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3 Tammuz, 5780 - June 25, 2020 | Mordecai Plaut, director | Chukas-5780 Published Weekly
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Israeli Burial Rules in the era of Covid-19 are Non-Halachic

Much sharp criticism has been brewing of late against Professor Sigal Sedatzky, head of the Public Health Services. The central claim against her is: excessive regulations, lack of consultation with the relevant and professional factors in that capacity. Even the experts within her department were not allowed to express their opinion or differ with her. Dealing with one of the foremost crises in the country was carried on without any discussions or consultations with organized decision making.

If this was true regarding the living, the contagious public and those who had contracted the virus, it was all the more acute vis-a-vis the dead. No less than 13 pages of draconian directives were issued regarding the dealing with the deceased. In many cases, representatives of the Health Ministry were sent to ascertain that the harsh and illogical rulings were being carried out on site, which forced the Chevra Kadisha members to adhere to these instructions.





Rehabilitating the Cemetery of Mezhibuzh

The roads to Ukraine are desolate these days, bereft of the huge groups of worshipers flocking to pray at the many graves scattered throughout this large country.

Nevertheless, the Ohel Tzaddikim - Geder Ovos organization continues its work tirelessly for the sake of the sanctity of ancestral graves, maintaining and preserving them as befits the deceased.

During this past week, in the capacity of his work, Rabbi Yisroel Meir Gabbai, responsible for the cleanliness and upkeep of the new cemetery in Mezhibuzh, discovered several tombstones which surfaced among the wild grasses growing there and which, for many years, had been hidden from the eyes of the worshipers who frequented this cemetery.





Agudath Israel Welcomes Critical US Letter to Mayor de Blasio

Friday June 12 the U.S Department of Justice issued a letter to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio expressing concern over the double standard seen in New York City with regard to freedom of religion. Agudath Israel has been in the forefront of the surprising struggle to exercise religious freedom in New York City and New York State during the coming summer.





Recognizing The Truth: The Potential Power of Yirei Shomayim

A Shmuess by HaRav Chaim Shmuelevitz zt'l


In 5732, the public's attention was caught by the proposed establishment of a Beis Hamedrash Le'Rabbonim in Yerushalayim. The venture met with sharp opposition from the gedolim of the time, who recognized the great danger posed by an institution of this nature. But there were those who did not understand why the gedolim reacted as sharply as they did. It was during this period that the HaRav Chaim Shmuelevitz zt'l delivered a shmuess in Yeshivas Mir in which he dwelt on the special sense of "smell" with which men possessing vast Torah wisdom and fear of Hashem, are endowed. That proposal was the context in which it was delivered. This shmuess was made available to us by HaRav Shmuel Yaakov Bornstein zt"l. It has been rendered into English from notes which were taken at the time.

Part 2

Total Dedication

Now we arrive at the main topic of this shmuess, a matter of practical importance. Now you will be able to hear answers to all the questions concerning the current problems.

Chazal explain that when Pharaoh's daughter stretched out her arm towards Moshe's cradle, which was sixty amos away from her— much too far for her to reach—her arm became greater and she grasped it. Her arm didn't grow longer. Rather, with the very same arm which she already had, she managed to reach the entire distance. This is another example of a person's great potential. Through single-minded concentration of one's powers on rescuing a soul, one can reach any place.

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From Our Archives

Reflections on Trigger-Happy Police

by Mordecai Plaut

Things stay the same. This was written 18 years ago about Israel, but it is quite relevant today and to America and the entire world.

The facts are chilling -- and so are the reactions.

The difficult security situation puts people on edge, especially those charged with preserving public safety. At any time and in any place anyone, and especially anyone in a uniform, can suddenly be the object of a heartless and cruel attack. Sometimes, being quick on the draw can mean the difference between the death of a terrorist and the deaths of dozens of innocent victims.

Yet there is always the serious concern that a gun-carrying guard who must regard everyone approaching him with suspicion, hour after hour and day after day, trying to do his job properly with regard to the safety of many people who depend on him, may harm some innocent person who looks or acts suspiciously for some entirely innocent reason.

"I Wish I Could Tell the Principal..."

"It is rare that I have such a captive audience," said the retired teacher who gives an occasional Shabbos shiur in our neighborhood, "and this true story is too good to sit."

I attended a funeral in Bnei Brak last week. It was hot and feeling completely drained afterwards, I found myself a small kiosk at the far end of Rechov Ben Zakkai which borders on Ramat Gan. I went in, bought myself a bun and a drink, and seeing an empty chair, asked if I could sit down to eat.

"Help yourself," said the proprietor. After a few moments of silence, broken by no customers, he suddenly began fidgeting. "You're from Yerusholayim, aren't you?" he asked, opening the conversation. "Do you have a moment to hear something that happened to me?" Halfway through the bun and curious, I nodded.

"Well, about two and a half years ago, a young couple comes into the store, not regular customers and obviously recent baalei tshuva. The young man turns to me and says, `I owe you a lot of money and I'd like to pay it up now.'

Being A Loving Father To Talmidim

by HaRav Ezriel Auerbach

HaRav E. Auerbach delivered this discourse at the "Beis Vaad LeMechanchim" (Educators' Conference Hall) at the commencement of courses for principals, supervisors, and educators of seventh and eight grades.

With permission from the assembled, before I address this gathering I must confess to being neither an educator nor engaged in the field of education. Nonetheless, the mitzvah that educators engage in bears a blessing for Klal Yisroel and, as part of Klal Yisroel, I want to bless you for your efforts.

Although I never intensively studied the halochos regarding melamdim, the Shulchan Oruch Yoreh Deah (245:7) rules: "We station melamdim of children in every city. If [those living in the city] did not appoint melamdim, we destroy the city, since the world exists only because of the words of these children who study by their rav."


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

May-July, 2005