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27 Iyar, 5780 - May 21, 2020 | Mordecai Plaut, director | Bamidbar-5780 Published Weekly
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HaRav S. Y. Chaim Kanievsky

To the Honored Rabbonim Geonim and Gabboim of Botei Knesses wherever they be, Hashem's blessings unto you for life:

Due to our numerous sins, we have been expelled from our shuls and botei medrash for these past many weeks, similar to that servant who comes to serve his master a drink but has that liquid thrown at his face. This is surely a sign from Heaven as a punishment for being lax in the respect due to a place of worship in that during the very prayers, cellphones are open and people are conversing through them.





Health is also Torah

HaRav Shalom Meir Wallach turned our attention to an incisive comment of HaRav Eliashiv regarding the gemara in Shabbos 82a: Rav Huna said to Rabba Briya: Why aren't you studying under Rav Chisda, whose lessons are so finely honed? He said: Why should I go to him? Whenever I go, he sits me down and discusses worldly matters rather than divrei Torah. He said: One who goes to relieve himself in the bathroom should not sit hastily nor exert himself overly, because the large intestine lies on three "teeth" and if one of them falls, it can be dangerous. He replied: He is dealing with human health and you call this a profane matter? By all means, go and study under him!




Israeli Research: Small Chance of Covid-19 Transmission through Touching Surfaces - CDC Agrees

An Israeli study whose data is being culled these days hopes to provide information on one of the major disturbing questions concerning Corona: Is the virus contagious through touch of surfaces which infected people have touched or have been in close contact with others? This question caused the skyrocketing of sales of anti-disinfectants and of introducing strange practices and dubious safeguards to the point of quarantining books returned to a public library or disinfecting buses and classrooms.




70 Percent of Israeli Covid-19 Cases Came from the USA

A first study in Israel which sequenced the Corona virus' genetic code, comparing it to the genetic code of versions of the viruses which were isolated throughout the world, reveals the significant factors of the epidemic's outbreak in Israel. The most noteworthy finding indicates that 70% of the chain of contamination reaching Israel originated in the U.S. Other cases came from Europe, primarily from Belgium and France.

It should be noted that the genetic code is slightly mutated in the process of contamination between people. These are small mutations which give researches a so-called bar code enabling them to identify how the virus spreads.





Does Torah Weaken Those Who Study It?

by HaRav Eliezer HaLevi Dunner


This article was originally published 20 years ago.

According to the gemora (Sanhedrin 26), Yeshaya Hanovi calls the Torah tushiyah: "[The Torah] is wonderful in counsel and excellent in tushiyah" (Yeshaya 28:29), suggesting that the Torah weakens man's physical power (tushiyah is related to mateshes, "weakening"). We are accustomed to understanding this simply: day-and-night Torah study, exerting ourselves to our maximum, saps our strength and weakens us.

If this is Chazal's intention, what is the Torah's extraordinary quality that Yeshaya the novi wants to inform us of? Would it not have been more appropriate to praise the Torah for making us wiser or for refining our souls? What special importance is there in that Torah study devitalizes us?

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From Our Archives

The Proper Preparation for Shavuos

by HaRav Michel Yehudah Lefkowitz zt"l

This article was prepared based on a shmuess delivered on erev Shavuos 5759 in the Beis Medrash Elyon and kollel Toras Chesed.

"In the third month, after bnei Yisroel left the land of Egypt, on that same day, they came into the Sinai desert. For they departed from Refidim, and came to the Sinai desert, and pitched in the desert; and there Yisroel camped before the mountain" (Shemos 19:1-2). Chazal expound in the Mechilta: "Just as their purpose of coming to the Sinai desert was to receive the Torah, so their purpose of traveling from Refidim was to receive the Torah."

The Netziv (in Ha'ameik Dovor) asks why we need to know why Bnei Yisroel traveled from Refidim. The Netziv answers that the Mechilta is teaching us that the more a person readies himself for kedushah, the more he is actually qualified for it. Bnei Yisroel began, from when they were in Refidim at the outset of their travels, to prepare themselves to receive the Torah so as to be fully prepared when the time came.

Hashem made this yom tov of matan Torah an annual segulah for us. Each person can attain the tremendous gift of receiving the Torah, of being blessed from Hashem with success in Torah study and on this day be granted a spiritual abundance for the whole year. But, as we learn from the Netziv, everything depends on our preparation. The more we prepare ourselves, the more we are able to secure the inspiration emitting from this special time and from the momentous events that occurred.



Synopsis: The author is trying to head off a negative relationship of her married daughter by sharing an analogy from her own life. Sharon was a neighbor over twenty years back, in small town America, whom she misguidedly adulated and emulated, but whose jaded ideas had begun to change her healthy attitudes to life, family, duties. This relationship is nipped off by Providence, but the rude awakening is yet to come.

When I was on good terms with my husband, I reminisced silently, not wanting to put any strange ideas into my daughter's head, I almost felt like I was betraying Sharon. What a bizarre way to think! I figured that by listening to her complain, I'd be grateful that my family wasn't as difficult as hers, but it didn't work out that way. It's kind of like playing with quicksand -- you get dragged down.


Av, 5765 - Kislev 5766 (August-December 2005)

May-July, 2005