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11 Menachem Av 5773 - July 18, 2013 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly

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by Mordechai Plaut

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Caution With Regard to Halachic Compilations

Chazal greatly praise the reverence and caution required in the area of Halacha and taught us that ruling Halacha is one of the most difficult procedures since aside from caution and purity of mind required of a scholar in ruling hetter and issur, one also requires great integrity, reliability and meticulousness in sifting through hearsay and judging between one instance and another.

"We Must Reinforce Ourselves in Torah With all our Might"

"When harsh decrees are passed again the [Torah] public, those who are capable of protecting it are only the bnei Torah. This obligates us exceedingly. We must see to it that there is no laxity or shaking off the yoke of Torah during the bein hazmanim vacation period. In this merit, we hope that the yoke of the civil government and of livelihood be removed from us." These words were spoken by HaRav Gershon Eidelstein in a special talk delivered in Yeshivas Ponovezh in response to the difficult, restraining laws being passed against the Torah world and the holy yeshivos.

The Chozeh of Lublin — HaRav Yaakov Yitzchok, zt"l
In honor of his yahrtzeit, 9 Av, 5575

The name Chozeh of Lublin demands an explanation. "Chozeh" translates as "seer" (one who sees). What did Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok of Lublin see? How did he come to acquire his incredible sight? By way of explanation, we'll answer the second question first.

From Our Archives

In Depth Features
Father and Daughter

FICTION by Chaim Walder

Part I

Moshe Dovid was quite young when he married the even younger Tzila at a lavish wedding. Both of them came from well-to-do homes, and until their wedding neither of them had encountered any obstacles in their lives.

This of course doesn't imply that there were no such obstacles. It just means that they didn't encounter them because their parents tried to remove every obstacle from their paths in advance, lest their children discover that life has thorns.

Obviously, such an upbringing produces individuals who are, in the best case, capable of contending with the sleep sand which collect in the corners of their eyes and, on exceptional occasions, with the difficult questions of whether or not to move a piece of furniture from one room to another or what cereal to buy at the supermarket, if at all.

To put it briefly, neither of them was more fit for marriage than a newborn baby is for a ski trip.

Opinion and Comment

Zevulun And Yissochor In Transition: A Shmuess Delivered By HaRav Moshe Shmuel Shapiro

Part II
In the first part, the Rosh Yeshiva noted that while the Beis Hamikdash was being destroyed, Chazal were occupied with preserving Torah. A different perspective would have said, "Jews were being killed in thousands -- was it a time for making new enactments and decrees?" But the truth is that this effort is what preserved Klal Yisroel. In our days, the nations of the world do not consider us to be worthy to dispute with them. Like Lovon arguing with Yaakov Ovinu, they do not find it necessary to respond to our arguments. They merely assert that they are in control.

Opinion and Comment

The Key to Redemption: A Droshoh for Shabbos Nachamu

by HaRav Eliyohu Ze'ev Cochin, zt'l

HaRav Eliyohu Ze'ev Cochin zt'l was a rov in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This droshoh for Shabbos Nachamu was published in his sefer Aderes Eliyohu in 5677-1917. The sefer includes letters about him from HaRav Chaim Soloveitchik and HaRav Chaim Ozer Grodzensky.

More than eighteen centuries have now passed since our exile from our land and the destruction of our Mikdosh, to which we are still prevented from ascending. Hashem's Hand is still outstretched against us; each day's curse is greater than that of the day before. We assume that this is all because our tefillos are not wholehearted and genuine. Were we all to pray to Hashem with all our hearts and were those prayers to be accompanied by tears -- a sure indication that prayer is truly from the heart, for tears cannot be shed if only one's lips move, without conviction, and in addition, "all the gates are closed except for the gates of tears" (Bovo Metzia 59) -- we would by now certainly have gone up to our land and been redeemed forever.

The parshah that we read every Shabbos Nachamu however, seems to contradict this.


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