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Rabbi Yehoshua Alt

As we have arrived at the final stages before publication, this is the final opportunity for dedications for the book about our homeland, Eretz Yisrael, titled “Spectacular Insights about a Spectacular Land.” Don’t miss out on the Dedication Opportunities, which can be given from Maiser money. It can be L’Ilui Nishmas, L’Refuah Shleima, an advertisement for a business, in honor of a special occasion or any other dedication that your heart desires. This is in addition to sharing in the merit of the Torah learned by each reader. For more information or if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected]. Donations can also be given via credit card by clicking “Donate” at amount is welcome.

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לעילוי נשמת שמואל אביגדור בן יצחק מאיר

These Torah articles can also be viewed in French and Hebrew atהורדות-עלונים.


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Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg ztz”l. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications and is the author of the books, Fascinating Insights and Incredible Insights. His writings inspire people across the spectrum of Jewish observance to live with the vibrancy and beauty of Torah. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes, and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

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Contrived Copy

We must not perform actions by rote whether davening, learning or anything else. As someone once put it, “When it comes to that which is spiritual, it is all about putting spirit into your ritual!” There is a quote that reads, “The really dangerous thing about existence is that it is not a question of sink or swim but that it is possible to float.”


When R’ Shlomke Zvhiller donned tefillin each morning, he was extremely happy. He once remarked that the joy a wicked person has when he commits a sin can’t compare to the joy he receives when he puts on tefillin.


The gemara tells us of the praiseworthy deed of R’ Adda Bar Ahava who never slept in the house of study, לא ישנתי בבית המדרש.[1] This can also be understood as his Torah (בית המדרש) was learned with enthusiasm, not in a sleepy way (לא ישנתי).


After relating the disagreement where R’ Yishmael says that one should work and learn whereas R’ Shimon Bar Yochai says to only learn, the gemara states הרבה עשו כר’ שמעון בן יוחי ולא עלתה בידן, many did like R’ Shimon Bar Yochai and were not successful.[2] It is said from the Baal Shem Tov that it didn’t work because הרבה עשו כר’ שמעון, they merely copied[3] R’ Shimon Bar Yochai and didn’t do it from their own passion.[4]


A wise man remarked, “Man must guard himself and his uniqueness, and not imitate his fellow…for initially man was created in his own image, and only afterwards in the image of God.” Another saying reads, “Your time in this world is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”


R’ Yitzchak Isaac Sher (1875-1952) once observed his student, R’ Shlomo Hoffman (1922-2013), imitating a certain pious practice of his and rebuked him by asking why he was doing it? R’ Hoffman replied that he saw the Rosh Yeshiva doing it, so he decided to do it as well. R’ Sher responded, “Your Rosh Yeshiva is not a Shulchan Aruch. You don’t have to do every thing you see him do.” R’ Sher then made him promise never to imitate his practice unless he knew why he did them and carefully considered whether they were appropriate for him also.


When the Beis Midrash of the Sefas Emes burned down, he inquired what the source of the fire was. When he was told it was ignited by a cigarette in the attic, he commented that if such a small fire can lead to much damage, imagine what a small fire of Torah and Mitzvos can cause.


By doing avodas Hashem with passion and fire we can rebuild the Beis Hamikdash. This is alluded to in the gemara[5] that says the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed with fire and will be rebuilt with fire. This can mean that it will be rebuilt with the fire, passion and fervor we put into our avodas Hashem.

[1] Taanis 20b.

[2] Berachos 35b.

[3] Someone once said, “Life is the most difficult exam. Most people fail because they are trying to copy others, not realizing that everyone has a different test.”

[4] There is a saying, “Be yourself. Everybody else is taken.”

[5] Baba Kamma 60b.


Author of Three Books

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