Deiah veDibur - Information &

A Window into the Chareidi World

14 Sivan, 5784 - June 20, 2024 | Mordecai Plaut, director | Vayishlach - 5782 Published Weekly
Stories - Fiction

This Google Custom Search looks only in this website.

Germany: "Many Jews voted for the extremist Right Party"

In an in-depth interview held with HaRav Yitzchok Erenberg, one of the rabbonim in Germany and head of the Berlin Beis Din, we received a fascinating picture of what is going on in Germany and in Europe in general regarding Jewish-Moslem relations and of the development of the rise of fanatic rightist parties.

Rabbi Erenberg first related to the situation in Berlin: "It is very surprising that a large number of Jews voted for the extreme rightist party. The reason for this is that these parties are focusing on the Moslem issue. There is a great deal of disquiet about Moslems gaining control over Berlin, Germany and even Europe as a whole. There are entire neighborhoods in Berlin from which I would keep my distance. All the shops and signs there are only in Arabic."

The Rav continues with an anecdote: "A Syrian emigre who had been working for a German professor for several years, was asked by his boss why he didn't learn German. His amazing reply was: 'Just wait! In ten years, you [plural] will have to learn Arabic.' This expresses the general apprehension and fear prevalent here..."




A Reiner Mentsch, A Reiner Torah: HaRav Moshe Soloveitchik zt'l

Part VI

This multi-part essay was originally published in honor of the first yahrtzeit. He was niftar 19 Iyar, 5755. This was first published in 5756 (1996).

Part Six: Yeshivas Toras Chaim — From Alef To Tov To Alef



Throughout the years, Reb Moishe always maintained a special interest in the welfare of Russian Jewry, for whom he felt an extra measure of responsibility due to his proximity. His feelings towards this massive group of the Diaspora, who remained largely cut off from the rest of world Jewry for two or three generations, are conveyed in a moshol he often repeated.

Imagine a father who has a number of children, one of whom is seriously ill and is lying unconscious. Naturally, the father spares no effort to relieve his child's condition. Time passes until one day when, boruch Hashem, the child begins to move his hands and feet. Soon afterwards, he opens his eyes. The father now redoubles his efforts to restore his child to full health.

Russian Jewry are Hashem's children, Reb Moishe would conclude, whom we now have a chance to restore to health. He would say that undertaking this work was the task of the generation's leaders.

Reb Moishe's early encounters with Russian Jews took place sixteen years ago. From Zurich, he despatched Russian speaking emissaries to the transit camp outside Rome where emigrants from Soviet Russia used to spend time en route to Israel or to the United States, with instructions to provide those Jews with every possible exposure to their heritage.

HaRav Chaim Kreiswirth of Antwerp and other rabbonim were also engaged in this work. Reb Moishe even paid a visit to Italy to survey the progress. Indeed, some of the mekurovim of that period would later fill important roles in the spiritual absorption of their brethren who began leaving the country in far larger numbers some ten years afterwards.

As soon as the doors of the Soviet Union began to swing wide open, some six years ago, Reb Moishe seized the chance to start working inside the country. At his behest, Rav Yitzchok Silver (who, since emigrating to Eretz Yisroel after successfully raising his own children as observant Jews in defiance of Soviet persecution, has been involved in reaching out to new Russian immigrants) and Rabbi Alexander Eisenstadt (who had worked with Reb Moishe on the aforementioned European project) travelled to Moscow to evaluate the possibility of setting up some kind of long term program.




The "Innocent Civilians" of Gaza

The Wall Street Journal reported information about the family that held Israeli hostages in Gaza. Almog Meir Jon, Andrei Kozlov and Shlomi Ziv were held in the home of the Al Jemal Banosiarat.

The article reveals how the family led its routine life during the time it held the captives in its home. The head of the family, a seventy-three-year-old doctor, Ahmad al Jemal, is a significant member of the community. In the mornings, he works in a communal clinic in the refugee camp, Nusyarat, and in the afternoons, works in a small private clinic of his own which services local residents with medical care. He is also the imam in the local mosque.

The mother of the family, Fatima, also works in the clinic. One of the sons, a columnist for Al Jazeera, Abdallah al Jemal, who lives with his wife and children in the same house, writes articles in English about the suffering of the Palestinians during the war — at the same time that the family is holding on to the hostages.

In these past few months, when the doctor finished his day, he would return to his home as usual, which he shared with his son and his family — and also the three prisoners which he was holding for Hamas. After the latter were rescued, they said that from their locked room they were able to hear the daily small-talk exchanges between the various family members.

The building on Yasaan St. where they were held, no longer exists...




* * *

Outstanding Articles From Our Archives

Opinion & Comment
Who Chooses His People, Israel, With Love

An explanation of the blessing Ahavoh Rabboh, from a talk given by HaRav Moshe Aharon Braverman

Part II

In order for a person to be worthy of Torah, he must know the value of and the reverence due to Torah. Without this, it is impossible for one to absorb Torah. Chazal encapsulated all of those advantages in one single place, and that is in the text of the Ahavoh Rabboh and Ahavas Olom prayers and blessings preceding Krias Shema. It is a custom to evoke great arousal in the Shacharis service of Shavuos, and especially in Ahavoh Rabboh, to fervently beseech that we be granted the privilege of receiving the Torah. Its basic theme is the love which conditions our receiving the Torah.


"Have mercy on us and imbue in our hearts . . . " In order to merit Torah, one must need an initial giving, "Implant - give - in our hearts." The initial Giving of the Torah was also a gift. Our request applies to all the levels and approaches that there are in studying and acquiring Torah. For even the one who has reached the highest level of Torah knowledge still falls short of knowledge in the wisdom that remains beyond his intellectual grasp. He, too, must ask "imbue in our hearts."

This was the prayer of Shlomo Hamelech, "And may You give to Your servant a listening heart . . . to differentiate between good and bad" (Melochim I, 3:19). This is why the prayer includes several levels of study and knowledge of Torah for which we ask.

"To understand (lehovin)" - this is the power to discern one thing from another. "To become wise" (lehaskil) - that the knowledge be integrated to become part of our intellectual process, to be absorbed in our minds. "To hear" (lishmo'a) - this denotes an inner understanding of something that one already knows. "To learn" (lilmod) - to learn again something that he has already understood and integrated, in order to reveal deeper levels of understanding the Torah. "And to teach" (ulelameid) - that he be privileged to teach what he has learned and impart it to others so that he, too, gain.

Home and Family
A Journey Far from Home

By R. Deutsch, based on an interview with my Grandmother.

As a young girl growing up in pre-war Germany, little did I dream that my idyllic childhood was soon to come to an abrupt halt.

I was born in Germany in 1929, and by the time I was nine, my country had become a very dangerous place for Jews to live. The situation rapidly deteriorated and emigration was on everybody's minds.

My parents had taken in a young cousin whose parents had already left the country, and since she was given my bed, I slept on the floor in my parent's bedroom.

Lying there in the dark, night after night, my little ears would hear the frantic discussions from the adjoining living room.

"Where can we go? Which countries are still allowing Jews in?" South America, Israel and England were among some of the suggestions.

We finally left our beloved home, not knowing if we would ever see it again! My parents had planned to travel to the only place a Jew can really call home - Israel. First we would go to Holland, where we had some relatives, then on to England, and finally to our longed-for destination.


These links were fixed, Tammuz 5781