Deiah veDibur - Information &

A Window into the Chareidi World

2 Marcheshvan, 5783 - October 27, 2022 | Mordecai Plaut, director | Vayishlach - 5782 Published Weekly
Stories - Fiction

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Marking the End of Shmittah

A mighty and glorious event of Kiddush Hashem organized in honor of the thousands of 'Shmittah heroes' took place in Bnei Brak at the height of Succos, participated by the Bnei Brak populace numbering thousands of Torah-true Jews of a scope which has not been seen for a long time, headed by a full roster of Torah leaders of the highest caliber.

This major event signaled the conclusion of the Shmittah year as observed with full devotion in numbers not witnessed in Eretz Yisroel throughout the long exile. This year, for the first time, most of the land in Jewish hands throughout the country, including vineyards, hothouses, fields and orchards was sanctified in an incredible range, despite all the temptations and enticements, declaring to one and all that "the land and its fullness belongs to Hashem"!





Daas Torah from the Chazon Ish about Voting in Israeli Elections

Forty years ago, a yeshiva student from Yeshivas Tchebin sought advice from HaRav Avrohom Genichovsky as follows:

"I live in Haifa and it is difficult for me to travel there back and forth in order to vote (in those days, it was an exhausting trip of a few stages). Am I exempt from my obligation on the grounds of time wasted from Torah study?"

HaRav Genichovsky replied, "The last posek of our generation was the Chazon Ish, and if he ordered yeshiva students to go and vote, this is explicit daas Torah and nowadays there is no one who can challenge it."





What Did He Think When He Spoke?

It's difficult to understand, rather, it is impossible to even attempt to comprehend what is going on in the head of a politician who speaks in any kind of forum and expresses things he would not wish to be publicized. Does he begin to reflect that what he utters will remain between the four walls and not leak out? Does he actually rely on the assumption that all the people in his vicinity are trustworthy and won't allow things that he does not wish to reach the public will defer to this?

These days, even his closest friend are "walking recordings." Let him ask the past prime minister how his most loyal secretary recorded him for years and sent him off to jail with these recordings. Let him ask a former or even future prime minister how his closest confidante recorded him and his wife during personal conversations, and for a fee, sold these tapes to the media. What more need happen in order for a sane person to understand that anything which he wishes to remain secret must not be aired in any forum whatsoever?





Kodshei Kodshim: The Chortkover Rebbe, Reb Dovid Moshe Friedman zt'l

First published in 1996.

Part II

Hailed as the Rebbe of Rebbes, the tzaddik of tzadikim, the Chortkover Rebbe, Reb Dovid Moshe zt'l is regarded as one of the greatest gedolim in the last hundred and fifty years. His kedusha was considered to be beyond ordinary human grasp and even his physical strength was not understood.

The Rebbe was capable of going for days on end without sleep, food and drink, and even then he didn't show any sign of weakness. He once proclaimed that from the age of seven he had never moved a limb, unless to perform the wish of his Creator.





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Outstanding Articles From Our Archives

Opinion & Comment
Judging Favorably: A Middos Workshop

Based on the shiurim of Rav Dovid Siegel

Part II

The first part of this discussion about how to judge people -- and how not to judge them -- discussed the basic obligation. A way to understand the principle is status quo -- assume people stay where we know they were before. Tzaddikim stay tzaddikim, even if we see them do something that appears wrong. If it is an ordinary person, then we try to tilt our interpretation of what we saw in a favorable direction. If it is an evil person, then we should assume they do more evil.

The basic issue in judging is to control our impulse to judge other people. Rabbi Siegal offers a number of strategies to help us not judge improperly. For one, we should remember that no one asked us for our opinion. Another point is that the only way to accurately judge is to be in the other person's own position, and that is impossible. So it is a very difficult task. Another set of approaches is to use the "black outlook" -- that the person did something wrong but excusable; or the "gray outlook" -- maybe what they did is wrong, but maybe it is ok; or the "white outlook" -- that what the person did is basically right or at least partially right.

Helpful Principles

Opinion & Comment
Understanding the Depths of Avodoh Zora

by Mordecai Plaut

Part II

The first part discussed the basic nature of the prohibition and how it is considered central in Torah. Whoever denies it is like agreeing to the entire Torah. The Torah warns against it a total of 44 times. If avodoh zora falls into some other substance, it prohibits the entire mixture, no matter how small a proportion the avodoh zora is. We must not think about it or learn about it. We should not even use its buildings as landmarks. One should not even look at avodoh zora.

In some ways, the worship of avodoh zora is not what people intuitively think of when they think of worship. Avodoh zora can be done even in trying to debase the object if that is the usual way it is worshiped. Also, even if the worship is done with a blank mind, it is full avodoh zora if the person is in general an idol worshiper.

Why Is It So Serious?

We are very far removed from avodoh zora in many ways. Anshei Knesses Hagedoloh eliminated the yetzer hora for avodoh zora around 2,500 years ago, and certainly the old-time idol worship is virtually nonexistent in the West. When learning the words of the holy Torah that repeatedly (44 times) warn against avodoh zora, or the words of the prophets who speak against it at great length, or the halachos as codified in Chazal, it sometimes can seem as if it is all a part of the dead past and nothing more; certainly avodoh zora will not be revived in the times of Moshiach, bimheiroh beyomeinu, so we do not need to preserve these halochos for those times.


These links were fixed, Tammuz 5781