Rav Yisroel Reisman Begins New Season of Motzoei Shabbos Navi Shiurim


rav-yisroel-reisman2Rav Yisroel Reisman, Rav of the Agudath Israel of Madison in Flatbush and Rosh Yeshiva at Mesivta Torah Vodaath began a new season this past Motzoi Shabbos (Parshas Bereishis) of his popular Navi shiurim at Ahi Ezer Congregation, on the corner of Ocean Parkway and Avenue S that run from after Sukkos until Shavuos. Hundreds of men and women came from all parts of Brooklyn to attend the Navi shiur which was also simultaneously broadcast to more than a dozen locations throughout the North American continent.

Rabbi Reisman began his shiur by discussing the prophecy of Jeremiah in the beginning of the 49th chapter of Sefer Yirmiyahu where the Navi predicts the downfall of the nation of Ammon.

A Criticism of the Nation of Ammon

He quoted the opening pasukim of the chapter where the prophet says “Thus said Hashem: Does Israel have no children? Does he have no heir? Why, then has Ammon inherited Gad, his people [the Ammonites] dwelling in its cities. Therefore, behold, days are coming – the word of Hashem – when I will make the alarm of war heard in Rabbah [capital] of the Children of Ammon; it will become a heap of ruins and its surrounding towns will be burned down in fire; then Israel will inherit its inheritors, said Hashem.”

When Sennacherib tried to conquer Eretz Yisroel, among the first of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel that he captured and sent into exile were the tribes that lived over the Jordan in the lands captured from Sichon and Og before Yehoshua began the conquest of Eretz Canaan after the death of Moshe Rabbeinu. One of those tribes was Gad and after they were exiled by Sennacherib from their lands, the people of Ammon took over the cities inhabited by the tribe of Gad.

The Sin of Not Eagerly Greeting the Jews with Bread and Drinks

Rabbi Reisman explained that we find two complaints against the people of Ammon. First, in the Chumash, the male Ammonites are [along with the male Moabites] criticized for not having come to greet the Jews returning from Mitzrayim, Egypt with food and drinks. For this reason, the Torah forbade male Ammonites  [and Moabites] from joining the Klal Yisroel.

But, is this, Rabbi Reisman asked, a legitimate complaint? Have we ever heard of any nation that went out of their way to assist any other nation in a similar manner by bringing them provisions? So, why is Ammon [and also Moab] specifically criticized in the Chumash?

Forgetting What Our Forefather Did for Their Ancestor

Rav Bachiya replies that Ammon was criticized by the Navi because they [and also Moab] of all the nations of the world should have felt a special sense of hakoras hatov, gratitude to the Klal Yisroel because of their knowledge of how their ancestor – Lot – was greatly helped by the ancestor [Avraham] of Klal Yisroel. Avraham Avinu literally risked his life against seemingly impossible odds to save his nephew Lot who was captured by the four powerful and ruthless kings who conquered Lot’s community of Sodom. Even before that, Avraham took care of Lot after his nephew’s father died in Ur Kasdim.

The failure of Ammon to reciprocate the chesed of Avroham Avinu by going out to greet the Klal Yisroel with bread and water was therefore a particularly serious transgression of the obligation of any individual to entertain a sense of hakoras hatov to those who have done one a great favor.

A Second Cause for Appreciating the Jews

In the Chumash, Klal Yisroel was specifically commanded by Hakodesh Baruch Hu not to harass Ammon [and Moav] and were unable to conquer their territories that surrounded Eretz Yisroel; unlike what they were allowed to do with the kingdoms of Og [Bashan] and Sichon [Amorites]. Considering this kindness of Klal Yisroel, the people of Ammon should have demonstrated their hakaros hatov by not taking over the empty cities of the exiled tribe of Gad.

Rabbi Reisman noted that when Yaakov Avinu was fleeing from his brother Esav and was journeying towards his uncle Lavan, he declared that if Hashem allowed him to return home to his father in peace, he would then tithe back a tenth of all he had earned during his stay with Lavan to Hashem.

A Kasha from Rav Shmuel Berenbaum

Rabbi Reisman quoted a kasha, question on this statement of our forefather from Rav Shmuel Berenbaum, zt”l, the rosh hayeshiva of the Mirrer Yeshiva in Brooklyn. If someone approaches you and asks that you give him a million dollars and he will give you back $100,000 (a tenth of his profits) or even chomesh – $200,000 (a fifth of his profits), would you be overly excited.

The explanation of Rav Berenbaum’s kasha is in what our forefather Yaakov was telling Hashem. If you help me to become rich, I will never make the mistake of thinking that it was my strength or my super intelligence that got me this wealth. Rather, I will always remember that it was You Hashem who gave and allowed me to acquire my riches. Because Yaakov understood that all of his good comes from Hashem and not his own prowess, he declared that if Hashem allowed him to return from Lavan safely, he would tithe his G-d given wealth back to Hakodesh Baruch Hu.

The Real Purpose of a Seudas Hodah

Discussing the concept of hosting a seudas hodah, a meal expressing gratitude to Hashem for a special miracle, the main ikur or point one must remember, Rabbi Reisman said is that one has an absolute obligation to appreciate the tovah, good done to him by Hakodesh Baruch Hu.

By arranging a seudas hodah, we are demonstrating our constant struggle to realize our obligation to see the good that Hakodesh Baruch Hu is constantly doing on our behalf. This is a never-ending challenge for a person and especially a Jew to wage in order to appreciate that which we have is from Hashem.

Becoming Worthy of Receiving Continued Brochas

Our demonstrating a sincere hakaros hatov is an important avodas Hashem, spiritual service to not mistakenly take our good health or wealth as teivah (natural), but rather as a precious gift from Hakodesh Baruch Hu. A person who has mastered his sense of hakoras hatov will always be worthy of receiving continued brochas, blessings from Hashem.

The above Dvar Torah was written last night as a zechus for my mother – Chana (Helen) bas Meyer – who yahrtzeit is today. -Daniel Keren

{Daniel Keren-Matzav.com Newscenter}





  1. Is this for boys only or are women welcome too? Is there a charge? Any refreshments (the ones outside of Flatbush provide it)?

  2. Rabbi Reisman’s shiur is for both men (boys as well) and women and their are no refreshments. It is a very enjoyable shiur. So come and enjoy.

  3. These shiurim are from the best things that ever happened with modern day technology.

    Chazak Chazak to Rabbe Reisman and the attendees!


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