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26 Nisan, 5781 - April 8, 2021 | Mordecai Plaut, director | Bereishis- 5781 Published Weekly
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Agudah's Overseas Passover Campaign: Help for Yidden Overseas

Imagine baking matzoh with chometz flour. For Jews living in the former Soviet Union and other communist countries during the 1950s, observing Pesach with kosher matzoh and wine was virtually impossible. Although many did try to observe the yom tov properly, they were unable to because of the limited resources available to them. During that era there were instances in which well-intentioned but spiritually deprived Jews actually baked matzoh with chometz ingredients.





To Close the Holes in Our Head

In his shmuessen on the Sefira period, HaRav Shimshon Pincus zt"l quotes a saying which he heard from HaRav Lis, who in turn, heard it from HaRav S. Greineman spoken in the name of the Chofetz Chaim, and actually printed in the work of the Chofetz Chaim on the Torah.

It was when the Chofetz Chaim was asked how it could be that renowned talmidei chachomim and rabbonim fell under the spell of Zionism. How could they not have understood that the Zionists were determined to create a state of heresy?





Hatred of the "Enlightened"

The article was first published in our print edition 22 years ago.

I occasionally find the need to refute the popular belief that the Jewish Nation's most heartless enemies are the Arabs by presenting my students with indisputable historical facts.

In order to accomplish this I tell them about the atrocious deeds to the Jews of Christianity and the Christians throughout history, about the Spanish Inquisition established by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella (1478) and approved by Pope Sixtus IV, the Holy Crusades (between 1096 and 1254) that were called by Pope Urban II, the pogroms of 4508-4509 (1648-1649) in the Ukraine, the pogrom at Kishinev (southern Russia) at 1903, and of course the dreadful Holocaust (1939-1945).





To Enter the Gates of Kedushah

Holy works teach us that in Egypt, the Jewish people were sunk into forty-nine gates of impurity. Upon leaving it, each day counted as a higher level of ascent from that impurity to holiness. By Shavuos, they had reached forty-nine levels of kedusha, up until the fiftieth, which is the gateway to understanding. The author of Ayeles Hashachar said that the gates of contamination are congruent to the gates of holiness. In the process of purification, the Jews would gradually emerge from a gateway of impurity and enter a gateway of holiness.

We should not be misled to understand that there is a reality of a gateway of holiness which one can enter and remain there, while continuing to conduct oneself as before. There is no such situation. Emerging from a gateway of impurity involves a work of self-improvement of one's personal failings and faulty deeds, of elevating oneself in perfecting one's character — and only thus, being able to enter the gateway good character traits which one has thus acquired.

The ascent of the Jews after the Exodus was made possible by improving their middos. Pride is one gateway of impurity; desire and the pursuit of honor are other gateways of sinfulness. Indeed, all negative traits are gateways of tumah in which a person wallows.





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From Our Archives

Diet -- Pro and Con

by Malka Adler

Diets are Designed to lead to Deliberate Denial of Desserts. This, in turn, brings one Dangerously close to Disappointment, Deprivation and Depression. Such Deterioration can be Definitely and Dramatically reversed by inDulging in Desserts on a Daily basis. Relief from stress will be instant, immeDiate and ecstatic.

Point of observation: `Stressed' spelled backwards is `Desserts' - so forward together, to the sweet table!

And on the other side of the scale, after a full- blown Purim binge and never mind the deadline of finishing off all those cream wafers...

"I Shall Be Sanctified Through Those Near Me"

by R' Yerachmiel Kram

HaRav Yerachmiel Kram zt"l recently passed away. Yehi zichro boruch.

"And a fire went forth from before Hashem and it consumed them, and they died before Hashem" (Vayikra 10:2).

Why Did Nodov and Avihu Die?

For close to half a year, the Jewish people awaited the great moment when the Sanctuary of Hashem would be fully built and firmly established upon its site.


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