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7 Kislev, 5780 - December 5, 2019 | Mordecai Plaut, director | Vayeitzei-5780 Published Weekly

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The Story of this Year's Agudah Convention

There was tremendous energy in the air at the Agudah Convention, which took place over the weekend of Shabbos Parshas Toldos in the Crowne Plaza Stamford. The theme of this year's Convention was "Stories: Yours. Theirs. Ours." But to fully tell the story of the Convention; to list all the speakers and topics discussed; to describe the atmosphere at the beautiful Shabbos seudos; to even give justice to the topics discussed in the Yarchei Kallah shiurim, is all but impossible in the space allocated for this article.

This will give a summary of the main keynote sessions of the Convention, which took place Thursday night, motzei Shabbos, and Sunday, along with some of the concurrent sessions on Thursday.




Is Netanyahu Guilty or Not?

There is no doubt that the Israeli police and prosecutors, along with their collaborators in the media, were out to get Netanyahu. It is clear that Netanyahu was pursued relentlessly by the authorities, that they sought to accuse him of a crime in advance of finding one. The question is: Did they find one in the end?

Attorney General Mandelblit published a charge sheet of over 60 pages discussing the three cases against Netanyahu. For a start, it was highly unusual.





Gedolei Yisrael Speak about Shabbos

In the incisive letter of HaRav Chaim Kanievsky and the Rosh Hayeshiva HaRav Gershon Eidelstein publicized regarding the need to reinforce and augment the value of Shabbos in light of the increasing Shabbos desecration in the peripheral public areas, they wrote: "When, of late, acts of public violation of Shabbos have increased in the country, constituting a chillul Hashem... This behooves us to fortify ourselves in the observance of Shabbos Kodesh and the study of the laws of Shabbos by sanctifying it through Torah involvement; certainly the study of the laws pertinent to Shabbos will have an impact on those distant as well and a strengthening in the observance thereof." In the wake of this letter and the concurrent increase and spread of chillul Shabbos, we turned to members of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, asking how their plea can be actualized in practice, for their insights would surely be guidelines for the public.





Mosaic Found in the Golan

For the first time, a beis knesses was discovered in the Golan dating back to the period of Roman rule, bearing a mosaic which sheds light on the style and design of ancient synagogues.





How Rochel Imeinu Dealt With Adversity

by L. Jungerman


"And she said: With great wrestling have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed"

The Malbim uses this verse to whisk us right into the great gates of faith. He comments: "Naftulei (wrestling) is derived from the word tzomid posil, a covering bound upon [a vessel], that is, a covering and seal. Rachel wished to say that the matters between her sister and herself, that is, why she has brought forth children and not I, are bound up with Hashem. It is a hidden matter which a mortal cannot understand. But I, she said, prevailed — I suffered my lot with joy for [I know that] Hashem is righteous and His judgments are true and straight."

When times are difficult and one suffers, when one's eyes are lifted to Hashem for succor, then aside from what we are lacking at that time, we are tormented by the question: Why? Why me? Why does the next person have it good while I must suffer so bitterly? Am I any the less worthy?

This soul-searching is tortuous. Why are others able to marry off their children with ease? Why are most normal couples blessed with children? Without mental anguish? And why are others blessed with good health, prosperity and so on?

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From Our Archives

More about Burnout

by R' Zvi Zobin

Dear Rabbi Zobin,

In the past you dealt with the topic of burnout and this was most appreciated. There is very little information available on this entire subject. Whatever you can add would be very helpful.v I wonder if it would be possible to give some guidance for the unsung heroes of burnout: the young women who are married to men who are going through burnout, depression, mono or whatever you want to call it.

Thank you,

A reader in Israel


Readers have requested more discussion about `burnout.'

HaRav Avraham Pam: The Chofetz Chaim Of Torah Vodaas

by Moshe Musman

"On the dais stood a man, with a lowered gaze, his face glowing with a special radiance and pleasantness, and the shadow of a smile hovering about his lips. One could sense his discomfort at standing before an audience of thousands, and the unarticulated question, "Who appointed you?" hovering about him. Yet he accepted Heaven's wish that he be the one to offer words of rebuke. [Thus compelled, almost against his will,] he coated each word in love and fondness. He delivered his message of reproof with extraordinary tenderness . . .

His talks were living demonstrations of the words of the posuk (Melochim I 19:11-12), "Hashem is not in the noise" but in the "still small voice." He was no rhetorician. He didn't shout or wave his hands in excitement. He always spoke calmly and pleasantly -- that was precisely why what he said was so persuasive and had such influence. Everybody felt that not a single word of what he uttered was insincere. Everything emanated from the depths of his heart, which overflowed with love for every creature made in Hashem's image.

He spoke slowly and moderately; almost in a whisper. The absence of any of the usual, more dramatic speech making devices, might have given the impression that this was no more than a simple shmuess, not overly concerned with issues of moment to the general community. But if one listened closely, it immediately became clear that he was getting right to the heart of contemporary Jewish life and placing it in all its historic context, framing the whole within a lucid and solid outlook, drawn from the eternal wellsprings of Torah and mussar, and coming from the same ancient quarry that our leaders have always hewn."

Fear of Heavenly Judgment

by Maran HaRav Elozor Menachem Man Shach zt"l

This shmuess was delivered by Rosh Yeshivas Ponovezh zt"l before the kollel students of his yeshiva on 26 Elul 5756. Our version is based on notes taken by one of the participants. Though the remarks were delivered in preparation for Rosh Hashana, they are important the year round.

It is now only a few days before Rosh Hashanah, before Yom Hadin, our day of judgment. We are all going to be judged, but it will not be an ordinary judgment. The judgment will be made by the King of Kings. It would be natural for us to be overwhelmed by fear of our judgment -- eimas hadin -- and to be doing all we can to emerge triumphant. The fact is that, nevertheless, we are not doing proper teshuvoh. Why is this?

"When R' Yochanan ben Zakkai became [terminally] ill, his talmidim came to visit him. They found him crying. His talmidim said to him: `Light of Yisroel, pillar of the right hand [side], strong hammer! Why are you crying?' He answered them: `If they were bringing me before a flesh-and- blood king who is alive today but tomorrow is in the grave, then if he became angry with me his anger would not be eternal; if he imprisoned me his imprisonment would not be eternal; if he killed me the death he imparted would not be eternal; and I could appease him with [fair] speech and bribe him with money. Yet all the same I would still cry.


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

May-July, 2005