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Friday, February 12

The Weekly Shtikle - Mishpatim / Adar

This past Wednesday, 28 Shevat, marked the 8th yahrtzeit of my wife's grandfather, R' Yitzchak Yeres. The shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmaso, Yitzchak Chaim ben Moshe Yosef HaLevi, z"l.


This coming Sunday, 2 Adar, marks the 15th yahrtzeit of my Zadie, Rabbi Yaakov Bulka. The shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmaso, Chaim Yaakov ben Yitzchak, z"l.


The city of Baltimore in particular and the world at large is saddened by the passing of HaRav Sheftel Neuberger, dean of Yeshivas Ner Yisroel. He carried the legacy of his father, Rav Herman Neuberger, but will probably best be remembered for his powerful and inspiring davening, laining, and singing at just about every occasion. The shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmaso, Sheftel Meir ben Naftali HaLevi, z"l.


This past Erev Shabbos, the matriarch of our family, Oma Jakobovits, passed away at the age of 93. She lived a full life in which she faced many daunting challenges – notably, leaving her parents at the age of 11 to flee Nazi Germany, the loss of her daughter (my mother) and numerous battles with cancer. Through it all, her faith in HaShem and devotion to yiddishkeit never wavered. This article which covers a talk she would give to Bais Yaakov girls detailing her experiences escaping Germany was recently republished from 2009. The shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmasah, Chayah Sarah bas Zechariah Chaim, z"l.


As Rosh Chodesh is already upon us, a true hesped is not in order. Perhaps a more uplifting thought is appropriate. Our calendar puts us in quite a conundrum. With the onset of Adar, we are expected to increase (perhaps infinitely, as we've previously discussed from my Zadie,) our happiness. But this date also represents a very significant checkpoint in the timeline of events over the past year. If we think back to last year's Rosh Chodesh Adar, everything was normal, for the most part. The threat of the virus was known but appeared distant. By Purim, that had already drastically changed. Now, we look back at a year of sorrow and loss, only accentuated by the events of the past week.


So how do we move forward? How do we enter Adar with the appropriate mindset after everything we've been through over the past year? This is indeed the perfect time to take a lesson from the life my Oma lived. One of her hallmarks was her ability to overcome just about any challenge to attend a family simcha no matter where – North America, England or Israel – even well into her later years. Every simcha was automatically enhanced by Oma's presence. Nachas and love were the fuel that powered her and propelled her across the world, time and time again. Simply put, Oma would not let anything get in the way of a simcha. And so, as we enter Adar, neither should we. No matter what the challenge, she always lived with a constant appreciation of the miracles that allowed her to live the life that she had. As much as we have suffered over this past year, we must gaze upon the miracles of Purim and Pesach and be inspired in the same way.


By way of observation, there is another interesting nuance in the specific wording. We are commanded in the Torah to be happy on the chagim. Even when we are told to purchase items for our wife and children, it is simply so that we can facilitate their fulfillment of their own obligation to be happy. With regards to Adar, however, it is stated marbim be'simchah. We need to elevate simchah. This means that we are to extend ourselves to increase happiness and joy in general – not only our own but that of everyone around us. Perhaps focusing this effort outward, instead of inward, will help us achieve this task more wholesomely – this year in particular but in any year, really.


Have a good Shabbos and chodesh tov.

Mishenichnas Adar marbim be'simchah!

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup

Dikdukian: Tricky Vowels

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Dikdukian: Give it to me
Dikdukian: Ha'isha viladeha

Dikdukian: Jewish Milk

Dikdukian: Three Strikes and you're out

Dikdukian: The Ox and his Friend

Al Pi Cheshbon: 10,000 Kikars



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