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25 Cheshvan, 5781 - November 12, 2020 | Mordecai Plaut, director | Bereishis- 5781 Published Weekly
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Weddings are Not a Luxury

The framework of legislation in Israel operates in a fashion that there aren't any citizens who do not transgress the law. A driver was once stopped by policeman who was certain that he had broken a traffic law. He told me that he had proved his innocence on all counts. Amused to see the chagrin on his face that he had failed to catch his prey, he made a sharp, insulting remark which put the officer on the offensive...

What brought the subject to our attention was the many laws regarding making a wedding during our Corona period, laws which are altogether ridiculous and illogical.





Save the Dates: November 26 and November 28

The Aguda has announced that everyone will be able to attend this year's Agudah Convention from the comfort of their own home on the evenings of November 26 and November 28.





An Explosive Heavenly Voice: Thoughts for our Times

Chazal say: "A heavenly voice issues forth with an outburst every day, spreading throughout the world, saying that a tzaddik will make his appearance at one time and his name will be Shmuel." The author of "Ayeles Hashachar", HaRav Shteinman zt"l, often repeated this message, noting the fact that it `bursts forth', not like other heavenly echoes to which only few people on the spiritual level of prophets are privy. This message, he insisted, is meant for every person to hear. It will be a world shaking announcement of the future birth of a tzaddik who will be named Shmuel.





The Torah Perspective on Making a Living

Since the sin of Odom Horishon when it was decreed upon mankind, "By the sweat of your brow shall you eat bread" (Bereishis 3:19), parnossoh has become a central issue in man's life. The words "benafsho yavi lachmo" can be understood literally. And although a man's subsistence is determined from one Rosh Hashanah to the next, he is still required to make an effort to secure it.

HaKodosh Boruch Hu provides nourishment and sustenance for all of His creatures (ki Hu zon umefarnes es ha'olom kulo betuvo ) from the smallest to the mightiest ("mibeitzei kinim ve'ad karnei re'emim") and nevertheless we find making a living is as hard as the splitting of the Red Sea ("kashin mezonosov shel odom keKrias Yam Suf"). Man stands and wonders from whence help will arrive ("me'ayn yavoh ezri") and how he will provide for his family, just like Bnei Yisroel when they stood at the seashore wondering what to do. Behind them were the Egyptians, in front of them was the sea, and salvation came from an unexpected direction.









From Our Archives

The Power of Character Traits: A Shmuess for Parshas Chayei Soroh

by HaRav Sholom Schwadron, zt'l

Between parshas Chayei Soroh and parshas Bo, (until the parsha, "this month is the beginning of the months for you"), each parshoh affords us contemplation of the behavior of tzaddikim and, conversely, of reshoim. This is all part of the principle that, "He told His people about the power of His deeds" (Tehillim 111:6), as explained in parshas Bereishis. In this parshoh, we witness the greatness of Avrohom Ovinu on the one hand, and the conduct of Efron on the other.

The pesukim (Bereishis 23:4-16) say, "I am a [temporary] sojourner and a dweller with you; give me possession of a grave with you . . . " What do the words, "geir vesoshov, a sojourner and a dweller" mean?

Rashi explains, "If you agree [to sell it to me,] I will be a temporary resident [and buy it on such terms] but if you don't, I'll be a dweller and I'll take it by right, because Hakodosh Boruch Hu said, `I will give this land to your offspring.' "

Avrohom's Covenant - Authentic Stories from the Holocaust

by Rabbi M. D. Weinstock

" Rabbi Shapira, Rabbi of Prachnik, grandson of the holy tzaddik of Bluzhov, was sawing a huge log with his weak hands in the midst of the forest of Janow, to which place the Jews from the ghetto had been herded for forest clearing. He sawed the wood with twisted hands, emaciated arms, his body racked with hunger, to perform a task of "vital importance" in aid of the great victory of the glorious Wehrmacht over its inferior enemy.

The keen mind of the Rabbi of Prachnik, polished to perfection on the Talmud, was not functioning as faultlessly as would befit one of his genius. The saw, cutting deep into the great log, creaked agonizingly, and pain drove every thought from Rabbi Shapira's mind. It seemed to him as if flames of torment were whirling round in his head. Even his memories deserted him in the depths of this forest where the rifle butts of the S.S. torturers had driven him. Who can picture the state of mind of a galley-slave, the hopeless apathy, in which the sufferer no longer remembers the past and no longer believes in the reality of the world? The atmosphere was leaden and as heavy as if it had been crowded with evil black shadows; and only seldom could a stray thought enter the mind, the bitter product of constant apathy and grief.

Special Education

a story by N. Bar

Part II

Synopsis: After much deliberation, Shoshy has majored in special education, thanks to the hearty encouragement of an older friend and neighbor, Yael, who has since married and moved away. Successfully having completed the course, Shoshy has answered an ad for a teaching job in this field.

It is Yael whom Shoshy calls to glean some more information. Yael lives in the neighborhood of the distant kindergarten and can find out if the rumors of this institution being about to fold up have any basis.

Yael sounds reserved and distant on the phone. Shoshy subsequently learns why from a mutual friend, Rivky, whom she meets at the supermarket. Since Yael gave birth to a Down's syndrome daughter two years ago, she has retired from society and lost contact with all her old friends.


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