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21 Shevat 5761 - Febuary 14, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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"Meoros HaDaf HaYomi" Insights into the Week's Learning
Under the Direction of Rabbi Chaim Dovid Kovalski

Stories, Mussar, Practical Halacha (Tractate "Gittin" Daf 2- 10) (Vol. 90) 15 Shevat 5761 From the Sochatchov "Beis Medrash of Teachers of the Daf HaYomi" Bnei Brak

Contents of this Issue of Meoros HaDaf HaYomi:

* The borders of our Holy Land * "The air of Eretz Yisroel makes one wise." * The burial place of Moshe Rabbeinu * Wedding invitations written in Rashi script * The kedushah of ksav Ashuri *The sin of informing on one's fellow * Reporting eyesight problems of soldiers and cab drivers * Can building a landfill expand the Holy Land's borders? * The Jordan River is a "shifting" border * Buying a house in Israel from a non-Jew on Shabbos

[Edited Excerpts]

From the Editor Of "Meoros"

The Alter's Precious Candle of Bitachon

The network of Novardok Yeshivos throughout Russia was founded by R. Yozel Horowitz zt'l, known as the Alter of Novardok [died 5680-1920]. In these yeshivos many hundreds toiled over Torah and mussar, structuring their lives according to the singular philosophy of HaRav Yozel, focusing on fervent bitochon and mesirus nefesh for Torah and mitzvos.

HaRav Chaim Zaitchik zt'l, a talmid of Yeshivas Novardok, was one of its roshei yeshivos. A renowned orator and author of various works of mussar, he used to tell the following anecdote, which gives us a glimpse of the greatness of the gedolei Torah of previous generations -- who toiled day and night over the Holy Torah, simultaneously working tirelessly on refining their character traits. Thereby, they reached sublime levels of faith and trust in Hashem.

HaRav Yozel of Novardok had special love for the remains of a certain candle, and would carry the wax with him wherever he would go. This is the story behind that candle:

R. Yozel cherished silence and seclusion, because it helped him to introspect and serve Hashem with true devotion. Accordingly, he often would seek solace in an isolated a hut that he had in the heart of a thick forest.

One murky night R. Yozel was sitting in the hut studying Torah with a talmid. The clock hands steadily moved forward while the two absorbed themselves in Hashem's Torah -- not paying the slightest attention to anything around them. They sat at a table in the center of the room. In a nearby corner of the room stood a candle that spread its light on the holy countenances of R. Yozel and his talmid. With increasing enthusiasm, in tandem with one another, they swayed back and forth over the page of the Talmud, saturating their souls with the Torah's honeyed nectar -- the shadows of their forms dancing on the walls of the hut.

Suddenly the candle's flame began to dance, too. The two realized that soon the light would go out. The talmid said to R. Yozel that they had better find a replacement candle before the hut would go dark, but with a motion of his hand R. Yozel dismissed the idea completely. The two continued their learning.

A few minutes later, the candle flared up for a moment and then quickly flickered out. Later, the talmid would tell how total and absolute was the darkness in the hut. Not even a bit of light penetrated the windows, for outside, under the trees in the middle of the thick forest, it was pitch black. Almost immediately, the talmid heard the hut's door opening and R. Yozel footsteps as his Rav left the hut. The talmid hurried after him to see where he was going.

He was amazed, for R. Yozel told him that he was going into the forest to look for a candle! The talmid called out, "Rebbe! A candle? Now? In the forest? In the middle of the night?" Again, with just a wave of his hand, R. Yozel dismissed his talmid's words and continued on his way. In no time, the Rav disappeared into the thick, silent forest.

The talmid returned to the hut but his thoughts did not give him peace. "How will the Rebbe find a candle out there? Why doesn't he understand that there is nothing that can be done?"

While still wrapped in his thoughts, the talmid heard steps coming closer. In a few moments R. Yozel entered the hut and he was holding a candle! Wordlessly, R. Yozel inserted the candle into its holder, lit the wick, and returned to the table as if nothing at all unusual had happened.

Immediately, the voice of R. Yozel again filled the hut, bouncing off the walls loudly as he chanted the line of the gemora where the two had left off when the first candle went out. The astounded talmid did not get the chance to ask his Rav even one of the many questions darting in his head.

The two returned to their gemara learning. Again the time passed quickly. Dawn came -- pushing aside the raven robe of darkness to issue in a bright new day.

R. Yozel and his talmid finished the sugya. R. Yozel extinguished the candle and put it inside his coat pocket. "Since when does R. Yozel hold on to the remains of candles?" mumbled the talmid to himself.

Later they both returned to the city. During the first droshoh that R. Yozel delivered, the talmid learned all about what had happened that amazing night.

R. Yozel explained that we must completely trust in Hashem. We must realize that everything is from Him. When we are about to do anything, we should not think that success is dependent upon us. We must plan and act, but whether we will accomplish our intentions is not in our hands. We must realize that only Hashem directs and leads the world, and everything is up to Him.

In the middle of his speech R. Yozel reached into his coat pocket and took out what was left of that mysterious candle. "Do you see this? This is the candle that showed me what it means to trust in Hashem. We must have complete bitachon in Hashem. If we do, He will take care of everything."

Then R. Yozel told his listeners the details -- how in the middle of the night he had left the hut to search for a candle, not thinking for a moment that anyone would be wandering in the forest at night with a candle. That part of the forest was very far from any city or settlement. Even if he made it to civilization and found a candle, by then it would be sunrise.

"I left the hut anyway, knowing only one thing. I need a candle to study Torah! A few minutes later I met a farmer who `for some reason' was passing by in his wagon near the hut and `just happened to have' a spare candle."

The wagon driver wanted to take advantage and ask an exorbitant price for the invaluable candle, but R. Yozel knew that Hashem helps and will surely provide him a candle at a reasonable price so there would be no waste of the yeshiva's money. Accordingly, when the farmer sought to overcharge him, R. Yozel simply started walking away from him. Immediately the farmer saw he could not make his desired profit and then sold the candle at a fair price.

Now the talmid understood why his Rav was not excited at all that night when he returned to the hut and was holding a candle. To the talmid it looked as if a miracle had happened, but his Rav viewed the episode entirely differently: A Jew needs a candle to study Torah! If he lives with simple emunah, why shouldn't Hashem provide him his needs?

Years later, a fire broke out in R. Yozel's house and most of his possessions were destroyed, not that he owned very much anyway. His talmidim knew what little importance their Rav attached to material possessions and Olam Hazeh. Therefore, they were certain that the destruction wrought by the fire would not bother R. Yozel at all. For some reason, though, R. Yozel was now standing in the midst of the ruins of his house, consumed by worry. To everyone's astonishment he was digging through the rubble with a fearful expression on his face.

"My candle, my precious candle is missing!" R. Yozel lamented bitterly. When he would speak in public about emunah and trust in Hashem, he would always show the candle and tell its story. Now this visible example of fruit of emunah was gone, and the loss tormented him. His pious face was etched with grief.

One day R. Yozel suddenly appeared much different. His face was lit up with the old glow that it used to have. There was no trace of the sorrow that had taken hold of him after the fire.

"You probably know," said R. Yozel to his talmidim, "that for a long time I was very aggrieved that my candle that illustrated trust in Hashem was lost. For me, that candle signified emunah and bitachon in the Creator. Touching it would awaken in me the feeling that everything is from Hashem. This morning, though, I realized that we do not need such a candle -- or any other physical means of strengthening our faith and trust in Hashem. It is obvious that everything is dependent on Hashem! How is it possible for a Jew to think differently?"

With the Blessings of the Torah, The Editor

8b Due to the importance of Jewish settlement of Eretz Yisroel

Buying a House in Israel from a Non-Jew on Shabbos

Our Daf explains that it is permitted to transgress the issur of "instructing a non-Jew" [e.g. telling him to write on Shabbos] for the purpose of purchasing a dwelling in Eretz Yisroel. Chazal forbid a Jew on Shabbos to tell a non- Jew to do for him a melochah, but for the sake of buying a dwelling in Eretz Yisroel from a non-Jew, Chazal did not make any decree. A Jew is allowed to command a non- Jew to write for him a bill of sale for the dwelling [when the non-Jew is interested in the sale].

What issur was permitted? The poskim differ, however, if for the sake of acquiring a dwelling from the non-Jew, Chazal permitted only the issur of "instructing a non-Jew." Perhaps they permitted even to carry out the kinyan on Shabbos. The opinion of "Mishpetei Tzedek" (cited in "Magen Avraham," Orach Chaim 306:11) is that Chazal did not permit buying on Shabbos, for buying and making a kinyan is a separate issur. If the Jewish buyer already made the kinyan [i.e. he gave the money to the non-Jewish seller] before Shabbos, he can instruct the non-Jew to write the bill of sale even on Shabbos, but doing the kinyan on Shabbos is forbidden.

The halachic material is intended only to stimulate discussion.

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