: https://aishel.wordpress.com/2006/09/29/rabbi-frands-2006-annual-teshuva-drasha/)

(link to  2003 drasha: https://aishel.wordpress.com/2006/09/28/rabbi-frands-2003-annual-teshuva-drasha/)

Haman is the Pits

For those of you not following Daf Yomi, we just started doing the whole gemara in Megillah that discusses the story of Purim. Of course, with Purim coming in three weeks, this is very apropos. On Daf 14, the gemara discusses Haman’s ‘bargaining’ to Achashverosh to allow Haman to kill all the Jews. Haman offered plenty of good reasons to kill the Jews, including a large amount of money, but at the end, Achashverosh tells Haman to keep his money and that he too had wanted the Jews annihilated.

The gemara then goes on to compare the above exchange to two neighbors; one has a large pile of dirt and is looking to get rid of it, and the other has a large hole in the ground and is looking to fill it. When the neighbor with the hole in the ground finds out that the other guy can help him, he offers him money. The neighbor refuses the money because he is quite happy to get rid of his pile of dirt.

There’s an obvious question here. Why do we need the story following the one about Achashverosh and Haman? It’s obvious that they were both getting something they both wanted and that no money needed to change hands. So what is the story regarding the dirt teaching us?

Like many questions in Judaism, we answer this with another question. We see that both Achashverosh and Haman both equally wanted to wipe out the Jews. Yet at the end of the story, we see that Haman and his sons and followers are all destroyed, and Achashverosh not only maintains his dynasty, he also emerges as a part-hero! Why is this so?

So there are those that want to say that the pile of dirt is analogous to Achashverosh, and that Haman is analogous to the ditch. Achashverosh had a deeper understanding of the power of the Jews. and understood that Hashem played a big role in the final outcome. He had a respect for the power of Hashem. Achashverosh was therefore hesitant to kill the Jews unless he knew that they were in a state of constant sin. Achashverosh also knew that if things were going to go well for the Jews, that there was no way they could be defeated. That’s why Achashverosh is compared to the pile of dirt. The pile of dirt is elevated from the ground signifying his being on a higher level. On the other hand, Haman’s hatred for the Jews was so intense that no rational thought could motivate him NOT to kill the Jews. For Haman, the only thought on his mind was to wipe out every last Jew from the face of the Earth. Therefore, in the final outcome, Haman was killed and Achashverosh was allowed to live. Additionally, that is why Haman is compared to the ditch, which is something that is on a lower level.

We should all strive to be doing good stuff, so that the ball can be on our court.

Pre-fab Menorah kits: Not safe

A friend of mine sent me the following:

Please pass this on as you see fit.

I’m writing this letter to raise awareness about a fire hazard with
commonly used menorah accessories. Tonight, the pre-filled glass cups
in our menorah became so hot, they literally melted, causing fire to
leak out from the menorah and on our table. The glass cups were so
hot, they fused together. Luckily my wife noticed the fire almost
immediately and I was able to put it out. But had we been in another
room, there’s a good chance the fire could have been catastrophic.
The pre-filled oil glass set was purchased at AtoZ Savings, and it’s
also available at Perns. It may be available at other retailers in
Baltimore and throughout the nation.
I am including a link to pictures of the menorah and glasses after the
fire. Also in the photo album is pictures of the box of the pre-filled
oil glass set.
The set is called “Chanuka Oil Candles” (Item OCCL-25/44) and is
distributed by Ahron’s
Judaica in Brooklyn, NY.
After speaking with someone who is more familiar with using glass
cups, I was informed that the metal wick holder actually conducts
heat, thereby raising the temperature of the fire. Perhaps a recall is
in order.

Please see the following URL for pictures
http://s133.photobucket.com/albums/q75/Menorah_fire

Chanuka Sameach and stay safe.

Pretty crazy photos! I also use a pre-fab menorah kit, but mine has no metal pieces. Still, its a good reminder on how we really should be staying home until the Menorah’s are completely extinguished. People have the false sense of security that since things are burning smoothly, they can leave their house. What happened to Shalom was only on the third night. Imagine if it had been on the 7th or 8th night, where there are a lot more oil things lit…the heat would be a lot stronger.

When the sun goes down, Hannukah’s on!

Today’s woot.com podcast features a cool song about Chanukah starting tonight:

Click to play

Two days of Yom Tov in Chutz L’Aretz

As most of us know, we celebrate two days of yom tov in chutz l’aretz (CL”A).  The famous question is asked, that if nowadays we rely on Hillel’s calendar, what is the purpose of having two day’s of yom tov?  We all know exactly when things are going to fall out, so we should have only one day of yom tov.  This would be great for a bunch of reasons, including no 3-day yom tov’s, extra day of expensive food, and not overeating.

The classical answer is given that since in the olden days, when we weren’t sure exactly when Rosh Chodesh was, thus we were unsure of the exact date of yom tov, even though we now know when things fall out, we’re just doing it k’minhag avoseinu.

I was listening to the OU daf yomi podcast from yesterdays daf (Beitza 4b) and the maggid shiur brought what I thought was a great answer from the Meshach Chuchma.  He said then in the days of Mashiach, things are going to return to the old ways, including rosh chodesh and two-day yommim tovim.  If were were to rely solely on Hillel’s calendar, it would be showing a lack of emunah regarding the coming of Mashiach.  By continuing to have the two-day yomim tovim, we’re showing our emunah that Mashiach will come soon by continuing the schedule as we have it today.

Birchas Kohanim at the Kotel

Point of Pinchas has first hand video footage of the birchas kohanim from Monday at the Kotel.  It is really inspiring to see and hear thousands of people answer amen to the bracha.

Hookah in the Sukkah

Apparently, Hookah in the Sukkah isn’t only reserved for the Towson Hillel. Today’s Wall Street Journal had a front-page article on Jews and what they’re willing to pay for Sukkah’s this year.

You can read it here. (link is available for 7 days)