Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Divrei Torah from David

Coming soon we will have Divrei Torah that we have heard from David on the site. If you have Divrei Torah that you remember that David told you, please email them to me at marczeffren@gmail.com

Monthly Shiur

The next monthly shiur in David's memory will given by Rabbi Hain and will take place TONIGHT at 10:20pm, in Glueck 307.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Succos D'var Torah

New Succos D'var Torah now up on the Divrei Torah page

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monthly Shiur

Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky will be giving this months shiur in David's memory. It will be given TONIGHT at 10:35 in Glueck 307.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dear Friends

Dear Friends,

As many of you know, we have been collecting money for a Sefer Torah to be presented to the Rottenstreich family. The purpose of this Torah, is to be an eternal memory of our dear friend Dovid Chaim ben Tzvi Akiva a"h. While the Jewish community at large has already opened up their pockets during this financially troubling times, we are still accepting donations to reach our goal. We are hoping to be able to not only present the family with a beautiful Sefer Torah, but also have money to purchase silver adornments for the Torah.

Those who have not already contributed are encouraged to do so, whenever is convenient for them, either by mailing a check to the Young Israel of Hillcrest, or by visiting our new website, www.dovidchaim.org and paying online. Also, for those who are wondering, ma'aser money is allowed to be given to this meaningful cause.

We would like to wish everyone a Shana Tova, and may we be zoceh to a year of only happy occasions.

Thank You

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Gallery is Up!

The gallery is up. Click here to view the album. If you have pics of rotty send them to PicturesOfRotty@gmail.com

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Download tonight's Shiur

To download tonight's shiur by Rabbi Goldman, click here

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Blog Update

The blog will continue to run here for now, but you can still check out http://dovidchaim.org to see the site's progress


Dont forget the shiur tonight. after 10:15 ma'ariv, in Glueck classroom 307 given by Rabbi Goldman, on the topic of Tefilla!

Monday, August 31, 2009

New Site

We have now made the blog into a real website. You can access the blog by going to http://www. dovidchaim.org Stay tuned for more updates and features as they come along. We are working to make it that going to http:// dovidchaim.blogspot.com will redirect you to the new site. Thank you

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Monthly Shiur

The Monthly Shiur L'iluy Nishmas our dear friend Rotty will iy"H be continuing this Tuesday in Glueck 307 after the 10:15PM Ma'ariv.

The Shiur will be given by Rabbi Goldman on the topic of Tefilla

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Shiria at Morasha

During Shiria in Camp Morasha, Acheinu was sung by Brian Koegel, Steven Genachowski, Joe Blumenthal, and Meir Popowitz

To see the video, click here:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sefer Torah

Dear Friends,

The untimely, inexplicable and tragic loss of David Rottenstreich, Dovid Chaim ben Zvi Akiva, a’h has placed a large hole in our hearts and minds. The past few months since his petirah have been very troubling for many of us. His absence is unfathomable; many try to make sense of the events in varying ways; however we must trust that Hashem has His ways which, at times, challenge our human spirit.

There is no doubt that David’s image and spirit are indelibly imprinted in our hearts; his memory is everlasting to his family and friends. David was a true Torah Jew in every sense of the word. His love of the Torah was evident in his entire persona: Limud hatorah, chesed, concern for another Jew, seeker of peace, shmiras halashon, proper kavana during tefila were all at the core of his existence. He was a meticulous young man who gave great nachas to his family and was beloved by his dear friends. From the inception of his illness it became quite apparent that his network of close friends was enormous. The quantity and quality of the learning and tefilot that ensued on his behalf were incredible. The outpouring of concern and love was, and continues to be, comforting to his dear family and friends.

It is now up to us to continue his legacy and to properly remember this wonderful young man who was taken from us so prematurely. There are many ways to memorialize a niftar; however, it is particularly poignant that David’s memory be actuated with his specific virtues in mind. What better way to honor David’s memory than to have a Sefer Torah written in his memory? As you may know, every Jew is charged with the mitzvah of writing a Sefer Torah during his lifetime. David was not given the opportunity to fulfill this directive during his lifetime. However, given his fervent commitment to the performance of mitzvos and his incredible yiras shamayim, we believe that there is no doubt thathe would have wanted to accomplish this extraordinary mitzvah.

David was committed to many worthy ideals, one of which was community. The Young Israel of Hillcrest and the Hillcrest community were an integral part of his life. For many years he was an active participant in the teen minyan, as Gabbai, Baal Tefilla, and Baal Koreh. As such, he was able to shine and become an exemplary role model for all those he touched. He felt most comfortable in that environment and so it is with the teen minyan of the Young Israel of Hillcrest that this beautiful Torah will reside. Let us hope and pray that the writing of this Sefer Torah, l’iylui nishmas Dovid Chaim ben Zvi Akiva a”h, be a nechama for us all and may it elevate his neshama closer to Hakadosh Baruch Hu.

If you would like to participate in this wonderful mitzvah, please make your check payable to “Young Israel of Hillcrest,” indicating that it is for “David’s Sefer Torah Fund.” Your contribution is not deductible so receipts will not be issued. Please send your check to: Young Israel of Hillcrest, 169-07 Jewel Avenue, Hillcrest, NY 11365. We are planning to have the Sefer Torah completed by David’s first yahrzeit. Details regarding the Hachnasas Sefer Torah will follow.

Thank you for helping make this happen.

Tizku l’mitzvos

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The CD is Here!

Also, anyone in YU that wants to buy the CD can see Joe Blumenthal (718) 614-2948

Thursday, June 11, 2009

New CD in Rotty's Memory (Updated)

A small, few song CD is being finished in Rotty's memory that will be entitled "Mizmor L'dovid" and will be sold to help raise money for the sefer torah
The CD is in the finishing stages and should be out in one week
Check for updates of where the CD can be bought

Thank You

Monday, June 1, 2009

Second Monthly Shiur (updated)

Rabbi Forman will be giving the upcoming shiur l'iluy nishmas Rotty, this WEDNESDAY night at 9. It will be given in one of the DRS classrooms.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Divrei Torah For Shavuos (updated)

Towards the middle of פרשת אמור, the תורה discusses all of the מועדים. By all of them the תורה tells us exactly which month and which day that holiday will fall out. By פסח it says "בחדש הראשון בארבעה עשר יום לחדש וגו". By ראש השנה it says "בחדש השביעי באחד לחדש וגו". By יום כיפור it says "בשעשור לחדש השביעי וגו". By סוכות it says "בחמשה עשר יום בחדש השביעי וגו".

All holidays, that is, except for שבועות. By שבועות the תורה doesn’t give us an exact date of month and day, rather all it says is "וספרתם לכם ממחרת השבת וגו עד ממחרת השבת השביעית תספרו חמישים יום וגו". So the obvious question is why?

Rav Schlezinger answers as follows: The very first משנה in פרקי אבות says, "משה קיבל תורה מסיני ומסרה ליהושע ויהושע לזקנים וזקנים לנביאים ונביאים מסרוה לאנשי כנסת הגדולה."

The משנה is telling us of the many different days of "מתן תורה" that we’ve had throughout the generations. When יהושע got it from משה that was his "יום מתן תורה". When the זקנים received it from יהושע, that was their "יום מתן תורה". And so on until it keeps getting passed down, רבי to תלמיד, father to son.

We see from this that in every generation, and for that matter, every single day, there is a new "קבלת התורה". Therefore its impossible for us to establish the exact date of שבועות, which is "זמן מתן תורתנו", since in reality every single day of our lives is a new "יום מתו תורה".

With this idea Rav Schlezinger answers another question. Hashem commands us by פסח and to סוכות to be בשמחה, to celebrate the holiday with great joy. So why is it that for שבועות, the time of קבלת התורה, there is no ציווי in the תורה to be "לשמוח ביום"? Some want to answer based on the רמב"ם who says that the ימי ספירה are really חו"ל המועד between פסח and שבועות. So really שבועות is connected to the holiday of פסח and therefore the שמחה is also connected. But we can answer differently. By פסח and סוכות the נס was a one-time thing. We will never experience another event like יציאת מצרים and the protection of the עננע הכבוד in the מדבר. So when these holidays arrive, we celebrate with amazing שמחה as a commemoration to what happened. But שבועות is different. The שמחה of שבועות is of קבלת התורה and לימוד התורה. This שמחה isn’t a one-time event. It happens every day. Every day of our lives we should be למד בתורה and be שש ומתענג בה. Therefore Hashem didn’t command any extra שמחה on שבועות because in reality we have to feel this every day.

“Kafah Aleihem Har Kegigis”

The Har Sinai experience, that which we celebrate this coming Shavuos, is famously portrayed by the Gemara in Shabbos 88a. The Gemara states as follows: “And they stood afoot the mountain; R’ Avdimi bar Chama explained, that the Torah means to teach us that Hashem raised the mountain over the heads of B’nei Yisrael like a tub and said to them. ‘If you accept the Torah, it will be to your betterment. If not, there you shall be buried’ Our meforshim throughout the ages have all been bothered by this statement in the Gemara. Was the Torah truly given coercively? And if so, where is the element of free will involved with its acceptance?

R’ Meir HaKohen MiDvinsk, the Meshech Chochmah, explains as follows. In truth, there was no active coercion on Hashem’s part. The imagery of “kafah aleihem har ke’gigis” simply is used to describe a situation during which “[Hashem] showed to them His glory with such a clear openness to the point that they (B’nei Yisrael) lost their natural will…and it was as if they were like the ministering angles, as they fully recognized that all of creation is dependent on the Torah’s acceptance.” However, the Meshech Chochma’s question begs another question. We recite on Pesach night that “had Hashem brought us before Har Sinai without giving us the Torah it would have been enough.” But according to the Meshech Chochma’s explanation, this statement is quite puzzling. If B’nei Yisrael came to the realization that the world itself was dependent on the Torah’s acceptance, how could have the gathering at Har Sinai sufficed alone?

HaRav Baruch Dov Povarsky Shlit”a, current Rosh Yeshiva of the Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak, explains as follows. There are in fact two distinct roles that Kabbalas HaTorah plays with respect to the sustenance of the world. The first facet involves the sustenance of the natural order and the billions of people who roam the Earth. The second facet, however, is distinctly related to Klal Yisrael and the role that the Jewish People play in G-d’s creation. Perhaps, the Kabbalah of “kafah aleihem har ke’gigis” is solely discussing the relationship between Kabbalas HaTorah and the Jewish People as will be explained below.

The Gemara in Kesubos 66b relates a powerful statement in the name of R’ Yochanan ben Zakkai: “Fortunate are you, O Israel! When you perform G-d’s will, the nations have no reign over you. And when you disobey G-d’s will, you are delivered into the lowest of nations.” This Gemara sounds puzzling at first, as it seems to imply that the Jewish People is fortunate for both its wonderful successes and dismal failures. What could be positive about being “delivered into the lowest of nations”? The Maharsha, in dealing with this question, advances the famous notion that while other nations are governed by a ministering angel or some secondary force, Klal Yisrael’s status is dependent on G-d’s unique hashgacha pratis. Accordingly, it is indeed a laudable fact that when we fall we fall all the way because our failure is simply indicative of a removal of G-d’s presence from the Jewish People. And from our failures we can see the true beauty of our successes which are only resultant from an intimate relationship with the Ribbono Shel Olam.

R’ Chaim Brisker Zt”l advanced the Maharsha’s idea one step further. In Jewish philosophy, there is a known distinction between four different categories of beings: The Stationary (“domem”), the Growing (“tzomeiach”), the Living (“chai”), and the Jewish People (“Yisrael”). What’s the relationship between “domem” and “tzomeiach”? Is “tzomeiach” simply a “domem-plus”, and fundamentally only slightly different than the “domem”? Or perhaps “tzomeiach” is fundamentally incomparable, as it belongs in its own separate category? R’ Chaim explained that the answer is truly obvious. If one were to sever a plant from its life source, the plant does not revert to the status of “domem”. The plant withers away into nothingness as it’s lifeblood has been cut off. This is true of the Jewish People as well. What the Gemara in Kesubos is telling us is that if we do G-d’s will and tap into our lifeblood which is the Torah and its commandments, then we are unchallengeable by any other nation just as the “tzomeiach” is an a fundamentally different category than the “domem”. And if G-d forbid we forsake the Torah and it’s ways, we wither away into nothingness, just like the plant without its roots.

With this in mind, R’ Povarsky explains that this was the Meshech Chochma’s intention. The necessity of “kafah aleihem har ke’gigis” was to show the Jewish People that its only source of life and sustenance is the Torah, just as was demonstrated above from the Gemara in Kesubos. By raising the spiritual awareness of the Jewish People to such a degree that they could no longer choose not to accept the Torah, Hashem was intimating that our only survival throughout the ages would be dependent on our commitment to tapping into the one true source of life. And this process was a work in progress, beginning with the inception of Klal Yisrael at Yetzias Mitzrayim and culminating with Ma’amad Har Sinai. Even as they stood afoot the mountain, Klal Yisrael had already attained a certain spiritual elevation and understanding of G-d’s will in the world.

Accordingly, the question we raised above is answered as well. What would have been the greatness of gathering at Har Sinai without accepting the Torah? The very fact that we had the privilege of climbing one more rung along the ladder of our relationship with Hashem was a tremendous thing in and of itself, and therefore it would behoove us to thank Hashem for it independently. However, it’s clear that once we attained this level of spirituality it was a natural consequence to accept the Torah and the yoke of Mitzvos.

R’ Povarsky points out that from this analysis it’s implied that our acceptance of Torah was not the catalyst which propelled us to such great heights. Rather, it was our accomplishments prior to accepting the Torah which caused us in a sense to accept the Torah upon ourselves coercively. Doesn’t this seem to be out of order? Why was it that our understanding of Hashem had to come before we accepted the Torah? R’ Povarsky answers that this message is exactly the point. In order to properly accept the Torah with authentic and meaningful mesirus nefesh, we must understand that it is our key to life and existence in the world we live in. The same applies to when we commit ourselves to learn Torah and fulfill the Mitzvos, as the Gemara in Shabbos 83b teaches us that “the Torah is not maintained only through one who is willing to die for it.” May it be Hashem’s will that this Shavuos we attain that understanding once again, and through clarity of purpose we accept Hashem’s Torah upon ourselves and all it entails.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Women's Pre-Shavuot Learning Night for David Rottenstreich at Yeshiva University High School for Girls (Central)

On Wednesday night, May 27th at 7pm Yeshiva University High School for Girls (better known as Central,) will be having a pre-Shavuot learning night featuring Rebbetzin Abby Lerner in memory of David Rottenstreich. It will be held in the Central Cafeteria 86-86 Palo Alto Street, Holliswood NY 11423. It is for women only of all ages. High School students and local Shuls have been notified as well. For more information or any questions contact Shani Hochbaum, director of student activities at Central.

Shani Hochbaum

(718) 479-8550 ext. 125-office
(646) 678-2122-cell

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Audio of the Azkara in YU

The audio for the Azkara that took place in YU on April 26th.
To download click here

Tehillim were recited by Rabbi Schachter, and Yitzie Klapper.

Divrei Hesped were delivered by:

Michel Schrieber, David's Uncle
Rabbi Ari Waxman of Yeshivat Sha'alvim
Rabbi Goldman of YU and MTA
Rabbi Tzvi Sobolofsky of YU
David's Father, Tzvi Rottenstreich
and David's close friend and chavrusa, JZ Spier who also made a siyum on Shas Mishnayos

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent."

The day that David was Niftar, I called Brian and told him that I really wanted to do something for David, something special to remember him forever. For me, music is the most powerful thing in the world. Music has the ability to take a person back to times they never thought they would remember and, even more so, to times they never want to forget. I told Brian that I thought the most powerful thing we could do was to write a song in David’s memory. Brian had already started writing a song for David the night before and, that night, he came to my house where we finished writing the song together. Brian chose the words "Acheinu Kol Beis Yisrael" specifically because of what David did in the last week of his life, pulling together thousands of Jews from all over the world to learn Torah and say Tehillim.

The words of the song literally mean “Our brothers the whole house of Israel, who are in distress and captivity, who wander over sea and over land -- may God have mercy on them, and bring them from distress to comfort, from darkness to light, from slavery to redemption, now, swiftly, and soon.” To us, the song has a dual message. On the one hand, it reflects the outpouring of support from so many types of Jews all across the world, an outpouring that reflects how special David truly was. Acheinu is also a Tefillah. It is a prayer to Hashem that He should end all of our suffering and speedily bring us the Ultimate Redemption. We hope this song will be an inspiration for everyone to follow in David’s ways, continuing to bring Klal Yisrael together.

Steven Genachowski and Brian Koegel

To download the song, Click Here

We apologize for the poor quality of the recording. The song, in its current format, has been recorded on a Mac computer. We hope to re-record it in a professional studio shortly.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Learning Reminder

For all who graciously volunteered to learn L'iluy Nishmas Rotty, please have the learning done by tomorrow, May 7th.

Thank You

Monday, May 4, 2009

Azkara in Sha'alvim

Dear Talmidei Sha'alvim and Friends,
The Azkara for David Rottenstreich a"h held this past Thursday night at Sha'alvim can be heard here:
May we be zoche to hear the mevaser bsurot tovot, yeshuot, v'nechamot very soon.

YU Tzedaka Event in David's Memory - Update

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Monthly Shiur

IY"H, this Wednesday night, May 6th, at 10:30 p.m. we will start a monthly shiur Li'Iluy Nishmas Rotty. It will take place in YU by the Muss classrooms. The first shiur will be given by Rabbi Bacon on the topic of "Bechukosaichem Lo Taileichu."
If you are interested in giving the shiur at a later date, please email marczeffren@gmail.com

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Kiddush In Rotty's Memory

All are invited to a
this shabbos,
May 2nd
פרשת אחרי מות-קדושים
11:00 A.M.
davening in the Main Beis Medrash
to commemorate the
David Rottenstreich ז"ל
at the home of

Alyssa and Adam Hertzberg
142 Laurel Hill Terrace
Apt. 1H

Monday, April 27, 2009

Shiur in David's Memory

Dr. Smadar Rosenzweig will speak on the power of women and speech
Sunday evening May 3, 2009
Torah Center of Hillcrest 171-05 Jewel Avenue
8:15 P.M.
Shiur is for women only
in memory of David Rottenstreich
Sponsorships available please call Vivian Rosenberg

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bus to Azkara

The bus will be leaving to the Azkara from Brookdale at 4pm

Friday, April 24, 2009

YU Tzedaka Event in David's Memory

SAVE THE DATE.....TUESDAY MAY 12th at 7:30 pm

YU TZEDAKA EVENT for The David Rottenstreich Z"L Sefer Torah Fund


Marc's Bio: As an entertainer Marc Salem has performed around the world, astounding and entertaining millions. His show MIND GAMES concluded two extended runs on BROADWAY to both critical and popular acclaim. The Sydney Opera House, the Edinburgh Festival and Singapore's Esplanade have also hosted extended runs of MIND GAMES.

He has been featured on the The O'Reilly Factor, Montel, Maury, CNN, and has been a frequent guest on Regis. He has had two network television specials, with more to come. Marc has also completed 3 sell-out seasons in London. He is a regular guest on Court TV, and was also recently profiled on an astounding 60 Minutes by Mike Wallace.

All proceeds will go to David's Sefer Torah Fund

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sunday Yom Iyun

The YU Tanach Yom Iyun, Sunday April 26th on “Exile and Redemption in Tanach and Jewish History” is going to be dedicated in memory of David Rottenstreich ז"ל. The program will be from 9:45am – 3:00pm.

For more information goto http://www.yu.edu/cjf/newsItem.aspx?ID=34898.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Azkara For David

The Azkara for David will, IY"H, be this Sunday, April 26, at 5 P.M. in YU's Lamport Auditorium

Please try and have all the learning you have pledged done by then, but if not at least by May 7th

It is important that we be able to make a Siyum at the Azkara, so when you finish learning on David's behalf please send me an email @ marczeffren@gmail.com telling me what you learned, so i can determine whether there can be a siyum made at the Azkara.

please keep checking for updates on the exact time of the Azkara

Thank You

Sunday, April 19, 2009

How To Sign Up

There are many things you can still sign up to learn for the Siyum Le'iluy Nishmas Dovid Chaim ben Tzvi Akiva. The Shloshim is on friday, May, 1, 7 Iyar.

there is tanach, mishnayos, mishna berurah, and rambam

to sign up, send an email to marczeffren@gmail.com stating what you would like to sign up for.

thank you

Date for learning to be finished by

Just a reminder, please finish the learning that you pledged to do by the date of the shloshim, which is Friday, 7 Iyar, May 1.

please continue to check here for further updates

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Hesped from the Levaya

Adonai! Al Bi’apcha tochicheini v’al b’chamasicha t’yasreini!

My master! Don’t rebuke us in anger, and don’t afflict us in rage,

A pasuk we’ve all recited many times over the last few days. And when we read this pasuk, we can’t help but be bothered. How can God cause so much pain for us? Is He angry? How can He be angry with David? Look at all the people who came together on his behalf. Davening…learning…saying tehillim…doing extra mitzvos…giving tzedaka. Look at all the friends, family, and members of klal yisroel. People that David speaks to everyday, people that he hasn’t seen in years, and people who he didn’t know at all, all on the front lines supporting him, his family and all of us. How can God be angry when He sees klal yisroel coming together for 1 human being...1 holy Jew? Is this pain that we feel really a reflection of God’s wrath?

But, I think, if you look more closely at the pasuk, it becomes clear that this suffering is not out of God’s anger, rather out of extreme love! The Gemara in Brachos gives us a prescription for such tragic occasions. The Gemara writes, that if you are suffering and you don’t know why, you should look scrupulously at the actions that you have done. So, lets take a look. What can we say about David’s actions? Anyone that knew David can attest to the fact that his actions were pure. He was a tremendous masmid, he was scrupulous about Halacha, he davened with the utmost kavana, he was always makpid not to speak loshon hara. In which case, it can’t be his actions that are responsible for this suffering. The Gemara goes on to say that if you cant find any misdeeds you should attribute the suffering to bitul torah. David was one of the biggest masmidim we know, in the true sense of the word. He took his sedarim very seriously and always pushed his chavrusas to learn more. There is no way we can attribute this pain to bitul torah. Then what is the solution? The gemara says, it must be that these are yisurin shel ahava, afflictions of love.

I would like to suggest that the pain and suffering we feel today is out of Hashem’s extreme love for David. We prayed to hashem “al bi chamascha tiyasreini” and he answered us that although these are painful times, it is not out of anger that I afflict you rather it is for my deep love for our dear R’ Dovid.

How did I come to realize this? How am I so sure that this is the case? It is because of you. You have all helped us realize this. Your tremendous support, encouragement, care and love for David has showed us this. The mishna in avos says, a line that David had underlined in his pirkei avos that I used to prepare this speech, “Rebbi omer- eizo hi derech yishara sheyavor lohadam- which is the straight path that a person should follow? Kol she hi tiferes lioseha vitiferes lo min hadam- anything that is glorified to God and glorified from amongst man.” Some of the meforshim explain that tiferes lo min hadam is a litmus test for tiferes lioseha. In other words, how do we know that a person is considered glorified by God, if we see that he is glorified by man. Your attendance this morning, in addition to your endless gifts of time, mitzvos, learning and prayers have assured us that David was truly glorified by man and thus loved by God.

We are therefore, very thankful for helping us realize that the pain we feel is an affliction of God’s love for David. All of the efforts you put forth, surely reflected David’s wonderful attributes and strengths.

To all of those who signed up for tehillim and to daven on David’s behalf, Thank you for highlighting David’s strong commitment to tefillah. David was amazingly meticulous about going to minyan on time. For shachris he needed to be there 5 mintues early to put on his tefillin. In teen minyan in hillcrest he was always the one to daven pisukei dizimra because he was the first one there. When he was in shul he showed a tremendous kavod hatefilah. He was careful not to talk and to have kavana throughout. We thank you for reminding us of this magnificent trait of David’s

To all of those who signed up to learn for david. Thank you for underscoring David’s amazing consistency in learning. As I mentioned, Rotty took his sedarim very seriously. He always tried to come on time and tried to never miss a seder. He was in seder and shiur just this past Thursday. Very often on shabbos, you could find david sitting on the basement couch learning, because he wanted to do what he felt was right but didn’t want anyone to know he was doing it.

Which brings me to another wonderful midah of david’s. David was extraordinarily humble. He always did the right thing but didn’t insist on anyone knowing about it. And in this honor we wish to thank all those who contributed anonymously. Your humility is a tribute to David’s legacy.

Lastly, thank you to all of you who gave tzedaka in David’s merit. We all know that david would do anything for any of us. He always offered his assistance to his friends and family, and did so happily. There is nothing he wouldn’t do for a friend. He loved you guys so much. So we thank you so much for reflecting this midah of david’s and ask that you continue to give in his memory.

So again, from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you so much for all of the chizuk that you have given us. We wouldn’t have been able to get through the last few days without your encouragement, support and tefillot. We ask that you continue your efforts to grow in memory of our dearest David, and that he continue be a melitz yosher for us and all of klal yisrael. T’hei niafsho tzrurah btzror hachaim.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

An Update

In light of the pain we are all feeling as we reconcile the untimely loss of our precious Dovid Chaim ben Tzvi Akiva a"h, there has been a tremendous outpour in response to this terrible tragedy that has hit home and befallen our community. So many efforts have been made to bring chizuk and nechamah to all of us. To that end, we would like to remind you of what has been organized to help channel our grief and to celebrate David.

1. All the learning that has been committed to thus far should be completed by the Shloshim. Please continue to check the blog for more learning opportunities and other Shloshim information.

2. A book is being compiled for the family with stories and pictures of David and letters to the family. Please email your contribution to thoughtsofdavid@gmail.com so that we can make this project even more meaningful for the Rottenstreichs.

3. David's fierce commitment to learning Torah and his dedication to adhering whole-heartedly to all 613 Mitzvos is something that inspired those around him every day he was living and will continue to touch the lives of our Klal for years to come. Chazal very often compare a Sefer Torah to a human being. For these reasons we have decided to dedicate a Sefer Torah in David's memory to give to his family. To donate to this worthy cause please see the previous post titled "Sefer Torah Dedication" for more information.

Thank you, and we should only see bsuros tovos

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


As we are planning to make a siyum for the Shloshim of David, the deadlines for the learning of Mishnayos, TaNach, Rambam Mishna Torah, and Mishnah Berurah is extended until the date of the shloshim.

Please check back for further updates.

Sefer Torah Dedication

The response from everyone over the last few days has truly been a tremendous Chizzuk to us all. So many of us grew so much in our Avodas Hashem from Rotty’s unique love for Talmud Torah. Whenever we needed a short vort on the Parsha, we went straight to Rotty. He was a walking Sefer Torah, who was always there to share and hear Torah ideas. Chazal in many places compare a Jewish soul to a Sefer Torah. Just like one tears Kriyah when a precious soul passes away, so too one tears Kriyah when witnessing the burning of a Sefer Torah. As a result, what greater act can we all do than by writing a Sefer Torah in Rotty’s memory as a gift to his beloved family? What greater nechama to the Rottenstreichs than to write a Sefer Torah in memory of David, and in honor of the Torah and Mitzvos to which he dedicated his life?

Please donate whatever you can, even if it’s a small amount. Echad haMarbeh, Vi’echad haMamit, Bilvad SheYichavein Libo LaShamayim. May our acts of kindness be a zchus for Rotty’s neshama.

To participate you can pay through paypal by clicking HERE or by sending money or checks, made out to Marc Zeffren, with a note saying David's Sefer, to:

David's Sefer Torah
c/o Marc Zeffren
211 S. Alta Vista Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036

David's Sefer Torah
c/o Aaron Malitzky
591 Rutland Ave.
Teaneck, NJ 07666

David's Sefer Torah
c/o Aryeh Schlusselberg
343 Eastwood rd.
Woodmere, NY 11598

David's Sefer Torah
c/o Rafi Katz
704 Lamberton Drive
Silver Spring, MD 20902

David's Sefer Torah
c/o Yitzie Klapper
70-58 173rd St.
Flushing, NY 11365

David's Sefer Torah
c/o Isaac Orenbuch
693 Wildwood Road
West Hempstead, NY 11552

David's Sefer Torah
c/o J.Z. Spier
10 Village Green
Monsey, NY 10952

David's Sefer Torah
c/o Willie Balk
2791 Chesterton Road
Shaker Heights, OH 44122

David's Sefer Torah
c/o Danny Turkel
141-03 Jewel Ave.
Flushing, NY 11367

David's Sefer Torah
c/o Ariel Caplan
336 No. 8th Ave.
Edison, NJ 08817


Levaya Information (updated)

IY"H The Levaya will take place at the Young Israel of Hillcrest at 8:30 am

For all those who will not be able to attend, there will be live audio broadcasting taking place. To Listen in click here

Thank You

David's Name

Please be informed that David's name is now Dovid Chaim ben Tzvi Akiva ע"ה.

Thoughts About David

If anyone would like to send in pictures of David ע"ה with their thoughts and/or memories of him please send them in to ThoughtsOf David@gmail.com

We will be compiling them into a journal for the family.

Thank you

For All Who Need Support

In this great time of sorrow and sadness we all need each other. There will be a gathering at Young Israel of Woodmere at 12:30pm today for all in need of support.

There will also be a minyan at 1:35 there.

Thank You

Baruch Dayan Emes

It is with a broken heart that I inform you of the petirah of Dovid Chaim ben Tzvi Akiva ע"ה.

On behalf of the Rottenstreich Family, I would like to thank you all for your continued support in the saying of tehillim and learning in David's name.

I would like to ask that all the learning be continued in his memory.

Please continue to check the blog for further updates.

Mishna Berura

I Vividly recall sitting next to David every day my shana alef in Yeshiva watching him spend every free second plowing through the first chelek of shulchan aruch and mishna brurah. The 20 minutes alloted by the yeshiva were not enough for David because he wanted to conduct himself completely in accordance with halacha. Thank you to everyone for taking upon themselves tehillim and participating in all the learning opportunities b'zchus our precious friend. So much has been done but there is still so much more to do and we need everyones help. As long as we are fighting we know david will be fighting. Therefore, we ask everyone to please find the time and the effort to take on more. We have added a tzedakah campaign and now we are going to try to finish the first chelek of mishna brura. Please sign up for as much as you can and try to finish by the end of Pesach. We have split the simanim into sections of 5 to stay organized but please sign up for as many as you can-echad hamarbeh vechad hamamit uvilvad shiyechavain libo lashamayim

Please try and have this done by the end of Shabbos. thank you

All of Chelek Alef - MMY
1-5 Aaron Malitzky, Reu Berman, Brian Koegel, Nava Dworetsky
6-10 Jason Jacobs, anonymous
11-15 anonymous, Steven Goldman
16-20 Yehoshua Auman, Steven Goldman
21-25 anonymous, Naama Levin
26-30 Sima Horowitz
31-35 Shmuli Stern
36-40 anonymous, Jeremy Erez
41-45 anonymous, Jeremy Erez
46-50 Aaron Malitzky, Ariel Auman, anonymous
51-55 Joey Lehman, anonymous, anonymous
56-60 Yechiel Schwab, J Litton, Gidon Lipstein, Adam Frohlinger, Yoni Weinberg, Yaffi Spodek, Joseph Skydell, David Liechtung, Jason Weinblatt, Sammy Moer, Ariel Reiner, Yonatan S, Yosef van Bemmelen, Adam Sabzevari, Melissa Lowinger, Aaron Ciner, Ariel Auman, Miki Goldstein
61-65 Rebecca Weinstein, Yonatan S, Ariel Auman, Miki Goldstein
66-70 Yossi Jacobs, Ari Berkowitz, Kenny Dvorin, David Liechtung, Stahler, Yonatan S, Carrie Rabinowitz, Miki Goldstein
71-75 Rafi Katz, Ari Berkowitz, Kenny Dvorin, Leah Fried, Rabbi Jon Green, Adam Friedman, David Liechtung, Carrie Rabinowitz, Tamar Gold, Rachel Waldman, Miki Goldstein
76-80 Rafi Katz, Ari Berkowitz, Yossi Faber, Miki Goldstein
81-85 Shanna Naiman, Ari Berkowitz, Jeremy Apfel, Miki Goldstein
86-90 anonymous, Ari Berkowitz, Jeremy Apfel, Bubba Ellman, anonymous, Miki Goldstein
91-95 Baruch and Nati Abittan, Miki Friedmann, Miki Goldstein
96-100 Aaron Fleksher, Evan Chesir, Miki Goldstein
101-105 Baruch and Nati Abittan, Justin Bral
105-110 Baruch and Nati Abittan
111-115 Baruch and Nati Abittan, Talia Reiner
116-120 Eitan Lipstein, Adiel Munk, Dovid Tauber, Eytan Mishkoff, Zachary Lubat, Jacob Moer, Yehuda Williams, Evan Hirschhorn, Judah Rosenbaum, Joseph Skydell, Joshua Teitcher, Ariella Friedman, Jason Weinblatt, Sammy Moer, Yonatan S, anonymous, Michael Plaut
121-125 Adiel Munk, anonymous, Elizabeth Konigsberg, anonymous, Joshua Teitcher, Jason Weinblatt, Sammy Moer, anonymous, Yonatan S, Eli Muschel, anonymous, Mordy Fenster
126-127 Jason Jacobs
All of Chelek Bet - MMY

Tzedaka Fund

On the Yomin Noraim we all beseech Hakodosh Baruch Hoo in prayer proclaiming U'Tshuva U'Tfila U'Tzedaka Maavirin Es Roa Hagzaira. We have increased our tfila tremendously but there is still so much more that we need to do. We ask everyone on a personal level to try to introspect and do tshuva b'zchus our close friend but on a community based level we are trying to bring the tzibur together through a massive t'zdaka campaign Le'iluy Nishmas Dovid Chaim ben Tzvi Akiva ע"ה. We ask that you extend your pockets just like David has always extended his heart for those near and far. Please bring/mail whatever you can to one of the following locations, whichever is most convenient for you. or you can donate through payal by clicking HERE. Hopefully soon we will have the specific organization the family will donate the money to and we will keep everyone posted about making tax-deductible donations. Thank you so much for all your support and please continue doing whatever you can.

Marc Zeffren
211 S. Alta Vista Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Aaron Malitzky
591 Rutland Ave.
Teaneck, NJ 07666

Aryeh Schlusselberg
343 Eastwood rd.
Woodmere, NY 11598

Yoel Dvorin
7455 Maplewood Ave.
Chicago, IL 60645

Adiel Munk
935 Swarthmore Lane
Saint Louis, MO 63130

Rafi Katz
704 Lamberton Drive
Silver Spring, MD 20902

Isaac Orenbuch
693 Wildwood Road
West Hempstead, NY 11552

J.Z. Spier
10 Village Green
Monsey, NY 10952

Gabi Berman
25 Carlisle Rd.
New Rochelle, NY 10804

Yitzie Klapper
70-58 173rd St.
Flushing, NY 11365

Eric Goldman
9 Barkley Ct.
East Brunswick, NJ 08816

Willie Balk
2791 Chesterton Rd.
Shaker Heights, OH 44122

Moshe Klausner
3 Pleasant St
Sharon, MA 02067

Praying with Fire

"If one merely opens his eyes a little wider, looks out into his world
a little further and listens to his fellow's words a little more
closely, one quickly realizes that the world is with those who are in
need of one's prayers. While our period of Jewish history is
comparatively peaceful and prosperous, hearts are not still. Lives are
not tranquil.Even those with relatively few troubles struggle with the
numbness and exhaustion brought on by hectic 24/6 lives.

Why does all the heartache present itself? While Hashem's reasons are
not apparent to us, the impact is evident: When one's neighbor is
afflicted, one is able to feel for him, to empathize with his plight
on a personal level and build upon the connections that unite one Jew
to another. Born in a generation that basically is blessedly free of
worries over bare substance, each Jew has the emotional capacity to
feel for others, if only he desires to do so.

As Rav Mattisyahu Saloman stated, " the hardships are to bing us to
reach up to hashem with higher levels of prayer and to reach out to
our fellow Jews with higher levels of compassion." It is the
combination of these two ingredients that perfects the formula for the
ultimate redemption. For redemption depends upon both the sincere
prayers and the deep-seated unity of the Jewish people."

- adapted from an article by Rabbi Heshy Klymann

Bezras Hashem as a result of the unification of Klal Yisroel through
learning and davening b'zchus the refuah shleima of Dovid Chaim Yosef
ben Sima Perel, we will not only merit a Refua Shleima for our beloved
David, but also merit the ultimate redemption.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Special Seder and Minyan

There will be a one hour learning seder starting at 7:45 am and then a minyan at 8:45 am Lizechus the Refuah of dovid chaim yosef ben sima perel
It will be held at the Young Israel of Woodmere, upstaris

Urgent Update from The Family

One of David's doctors has informed us that they still need to do some tests they are worried that the situation has become much worse. We need all of your help. PLEASE INTENSIFY YOUR DAVENING.

Due to the updated situation, there will be NO visitors allowed until further notice.

The Rottenstreichs

Tehillim Gathering

There will be a Tehillim gathering at the Young Israel of Woodmere for Men and Women after the 9:30 Ma'ariv.

Women Only Tehillim Gathering

Hey Guys,

I know many of us have heard about David Rottenstreich, Dovid Chaim Yosef
ben Sima Perel, and his situation. Right now he is on life support and
they do not know how long he will stay like this. Right now all that
we can do is daven for him. I will be holding a tehillim group at my
house for women only, 443 Winthrop Rd, Teaneck, NJ 07666 at 8 pm,
Monday Night. Please spread the word to all your friends and feel free
to bring your mothers, sisters, friends etc. Also please try and bring
your own tehillim.

B'zechut all of our tefillot, David should have a quick and speedy
refuah shleimah!

Tova Kreinberg

Just a Note

please do not commit using the comments, as i do not check them often. please email me when you want to sign up for something. my email is marczeffren@gmail.com. thank you.

virtual visitation

I know that a lot of you want to go visit David, but there could be things holding you back, whether personal or just because you are out of town, there is a new way. Go to caringbridge.org/visit/davidrottenstreich and sign the guest book. Let the family know how you feel.

Thank You

Learn Mishna Torah of the Rambam

Please try and have it done by the end of the last days of Pesach

Sefer HaMadda-

Hakdama- Baruch Yechiel Abittan

Yesodei ha-Torah(10)- Baruch Yechiel Abittan

De'ot(7)- anonymous

Talmud Torah(7)- anonymous

Avodah Zara(12)- Ariel Mintz

Teshuvah(10)- Jonathan Lubat

Sefer Ahavah-

Krias Shema(4)- Joseph Jarashow

Tefillah U’Birchas Kohanim(15)- Zev Kahane

Tefillin U’Mezuzah V’Sefer Torah(10) - Rabbi Ely Bacon

Tzitzit(3)- Avi Akhavan

Berachos(11)- Avi Akhavan, Naama Levin

Mila(3)- Dovi Fischer


Shabbat-(30) - Meir Popowitz

Eruvin(8)- Joey Rosenfeld

(Shevisas)Yom Tov(8)- Steven Mermelstein

Chametz u-Matza(8)- Yissachar Jerusalem

Shofar ve-Lulav ve-Sukkah(8)- Aaron Malitzky

Shekalim(4)- Aaron Malitzky

Kiddush Hachodesh(19) - Aaron Fleksher

Taanis(5)- Shimon Farber

Chanukah u-Megillah(4)- Aaron Malitzky


Ishut(25)- Dov Poplack

Geirushin(13)- Michael Harary

Yibum va-Chalitzah(8)- Rabbi Yonatan Emett

Na'arah Betulah(3)- Josh Maslow

Sotah (4)- Josh Maslow


Issurei Biah(22)- Dov Poplack

Ma'akhalot Assurot(17)- Yitzchak Rothken

Shechitah(14)- Dena Katz


Shevuot(12)- Steven Lowinger

Nedarim: (13)- Steven Mermelstein

Nezirot(10)- Michael Kook

Erachin(8)- Meir Cohen


Kilayim(10)- Isaac Stollman

Matanos Aniyim(10)- Yehuda Cohn

Terumot(15)- David Shenkman

Maaser(14)- Michael Heller

Maaser Sheini U’Neta Revai(11)- Michael Sohn

Bikurim(12)- Aaron Abramson

ShemittahV’Yovel(13)- Steven Lowinger


Beit Habechira(8)- Elie Horowitz

Klei Hamikdash V’Haovdim Bo(10)- Sammy Kahn

Biat Hamikdash(9)- Ari Berkowitz

Issurei Mizbeiach(7)- Ari Berkowitz

Maaseh Hakorbanot(19)- Jonathan Ziring

Temidin Umusafin(10)- Eric Israeli

Pesulai Hamukdashin(19)- Kenny Dvorin

Avodas Yom Hakippurim-(5)- Ari Berkowitz

Meillah(8)- Alex Mermelstein


Korban Pesach(10)- Yissachar Jerusalem

Chagigah(3) - anonymous

Bechoros(8)- Aaron Abramson

Shegagos(15)- Isaac Lebwohl

Mechusrei Kaparah(5)- Willie Roth, Rabbi Elchanan Dulitz

Temura(4)- Lauren Sherman


Tumas Meis(25)- Jesse Rabinowitz

Parah Aduma(15)- Zach Wertheimer

Tumas Tzaraat-(16)- Dov Poplack

Metamei Mishcav U’Mushav(13)- Jonathan Chambre

Shar Avot Hatumot(20)- Josh Koperwas

Tumas Ochlin(16)- Moshe Kolb

Keilim(28)- Ari Goldberg

Mikvaot(11)- Joshua Schulman

Nezikin: Ari Rockoff

Nizkei Mamon(14)- Yoni Fein

Gneiva(9)- Yosef Gamzo

Gzeilah V’Aveida(18)- Eytan Rosenbaum

Chovel U’Mazik(8)- Moshe Karp

Rotzeach U’Shmiras Hanefesh(13)- Rabbi Yonatan Emett


Mechira(30)- David Braun

Zechia U’matanav(12)- Eytan Burstein

Shcheinim(14)- Sariel Malitzky

Sheluchin V’shutafin(10)- Elie Lustiger

Avadim(9) - Shimon Farber


Schirus(13)- Avi Landesman

Sheilah U’Pikadon(8)- Louis Tuchman

Malveh U’loveh-(27)- Michael Gottesman

To’an V’nitaan(16)- Michael Greenberg, Tzali Dulitz

Nachalot(11)- Tani Cohn


Sanhedrin(26)- Yosef Miller

Eidus(22)- Geoffrey Kiderman

Mamrim(7)- anonymous

Evel(14)- Rabbi Yonatan Emett

Melachim(12)- Yosef Miller

Tehillim Gathering at the Kotel

We will be gathering at the Kotel to plead and daven for the refuah shleimah of our dear friend and talmid Dovid Chaim Yosef ben Sima Perel, tonight, Monday night, at 11:00 p.m.
Please pass this message on as soon as possible to anyone in Eretz Yisrael that you think will be able to attend.
May we hear bsurot tovot very soon,
Ari Waxman

Another Thought

I've often heard that giving tzedakah to hachnasas kallah is a special zechus for a refuah sheleimah for someone. We say every mornrning in eilu devarim, "bikur cholim, hachnasas kallah, levayas hames" - meaning that visiting the sick and escorting the dead is separated through the mitzvah of hachnasas kallah. I've heard miraculous stories about this as well.

In Shemoneh Esrei, the bracha of "atah chonen l'adam daas" should be said having in mind that Hashem should grant wisdom to the doctors to know what to do and how to treat him, and without this gift of wisdom from Hashem, that doctors have no power on their own.


We've done so much but so much more has to be done.

someone sent this to me asking to send it out, its a little lengthy but it has some very deep ideas about asher yatzar and good eitzah to help bring a refuah shlaimah to dave.

Food For Thought- The Sun and Man, and their Respective Berachot:

Some Thoughts to help us merit a complete and Speedy recovery for Dovid Chaim (Yosef) Rottenstreich

As the Jewish world prepares to recite in awe the once in a generation opportunity of Birkat Hachama, the blessing noting G-d's hand in the return of the sun to the beginning of its orbit at the approximate same time, day, and place as creation, many of us have lost the focus on our Pesach preperations and our excitement for this wonderful bracha. As circumstances have it, it seems appropriate to spend a few short minutes also focusing on another blessing we make numerous times daily, one which we often take for granted until we are shaken up by a rude awakening.

After hearing the alarming news of Dovid Chaim (Yosef) Rottenstreich's, Rotty as he is affectionately known to us all, heart-rending condition, our initial surprise developed into a search for an avenue to channel our feelings in an effort to storm the Heavens and merit Divine compassion. In the perusal of the Tehillim site set up, we were awakened by a rather innocent little request, " Also, it would be nice if everyone could take upon themselves one thing, or even something that you already do, and have extra Kavannah, especially in the ברכה of אשר יצר, having in mind the רפואה שלימה of David."

Those short words got us thinking about a little thing we may have never though about in our lives. That little brachah, Asher Yatzar, the bracha we so often make while running somewhere, if we remember to make at all, is one of the unsung heroes of our daily lives, but we probably would never know. Its ordinary, normal, and even surprising existence leaves it rather unnoticed, and certainly not understood. Though there are certainly many books, and rightfully so, documenting, explaining and seeking to capture the essence of Birkat Hachama, the bracha of Asher Yatzar remains without its fanfare. In the merit of Dovid Chaim, let us take a few short moments to begin a short analysis of this "ordinary" brachah, and hope to help his body back to its former self.

Birkat Hachamah marvels at the miraculous existence of the world, and expresses our recognition of the As Rav J. David Bleich so poignantly points out, it is not a berachah like others with the same text, but rather recognizes an ordinary occurrence, the existence of the sun but yet is restricted to the time it returns to its orbit; "The blessing on this occasion, it would seem, is evocativer rather than responsive. It is designed to arouse man from his lethargy, to force him to reflect upon this cosmic phenomenon, to summon him to contemplation. Marking yet another solar milestone in the calendar of eternity, the occasion calls out to man: Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these?" However, Rav Bleich remarks in the preface, that regarding Birkat Hachama, "Indeed, the rarity of its occurrence has served to magnify the rejoicing in its performance, and to enhance the scholarly attention it has received".

As we marvel at the seven wonders of the world, sunsets, and the solar system, we often forget that the glory of G-d's creation is also expressed in us, our physical bodies bear testimony to the wisdom of G-d's creative ingenuity, and all our scientific advancements merely pail to the knowledge of the greatness of G-d, Galuy Viyadua only to Hashem the extent of the miraculousness of man's existence, though everyday may unravel another piece of the puzzle (see Rav Pinkus, Siddur Tefillah).

Once upon a time, science used to be the base of the philosophical battle against the existence of a Deity, but that has long since changed. As scientific discoveries disproved just about every one of Aristotle's scientific assumptions, his metaphysical conclusions were also obliterated. The laboratories of Science and Medicine have become virtual synonymous with believers (though not always adherers), who find it impossible to deny a G-dly designer to a world so complexly magnificent. A recent discussion in a law firm witnessed two Jewish attorneys, one observant and one not- yet practicing, discussing the connection between medical knowledge and belief in the Almighty. The observant attorney remarked that he has yet to meet a doctor who doesn't believe in G-d, to which the other lawyer challenged him that two mutual clients of theirs, both successful doctors and businessmen, leading lives which, suffice to say, are far from devote, could not possibly believe in G-d. The observant attorney accepted the challenge and responded "why don't we ask them?" Both doctors were telephoned, and without a moments hesitation responded in the affirmative, "Of course we believe in G-d", after all they were doctors, and knew that complex bodies can only come from an infinite being.

But yet when all goes well, and our body needs only minor tuning to our inborn systems, we fail to concentrate on the debt of gratitude we owe for our bodies, and simultaneously lose a part of our soul in the process, because as we will see they are integrally connected. Let the difficult situation we find ourselves in be a wakeup call to appreciate our health and daven for those who lack it. So let us begin with a few questions, which can hopefully underscore a small splatter of the uniqueness of this bracha's message:

Soul and Body-Interconneted in Spirit and Berachot

Why do we make this berachah, and why is it the second berachah we say in the morning, right at the beginig of the day? Why is it coupled with Elokai Neshamah, and why is there no request in the berachah, but a mere acknowledgement of G-d's hand in creating man with genius? What is the meaning of the bracha and what does it seek to evoke within us? What is its power if said properly?

The Gemara Berachot (60b) quotes Abaye who tells us that after one relieves oneself but Asher Yatzar seems to play a larger role, it's placement at the start of ones day seems to underscore its significance. The Jewish day begins with Modeh Ani, recognition of ones connection to the Almighty and his acknowledging and thanking (the two definitions of "Modeh") Hashem for the return of his soul to his body. Our Teachers tells us that sleep is one sixtieth of death and to a certain degree every new day of ones life is a Techiyat Hameitim, a resuscitation of the dead, and a new bond between ones body and soul is formed. Immediately after washing our hands and blessing על נטילת ידים, Al netilat yadayim, we recognize this new creation with two berachot, one expressing our divinely magnificent bodily function and one recognizing our pure soul, asher Yatzar and Elokai Neshama.

The language of the beracha of Asher Yatzar, in fact, seems to make explicit reference to the original creation of man at the beginning of Sefer Bereishit, 1:27, and 2:7, which describes creation of man with the two verbs in the beracha, ויצר ה' אלקים את האדם...ויברא אלקים את האדם בצלמו, G-d's forming of man and creating him. The language of Asher Yatzar also seems to express an explicit pasuk (Bereishit 2:8), ויטע ה' אלקים את האדם בגן עדן מקדם...וישם שם את האדם אשר יצר, G-d placed the man he formed in the Garden of Eden. The beracha seems to express our new creation of the day, and our ability to relive the Gan Eden experience in this world even in our current existence if we only know the secrets to success.[1]

Rav Shimshon Refael Hirsch (Siddur Teffilot Yisrael pages 6, 10) explains these two berachot are very connected. According to a number of commentators, the reason why the beracha of Elokai Neshama doesn't begin with Baruch, is because it is the conclusion of Asher Yatzar. The conclusion Asher yatzar, מפליא לעשות, is in essence the introduction to Elokai Neshama, marveling at Hashem's ability to combine the destiny of the soul in the body of man, see Rav Hirsch and the translation below. As Rav Hirsch explains, after concluding Asher Yatzar we begin to recognize that this new body which was given us today contains a pure soul, which cannot be contaminated by our sins, and gives us the ability to wake up every morning to a new air of purity, with our soul and body working together.

Rav Yosef Dov Haleivi Soloveitchik zt"l pointed out numerous times in his writings and recorded species about the precious way a Jew recognizes his physical body, and its functioning in his religious life. Man's physical body can be sanctified, a notion which stands in stark contrast to the dualistic approach of Western (i.e. Greek and Christian) thought. The Rav describes how the latter "despaired metaphysically and morally of man's natural side and devoted itself to his spiritual-intellectual side... It created an unbridgeable gap between the physical and the spiritual. While the Torah declared, "And you shall eat before the Lord your God, in the place where He will choose to establish His Name, the tithes of your new grain and wine and oil, and the firstlings of your herds and flocks, so that you may learn to revere the Lord your God always" (Devarim 14:23), Greek thought would not be able to fathom such a command: "The animal eats; man thinks and cognizes the spiritual, general and ideal. The intellect, not the stomach, approaches God. 'And you shall eat before God' - is there anything more self-contradictory? [But Judaism says:] Nevertheless!" (Uvikashem Misham, translation from Hebrew, p.207- 208)

And as the Rav So eloquently declares: "Indeed, the Halakha is the law of the body. But this is where you find its greatness; by sanctifying the physical, it creates a unified psychosomatic individual who serves his Creator with both his spirit and his body and elevates the animal [in him] to the heights of eternity." (Uvikashtem Misham, translation from Hebrew p. 215)

Rav Shimshon Pincus (Siddur Teffillah pages ) makes a similar point. Though our pure neshama is the heart of our existence, its ability to function on this world is based upon our body's continued health. When the body goes, the soul has no means of expressing itself in this world. While on the one hand, רחמנא ליבא בעי, G-d wants our hearts and Kavanah, we are also told הכל לפי רוב המעשה , our status is determined by our physical actions, but which one is it, our soul or our bodies which determines our spiritual status?

Rav Pincus explains that while the heart of ones existence is his soul and his motivation, G-d created the world in a way that the only means of determining ones true motivation is by analyzing their actions. One may really feel connected to Torah and Mitzvot, and uplift himself with his pure motivations when studying and performing, but if it is not coupled with actions, then one really doesn't love the Torah and Mitzvot. If one can only muster up romantic feelings, but can't make the Divine command part of his body's existence, then his love for them is truly lacking. Our bodies in effect express the true nature of our heart.

As we recognize in Adon Olom, our soul, which we entrust with Hashem when we go to sleep, בידו אפקיד רוחי, allows us to awaken to an existence where our "Spirit shall remain with our body", ועם רוחי גויתי, and live our lives with Hashem and without fear of anything ה' לי ולא אירא.

Rav Pincus explains that our recognizing that our soul is a pikadon, a deposit, allows us to keep it connected to Hashem, its true owner, throughout the day. In so doing, we allow our body to reach untold of heights that the soul couldn't achieve without its interconnection.

With this in mind, we can maybe start to understand the beracha we make on relieving ourselves, or the fact that this act deserves a blessing at all. Hashem created our bodies with ultimate wisdom, בחכמה, and gave us the ability to exist and persevere. Most translate "Bichachma" as Hashem's creation of man with tremendous wisdom. The Maharsha describes "Bichachma" as possibly referring to man, not Hashem. If so, it is a brachah thanking Hashem for creating us with intellect, that which differentiates us from the animal kingdom.

In fact, the Kuzari already expressed "how great is this bracha in its contents, and how perfect are its words for all who contemplate in it with a truthful eye. It begins with the word בחכמה and concludes with רופא כל בשר ומפליא לעשות, to express the extreme wonder in G-d's creating all animal life with the ability to excrete and take in, and that is in reference to all animal life as is expressed in the conclusion of the bracha".

Often we need to be awakened to the power of a bracha and its contents, but let us use this experience to truly wake up.

The Healing Power of Ashar Yatzar

Numerous stories depict the power of Asher Yatzar said properly with understanding and intent, and the merit of furthering its recital, actions which have in the past brought about complete recoveries even from Polio (well known story of the Chazon Ish).

Rav Mendel Weinbach, Rosh Yeshiva of Ohr Sameach, recounts a remarkable story of the power of Asher Yatzar. A father of a six year old autistic child decided to sponsor 300 posters of Asher Yatzar, placed outside of bathrooms, to help his son. The next morning his son woke up and began to speak, his autism was gone. See:


The Seder Hayom even codifies, "One should make this bracha with proper kavana, and say every word etc., and if one is complete in his thoughts… he will not become sick his entire life, nor will he need a doctor or healing, and therefore, one must make the bracha with complete intention and full cognizance, to the Healer of all mankind and the wonderous creator".

Relieving oneself is merely a means of identifying and reflecting on the wondrous nature of our physical existence, and its connection to our spiritual well-being and abilities. However, in fact the bracha has little to do with going to the bathroom, and everything to do with marveling at G-d's miraculous handiwork. In the merit of the Seder Hayom, let us say this bracha with newfound meeting and erase the need for pain and sickness for Dovid Chaim (Yosef) and all others.

This little letter is far from the final word or even any word at all on the subject, it is merely an acknowledgement of what may be our wakeup call to gain a newfold appreciation of our health and the blessing we make daily regarding our bodily functions. It is a subject that needs further research to truly appreciate the bracha, but hopefully it will provide a little jumpstart. We were endowed by Hashem with a powerful, pure Neshama, entrusted in a human body, where together they can rise beyond the Heavens, way above the levels of angels (see Tractate Shabbat 88a) or, G-d forbid, sink to the depths of sin (though the Neshama always remains pure to the core, and can bring one back-see Rav Soloveitchik, Al Hateshuva).

This year as we celebrate Hashem's continuous creation of the world with Birkat Hachama, let us also concentrate and pray that we recognize the beauty of our physical existence along with the beauty of the world.

While writing this short little piece it became clear that this bracha is an unearthed treasure, and the more we use our bodies the more we should study its magnificence and the bracha dedicated to ingraining within us our miraculous body, in order for it to house and nourish our pure souls.

For the speedy recovery of Dovid Chaim (Yosef) ben Sima Perl Rottenstreich- May our teffilos reach the Heavens and may we travel beyond.

A short, free, translation primarily based on Rav Hirsch (though not only- please do not rely on this translation, just some things to think about):

ברוך אתה -The source and wellspring of all blessing (see Introduction to Halachos of Brachos, Rav Pinchas Bodner, for reason behind this translation) are you

ה'-the ruler of the world who was, is, and always will be

אלקינו- our all-powerful G-d (ideally translated as our G-d who is all-powerful and creator of all)

מלך העולם- master of the World

אשר יצר את האדם who has fashioned man-

בחכמה- with wisdom (both Divine wisdom in the formation of man, and G-d's creating man as a wise being)

וברא בו and created within him

נקבים נקבים openings of external organs, such as the nose, ears, and the excretory system-

חלולים חלולים-openings of internal organs (also gematria 248, the number of limbs in a persons body and the number of positive commandments)

גלוי וידוע -it is known only to you (Rav Picus-only to you is it known how truly magnificent man is)

לפני כסא כבודיך-from before your Holy throne (imagine how powerful this bracha is that It makes reference and reaches Hashem's throne)

שאם יפתח אחד מהם-that if even one of these openings were ruptured

או יסתם אחד מהם-or one of these openings was blocked

אי אפשר להתקיים- we could not exist

ולעמוד לפניך- to stand before You in service (Rav Hirsch explains how the term "stand before" is alwsy a reference to standing to serve G-d)

[(אפילו שעה אחת) [found only in Nusach Sefard- even for one moment

ברוך אתה ה'-The source of all blessing are you, Hashem, the ruler of the world who was, is and always will be,

רופא כל בשר- the Healer of all life, maintaining a Healthy body

ומפליא לעשות- who does the wonderous act of combining the physical body with the spiritual soul (and as Rav Hirsch adds, who devised that the continued performance of the soul in this world is based upon the health of ones body)

For Further Reading On the Subject:


For those who can read Hebrew, a beautiful discussion of the nature and meaning of the bracha

ניתן למצוא את המאמר בכתובת: http://www.medethics.org.il/articles/ASSIA/ASSIA63-64/Assia63-64.12.asp

[1] The Beracha of Asher Yatzar is also said in other contexts new recreation and noting of lack of creation, see also Dr. Gezundheit, Hebrew reference at the end of the letter.