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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
The halachic material is intended only to stimulate
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