Rock Climbing

I spent time today with the Rebbe of Boyanne, Rav Dov Ber Brayer. What a wonderful human being he is. He exudes insight and empathy. He wished my son Yisrael Mazal Tov on putting on tefilin for his first time. He began to expound on the reason why we wear tefilin. Imagine that you are mountain climbing. To stay secure while on the mountain you need to be fastened to your repelling straps. The straps of the tefilin are exactly that. Life is like a mountain. It's a climb against gravity. The straps of the tefilin are our lifeline. That's how we begin our day.


Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn

More of You

Tonight in Tiveria I met the holy mystic Rav Dov Kook. His mincha took one hour. It was utterly breathtaking. What was he praying about? I have no clue. But I do know one thing, part of his prayer was asking for more G-d in this world. The key word in tefilah is "Baruch" - Blessed Be. Bracha means blessing and abundance. It follows that "Baruch Atah" means 'G-d. We need more of You in this world. 


Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn

When the Heat is Round the Corner

A relative of mine handed me a copy of a new interesting book called "Kosher Movies". The author was working with the premise that he had seen all of these movies and if he didn't find meaning in them then they would have been a waste of time. Interesting. 


Nevertheless, in his entry on the movie "Heat" with Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino, he focuses on the self imposed loneliness of both protagonist and antagonist. Both of them lead lives that force them to live alone.

This goes against one of the most important of Jewish values: Chavrus- friendship, community. No Jew is an island. 


The Talmud says that the putrid smelling ingredient "chelbana" was a necessary ingredient of the Temple indicating that we must include all in our community. The Ishbitzer takes this idea one step further and says that without the chelbana the whole mixture doesn't smell as good as it does. A community must include the perfect and imperfect if it's going to serve as a tzibur in the eyes of HaShem. 


Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn

Need a mini Purim?

Rosh Chodesh Adar Alef (the current Hebrew month) celebrates Purim Katan (mini Purim). We don't really observe much on this day, so what is it all about? The Stichiner Rebbe offers two suggestions:

1) Katan = a minor. A minor observes mitzvos on the level of אינו מצווה ועושה (volunteer basis). So too this "optional" Purim is a day when we optionally opt in to think about the lessons of Purim.

2) Katan = a minor. A minor keeps mitzvos before their coming of age so that they can prepare for the mitzvos once they pass 12 or 13. In the same way, this Purim Katan is a preparation for the Purim that will come in the second Adar.

Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn

The House of Light and Dark

The Torah likes using concrete and clear terms for good and evil, wicked and righteous. A wicked person is called a rasha and a righteous person is called a tzadik. These are difficult constructs because all of us are seemingly a mix of light and dark. The great mussar teacher in the Mirrer Yeshiva Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz once said “inside a small person (SE – small relative to the universe) exits the world of dark on one side and on the other side the world of incredible light called ‘candle of G-d’ whose job it is to light up this awesome darkness.” The point being, that it’s not so simple.
Since Rav Pinchas Friedman (Rosh Kollel of Chasidei Belz came to visit Los Angeles) I’ve been perusing his sefer “Shvilei Pinchas”. He submits a definition of righteous and wicked that is quite unique and bypasses the need to square away our mixed personalities. Righteous is somebody who decides to make progress and change right now. Wicked is somebody who says let me wait until tomorrow.
The power of now.  

Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn

The Principle of Power

“The Principle of Power gives us just what we ask of it; if we only undertake little things, it only gives us power for little things; but if we try to do great things in a great way it gives us all the power there is” – Late 19th century American writer, Wallace D. Wattles from The Science of Being Great

Willpower is not everything, but it is significant. The Vilna Gaon says thatratzon (will) is a tremendous force in the universe. Rav Wolbe in his Aley Shor says that ratzon is scary because you can look at a person and identify what was important to them. Why? If somebody wanted to become an ethical human being then they would have become an ethical human being. Such is the power of ratzon. Properly understanding this statement from the Vilna Gaon and pairing it with L’havdil Wallace D. Wattles “principle of power” – we are left with one great charge: will great things into your life. Don’t sell yourself short.

Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn

I am Filled but Empty

February 10, 2016 | Rabbi Shlomo Einorn

Once a non Chassidic Scholar, skeptical of the Chassidic Rebbe Yitzchok Vorke, decided to meet him. He went to the Rebbe hoping to hear some Torah insight. When he stood in front of Reb Yitzchok Vorke, the Rebbe asked him "What does Hashem say?" He paused and then answered "He says we need to put on Tefilin and keep Shabbos." Reb Yitzchok laughed at him and said "I thought you were a big scholar, yet you don't even know what G-d says". The scholar stormed out. Some time later, curiosity got the best of him and he decided to go see the Rebbe one more time. Reb Yitzchak asked him again "what does Hashem say?" Out of frustration the scholar retorted "Rebbe, I do not know what you are talking about. I came to learn some Torah." Reb Yitzchok answered him that the pasuk in Yirmiyahu 23:23 tells us that Hashem says: Thus says Hashem: If a man shall hide in hidden places, will I not see him? That is what G-d says. He is saying that there is such a thing as a Jew who sits and learns in a hidden place and he has been learning for 30 or 40 years, and he has become a big scholar but the truth is that Hashem says "I do not see him." He doesn't begin to have the slightest connection with Hashem. "That is what G-d says." 

The scholar began to cry. "Rebbe, I am filled with hundreds of Torah books, yet I am empty." 

We all long for a connection with the One Above. 

Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn