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8 Tishrei 5775 - October 2, 2014 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly

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The Center of the Universe
At The Center of the Universe
by Mordechai Plaut

The next two weeks, the weeks of Succos, we are not planning to produce an issue. The next planned issue is for Parshas Noach, 29 Tishrei, 5775/October 23. Gmar chasimah tovoh and chag somei'ach!

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The Message of HaRav Shteinman for 5775

This past Monday morning, HaRav Shteinman arrived at Yeshivas Orchos Torah and Gaon Yaakov to deliver a message of chizuk and arousal in anticipation of the upcoming Yom Kippur. Among other things, he spoke about the role of Torah students during these Aseres Yemei Teshuvoh in general and all the more so now in this difficult period when certain elements seek to uproot everything.

"Those Who Overcome their Inclination and Sever Themselves from the Tainted Devices Will Annul Harsh Decrees"

These were the illuminating words of HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein, Rav of Ramat Elchonon and member of Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, in an address he delivered Erev Rosh Hashanah and on Shabbos Shuva.

His words followed the incisive letter of HaRav Chaim Kanievsky which stated, "Surely those who possess the contaminated devices are in danger on the upcoming Day of Judgment," while highlighting the great merit of those who eschew them.

New Year Numbers

According to a report in Mercaz HaInyanim written by Shaul Weiss, the State of Israel now counts 6,180,000 Jewish inhabitants. 120,860 Jewish babies were born in Israel. The world Jewish population in the Diaspora has grown to 7,800,000, according to the usually accepted, very liberal criteria for Jewishness. A similar number was extant in 1882 when Palestine only numbered 24,000 Jews.

Let Us Rejoice And Be Happy With This Torah - Stories and Anecdotes Excerpted from Sorosecho Sha'ashu'oi about HaRav Shach zt"l

Rav Dovid Zimmerman relates: "One Hoshanna Rabba towards the end of our master's life, a childless avreich arrived at his succah. He and his wife had not had a child for almost twenty years. Our master was in a good mood and even though he usually avoided giving blessings - and would sometimes argue and bargain before agreeing to do so - the attitude he took towards them during Succos was different to that of the rest of the year.

" . . . And who knows if there will be anyone left to need an esrog in Pressburg next year."

The heady scent of the leafy green schach wafted towards him as Reb Yisroel entered his succah, and he surveyed the scene before him with a satisfied smile. The festively decorated walls and rafters sparkled and shone, their colors contrasting sharply with the snow-white tablecloth on the long table.

From Our Archives

Opinion and Comment
The Thoughts of our Heart

by Mordecai Plaut

"And for the sin that we committed before You in our heart's thoughts" (behirhur haleiv).

One of the sins for which we beat our breasts on Yom Kippur is for having the wrong thoughts. If the wrong thoughts flit through our minds, we ask forgiveness from Hashem. We want our minds to be places whose contents are pure and holy all the time: 24/7.

Opinion and Comment
Happiness Must Bring Unity

by Mordecai Plaut

Succos is known as zeman simchoseinu, the time of our happiness, but modern society, and certainly modern secular, non-Jewish society, has completely lost touch with what happiness is.

Who Will Bring Us Tidings of Our Redemption and How Will We Know That It Has Truly Arrived?

Prepared from divrei Torah of HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv, by Rav Avrohom Tzvi Yisraelsohn

The mishnah in Yoma (3:1) tells us that every morning the deputy Cohen used to tell the cohanim to climb to a high vantage point and look at the sky to see whether the time had arrived for the shechitah of the daily morning tomid. When a Cohen declared that it the time had come because it was light, he would ask him whether the entire eastern sky had become light, until Chevron. The mishnah explains that this question was necessary because once, the moon's light before morning had been very bright, and they mistakenly thought the sky had become light. They then slaughtered the tomid while it was still night, rendering it invalid and ended up having to incinerate it. The reason for including Chevron in the question was in order to mention the merit of the Ovos, who are buried there.

Customs and Practices

from Maran HaRav Shach, ztvk'l

Temporary Residence

Maran was very particular that the sechach covering of his succah be very thick so as not to have any holes (air spaces) and that it remain dark to the eye from the outside, also that it be impervious to rain.

Staying Jewish: The Heroic Story of HaRav Yitzchok Zilber's Life under Atheist-Communist Rule

by Binyomin Y. Rabinovitz

HaRav Zilber was niftar on erev Tisha B'Av this year. In a life focused on talmud Torah and shemiras mitzvos he accomplished quite a bit, even though more than half of his life was spent in Communist Russia -- the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Learn From the Ant

by M. Zonnenfeld


Reb Aharon arrived on the afternoon of a very warm day. The sun, which had blazed since the morning, hadn't grown in the least tired, and continued to bombard the yard with heat waves.


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