Shulom Aleichem!

HaBucher HaChushev Ploni ben Nistar here for shtick, news and fun. You know, a Chassidic life isn't as boring and heavy as most people might think! ;-)

מצוה גדולה להיות בשמחה תמיד


Don't hesitate to send me an 'ask' if you have any questions. I don't bite at the first time.

DISCLAIMER: Questions on Jewish Law (Halacha), I will try to answer to the best of my ability. Note that my understanding may not be accurate nor be the final word on asked topic. One should consult an Orthodox Rabbi before drawing any conclusions.

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Present day Hatoras Nedorim.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
What are your thoughts on the new 50NIS bill? You think it's a "symbol of assimilation" like they wrote on Arutz7? You can google 'The Symbol of Assimilation, Now the Symbol of Israel' to get to the article I'm referring to. Looking forward to read your thoughts on it! Thanks!
bennistar bennistar Said:

Thank you for your question. This is the article you’re referring to. 


And this is the new 50 Shekel (NIS) bill. 

In the above linked article Dr. Chagai Ben Artzi, Bibi Netanyahu’s brother-in-law proposes a boycot of the new bill note because according to him it is a “symbol of assimilation”. On the note is a picture of the Russian-born Hebrew poet Shaul Tchernichovsky (1875-1943). 

I quote from the article:

Ben-Artzi, who is the brother-in-law of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and lectures on the Torah and Jewish Thought, told Arutz Sheva that the new banknote is a disgrace to the state of Israel.

The noted lecturer reminded that Tchernichovsky was married to a Christian woman his entire life, and refused the insistent pleading of former Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi Shlomo Goren to have her convert to Judaism as befitting the wife of a key Hebrew poet in modern Israel.

"Shaul Tchernichovsky became a symbol of assimilation - the ideology of assimilation. It cannot be that a man like this, even with all his importance as a poet, should become a symbol of the state of Israel," said Ben-Artzi.

The new note sends exactly the wrong message at a time when “in Europe there’s an 80% rate of assimilation and in the United States 60% assimilation,” argued Ben-Artzi. “The Jewish people are becoming annihilated due to assimilation; how can the state of Israel be capable of turning precisely Tchernichovsky into a symbol?”

So what are my thoughts? My thoughts on Dr. Ben-Artzi’s comments are: “Really?!” Let me explain. 

He is saying this banknote is a ‘symbol of assimilation’ and this has now become the symbol of the “state of Israel”. Really? Like it wasn’t before. The well esteemed doctor is blaming Tchernichovsky he did not listen to Goren to have his goyishe wife convert to Judaism. Well, ironically enough this secular Hebrew poet who didn’t want to have anything to do with Judaism was actually more in line with Halacha than Israel’s so-called chief rabbi in those days. 

He wanted her to convert only because Tchernichovsky was a prominent Hebrew poet and prominent Zionist, therefore, it would be fitting the wife of a key Hebrew poet in modern Israel to be Jewish. Wait a minute. What about Torah and Mitzvos? You know, that thing that actually sets us apart from the goyim, that thing that G-d gave us to keep. That thing that defines who is Jewish and who not. I would think that would befitting a key leader in a modern “Jewish” State. And what about the halacha we don’t convert people who are not sincere in their kabolas hamitzvos? But I guess that’s just a small thing of no importance we can just skip if it’s for the sake of the State and Zionism.

Most of my followers know by now I am no Zionist. I am not so outspoken about it that I shout it from the rooftops or scream at everyone about it. I belong to a faction within Judaism that believes now the State is here we have to do anything we can to make it stop from becoming worse. We don’t believe in violence (whether physical or verbal) but we do not deny this whole thing is far from ideal. We will always choose the Torah above the decrees of the State that are against Halacha. We will always choose for Hashem our King instead for the Prime Minister’s Office; we will fear the Beis Din Shel Maaloh [Heavenly Court] over the Supreme Court of Justice.

Anon, you wanted to know what my thoughts are so here are they; the reason behind Dr. Ben Artzi’s boycot of this new 50 shekel banknote shows the exact problem of his religious Zionist hashkafa. They place Zionism above Torah. They want Zionism, they want their own State (which is all understandable) but they choose for what they want themselves above that for what Hashem wants. Shlomo Goren’s admonishment of Tchernichovsky for not wanting to convert his wife is a perfect example of this.

Now, if he wants to boycot this new banknote let us take a closer look at the other banknotes as well.

The 20NIS note: has Moshe Sharet on it. Sharet was a key figure in the Jewish Agency and Zionist leadership during WWII. Unlike

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There is a famous story about the Holy Rizhiner that when he would get to the words “HaMelech” on Rosh Hashana morning he would faint. Asked why he fainted the Rebbe replied with a story from the gemorah, “When R’ Yochanan Ben Zakkai was smuggled out of Yerushalaim during the Roman siege to meet with general Vespasian, he called Vespasian “Kesar” [King].

Vespasian accused Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai of two counts of treason.

  1. That he called him king while the real king was in Rome.
  2. Vespasian said, “If I am the King, what took you so long to get here to show me proper respect?”

With this in mind the awesomeness of the realization that for two days -two hours, or two minutes- Hashem is the king can be too great to bear at times.

Particularly when one asks, “If Hashem is really the King, and I realize that now, What took me so long to get here?”

This was the Holy Rizhiner. 
May we all crown Hashem King over our lives in everything we do without any delay.

Zechuso Yogein Oleinu.

Yesterday the first Kumtantz album hit the stores. Here is a preview.

So many of us are well aware of the media hype some woman made this past week after a “hellish” El-Al flight with evil backwarded and discriminating haredim back to Eretz Yisroel.

When I first read about it I already just shrugged my shoulders and dismissed it as another piece of media bias against us, knowing full well that the rest of the world would gladly swallow it in their hatred for the Torah world.

I’m not going to link to the article but here is a comment of someone who was on the same flight as this woman: 


First of all a Gmar Chasima Tova to all of my followers and readers of this blog. Today we are at the beginning of Aseres Yemei Teshuva, the ten days of teshuva in between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. As we all know Rosh Hashana is the Yom haDin, the day when we -and the whole world- are being judged by Hashem. 

From Rosh Hashana until Yom Kippur we still have ten days to work on ourselves until our ‘judgement’ is sealed. As I wrote in this reply these days are not particularly some of my favorite days since I know I could still improve a lot and the Yom haDin is “serious business”. Hashem is our King and this is not a children’s game. But at the same time while Hashem is indeed our King, He is also our Father who loves us. 

The following maaseh I once heard from my Rebbe helped me a lot:

During one Rosh Hashana by the Chozeh m’Lublin the Rebbe refused to come out of his room for tekias shofar (blowing of the shofar). Since the chozeh had the minhag of davening in a side-room the chassidim were waiting a long time for him to come out. Once they saw he didn’t come’ one of the Chozeh’s closest talmidim went inside to see what was going on. 

Reb Dovid Lelover, who would later become the first Lelover Rebbe, went inside to see why the Rebbe didn’t come. After hours of waiting he asked the Rebbe to come out and listen to the shofar but he refused. No matter what Reb Dovid would say the Chozeh wouldn’t budge. He locked himself up in his room and refused to listen to anyone being too worried about the judgement in Shomayim. He had worries and questions that didn’t allow him to listen to the kol hashofar.

Among the mispalelim was also a little boy. This boy’s name was Shlomo Rabinovitz, who later later become the Tiferes Shlomo; the first Radomsker Rebbe who would attract many thousands of chassidim. Others say it was Itzikel Vorker, who would later become the famous Rebbe R’ Yitzchok Vorker. In any case Reb Dovid Lelover had adopted this little boy who was clutching on to his gartel as he went to speak to the Chozeh..

The Chozeh then asked the little boy for his name and what he was learning.

"Choshen Mishpat*" answered the boy. 

"Tell me," said the Chozeh in a troubled voice. "I don’t understand. Why is a korev not allowed to testify for a beis din?" The halacha is that when a Korev (a close family member) testifies for a Beis Din they are not allowed to accept him as a witness.

"Because a korev is always trying to do a toiveh [favor] for his relative, and so we suspect him of having his own interests."

"But why the korev is posul [unfit] for both for zchus [speaking good] and for chov [speaking negatively]. I understand if he has something good to say we should not accept it because he is a korev; but if he has something terribly bad to say it must be true!” 

Answered the little boy: “That’s because one shouldn’t say anything bad about a korev. We don’t want a korev to speak bad about other kerovim. A korov who testifies against his own flesh and blood is not a mentsh, and the posuk says ועמדו שני אנשים [Devorim 19.17] and two mentschen have to testify!”

After hearing this the Chozeh smiled and told the boy he comforted him saying, “Klal Yisroel are called kerovim of Hashem [Devorim 4.7] So the Ribono Shel Olam will not speak evil of His Children!” Now he walked inside the Beis Medresh b’simche [with a joy] and signaled to start with the tekias shofar.


*A very complicated part of Shulchan Oruch that deals with finances/legal procedures etc.

Let us always remember and trust that no matter what; we are still Hashem’s kerovim. The Shem m’Shmuel writes that even though these are Yemei HaDin (days of judgement) we still say “שהחיינו וקיימנו לזמן הזה” on Rosh Hashana after kiddush because we are glad to be at this moment. The Tur brings down a medrash that a person has to dress nicely, get a haircut [and] act like it is any other Yom Tov where there is a mitzvah of simcha. Which is a very interesting thing to say. A simcha? We are being judged! That’s a simcha? It’s Yom haDin!

Yes, that is all true. It is a Yom haDin indeed; on the outside we do stand trembling in awe, but deep inside we all know that Hashem only wants it to be a good year for us, and therefore, it is a moed [a yom tov] as well.

Let it takeh be only a good year, a healthy and sweet year; a year of simches and teshuva sheleima for all of us!

May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year!

!א גיט געבענטשט יאר

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Rosh Hashana is tomorrow. I'm so excited it's my favorite holiday. Are you excited too? If not rosh hashana what's your favorite yom tov?
bennistar bennistar Said:

To tell you the truth Rosh Hashana is not particularly one of my favorite holidays no. Maybe it’s because of the super long davening (literally almost the whole day (from 6ishAM till 4pm and from 6.15pm till late in the evening). :-P

But mostly it is because of the day itself. It’s a Yom HaDin; not just some fun day when we come, sit and eat, dip apples in honey together and have some fun time. Yes, we do that also but it’s mostly a day of judgement over our deeds and actions; a day when the whole world is being judged. While theoretically I know we should be happy and that Hashem will forgive us no matter what (what father wouldn’t want to forgive his children?) the pachad and yirah are still there. 

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Why do some chasidisen wear shtreimlech during selichos or the first night?
bennistar bennistar Said:

cont: Nevermind that previous ask. I answered my own question I think. It’s motzei shabbos. I should have thought about that.

Right. It was because it was Motzei Shabbos. But there are some places where they don’t say it in Bigdei Shabbos on Motzei Shabbos.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
It's almost Rosh Hashana. Shana Tovah Umetuka! With the year coming to an end what was a major thing you learned this year? After you answer this copy-paste this ask to 10 of your followers. Let's share our lessons!
bennistar bennistar Said:

I’m not going to tag ten of my followers but if there is anyone who’d like to respond they are free to do so. 

A major thing I learnt? Well: Gerrers are not all evil and bad and scary! LOL. no really they aren’t. Most of them still are; but not all. :-P This year I became very close to a Gerrer chussid. Today he’s actually one of my very best and closest friends. We speak daily about basically anything. So yes, there’s that. ;)

PS: Yes, he does speak fluently Yiddish.