Location: Jerusalem, Israel

BS'D I am a 57 year daughter, wife, mother of 6, mother in law of 3, Safta or Grandma of 8 and 1/2 Thank G-d, sister, aunt, niece, cousin and friend. I am making Aliyah, going to settle, in Israe-l in December, G-d Willing. This is a journey that began almost 40 years ago. With G-d's help, I will now complete it. I must say, without the support of my blessings of a family, I could not do this.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

And a Gamar Kasima Tova to all Bnei Yisroe-l. I started this because of a wonderful blog I found when I was Googling something. I enjoyed it so much that it gave me an idea. I want to create the warm and friendly atmosphere we shared around the kitchen table. This is a very vivid memory from my childhood all the way from my Great Grandmother AYSH and my Grandma AYSH and now my Mother, who should live and get great joy from all her children, grandchildren and thank G-d, great grandchildren.

Now the blog in question,to which I will attempt to provide a link or at least the blog address. It is :
and the question on the table revolves what started out as a great idea, but seems to have angered many people to amused many people to confused many people. I was talking today to a man who operates a great website VIRTUALYESHIVA.COM.
I have had some wonderful offers to begin a chat room, under strict supervision, with parents permission, for younger Yeshiva children. It can be set up with both girls and boys chat rooms and every child must have a parent speak with us and give their permission. There are several reasons for doing this. Most important, let young ones have their experiences online be Jewish, pleasant and allow them to become penpals to those all over the world. So, back to the Rebbe cards. I have had donated to me over 200 cards. I am sure if we give each child who signs up for the chat room a few packs of cards they may trade their doubles and before you know it, boom a new friendship is born.
Now, this is my first attempt at this and I hope you will forgive the clumsiness, however, this blog is to share thoughts with other women, share simchas and offer a shoulder on which to cry, if G-d Forbid, it is necessary.
Please check out the ORTHOMOM's blog, but I will put my post here. It makes sense if you follow the thread. Please tell me your thoughts on this topic.

ORTHOMOM's blog , my post.

mamamitzvah said...

Hi and Good Shabbos, Good Shabbos. My name is Rifkie. I am the mother of 6 B'H and 7 and 8/9 and 1/2 grandchildren. I am a Rebbe Sticker addict. :-( Oh yes, it started innocently enough. I bought a few packs for my grandchildren, then an album for each..Innocent fun...well, as time went on I bought more and more stickers. Then I had the great idea that my grandchildren would love it if Safta had an album and stickers to trade doubles. I was going to the Seforim store more and more often. I went from spending $2 a visit to $300 on the last day that I bought stickers. I had a full blown panic attack when the Seforim store owner told me that he only had 50 packs left. I went from one seforim store to another. I bought all they had. Here is the saddest part. When my husband got home that night, I was sitting amidst a pile of red aluminum wrappers and mumbling "I have 2 Chazon Ish cards" over and over. There were only 10 pristine packs still wrapped which my Mother took. My husband bundled me up and put me to bed. I started Rebbesticker Rehab the next day. I had sunk so low that I actually bought the first album (blue) of which there are no cards. Yes, ladies...that is my tale...A wonderful idea which somehow went terribly wrong....So, beware..those innocent little addictive. If any of you are suffering the same fate, Chas V Shalom, or you know anyone who is suffering, get them to RSA, Rebbe Stickers Anonymous. As you see, I go one day at a time, but I am recovering slowly. Please feel free to email me if you need help ......or if you have any stickers to spare.
:-) A Kasiva Kasima Tova,

May we say Shema at bedtime and awaken to say Modeh Ani in Yerushalayim!

12:06 AM

Dear Mama,
I could not agree with you more. I am a Rebbe in a boys yeshiva. Most of my class is 11 years old. I thought the idea of the Rebbe stickers and the contest was a good one. I had the school buy each boy an album. I got the parents to chip in and other parents as well. We purchased 2 boxes of stickers. I gave them out for exemplary behavior, for an elevated test score and other positive behavior. We agreed that none of the parents would buy the cards or stickers outside of what the children earned. During the year, we purchased 4 more boxes and the idea seemed to go along swimingly. It seemed to motivate the boys. I even got myself a sticker album and some stickers so that I could help understand the boys better. The boys did reports on some of the Rebbes. However, after a few months, I began to noctice a disturbing pattern. I began to see cards over and over again, the same
missing cards as well. I don't know what is going on, but the same 5 or 6 stickers are missing in every album. We must have over 100 number 456, but as you rightly notice, 350 is no where to be found. It seems unfair to take advantage of children this way. I hope you can do what I could do.

Sincerely, Rabbi G.


Blogger Saftasincha said...

Thank you for calling more attention to the pernicious problem of the purple packets. What started out as a mere educational diversion for our youth has become an obession. I have seen brother oitted against brother trying to get the elusive card number 350. I have seen birthday gifts and allowances being thrown into Seforim stores, bedrooms littered with foil wrappers and card number 456. What will be next? Dim, dark dens on small seedy side streets where our children go looking for that one missing sticker. Oy Vey...What Have we done?
PS you would not happen to have card 350?
A guten Moed..may this be the worst we ever see.

12:31 AM  
Blogger mamamitzvah said...

Guten Moed and Guten Year!
I thank my Safta in arms for her aliterative discussion of this problem, but I think it only fair to print the original article which began this uproar. It appears on the wonderful blog:
so, I will now present the first article to which I responded.

"Gedolim Gripes
I've been thinking about the topic of this post for a while, but I finally got annoyed enough to post about it today. Here goes.

A contest was spearheaded in Yeshivas all across the US and Canada, called The Gedolim Album Contest. Basically, the Yeshivas distributed albums to the students. Within each album, there are 204 spaces for stickers of portraits of various Gedolim, past and present. The students need to fill the albums in as quickly as possible to be eligible for all sorts of prizes. From the type on the back of the album:

We invite all children to join our exciting campaign!
Be the first 135 to complete the full collection and win valuable prizes!

5 Grand prizes: first five completers win a free trip to Eretz Yisroel and to meet Gedolei Yisroel.
10 First prizes: 10 runner-ups win 10x speed bicycle.
20 Second prizes: 20 runner-ups win stereo system.
100 Third prizes: 100 runner-ups win Seforim.

Early-Bird Awards!
Be from the first 25 to collect 102 cards (halfway through) of different Gedolim and win:

5 prizes: first five win a bicycle.
20 prizes: 20 runner-ups win 50 packs of Gedolim cards (100 cards total).

Now, let me preface my rant by saying that the idea behind this project is one that I can certainly embrace as a positive one. Who can object to children buzzing about cards of great Jewish religious figures, as opposed to trading baseball cards or Pokemon cards? I certainly can't. However, the execution of this project leaves much to be desired.

The project started out with an assembly. Each student was presented with an album, and a few packs of cards. They were told that they would receive additional packs as a reward for good behavior. That all seemed perfectly noble to me. Who doesn't love a reward-based system for good behavior? My son was beyond excited, and spent the first few weeks excitedly and meticulously placing the stickers he had earned in his album, working toward the exciting goal of the hope of winning the huge prizes he had read about on the back cover. Until.

He came home one day, complaining that his friend had filled so many more spaces in his album. My son happens to be doing very well in school, both behaviorally and educationally, so I was a bit surprised that his friend seemed to be receiving so much more positive reinforcement. I brought it up at Parent-Teachers Conferences, worried I was missing something in my son's behavior. I wasn't. The Rebbe explained that while my son was behaving beautifully, and was receiving packs of stickers at a good clip, there were many students in the class that had their parents purchasing the cards for them at the local Judaica store. I was floored. I had no idea that these cards were also being sold, up and down the avenue, at $1.00 for a pack of 4. As soon as my son got wind of that, he was begging me to do the same as so many of his more well-off friends' parents were doing, and buck the system by buying huge quantities of sticker packages. I couldn't help but be reminded of the scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, where Veruca Salt, the insufferable spoiled brat, has her filthy rich father employ an entire factory of workers to unwrap and discard thousands upon thousands of candy bars in order to find one winning ticket. The comparison is even more apt when you factor in the "random" nature of the stickers in the packages. I found this out the hard way. I finally gave in to my son's begging, and purchased a stack of packages to award him with when I felt his behavior warranted it. Unfortunately, the packages I bought all seemed to have been from an unshuffled print run, and my son received at least four of almost every card. I am not a statistician, but I would think that for him to receive 6 packs, with almost the identical cards in each pack by chance, would have to be a highly coincidental event, and statistically improbable. So my splurging for the cards didn't even get my son anywhere. Seemingly, in order for my son to be competitive, I would have had to purchase hundreds of packs. But the kicker was when my son came home, aslking me for a dollar, to buy some cards off an older kid who was selling them for a "discount" on the bus. (Yes, I called the Yeshiva to inform them of the wheeling-and-dealing that one of their students were involved in. Though I have a feeling that this particular student will have his name prominently displayed on the main Yeshiva building in 20 years.) In addition, the prizes were all won very early on in the contest. Likely by parents who had a similar game plan to that of the aforementioned fictional Mr. Salt. Which, of course, made the contest a heck of a lot less competitive.

Now, I have no particular problem with the school running a behavior contest. A point system for good behavior can be fun, and competitive, and the prizes can be just as large and extravagant. But points cannot be bought in the local Judaica store or kosher supermarket. When they can, it becomes less a behavior contest than a wealth contest. And Lord knows we have enough of those around here.

Another issue I had with the contest was the subjectivity of the albums. For example, I personally know that there is a Lubavitch parent in my son's school who was extremely offended and incensed to see the past Lubavitcher Rebbe omitted from the album. Where is Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, inarguably a Gadol of our generation? Who was the arbiter of who the top 204 Gedolim are?

Again, let me reiterate that I think this project was of noble conception. But also of extremely poor execution."

12:57 AM  
Blogger mamamitzvah said...

Dear Mama,
I could not agree with you more. I am a Rebbe in a boys yeshiva. Most of my class is 11 years old. I thought the idea of the Rebbe stickers and the contest was a good one. I had the school buy each boy an album. I got the parents to chip in and other parents as well. We purchased 2 boxes of stickers. I gave them out for exemplary behavior, for an elevated test score and other positive behavior. We agreed that none of the parents would buy the cards or stickers outside of what the children earned. During the year, we purchased 4 more boxes and the idea seemed to go along swimingly. It seemed to motivate the boys. I even got myself a sticker album and some stickers so that I could help understand the boys better. The boys did reports on some of the Rebbes. However, after a few months, I began to noctice a disturbing pattern. I began to see cards over and over again, the same
missing cards as well. I don't know what is going on, but the same 5 or 6 stickers are missing in every album. We must have over 100 number 456, but as you rightly notice, 350 is no where to be found. It seems unfair to take advantage of children this way. I hope you can do what I could do.

Sincerely, Rabbi G.

9:13 PM  
Blogger muse said...

Is this serious?
Where are the recipes?

11:51 PM  
Blogger mamamitzvah said...


B"H' I am writing this from Eretz Yisroe-l.
Believe it or not, this article began with a simple comment made by my daughter, THE KALLAH. She stated in very clear terms that she believed the people involved in kiruv in the 1960s and 1970s were bad examples of people who did kiruv because of the unusual methods used to bring lost souls to the derech, the path of Torah living. It was a simple, sweeping statement made by one not yet 20, born and raised in a very typical frum community in America. My tzadekus is one of my children who not only made Aliyah while a teenager, but is actually getting married in Yerushalayim. All 6 of our children are only children and I am equally in love with them and equally proud of them.
However, I must admit a special softness to those who have given up the comforts, distractions and ease in America and elsewhere in Chutz L'Aretz to make Aliyah. Life is harder in a physical sense here, but it certainly is easier when one knows where one will be when Moshiach comes, Please G-d that should be when we say Modeh Ani.
Back to the innocuous comment by my 19 year old who is going on 40. I began to think about kiruv at different times in Jewish history. What was the approach during the Spanish Inquisition? Certainly there were no Neve Yerushalalims or Aish HaTorahs or Ohr Samayachs to appeal to the intellectual & financial wizards of the1980s and 90s. There was no guitar strumming, "hippy" Rabbi who went where nobody else dared go to try and reach the totally brain washed, empty souled children of the late 1960s and 70s. There were no Chabad or Breslov communities saying "See the joy in our way of life." So what approach? Again, during the other horrors when we have faced annihilation as a people, what approach was taken to bring those unlearned or fallen away to the derech of Torah? How did the kiruv workers face holocaust survivors or the generation who grew up learning of the unthinkable acts which happened in Eastern Europe? Or after the death of Rabbi Akiva and his students, how did we even survive as a people?
I realized, after some discussion with those wiser than I, each generation is faced with challenges that no other generation could possibly comprehend. What makes this time in Jewish history different? The answer here is very simple. Eretz Yisroe-l. Pashut, plain and simple.
Brilliant, you are saying...brilliant...but if Ha Sh-m sprayed painted across the Kotel "GET OVER HERE NOW" our advised actions could not be clearer. We are a smart people, aren't we? We are the people of the book, the people who value education, arts, science, etc. The number of Jewish names in arts, sciences, mathematics, politics, etc., is so out of proportion to our small numbers how can it be that such a smart people can be so foolish? Our history is one of recurring patterns. Have you heard that joke about Yom Tovim? (Jewish holy days) We moved to a country, we flourished, we became assimilated, they tried to kill us, they didn't..... let's eat.....
It is not really a joke anymore. Look at the patterns. Whatever country we have adopted initially shunned us so we lived in ghettoes. We became educated in the ways of our new land. We educated our children so that they would be raised with a perverse use of the term DERECH ERETZ. We gradually became accepted. We got jobs in education, journalism, finance and government. We started accumulating money and becoming comfortable. Then we began to wield power. We found a homeland. Until...... Yes, until....
Now I know this will please many of you. Look at Chutz L'Aretz today. The world resembles Eastern Europe in the 1930s to a degree that is beyond frightening. Add to that, the spiritual holocaust that is claiming as many as 8 million assimilated Jewish youth. This is pervasive. There are no more 'safe' places to raise a frum family; not Monsey, not Lakewood, not Silver Springs. The trash has filtered into the frumest communities in America and the rest of Chutz L'Aretz.
That fact is scary. With intermarriage rates soaring, the next generation is attempting to do that which all our enemies have failed to do.... Annihilate the Jews.
The question for this smart people who make foolish choices is, why? And the answer is a simple one. Lack of Bitochen and Emunah. Do not say that without your income the family could not live or you're supporting 45 families and your children who are learning or you are in a Kollel and boy, has your learning gotten better, you have heard all about the political upheaval here and is it really any better with a secular government than Chutz L'Aretz? Your Pulpit Rav, who has as nice a house as you do and 2 cars and so forth came back from a month here this summer and told you not even to think of coming here without a job, housing and a terrific school for your kids. Of course he doesn't want you to move! What would happen to his salary, house, cars and vacations in E"Y each summer if his congregation moved here?
Either I have made my point or I have not. I am sending this out before Shavuous. Call it chutzpah, but if you have come up with more than 2 reasons not to move to Eretz Yisroe-l as you read that sentence, I want you to do me a favor.
I want you to remove every reference to Israe-l, Yerushalayim, the rebuilding of the Bais HaMikdash in our day and any mention of Moshiach out of your daavening, benching and tehillim. Why? Well, for one thing, you will save well over an 2 hours a day. For another, if you have not decided to come here, you are lying to Ha Sh-m because when we daaven, when we bentch, we declare to Ha Sh-m that our greatest yearning is to be united with all Jews at the last Bais Ha Mikdash in the time of Moshiach. Where is the Bitochen and Emunah to know that if you do that which Ha Sh-m wants, Ha Sh-m will take care of your needs? I will tell you a quick story I heard at an interfaith retreat I attended after Pesach. It is sad that it was there that I was inspired enough by this story to agree to do this article.
There was a draught in a town that was threatening to destroy the crops for the year. All the ministers joined together and announced a combined prayer meeting in a field in the town. That night, one of the ministers was rushing to the prayer service and saw in front of him the town's oldest woman. A spry, 98 year old who was wearing all types of rain gear. She had on boots, a rain coat, a rain hat and was carrying an umbrella, all of which impeded her progress. The pastor came over to her and said "Sister Francis, why are you burdening yourself with so much weight?" The woman look at him and said "Minister yourself! I am going to pray to G-d for rain and I am expecting rain to come so I am prepared. Are you?"
The point is, don't pray for rain unless you want it to rain...not drizzle, not a sun shower but rain spelled RAIN! LaHavdil, do not daaven for Moshiach, rebuilding of the Bais HaMikdash in our days, Yerushalayim and Eretz Yisroe-l unless you mean it and if you mean it, you should be saying it here.
Second, please read the enclosed article written by the always brilliant and extremely honest Rabbi Pinchus Winston. Rabbi Winston's shiurim are reason enough to make Aliyah. I am sending the article both as an attachment and an embed so nobody will say that they did not get the article. Pay particular attention to the part about celebrating the holy day of Shavuos.
If you receive this, it is because I love you and want us to all work together to affect the coming Era of Moshiach.

With Love and the deepest prayer that just one person will not be offended and join us in E"Y so that we may really say:
Uveny Yerushalayim Ir HaKodesh Bim Harah Biyamanu (And rebuild Jerusalem, the holy city, speedily, in our days) with all our heart and all our souls.
May we say Shema at bedtime and awaken to say Modeh Ani in Yerushalayim!


From the website THIRTYSIX.ORG



Shavuot & Tort Atzilut

Shavuot is the fiftieth day of the Omer, so why don't we count it? And, if it celebrates the giving of Torah, which means mitzvot, then why aren't there any to "celebrate" on that day? Pesach is loaded with mitzvot to observe, and so is Succos, so why not Shallot as well?
For the same reason that there are no mitzvos in Yemot HaMoshiach, in the Messianic Era. Does a person have to be commanded to that which he does naturally, as a function of his very being? Of course not. Well, if the yetzer hara is eliminated in Yemot HaMoshiach, what will prevent us from doing mitzvot with everything we have?
But that seems to be a contradiction. We are celebrating the giving of 613 Mitzvot by not doing any specific ones unique to the event itself? All the mitzvot we perform are because it is Yom Tov, not because it is Shavuot per se. The answer is "No," we are not really celebrating the giving of the 613 Mitzvot because that is not what Moshe Rabbeinu came down the mountain with on that holy day.
Rather, the Torah we have now is what Moshe Rabbeinu came down the mountain with eighty days later, after the sin of the golden calf, the death of the perpetrators, the purging of the camp, and atonement for our sin. Our Torah is that of the Luchot Shniot, whereas the Torah of Shavuot is that of the Luchot Rishonim, carved out by God and written on by God. The second tablets were carved by Moshe Rabbeinu himself.
Indeed, the Torah on the level of the Luchot Rishonim is called "Torat Atzilut," and "Torat Moshiach." It is the Torah of geulah, of redemption, and as such it belongs to a plane of reality above the one in which we live the entire year. The name given to the level of Torah of the Luchot Shniot is "Torat Beriyah," and therefore it represents the Torah of golut, of exile.
The world of Beriyah is one of din, of judgment, and therefore the Torah addresses this in terms of laws that establish that which is permissible and that which is forbidden, that which is pure and that which is impure, etc. However, on the level of Atzilut, there is only permissible, there is only pure. It is a level of reality that evil cannot penetrate, and therefore it is the level of Olam HaBah, the World-to-Come.
Hence, Beriyah belongs to the world of "peirud," of separation, and therefore of counting. You can only count that which is separate from something else. Atzilut only knows sublime unity, Divine Oneness, and therefore it is not relevant to be counted. It is beyond physicality and time, a level on which there is yichud between Ohr Ain Sof — the light of God — and the Sefiros themselves.
Thus, Shavuot is the fiftieth day of the Omer, above the world of seven, which always alludes to physical existence. Like eight, fifty is a number that belongs to the realm of Chanukah, and even more so. It is the number of Yovel, which in Kabbalah always refers to the realm of the eternal. This is why it is only a mitzvah that can apply to Eretz Yisroel, which is said to be on the level of Torat Atzilut, the realm of the eternal, in spite of the materialistic insanity that temporarily enclothes it.
In a sense, this is why Shavuot is not a holiday for Chutz L'Aretz. Obviously Jews observe the holiday no matter where they are in the world, for a variety of halachic and masoretic reasons. However, unless a Jew can achieve the status of a B'nei Eretz Yisroel while living in the Diaspora, something that is only possible when everything about a person is living in Eretz Yisroel, except for his actual body for technical halachic reasons, he cannot hook into the actual kedushah of the day.
"Ah," but you will tell me, "Kabbalat HaTorah itself took place in the Sinai Desert, OUTSIDE of Eretz Yisroel!"
"Ah," but I will answer you, "only because anywhere the Shechinah dwells to such an extent of such a level of revelation, that place has the status of Eretz Yisroel." Indeed, the Midrash says that Har Sinai itself had the status of Har HaBayis, the Temple Mount, which is why Aharon HaKohen gave the impression of helping with the golden calf. If he hadn't, the Midrash explains, he knew they would kill him, and that would have been tantamount to murdering the Kohen Gadol in the Bais HaMikdosh, a sin for which there is no atonement but through death.
Thus, the Leshem explains, the Geulah begins on Pesach and ends on Shavuot, because that is precisely what Shavuot is: Geulah. To be free in the ultimate sense is to break the bounds of the yetzer hara and rise above its machinations. Thus, Chazal wrote:
And the tablets were made by God, and the writing was God's writing, engraved (charus) on the tablets" (Shemos 32:16). Do not read charus — engraved — but rather chairus — freedom, for no one else is free but he who occupies himself in Torah learning. (Pirkei Avos 6:2)

Notice that the tablets being referred to are the FIRST set, the ones that were broken on the Seventeenth of Tammuz when the golden calf was made. They are the tablets of Torat Atzilut, of Sod, the realm above time and space, the realm into which evil cannot penetrate.
The Messianic realm.
However, there are those who totally overlook all of this, especially with respect to Eretz Yisroel, bogged down instead by questions that only belong to the realm of Beriyah, and the mundane world that Torat Beriyah came to address. Rather than see the portal to a higher realm of reality granted to us by Hashgochah Pratit, they see a "wood" door that stands before it, and they obsess about it.
However, imagine a group of Jews fleeing for their lives, trying to avoid the fate of others who died in the Holocaust, H"YD. And all of sudden, they stumble upon a train that can carry them to safety, except that it is being manned and operated by Jews they recognize from more peaceful times, Jews who did not share a Torah perspective. Do they board the train to safety, or do they wait to be discovered by violent anti-Semites to make their stand?
It is a question that we all have to answer for ourselves. And, it is the question that Shavuot itself asks us, "Do you want to remain on the level of Torat Beriyah, the level of Torah that has been with you in exile for thousands of years ever since you first pursued a more materialistic lifestyle? Or, do you walk through the door, take the train, and reach for Torat Atzilut, and the relationship with God that one can only have on that level?
We have one day to answer the question. Only ONE day. And, when that day is over, the door closes, and those who have entered are in. Those who did not will have to wait once again until the portal re-opens.

10:24 AM  

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