Oleinu Leshabei'ach -- on Sefer Shemos
Volume II of Oleinu Leshabei'ach on Sefer
Shemos was released last year. The series in progress
consists of divrei mussar and chizuk said by
HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein and rendered into book form by R'
Moshe Michoel Tzoran. Preceded by the popular series
Tuvchoh Yabi'u, the new series includes new stories
and anecdotes from gedolei hador as well as a
collection of sheilos utshuvos on topical matters.
The volume on Shemos also brings hundreds of stories
from gedolei hador in language that speaks to the
heart. Each volume ends with a section containing sheilos
utshuvos, providing halachic rulings regarding various
problems that often arise today. The topics covered in the
volume on Shemos range from beis haknesses,
krias haTorah and brochos to Shabbos, loans and
tzedokoh and ma'aser gelt; from bikur
cholim and nichum aveilim to hilchos
seudah, Bircas Hamozone and hilchos shecheinim.
This section even includes responsa on questions related to
the terrorist attacks in Eretz Yisroel today.
The questions are notable for dealing with "burning issues."
The following are excerpts from Volume II.
The Case of the Burned Bible
He is considered a leading expert in his field. In these
trying times sappers are in high demand in every army and in
every country. The wars being waged between various countries
in every part of the world have brought those trained to
neutralize explosives to the top of the list of military
His first name is Yaakov. Just about everyone in Northern
Israel knows him. He is the first to arrive at the scene of
every suspicious object and at every incident where armed
personnel take part, to ensure the area is sterile--i.e. free
of booby traps, bombs and other hazardous devices.
He has already made hundreds of such calls. He knows the
police robot dispatched to explode suspicious objects --
purses, travel bags, and unclaimed packages left along the
way -- like the back of his hand. Yaakov is a well-known
figure in northern towns and settlements and when he arrives
in his large van marked, Chablan Mishtarti ("Police
Sapper"), everyone knows that in a few minutes the roads will
be blocked and Yaakov will start surveying the scene with his
Yaakov was not observant until a certain incident that
instantly persuaded him to start laying tefillin. The
security personnel who have worked with him for years noticed
the change right away. Since he was respected as a man of
high seriousness, his friends and acquaintances recognized
that his recent efforts to come closer to G-d should not be
dismissed as a fly-by-night affair and took a keen interest
in his story.
Over the years Yaakov detonated hundreds of suspicious
objects in cities and remote settlements during the course of
his police and military work. At a certain point he began to
take note of a very peculiar phenomenon. "Every time I was
summoned to blow up a suspicious bag," he says, "after the
robot did its bidding, if there were tefillin or
sifrei kodesh in the bag I would find they had been
undamaged by the explosion. They would remain intact. Every
This phenomenon defied explanation. Each and every time, the
holy articles would emerge from the charred remains entirely
unscathed. Yet somehow he still did not arrive at the
inescapable conclusion that there is a hand guiding all of
Creation. Today he cannot explain why he failed to wake up to
these incidents and draw closer to the G-d of Israel. But an
incident that occurred at a settlement near the Lebanese
border tipped the scales.
Yaakov was called in to neutralize an unidentified bag that
looked particularly suspicious. Arriving in his van he
prepared the equipment, sent all of the onlookers to a safe
distance and proceeded to explode the suspicious article.
Soon thereafter he found that the bag in question, as in
almost every other case, was someone's harmless personal
belongings. Yaakov sighed in relief and after thoroughly
examining all of the contents, he was about to return to his
headquarters when he noticed a Tanach. Unlike all of
the previous cases, the book was burned from cover to cover.
The verses were almost totally unreadable.
Yaakov stopped in his tracks. He had never encountered such a
sight. Why had the Tanach burned on this occasion? He
took a better look, turning the book over and over, but
because of the charred remains he was unable to discern
anything unusual. The renowned sapper was just about to
attribute it to chance when he noticed small letters engraved
on the back cover. The letters were so small they could
barely be seen, but straining his eyes he saw the Tanach
was actually a copy of the "New Testament."
His heart skipped a beat. Now everything became clear to him.
He knew there was a Creator. One hour later Yaakov arrived at
the home of a rov he knew in the area and asked him to order
a pair of tefillin. The next day he arrived at
Shacharis, head and arm adorned with the new
Av Beis Din Struck with Inspiration
A dayan who handles a case earnestly merits tremendous
siyata deShmaya in all of his endeavors and receives
Heavenly guidance to reach the truth of the matter. Observers
are often astounded at the ideas that pop up in botei
din, ideas so sophisticated even veteran investigators do
not think of them. This is illustrated by the following
story, heard from an extremely reliable source, about a case
brought before Rav Yitzchok Yaakov Weiss, author of
Minchas Yitzchok and former av beis din in
A certain Jew demanded a large sum of money from a second
party, who had allegedly borrowed the money and had not yet
repaid it. The defendant denied the claim outright. "I have
not borrowed a single agorah from him, my entire
life," he declared. The dayanim asked the claimant if
he had a shtar chov, whereupon he whisked a promissory
note bearing the defendant's signature and listing all of the
details presented in the case.
When the shtar was presented to the defendant, he
admitted it bore his original signature, but continued to
insist he had not loaned any money from the claimant,
declared the note a forgery from beginning to end and said he
had no idea how his signature had come into the other man's
Apparently the case should have been decided in favor of the
claimant since even the defendant admitted the signature was
his, but the Av Beis Din, sensing justice was on the
side of the defendant, asked for some time to think.
The next day Rav Weiss told the defendant to approach the
bench and asked him to bring several books from his bookcase
at home. Although unable to fathom the reason for the
request, the defendant did as he was told. The Av Beis
Din opened each book to the first page and saw that the
defendant had a habit of writing his name not on the top of
the page but in the middle.
"Did the claimant ever borrow a book of any kind from you?"
he asked the defendant. Straining to think, he did recall
that many years ago he had loaned the claimant a book. "Go
home and bring the book here," the Av Beis Din
instructed. When the book arrived the first page was found to
Now everything was clear. The claimant was a big shyster and
when he saw the name of the book-lender written in the middle
of the page he decided to tear out the entire page, write a
promissory note on the blank space above and later come to
beis din flourishing the alleged borrower's original
How did this brilliant idea come to the Av Beis Din's
mind? Only through the Divine promise given to Jewish
dayanim to reach the truth with help from Above.
Today as well, faithful Torah Jews can see this special power
granted to dayanim to see what other people cannot.
This is the power of Torah, and this is the power of all of
HaRav Eliashiv Notes Forgery at a Glance
And I have another story that attests to the Heaven-sent
supernatural powers given to truth-seeking dayanim to
enable them to rule and bring the truth to light in the best
possible manner. I recall an incident that occurred to Maran
HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv, shlita, when a certain
shtar reached his hands and he instantly identified it
as a forgery.
I was present at the time and asked HaRav Eliashiv how he
knew the shtar was fake. "Can't you see it's forged?"
he replied, adding, "The shtar is written in red
I reexamined the shtar and was quite surprised at
HaRav Eliashiv's remarks, for to me the ink appeared to be
black. Maran told me to take another look, and then I saw
that there were, in fact, several different shades of red and
black, proof that someone had tried to forge it by writing on
top of other writing.
A subsequent inquiry indeed proved HaRav Eliashiv correct.
Hardly speaking a word, he recognized the shtar to be
a fake with amazing ease. This is the way the world appears
to a dayan when "Elokim nitzov ba'Edas Kel."
All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.