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8 Shvat, 5784 - January 18, 2024 | Mordecai Plaut, director | Vayishlach - 5782 Published Weekly
Stories - Fiction

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Gaza was a Great Place to Live

Reporter Ro'i Yanovsky, has just returned from one hundred days of reserve army duty in Gaza. He wrote some of his preliminary perceptions from the sights he encountered.

These insights expose how Hamas has succeeded in deceiving the entire world about the situation in Gaza after the horrendous massacre which its people executed against those accused in a world court of genocide — these being the very victims of those villains.

Here are some of his thoughts:

People think of Gaza as a Third World country, the most congested in the world, which finds itself under Israeli siege.

There is no bigger lie than this. Gaza is a modern city, beautiful and developed, with large, well-appointed houses, wide avenues, public areas, a boardwalk to the sea and many parks. It looks much nicer than any other Arab city from Jordan to the sea. It resembles Tel Aviv much more than Kfar Kassam or Um el Fahem.

It is certainly far from being the most congested in the world. If this is a siege, let me live in such a siege. The homes are packed with all kinds of amenities and food from all the Middle East countries. The furniture is the most modern, its appliances of the latest models and what not? There are luxury homes which would not embarrass Savyon or Kfar Shmaryahu. Wealth is not lacking in Gaza.




100 Days of Fighting

The beginning of this week was noted 100 days of warfare, denoted by, among other things, 100 minutes reduced from work time. Also the various columns in the press summed up in the media and also the lighting of one hundred thousand candles near the Kosel!

If we make an intermediate summation of a war which has not yet been officially labeled, the most obvious thing is the colossal intelligence deficiency. Obviously, the debacle before the war slowly exposes many of the insufficiencies, indicating that quite a few red lights were illuminated before the eyes of the decision-makers, and equally there were deafening alarms.

Everything was open and clear before their very eyes, with Hamas not even making any attempts to hide their intentions. And still, the blindness was absolute. All of the erudite explanations do not answer the question of how it was at all possible for top military staff, experienced and well-trained as they may be, to experience such a crushing downfall in the moment of truth. They simply ignored the facts before their very eyes and their ears, enabling hordes of armed murderers to seize control over settlements and remain in control of some of them for three long days.

There is no normal explanation except for a heavenly, spiritual one, something beyond the scope of human beings. The boast of 'my strength and the might of my hand' blinded the eyes. This was the underpinning of the "conception" which collapsed with a mighty rumble.




"You went after me in a desert, an unsown wasteland" (Isaiah)
The story of HaRav Moshe Yehuda Schneider, zt'l, rosh yeshivas Toras Emes in Memel, Frankfurt, and London

This major series of articles about the heroic rosh yeshiva HaRav Moshe Schneider whose talmidim, both Ashkenaz and Sephardic, went on to great achievements, was first published in 1994.

Part VI

Rav Schneider was truly among the main disseminators of Torah in our times. An unusual and dynamic individual who transplanted Torah and made it flourish in spiritual wastelands where no one believed it was possible, he did the painstaking groundwork that enabled the barren atmosphere in England and France to give way to the dozens of yeshivos, religious institutions and frum communities that are in existence today.

HaRav Schneider was a man whose entire focus was in the yeshivos which he established, and in his love for Torah, for which he lived. In keeping with his modest personality, his accomplishments for Torah were perhaps not fully appreciated in his lifetime. But the love for Torah and mussar which he instilled in his students produced mighty fruits which changed the face of postwar Jewry in Europe and Eretz Yisroel.

He was expelled from Germany as a Polish citizen, but was not able to leave. His son, HaRav Gedaliah, arranged for leading rabbonim in England to pressure the British Home Secretary to allow HaRav Schneider into England. Once there, he again established a yeshiva and worked to disseminate Torah.

A Wartime Yeshiva





Rain and Kinneret Watch

by Dei'ah Vedibur Staff

Our weekly report of the rain and the level of the Kineret - Winter, 5784.

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Outstanding Articles From Our Archives

HaRav Moshe Yechiel Halevi Epstein zt'l, the Ozhrover Rebbe
Rosh Chodesh Shevat 5766, Thirty-Five Years Since His Petiroh

by M. Musman

A New Generation, a New Challenge

Writing in memory of the Ozhrover Rebbe ztvk'l, twenty years ago, when only fifteen years had elapsed since his petiroh, posed a challenge. Many people still remembered him as a holy gaon who had led his small chassidus from his beis hamedrash in central Tel Aviv; as a prominent member of the Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah universally revered for his towering Torah scholarship as much as for his holiness and piety; as the author of two monumental series of seforim; and as a friend and mentor to any Jew in need who sought his advice and encouragement.

But even then more of the picture needed filling in. Much was only seen by those who came into contact with him - the incredible extent of his application to Torah study and dissemination, his strength of character, the immense toil that he invested in his writings, the power of his love for each and every Jew and, above all, his soul's constant attachment to its Heavenly moorings that was apparent in every facet of his life. The challenge twenty years ago was to show the public who still remembered him that he was far more than the sum of his parts and that for all the greatness that was evident, much more remained hidden than could be imagined.

The challenge in writing about the Ozhrover Rebbe today, for a generation that never knew him, is that much greater. Because of his very uniqueness - because he was a phenomenon without parallel - there is little hope that we who never knew him can begin to appreciate him. We simply have no frame of reference within which to place him, nothing to compare him to.

We are also hindered by our own shortcomings. How can we, with our diminished hearts and impoverished understanding, begin to comprehend a character who was acclaimed by leading figures of (what we see as) different spiritual worlds?

Those who were well-versed in the teachings of chassidus were astounded by the love of Klal Yisroel that was revealed in his seforim, to the point where they saw him as a contemporary Kedushas Levi. Pointing to a passage in one of his seforim the Ponovezher mashgiach, HaRav Yechezkel Levenstein zt'l, exclaimed, "This rebbe is a baal mussar!"

Rav Aharon Kotler zt'l, declared that the Rebbe was, "a gaon in every chamber of Torah knowledge!"

Another godol said, " Divrei Torah flow in his veins!"

HaRav Shlomo Wolbe zt'l was an ardent admirer who saw himself as something of "a Litvishe chossid" of the Ozhrover's.

Home and Family
The Many Against the Few
Beis Yaakov - From a Tender Seedling to a Fruitful Tree

By Yehudit Golan

Part 3

Revealing Notes

For 60 years, an additional interesting correspondence was maintained, on small notes, which testify to the small difficulties that make up part of the long and exhausting fabric of the existence of the school. The notes dealt with prosaic matters: roll books. The Beis Yaakov Center, as responsible for the schools, also supplied roll books to the teachers who filled them out diligently. The roll books were published in 5705 and sent to the branches.

"The class roll books are worthless," writes R' Meir Sharansky on 17 Elul 5705 to the Beis Yaakov Center. "The paper is bad, the pages rip immediately. Look at the difference between them and the roll books of other schools (for example Berloi and others) . . .

"Please send us 13 roll books immediately," he requests in Av 5705. "I want to take this opportunity to point out that the roll books could be of better paper and with a better cover. By mid-year, the roll books are already torn. If there is a better type, even if it costs more money, please send me the better quality." And a note for Av 5707: "Please send me, today, by express taxi, five roll books and another eight by regular mail. Please send good quality roll books with a good cover and make sure that they have enough pages for 13 months, because this year there is the month of Adar Beis."

An Insightful Tour

In Sivan 5707 there was feverish activity at the Mercaz Beis Yaakov. The connection with the schools opening up around the country was becoming stronger. The schools merited ongoing support from the Beis Yaakov Center. Roll books were sent, supervisors arrived for a visit, the curriculum was matched for all the schools and the graduating teachers were very much in demand. In order to keep their fingers on the educational pulse, Rav Hillel Lieberman and his colleague and friend, Rav Pinchas Hacohen Levine, decided to go on a tour of the country's schools.


These links were fixed, Tammuz 5781