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19 Elul, 5782 - September 15, 2022 | Mordecai Plaut, director | Vayishlach - 5782 Published Weekly
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Dozens of Iranian Attacks Foiled Recently Around the World

Israel is launching a massive propaganda campaign against Iranian terror in order to prevent a nuclear agreement between Iran and the world powers. The Mossad head, David Barnea, exposed this past Monday the fact that in this recent period, many terrorist acts were Providentially prevented against Israeli and Jewish targets throughout the world which were already on the verge of execution, as planned by Iran.

Barnea addressed an annual international congress of the Institute for Policies Against Terror in the Reichman University in Herzliya, noting, "This will be a decade since the World Jihad came into existence, a period which saw the fall of Al Qaida and the buds of its renaissance. In Israel, we deal with Palestinian terror and Hizbullah. Iran was pushed into terror by the Sheik, with Iranian terror present all the while, engaging the efforts of the Mossad, before me, and was more active in the past than at the present. Terror is an integral adjunct of the ongoing Iranian threat."




To Be a New Creature

hazal note that the forty days during which Moshe ascended to Heaven to receive the second Tablets which were then given on Yom Kippur, constitute a reason why these are considered days of placation and goodwill.

HaRav Arye Levi explains that the difference between the first luchos which were broken and the second which still exist, is that the first ones were the 'handicraft' of Hashem so that no man could claim affinity to them, while the second ones were the handicraft of Moshe Rabbenu by Hashem's command, to serve as the implements or tools by which the Torah would be given. This is why the Torah is called 'Toras Moshe.'




The Wisdom of the Nations of the World

The whole world is focused on the death of the Queen of Great Britain and the funeral events which will carry on through next Monday when she will finally be interred in the section reserved for royalty.

Something small: last Tuesday, the queen still met with the new British head of state and two days later, she died suddenly, apparently on Wednesday night. On Thursday morning she was no longer alive but an official announcement was not yet publicized. All signs pointed to her death but the media did not report it, as the protocol is that all the members of the royal family gather around her deathbed to receive that official statement. The next step was to inform the high ranking government officials and only on Thursday afternoon was the public notified of the queen's demise.





Selichos: Sources And Minhagim

This essay was first published in 1991/5751.

"And Hashem passed over his face..(i.e. went against His own wrath) (Shemos 34). Rabbi Yochonon said, if this were not written explicitly in the posuk, it would be impossible for us to say it. From here we learn that HaKadosh Boruch Hu draped Himself like a shaliach tsibur and showed Moshe the order of tefillah. He said to him, whenever Yisroel sin, they should pray this way [i.e. by saying the Yud-gimel middos brought in the Torah at that point] before Me, and I will pardon them..." (Rosh Hashana 17:)

It would seem from here that the Yud-gimel middos, the thirteen attributes of mercy that are the recurring refrain of the selichos, are of major importance and perhaps the main component of the whole order of selichos which we say during these days of judgment, with the rest of the prayers serving as their backdrop and framework.

A further idea to consider is whether the organization of the selichos, with pesukim and the individual selichos preceding the saying of the Yud-gimel midos, is similar to the order of the public tefillos which Chazal instituted, (which are described in the second perek of maseches Taanis) where the actual tefillah was preceded by divrei civushin, words of an elder about the gravity of the situation, to arouse the tzibbur to teshuvoh.

Where Are Selichos First Mentioned?





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Outstanding Articles From Our Archives

Opinion & Comment
Comfort on the Tablets of Our Hearts

by Rabbi Mordecai Plaut, based on a shiur of a rosh yeshiva in Yerushalayim (HaRav Moshe Shapiro zt"l)

Part III

Part I discussed the fact that the seven haftarahs that we read from Tisha B'Av until Rosh Hashonoh show that consolation provides a crucial bridge that takes us from the Churban to the Tikkun that we have on Yom Kippur, equivalent to our receiving the Second Luchos on that day. However, we do not even understand what consolation is and how it could be possible. How can we console someone in the midst of a loss? Consolation does not mean distraction, so how is such a thing possible?

We must learn and absorb the words of the prophets. What is their message? . . . devorai asher samti beficho, lo yomushu mipicho umipi zar'acho umipi zera zar'acho, omar Hashem, ad olom. The prophets continued the experience of Sinai, by propagating the dvar Hashem in our community. What was (is) their message? Teshuvoh and Geuloh. We note that the role that the prophets play was given over to the chachomim at the Churban. The prophets also bring us consolation, though, in critical times, Hashem brings us that message Himself. Putting these elements together, each in its proper setting, will help us grasp what consolation is and how it is effected in this period.


The Key Difference

The King Sits upon the Throne of Judgment: Thoughts on Elul

by Maran HaGaon R' Dovid Povarsky ztvk'l

In the month of Elul, it is the custom to blow the shofar every morning after shacharis. This is designed to awaken us, to rouse us to the realization that we are in the midst of Elul.

And if we are in the midst of Elul, we must clarify for ourselves what this means.

What is the nature of Elul? It is a time when we must cleanse ourselves, purify ourselves from the grime that has accumulated and adhered to us. We must occupy ourselves with this activity throughout these days.

Rosh Hashonoh approaches. It is inconceivable that we arrive at the Day of Judgment as is, without the proper purification, with the layers of accumulated dirt intact.

Chazal tell us in Erchin 10b that [on Rosh Hashonoh] the King sits on the throne of judgment, with the Books of Life and Death ready before Him. On Rosh Hashonoh they are opened. We would think that this observation applies only to Rosh Hashonoh but that this has nothing to do with Elul.

The truth is that we must thoroughly comprehend what Chazal imply. We must ask when the entries are written and by whom? When a person performs a mitzvah, he is virtually inscribing himself, by his own hand, in the Book of Life. And when he backslides and stumbles over a mitzvah, transgressing a commandment, he is inscribing himself in the Book of the Dead. Every sin he commits is another entry in the Book of Death.


These links were fixed, Tammuz 5781