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A Window into the Chareidi World

28 Kislev, 5783 - December 22, 2022 | Mordecai Plaut, director | Vayishlach - 5782 Published Weekly
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HaRav Don Segal Explains HaRav Shteinman's Legacy

"Many were strengthened by his light and influenced both spiritually and materially because he severed himself from worldly affairs through a supreme effort to avail himself to the public. This reflects only a small inkling of his ways which he was unable to conceal from the world. What is hidden far exceeds what we do know about him. He was a reflection of 'the entire world is sustained because of Chanina, My son.'"

The Mashgiach, HaRav Don Segal, uttered these words during a chizuk rally in the halls of Yeshivas Geon Yaakov on the fifth yahrtzeit of HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman this year on 24 Kislev.

This major rally was attended by students of Yeshivas Geon Yaakov and many of its graduates where HaRav Shteinman was rosh yeshiva for many years. It was headed by its roshei yeshiva and rabbonim, following in the wake of the Shabbaton for alumni of past years who yearned to be reunited with their source and to share the event of the memorial.

The keynote speech was delivered by HaRav Don Segal, who admitted that he was reluctant to talk about Rabbenu, who was a man of truth.





The Plan to Build Over Begin Expressway

The Regional Committee for Jerusalem Planning and Construction headed by Shira Talmibabai has decided to approve plans to build a very large development in the air rights of the Begin expressway.

The area involved consists of 213 dunam (about 53 acres) over the Menachem Begin expressway. The project includes an new construction of 1,600 meters, between the Byte intersection and the Wolfson Bridge, creating a new municipal area. It will create a connection between two Jerusalem neighborhoods which are separated today by the Begin Expressway.

The new area located on top of the covering and will include 2,300 housing units, 250 units of protected living quarters, 380 hotel rooms, 36,000 meters for businesses, 13,000 meters for commercial centers, 67,000 for public facilities and 60 dunam of open areas. In addition, the plan offers an upper roadway system which will serve the new areas and will connect to the municipal transportation system.





NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman's "Expert" Predictions about Israel

Some say that it is not advisable to take the New York Times seriously — because who in the general public actually reads newspapers. Notwithstanding, the public does relate to this very well read newspaper which can certainly compete with the radical Israeli Leftist paper Ha'aretz, if not with its massive readership, at least with its political positions. Thus it is hardly surprising that that anti-Israel - and one can almost say, anti-Semitic - paper is actually owned by a Jew, and many of its columnists are Jews as well, and that it deals extensively with the State of Israel and Jews. Indeed, one of its leading correspondents is Thomas Friedman, a Jew.

A weekend editorial which was based on Friedman's columns and which projected him as "one who has closely follows Israel issues for the past four decades," presents him as an expert on Israeli matters who believes that Israeli democracy is in danger.

In response, Reporter Ariel Kahana of the Israeli paper Israel Today created a long balance sheet of Friedman's past forecasts about what is going on in our area and how those forecasts turned out in fact. It shows that not everyone who follows closely what takes place here also understands what he is seeing.





Keser Torah: HaRav Aharon Kotler Zt'l, 2 Kislev 5753 — The Thirtieth Yahrtzeit

This extended appreciation of HaRav Aharon Kotler zt"l was first published in 1992 in the print edition. We are republishing it now for the 60th yahrtzeit, and also to make it available on the web.

Part 5

The great lay leader Irving Bunim z"l began the hesped which he delivered for Reb Aharon by quoting the gemora [Mo'ed Koton 26] which states that one who sees a torn sefer Torah must rip his garment twice; once for the parchment and once for the writing. Bunim explained that the parchment has its own kedusha in virtue of the preparation it has undergone for the purpose of receiving the written words of the Torah. Its desecration therefore necessitates a separate kriya from that over the destruction of the letters which are Torah itself, the word of Hashem.

Drawing an analogy between this halacha and the petiroh of gedolei Yisroel who are the living sifrei Torah of the nation, Bunim distinguished between their personality, which they have toiled to refine and elevate in order to become fitting receptacles for the Torah, and their Torah itself. While the loss of Reb Aharon the Torah giant was best appreciated by his talmidim, other gedolim and the talmidei chachamim of the wider community, he wished to dwell on the qualities of the parchment, the great and elevated character of the man who had been the repository of Torah.





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Outstanding Articles From Our Archives

Opinion & Comment
The Spirit of Chanukah

by HaRav Tzvi Kushelevsky

The story of Chanukah is well known to all. The Greeks came and defiled the Beis Hamikdosh and all its oils. The Chashmonaim, after liberating the Beis Hamikdosh, could find only one jug of oil fit for lighting. They lit the Menorah with that one jug and miraculously, the oil burned for eight days. The question has been asked: We are taught that if a large proportion of Klal Yisroel is impure, then the service of the Mikdosh can be performed in an impure state, even with impure oil. Why, then, was a miracle necessary? Even if there was no pure oil to be found, the Chashmonaim could have kindled the Menorah with impure oil, since all of Klal Yisroel was impure at that time.

The twenty-fifth of Kislev was already a historic date in Jewish history, even before the Chanukah story took place. The Pesikta and Yalkut Shimoni explain that the Mishkan built by Bnei Yisroel in the desert was completed and ready for "chanukah" (inauguration) on the twenty-fifth of Kislev. However, Moshe Rabbenu waited until the first of Nisan to perform this ceremony. Hashem said at that time: "I will compensate the twenty-fifth of Kislev with the chanukah of the Chashmonaim."

This Midrash inspires a question: The twenty-fifth of Kislev lost the inauguration of the whole Mishkan and received in return only the purification of the altar. Is this fair compensation?

In Those Days and In Our Times

by Mordecai Plaut

More than 2,000 years ago, we faced a difficult test: "The evil Greek Kingdom stood against Your People Israel, to make them forget Your Torah and to force them away from the laws that You willed." Greece was a difficult and dangerous enemy, who attacked us at vulnerable points and succeeded in causing considerable damage before she was defeated. Her thrusts were effective and perceptive, and she won many converts to her idolatry from among the Jewish people before she was soundly and repeatedly defeated on the battlefield by the few weak tzaddikim and Torah learners who stood up against her.

Today, as the heirs of the Maccabim, we face the heirs of the Greeks. But they do not attack us on the battlefield, and their decrees - as effective and perceptive as ever - are nowhere near as evident as they were then.

Masses of Jews have no problem eating pork. Our own prominent figures in the Knesset call bris milah a barbarous custom, afro lepumei. In Israel there is a difficult struggle over Shabbos, and outside of Israel in the general Jewish community the situation is no better.

Their attacks are masked as offers to enlighten us - but what they present as light is really Greek darkness.


These links were fixed, Tammuz 5781