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24 Iyar, 5781 - May 6, 2021 | Mordecai Plaut, director | Bereishis- 5781 Published Weekly
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At The Center of the Universe
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A Special Letter of Chizuk from HaRav Chaim Kanievsky

A special letter of chizuk from HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, author of "Derech Emunah", addresses the situation and the difficult calamity. He replies to the many questions he receives regarding "Why has Hashem wrought this upon us?"





An Avreich Who Saved Many

The man in the photo showed resourcefulness, jumped from the railing and dredged up one child after another. According to those whom he rescued, he must have saved many children and adults at the height of the calamity. He took a position and grabbed the children who were handed up to him from below. At the same time, he shouted to the crowd behind to stop advancing. As soon as the gates were dismantled, the man in the photo left his spot, not waiting even a moment to receive any credit. This was the report written by one of the eye witnesses and publicized together with the photo which roused so many.





Remarks over the Tragedy

Mir lost four of its talmidim, all from chutz la'aretz who came to imbibe of the Torah and atmosphere of Mir Yeshiva and Yerushalayim. They went to Meron and did not return.

We asked the Mashgiach HaRav Binyomin Finkel for some perspective.





Pictures: The Site of the Tragedy





Agudath Israel Wins Preliminary Injunction Against Jackson Township

In the latest development in Agudath Israel's four-year legal battle, a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction against Jackson Township, NJ's discriminatory and unconstitutional ordinances banning of yeshivos, dormitories, and interpretation of zoning laws prohibiting eruvin today. While a final ruling on the merits is still pending, the preliminary injunction is a strong statement by the court, considered an extraordinary form of relief in the legal system




Killing Oneself In Torah's Tent

This essay was first published twenty-five years ago.

"This is the Torah: a man who dies in the tent. . ." (Bamidbar 19:14). The gemora (Brochos 63b) expounds: "Reish Lokish said: `Where do we learn that Torah knowledge remains only with someone who kills himself over it? "This is the Torah: a man who dies in the tent."'" Rashi explains: "Where is the Torah to be found? With a person who kills himself in the Torah's tent."

There is a twofold problem with understanding this lesson of Chazal's, which is expounded in the parsha of poroh aduma. First of all, why did the Torah find it proper to teach us about diligence in Torah study specifically in the passage dealing with being metaheir someone from tumas hameis? Why was such an essential matter as the way to guarantee that Torah knowledge stay with someone after he has acquired it, not taught to us earlier?




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From Our Archives

Anomalies in the "Laws" of The Universe

by Dr. N. Vidal

Introduction: In a Single Glance

"From the heavens, Hashem watched; He saw all the people. From the place of His seat, He supervised all the earth dwellers -- Who forms together their hearts, Who understands all their deeds" (Tehillim 33:13- 15).

Rabbenu Ovadiah MiBartenura (Rosh Hashanah 1:2) explains the last of these pesukim as follows. "The Creator, Hakodosh Boruch Hu, sees all their hearts together and comprehends all their deeds. Even though they pass before Him one by one [on Rosh Hashanah], they are nevertheless surveyed in a single glance."

Hashem takes in the hearts of all men in a single moment even though they are scattered across the globe, or even beyond it. The Radak explains, "This means: how could the thoughts of their hearts be hidden from Him, since He created them? `Together,' because He knows them all, as a group. Chazal derive from the word `together' that they are all viewed in a single glance (Rosh Hashanah 18). Since He knows their hearts, He certainly knows their deeds . . . "

Hakodosh Boruch Hu is present in every place, at every instant. His glory fills the world and the world is His glory. His knowledge is all encompassing and absolute; it is not derived from a single source.

Man, on the other hand, has only localized knowledge of his immediate vicinity and time. From his own little corner -- on a small planet that is part of a solar system, among a huge number of other such systems in the universe -- he tries to investigate what takes place in stars and galaxies that are thousands of light years distant from him. The laws he derives from examining his immediate, measurable vicinity can be applied with confidence only to his own location and time.

It is by no means clear, even from a scientific perspective, that laws holding true on earth can be applied to distant heavenly bodies, as though man's vista were genuinely universal. Yet man vainly believes that he has knowledge of the natural laws applying throughout the universe, as though wha


by Sudy Rosengarten

Part II

The ride to Jerusalem was in silent, stunned grief. Never had the landscape seemed so beautiful...


After finishing the purification rites behind a closed door, the tahara women came out to ask if the deceased had any children, and called Meir inside to identify his mother. He followed the woman in a daze and did whatever he was told. He looked at his mother, threw earth in her eyes and repeated after the woman the words, "From earth hast thou come; to earth now return."

All color was drained from his face. He was limp, and swaying, reached out not to fall.

The men told him to say Kaddish. He looked at them in mute confusion. Everyone was waiting, but my husband didn't understand what they wanted from him.


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