Category Archives: Uncategorized


The following is a wondrous true story of Divine intervention (Hashkaka Pratis )       


In the year 5738, I was learning in Kolel [advanced Talmudic Studies] in the Northern Galilee.  There was a young single man who I will refer to as Reuven, that I would invite for Shabbos and learn with occasionally during the week.  A half year later, the birth and bris of one of my sons was in B’Nei Brak, which then with the bus transfers was about a four hour  trip

How surprised and elated I was to see Reuven, who had traveled on an early morning bus come to our simcha.  With Eliyahu Hanavi there he no doubt prayed for the right shidduch for himself and to be blessed with good children. 

Within the year, due to certain circumstances, we moved to New York and remained there for the next eight years.  We then returned to Eretz Yisrael to a small community outside Jerusalem.  In our third year there, and eleven years since I had had any contact with Reuven, I met him in Jerusalem.  We quickly caught up on the events of each other’s lives during the years of separation.  He was now happily married with two small children, first a girl then a boy.  We exchanged telephone numbers and I informed him that for supplementary  income I was taking tourists to the holy sights.

Within the year, I received a call from Reuven that his uncle was visiting and needed a tour guide.  I made arrangements with him and took him to various holy places in the land.  On the last day of his stay, he went with me to kever Dan.  While there, he expressed that he was getting older and was looking for a way to secure his portion in the  (Olam Haba) -‘World to Come’. Being taken by surprise, I wasn’t sure just how to answer   him, but with the help of Hashem I suggested that if he were to find someone in Eretz  Yisrael who was learning Torah and by helping to support their efforts especially through buying them an apartment, this acquisition would  surely secure him a nice portion in Olam Habah. Perhaps in the back of my mind, I had wishful thinking, that I would be the beneficiary of his beneficence, but although he tipped me nicely for my services for him, at the end of the day we parted company, with me never seeing or hearing from him again. Two years later, my family and I moved back to New York and spent another eight years living in the States before returning to Eretz Yisrael. It was now 21 years since we left the Galillee.

One day I received a call about a shidduch for one of my sons.  I liked what I heard and after making some inquiries, the couple met and it was a match—mazel tov.  Arrangements with my future mechutan were to split the cost  of the (Chassena) wedding and the furnishings for a rented apartment.  A few weeks before the Chassena, the (mechutan) bride’s father called me happily announcing that we are buying an apartment for the chasan and kallah.  I repeated our original conditions, explaining that I was not able to afford at that time to help buy the new couple an apartment.  He interrupted me saying that he also was not paying for the (dera) apartment, but that his uncle, whom I had taken to Cever Dan, had just passed away leaving instructions to his family to provide enough  funds for this kallah, his niece, to buy an apartment in Eretz Israel.

Our Sages tell us our mitzvas are preserved for eternity and our good words and encouraging  thoughts are never lost.  That new mechutan is my old friend, Reuven; the kallah being his only daughter whom he prayed for at the bris of my son in bnei Brak, with this young man now becoming Reuvan’s son-in –law.   My suggestion for Reuven’s Uncle twelve years earlier of  preparing for eternity by making a (kinyan) acquirement in Eretz Yisrael now  became a present for my son and our new daughter-in-law, meaning Reuven’s daughter.  I have no doubt that Reuven’s Uncle through this generous gift has received a wonderful portion in the World to Come – for the intelligent investment that he made while still in this world.

 All our acts of kindness in this world are not only benefits to its recipients, but are our passports and bank accounts on our journey back to the world of souls. May we all merit this and return soon to the land  promised us in peace with the advent of the Meshach soon in our days.



All articles appearing on this blog are copyrighted by Rabbi Yehoshua Binyamin Falk. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to share/download/copy this information as long as it is accompanied by the copyright. Separately authored/copyrighted materia



         Avraham, at nineteen years of age, received a draft notice informing him of his candidacy for military service. Since he didn’t relish the idea of becoming a foot soldier in the Vietnamese jungles, Avraham immediately enlisted in the Naval Reserve which obligated him to serve two years of active duty followed by four more years of monthly reserve meetings.         

           After a short basic training, Avraham was flown to his new duty station, the USS Reeves, a guided missile destroyer, stationed in Japan, that housed to four hundred plus sailors. After leaving port, heading towards their duty station off the coast of North Vietnam, the ship was engulfed in a raging typhoon which caused it and its hapless crew bob up and down like a cork, listing and rocking among the surging thirty foot waves. When the storm reached its peak, the Captain reassured all those on board that the ship was virtually unsinkable because it had a stabilizer mechanism.

        After surviving the storm, Avraham, who was raised as a Reform Jew, would often go to the back deck late in the evening and gaze up into the star-filled sky. He was not only awed by its beauty and the sheer magnitude, but more importantly he began to ask himself many penetrating questions such as: What is the purpose of this awesome creation and what is mankind’s role in relationship to it? Since he had until now never received any meaningful answers to these kind of questions, he decided to pursue this spiritual quest upon his discharge from the Navy. 

           After Avraham had completed one full year in military service, the USS Reeves returned to the United States. By now the unpopular Vietnam war was challenging  Congress  to find new exit strategies, which included huge cutbacks in military spending.  The Navy, in response offered early military discharges to reservists who had served overseas for at least one year and were now back in the United States. Avraham qualified and within a few days walked down the gangplank for the last time, honorable discharge in hand, happily thinking his was forever free from all Naval obligations and as well as typhoons .

         Shortly thereafter Avraham began to fulfill his promise to search for the true purpose in life by putting his back pack and travelling to the Far East. There he attended classes in health and nutrition given by a gifted, highly well educated teacher who was very familiar with diverse cultures and traditions. Astoundingly, in more than one class he expressed his profound respect and admiration for the Divine wisdom of the Torah and its sages. These words stunned Avraham who was relatively uneducated about his own tradition.

            Alone one day on a mountaintop, Avraham having already realized that the Far Eastern culture was not to be his destiny, he turned humbly to G-d asking for help and direction. Almost instantly Avraham began humming a Jewish melody that he hadn’t thought of for many years, along with contemplating the words of praise he had just heard about his Jewish heritage. With tears in his eyes and a yearning heart, Avraham now understood the need to journey to Eretz Yisrael and eventually into one of its first Baal Teshuvah Yeshivas to learn more about his Jewish roots.

                The Gemora tells us: “All beginnings are difficult” and so it was for Avraham as he “set sail” in the “sea” of Torah he encountered a number of “powerful storms” of doubt and “volatile winds” of indecision that pounded fiercely on his small “craft” which was built out of fragile desires to reach the “shores” of truth. A number of times when his Jewish identity seemed ready to “capsize”, Avraham strengthened his resolve by reminding himself of the Captain’s words that “the ship would always re-stabilize”. Fortunately those “storms” subsided and Avraham merited to marry and begin raising a wonderful family whose “voyage” through life has for the last three and one half decades been exclusively in the “waterways” of the Torah.

            May all our Jewish brethren merit to safely reach their souls true “port” of destination soon in our days.

All articles appearing on this blog are copyrighted by Rabbi Yehoshua Binyamin Falk. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to share/download/copy this information as long as it is accompanied by the copyright. Separately authored/copyrighted materia




The rain 
washed down the windshield in torrents undeterred by the wipers. The
driver wiped his bleary eyes and the world swam. Only a few more miles, he
thought and I will be able to deliver the medicine from the pharmacy and go
home.  He glanced at the directions
scribbled on a wrinkled paper.  Here’s
the turn.  There’s the house.  He wearily unlatched the car door, hitched
his jacket over his head and moved quickly through the Spring storm to the
front door.  As the door bell rang , he
heard   the sound of small feet running
in his direction.

The door opened and he blinked to adjust his eyes
to the dim light inside.  He looked and
nearly giggled, “It’s nighttime, he thought, “do you know where your children
are?”  If you don’t , they are probably
here tiptoeing one behind the other in a long uneven line, following a man
carrying a candle near to the ground, squinting as he stoops down and peers
into the back of a sofa cushion.   No one
paid attention to the stranger at the door, except for one small boy who seemed
to be



motioning him to join in. The young delivery man stood there awkwardly
staring at this odd sight, early memories stirring deep within him.

What could he be thinking – this stranger? What
could he understand of this Jewish law and time honored custom of (bedikas
chumetz) – the searching for any grain product, such as bread and cake, that
has risen.  Now, we know what it is all
about, we are used to it, we understand it – or do we?

 It is  Erev Pesach.  
We have just spent weeks cleaning our homes from top to bottom, making
certain that not one crumb of chumetz remains anywhere in our realm.  We have scoured  every crevice, turned each pocket inside out
and emptied our children’s secret treasure troves of cookies and pretzels.  And just 
as we have begun to feel that unique once- a -year feeling, that sense
that we really have managed to rid ourselves of every crumb — at that  moment – we assign someone to secretly hide
(the custom being ten) pieces of chumetz throughout our homes and possessions.
Then specifically in the darkness of  the
night we make a candle light “search”– and as we find each piece, we carefully
sweep it triumphantly away with the help of a feather and a wooden spoon into a
guarded place.

Why are we doing this?  Is it merely symbolic?  What is going on?

What would this soggy stranger think, if we told him that we were
regaining our freedom with those ten pieces of bread?

Yet, it is actually true.  The night of bedikas chumetz,  like every other meaningful event in life has
three components, the person, that is ourselves,  place and time.  The Creator is referred to as HaMakom , the

   Place,  because there is no place devoid of His
Presence.  However Hashem has made room
for us and allows us and our possessions to exist in His world. When we do
bedikas chumetz, we are proclaiming that 
it is His world and we are his invited guests.  When we accept this upon ourselves and fulfill
the commandment that requires us to 
relinquish a kosher, ordinarily innocuous possession , that is when we
begin to taste freedom.  This is because
it  is difficult to pull away from the
lures of this world which can enslave us, and addict us and  remove our freedom of choice. But when Hashem
directs us to do so, and we comply, He provides us with the ability to let

The third component of this event is time
which  plays the major role in our Pesach
preparations.  It is only time that
separates chumetz from matzah, for they both start with the same ingredients,
flour and water.  Chumetz, leaven, is
created through a process of fermentation that causes pockets of air to form in
the flour and water mixture, expanding the dough and making it grow large.  Like dough, egos can also be inflated.  The leavening agents can be  money, power, vanity or fame, together with
the flattery that catalyzes them into a bubbling brew that pumps up our sense
of self importance. One extra moment can mark the difference between leavened
and unleavened –one moment can be enough to transform  the mixture of flour and water from
permissible matzah into forbidden chumetz. And it only takes but a moment of
time for us to feel achieved and

congratulate ourselves for our accomplishments thus improperly taking personal
credit for that which Hashem has given to us.

So as we make our bedikas
chumetz or any other mitzvah, we should try to do so with the un-self conscious
innocence, inspiration and joy of a child.

          Now with a better understanding of the need
for the bedika, let us ask but why search in the darkness of night? We might
think that it is not such a good idea as evening symbolizes the powers of the
dark side- the sitra achra.  However, on
this special night, we are given the assignment and ability to enter its realm
on a “search and destroy mission”.  In
those moments, that ner/candle is a holy spiritual beam that is able to
penetrate deeply to expose any sign of ego inflation. In the esoteric tradition
the Ner represents a vessel for the – shefa – the holy influence that channels
the Divine Radiance thereby illuminating any dark or hidden places, allowing us
find, identify and remove any impurities. Through the removal of any “excess
baggage” we are then prepared  to
receive  the special (kiddusha) holiness
that permeates  the night of Passover.

                  One final thought on the multifaceted
value of the bedikas chumetz. The ideal way to perform this minhag is to allow
some member of the house or close friend to hide some small portions of bread
or mezzonos. Many have the custom of 
placing ten pieces for esoteric reasons and also to insure the finding
of some chumetz in an already thoroughly clean home.  But this practical reason is not necessarily
the only explanation.

hunt for chumetz is a joint mitzvah that gets everyone involved in an effort to
accomplish this task.       So in the years when my children were
young, we would use this night to send a not-so-subtle message to them.  Chumetz  would be put in places where old battles were
fought.  So, for the child who would
leave his shoes in the middle of the room for others to trip over, chumetz would
be put in that shoe.  For another

child, a messy closet
was the battle ground and she would find a piece of chumetz there.  We would all end our bedikas chumetz laughing
over things that frustrated us during the year. Pesach is a time of unity and
what better way to nurture this idealistic state than making a bedika  from within and without.  

captivating ritual of bedikas chumetz,  one of the many heart warming mitzvot of
Pesach, transforms a mundane cleaning process  into a sacred and mystical rite. This creates
the atmosphere in which Pesach is renewed each year – And as Pesach is renewed
– so are we. As for the young delivery man who was standing at the entranceway,
may that glimpse into the Pesach experience be just the right “prescription”
for his transformation.

           La Shana Haba bi-Jerusalem    La
Shana Haba bi-Jerusalem

All articles appearing on this blog are copyrighted by Rabbi Yehoshua Binyamin Falk. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to share/download/copy this information as long as it is accompanied by the copyright. Separately authored/copyrighted materia