June 29, 2007

The Beginning of ilovetorah & Frumdate

Filed under: deep reflections,Website Kvetching — Reb Moshe @ 6:58 am

The start of ilovetorah was done on geocities free server space about 12 years ago. It was created on a 386sx computer using a home Internet connection through the library. All Internet graphics were disabled so the sites were entirely in text. Within the first week, I had created the singles site as well, called A Frum Shidduch Database. It was the second frum singles site ever created after shemayisrael’s shadchan database. In its first year, we made about a dozen matches and had the record for religious singles matches ever on the Internet. In order to improve the websites, I used to go to friends houses that had graphics and 486 power. I was amazed at their fast 56k modem speeds. A year later, I purchased my first real PC, “The Acer from Gehenah”. The worst computer ever made had fallen into my hands. I used to power it up by turning it upside down and it would remain sideways during work. I had a green, non-color 10inch monitor for a while to go along with it until I purchased my NEC color screen. It took 10 returns to NEC headquarters before this new color monitor would run without problems. It then lasted until this year when someone finally donated a new monitor.

In the old days, much of my kiruv work came from chat rooms. I used to go in, so too speak and then make friends. I had a personal goal of helping at least 10 people a day and talking to 50 about Yiddishkite. Until this goal was reached, I wouldn’t go to sleep at night.

There are dozens of divrey Torah from these early times of ilovetorah that are in archives. I hope to bring them all back to life slowly. The main thing are these old videos that I did but I am honestly embarrassed by them. I mean, they were taken 10 years ago when video technology was just starting. I don’t think anyone would argue that I was the first person to ever do video shirim on the web and self-publish them. Every time I go to these new websites and blogs, I wonder if one day, I will simply be an archive of the first timers. I remember back then thinking to myself, I must make sure the quality of videos will be good enough 10 years from now when computer power is stronger. The thing is, I simply don’t remember what I did with those higher quality videos. I distinctly remember that I thought ahead on this but I can’t remember where I saved them or how. I mean, I have the video files themselves but did I film them in a higher quality and save them on some disk?

As we move forward to another year of ilovetorah, I want to also look back and bring some of the light of the past. Some old videos can be found here, http://torahvideo.com/jewish-torah  , you need realplayer to view them. For some reason, I still don’t seem to be able to convert them properly to today’s windows media technology. I must warn you though, it is pretty embarrassing to know people are looking at me from 10years ago.  

Living outside oneself & Depression Problems

Filed under: Current Events,deep reflections — Reb Moshe @ 1:05 am

I receive dozens of messages each month asking for help with severe depression. The general advice is to seek counseling and also to try to take medication for this should it be a difficult situation. Unfortunately, it is hard for people who are sad to reach out for assistance from others since they usually feel the world has already rejected them in some way.

There are dozens of videos on torahvideo.com that give down to each suggestions how to live a life of simcha. I really recommend people search through not only the videos but my written material on this subject. At this time, I am quite concerned about this issue as I am receiving many distress calls weekly, including those considering suicide. In the last few months, the amount of people writing me about this has skyrocketed and I wonder why.

I have come to the conclusion that before the coming of Moshiach, this problem will possibly increase all the more. Hopefully, myself and all those who teach Torah will be given the daats from Shamayim to help people from avoiding this disaster.

There is one solution that I want to emphasise. Most people who are sad are concentrating a lot on themselves and swimming in the sad world they have created in their minds. They have to leave this world and start to live outside it. To do this one needs to get more involved in community, social and private affairs. There are so many people in need of help and a world outside that is endlessly moving. When a person stops thinking so much of their own problems and starts to worry more for others, they begin to see Hashem’s light in their own life and things become easier. If you take care of others, Hashem will take care of you! There are always people out there who are more lonely, depressed, weak and poorer then you. Lend them a hand!

Make sure to keep possitive energies around you. Be careful what you allow your eyes, ears and mind to take in. Realize how your surroundings affect you and how to keep your own thoughts possitive, not allowing them to dwell on negativity. The foundation for life itself is totally ones faith and keeping a possitive outlook. If your in pain, then release this through hisbodidus (speaking to Hashem), a friend, a councelor or mashpia. Do not suffer alone when all you need is to look up to Hashem and grab His light. 

June 25, 2007

Those who crossed the Line (Aliyah)

Filed under: What can we do? — Reb Moshe @ 4:09 am

leavyer.JPGMany people dream of living in Eretz Yisrael. For some it is about living amongst mostly Jews, others a simple retirement goal, some feel this is their contribution to what they believe is the Goal of modern Judaism while others come in order to simply grow in Torah & Mitzvos. There are also those who haven’t really found what they are looking for and just fly over in order to seek answers. Whatever the reason is, the goal is the same, to make Eretz Yisrael ones temporary home until the coming of Moshiach.

Not all those who come are meant to stay though. Some simply run for easier pastures. For them, the dream became a very real reality. Moshiach has simply not arrived yet. To the north of you is Lebanan, north east would be Syria, East Jordan and south Egypt. These countries are not the biggest fans of Judaism and let us not even mention those countries which border them. If this wasn’t enough, there are about 4 million Arabs in Israel itself, many of whom keep in their dresser draws guns for the one day they might be able to taste their dream of hurting a precious Jew.

All this can be dealt with emotionally and with faith in Hashem but there is still another reality one faces. You may have stood next to your Israeli neighbor on Har Sinai but you grew up in different surroundings. With a different tongue, other foods, wood instead of stone, central heating instead of room heaters and dozen of other commodities. For those who remain after their aliyah long term, they realize that these things are only luxuries and the desire for them simply fades away. In fact, for some, they adjust so well to life here that they wonder like the rest of the Israelis around they, why Americans are so spoiled.

The burocrasy isn’t the easiest thing to get used too. For some this breaks them. I mean to be in your 30’s and have to return to drivers ed only to find out the tester thinks you are unskilled in this task even though you have driven far more miles they he ever will in his life. But for those with a true desire to live in the holy land, these are just normal trials and far less invasive then those crazy American telemarketers. Well the list goes on but even these things can be dealt with.

Where the line begins to get evasive is when you realize that no matter what you do, you will always be an American and so will your children. As much as you try to blend in with your fake accent or pretend Israeli personality, they read through you like two way glass. Israelis are like the very stone they build with. They had to be in order to survive the persecution from the hostile nations that surround you. An American on the other hand is like a little kid going back to school again. It will take him years of schooling to learn how to function in this new world he has entered.

All the folks back home of course think that he is crazy to have made aliyah but to them, this is because of all the hostility that surrounds an Israeli. What they don’t realize is that the only real test here is how you adjust emotionally to the social environment. Yes, one can simply hide around American friends but this is not really living here. American towns are few and far between and usually lack in many things. The only true way is to be one of them. To become an Israeli in your heart, eyes, thoughts and actions but this is almost impossible when Israelis see right through you.

Believe it or not, even this a person can still overcome and live a happy life here. I mean a person doesn’t make aliyah worrying how they will appear to others but rather, for the experience itself. It only becomes hard when your children don’t fit into the society and home you are preparing for them. They are after-all, your entire world and you want to build for them good relationships and a strong education.

Meanwhile, back home, family and friends begin to forget of your existence and importance. You try to survive without them but on only 2-3 dollars an hour, your only hope is that they remember you. As an Israeli, who has lived their entire life surviving off more simple living methods, this is not a big deal but you have still not become a true Israel even after years of trying. That is, not until you have fully gone through the training required.

I think all this could become a lot easier should Americans truly supported their brothers who have changed their entire life in order to live in the holy land. If schools were to have better funding for tools & books. It would be so helpful if American explorers looked to hire oversees to support those who made aliyah. If every community raised money especially for Israeli Americans. A century ago, the only way Jews survived in Israel was through funds sent over from Russia and Poland. Today, many American Jew in Israel is entirely alone to fend off of the crumbs of his Israeli neighbors and he cannot survive without American help.

To Donate to the poor in Tzfat    http://www.ilovetorah.com/donate/

June 22, 2007

How I saved 20,000 worlds

Filed under: Website Kvetching — Reb Moshe @ 2:05 am

How I saved 20,000 Worlds, Reb Moshe of Tzfat   (I will try to get this published in Jewish Magazines but I have no connections)


 
I grew up as an FFB, otherwise defined as a quote on quote, “Frum from Birth” guy, when I suddenly went head on with my destiny or otherwise known as personal tikkun. I had run into a baal teshuvah who scored my fragile heart with words like, “How can you guys sit behind your Gemarahs when people need you.” At first I pushed away his unkindly words due to his harsh tone but over the years, his words grew on me and I found myself leaving the Gemarah for unperturbed lands. I am not going to share with you all the bumpy pathways that led me where I am today as I’m not quite sure how I even got here.


Today, I run three popular Jewish websites, www.ilovetorah.com, www.torahvideo.com, and www.frumdate.com. I Love Torah is my home base where I have a blog, many free books and other original Torah’s I have written. Torah Video is an explosive website with more then 250 Videos from all over Israel. They include video classes on Kitzer Shulchan Oruch, visits to Kivrey Tzaddikim and even classes on Jewish Meditation. More then 100,000 people have seen some videos. Frumdate is pretty self-explanatory via the name itself. It was actually one of the first frum singles sites ever.


What is amazing about the sites is the diverse crowds that flock them regularly. From men with white stockings to Jews who have never been in a Synagogue in their life, everyone is getting something out of the vast content. When I say vast, I really mean it. If a person where to sit at their computers all day for an entire year, they would not finish viewing all of the videos, audio shirim and Torah reading content. As you see, this is not a regular website you find online but an entire experience, an entire world in and of itself.


So how did I get here really? Well I guess saving lives is addictive once you realize its importance. For me growing up, I was always searching for more spirituality and direction and everywhere I turned seemed empty. I needed a regular guy like myself to uncover the mysteries of a confused soul. Someone to show me true love for Tzaddikim and Torah. I honestly never found that person. Rather I found myself in a lonely world of wanting. Wanting to come close to Hashem but not knowing how too. I had Rabbeim and teachers but they never really let me into their world and never really did I feel they understood mine. So I created something for people like myself who were looking for a Rebbe who would also be their friend. Someone who was willing to live up to the roll of being a Rabbi but at the same time could jump around and dance. I created I Love Torah.


It has been 12 years now since its opening and it has been a huge success ever since. I have had my hard-times, as it isn’t easy to collect money for a Torah Website. Every month we are in danger of shutting down but somehow we survive because we have too. I Love Torah has become a part of thousands of peoples daily life. When they arise from bed in the morning, they check to see if Reb Moshe has put up a new Torah Video or written something encouraging helping them through the day. 

June 19, 2007

America Arms the Enemy

Filed under: Current Events — Reb Moshe @ 2:49 am

There is a posuk that says that before Moshiach comes, all the world will turn against the Jews. A sample of this is the arms that America is sending to the Fatah so they or Hamas can then use them on the Jews. As you all know, a kassam landed in Kiryat Shemonah the other day. Please continue your prayers for those who live in Eretz Yisrael and let your voice be heard that arms to any of the enemy isn’t good for the Jews… It doesn’t appear that the middle to late summer will be so eventful here unless we turn it around with our prayers and Torah study.

Making the Site more personal

Filed under: Website Kvetching — Reb Moshe @ 12:58 am

I would like ideas on how to make the site more interactive and personal for everyone. Also, what your expectations are off me and ideas how to fill that roll…

Advertising Agent

Filed under: Website Kvetching — Reb Moshe @ 12:56 am

I am looking for an agent to work at getting advertising to the sites. The Agent can take 20-30% commission on sales. Estimated earnings, $1000-$1,500 a month part-time. Please send me your resumes & qualifications.

June 14, 2007

Ilovetorah Current Needs

Filed under: Website Kvetching — Reb Moshe @ 2:56 am

 

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1. If you look at new Jewish meditation video, you will see the camera going out of focus back and forth, this happens even when I manually focus. The problem increasing my editing time 3 fold and the camera is getting worse daily and needs to be replaced. 

2. My Laptop and PC are very old and not strong enough to edit videos and save them in a timely manner.

3. Not enough donations lately for ilovetorah to survive.

4. For more people to take an interest in the future of ilovetorah and torahvideo

5. Very few requests to pray at holy sites through donations.

6. Nobody fundraising & few spreading the word on the streets and to newspapers and magazines.

7. Little donations towards fuel & car upkeep for videos in the Golan.

Even though the lack of funding continues, the Videos are reaching to far out places with much success.

June 13, 2007

A Road which isn’t a Road

Filed under: What can we do? — Reb Moshe @ 3:34 am

I got pulled over today on a back-road to the mayon mikvah by police. He stated, “You drive like a pilot”. This might be the first time anyone in Israel was pulled over on a mikvah road which isn’t a road in Israel. I was not issued a ticket. Is there such a thing as a speed limit on a road which isn’t a road? tnpath2.JPG

Also, Please pray for my car’s clutch. It is brand new but the mechanic didn’t adjust it to the way I like it (soft to the touch, nice long length with pull right away when it is upright, 25inches of clutching action). This is causing me much emotional distress.

New Music & Shirim MP3’s FREE

Filed under: Website Kvetching — Reb Moshe @ 3:33 am

untitledgfgf.bmpI took out clips from the Torah Videos and turned them into mp3’s, edited the audio quality of the singing and I have uploaded them for all to enjoy. As an experiment, I also turned a few video shirim into audio mp3’s. Most certainly I need your feedback on this new venture as I can do many things with it or maybe it is totally unnecessary.

June 11, 2007

Chassidish Kabbalah & Meditation

Filed under: Website Kvetching — Reb Moshe @ 8:40 pm

 

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As many of you should know from surfing ilovetrah, I have a book that I wrote called, “chassidish Kabbalah & Meditation.” I actually wrote it live while online so it is a work in progress. To coinside this, I have begun a video class on Jewish Meditation. To my own suprise, I have vertured this into a kabbalah class. This should draw in a new crowd of folks to ilovetorah and I think it would be a good thing for me to clean the air so to speak for those who have previously delved into Kabblah or Meditation without direction or through non-Jewish methods. 

The way to properly teach Kabbalah is with mussar and teachings of humility. I didn’t go out of my way to choose to teach this but Hashem opened this gate so where I will take it and how high is yet to be determined. Since the audience is so vastly different, there will be limitations & for now I am teaching it on a level that is open to all. I also have no longing desire to teach straight Kabbalah to the world so my teachings are going to come forth with a strong chassidic tonality, yet there will be no limitations to the deepness.

Last but not least, I decided on Rosh Hashanah to venture off a little on my own path in order to discover new chiddushim, thoughts for the world. Therefore, the talks on meditation may venture into new waters.

Torah Video Site Update

Filed under: Website Kvetching — Reb Moshe @ 8:21 pm

All new videos are shown in the Torah Video newest catagory. No longer are they shown on ilovetorah

Many people have been visiting the chat room on torahvideo lately. Please join them!

There is a live forum on torahvideo which isn’t getting its full use yet. Please post!

People are watching videos but not commenting or rating them. It is good if you tell all of us what you enjoy the most and why. Please post some nice comments.

If you see a sale on a video Ipod, you might want to purchase it so you can make use of our ipod download option. TorahVideo is one of the few Jewish and non-Jewish sites to offer this option. Id like to know its in good use!

June 8, 2007

My Visits to the Golan/Lets protect her

Filed under: Current Events — Reb Moshe @ 5:25 am

banayas.bmpThe Golan Heights are once again in the news my friends with all fearing either war or the giving up of a major part of Eretz Yisrael. After visiting the Golan today, I can literally say that this is a hidden gem of Israel never really uncovered. Most areas are uninhabited and its beauty remains hidden. As I looked over the Vista of the Jordan river and other sites, deep within myself, I felt that Hashem is holding the true beauty of the Golan back, waiting for us to uncover it. As of now, I am starting a campaign of videos to uncover the beauty of the Golan through teaching Torah in these parts. It is a known thing in Israel that wherever the Jews live springs forth even foliage out of dessert grounds. We all know the Golan is beautiful, but I think it is far more magnificent then we know. Only through the learning of Torah in these parts can we truly protect her from all enemies.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I will film for you waterfalls, vistas and teach Torah in these parts. Please support this project with your generous donation for fuel.

June 6, 2007

New Videos

Filed under: Website Kvetching — Reb Moshe @ 7:05 am

I have been putting new videos on torahvideo but not ilovetorah since I don’t think it is necessary to do it twice. I want to change the name on ilovetorah to sample videos instead of newest so i don’t have to edit two sites each time I do a video. There has been a new video up about once a day. Usually I put them up in the evenings in Israel. I am working on a video project for a few weeks now. It is something very special and takes a lot of work. I know it will be the favorite of many viewers.  

June 5, 2007

Doing it yourself

Filed under: deep reflections — Reb Moshe @ 5:30 am

I am the type of person that likes to do things themselves. This week I painted my study instead of hiring a painter. Instead of calling an exterminator, I exterminated. If something breaks, I always try to fix it myself. Problem is, besides computers, I am not so good with my hands. When I painted, I didn’t Spackle. I could have but, I simply didn’t. A freshly painted room with wholes in the walls suffices for me just fine. I think in another 10 years this will change and reverse itself.

Why is it that some of us would rather get lost then ask for directions? Do we really find our way in the end doing it ourselves?