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18 Iyar 5775 - May 7, 2015 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Our Job is to Prevent the Desecration of Holy Writings

by Vaad Halochoh LeInyonei Genizah

As we find ourselves before Lag B'Omer when tens of thousands people going up to pray at the grave of Rashbi, we would like to publicize an illuminating story:

The heads of the Committee for Genizah Affairs went in the past as a group to ask HaRav Eliashiv if it was permissible to distribute pamphlets with divrei Torah etc. for the public benefit since there is danger of desecration of holy material, even though this would decrease the possible benefit. [Editor's note: The question referred to distributing divrei Torah at large public events such as Lag B'Omer in Meron. On the one hand many people would learn Torah as a result instead of wasting their time. On the other hand, such wide distribution would almost certainly result in some of the pamphlets not being properly handled.]

The ruling we received was decisive and incisive, that we must not do so. As to bitul Torah which would have been gained, he said: "In a situation where chilul Hashem can result, we do not have to be concerned for the Torah. Hashem Himself will see to the Torah!"

On Lag B'Omer 5773 some askonim, seeking to increase Torah learning, distributed thousands of booklets and gave them out to those coming to Meron. They tried very hard to avoid desecrating the whole words: They wrote prominently on each booklet that it requires genizah. They gave each of them out by hand so they could control who received them. They put up special receptacles to collect the used booklets. And at the end of the day they spent hours combing the area for left over booklets.

Nonetheless, the following year all the rabbonim, from every group, announced that it was prohibited to distribute divrei Torah in a situation like Lag B'Omer in Meron. They came to us privately and asked if we thought that perhaps the way they had handled the distribution the year before would be ok. They were surprised to hear from us that there were still significant problems. Some people just left they booklets randomly without even looking at their contents. Many others left their copies on buses which did not handle them properly.

They were very disappointed but decided, with a heavy heart, not to print another round of booklets. But then they had an idea. They set up a special phone line, called it Yeshivas Lag B'Omer, and it was wildly successful. They had more than 13,000 calls over the course of the day. Tens of thousands of hours of learning were added by those coming and going to Meron.

Thus we all had an eye-opening example of the fulfillment of the holy words of HaRav Eliashiv zt"l that Hashem saw to the support of learning his Torah while we ensured that there was no chilul Hashem!

The phone number of the Vaad Halochoh LeInyonei Genizah is 02-624-7814.


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