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A Window into the Chareidi World

8 Iyar, 5784 - May 16, 2024 | Mordecai Plaut, director | Vayishlach - 5782 Published Weekly
Stories - Fiction

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HaRav Dov Lando Spoke About Loving One's Students and Stories about HaRav Dessler to the Kenes of Lev Shomei'a

Maran Rabbi Yisroel of Salant told the Alter of Slobodke that raising the spirit of the beaten down and depressed is not something that everyone can do. But with good will and with empathy, with love for the student who is struggling, by loving him, by taking part in his happiness, one can raise the spirit and revive the spirit of those who need it.

I remember, when I learned in yeshiva, that was an older bochur in Ponovezh, Rabbi Simchah Berger, and he had a very good heart. He used to tackle the most difficult bochurim. I cannot tell over the details of the story, but he knew how to deal with it. I know that one time a bochur reached a very difficult situation, but he knew how to help him, with a special love.

Even though he was himself a bochur, he knew how to help. Not everyone has the talent to listen to such bochurim, to enter into their worlds. This is a very exalted calling. One who can do it is very praiseworthy.

If one loves a bochur, it helps him. One should love a bochur, live with him, rejoice with him. If someone can help people and give them joy in life, it is a great thing. Not everyone can do it. Some more and some less.

I will tell a personal story that happened to me with HaRav Dessler zt"l...




HaRav Chizkiyahu Mishkovsky shlita: Advice to Prepare for Shavuos

HaRav Shimshon Rafael Hirsch asked why Shavuos is different from Pesach and Succos which include a chol hamoed and have a specified date in the Torah, whereas Shavuos is only one day and does not have a specific date mentioned in the Torah. Another question is why Shavuos does not have any practical mitzvos like matzo and chometz on Pesach and succa and arba minim on Succos.

It seems as if it should be the opposite since the festivals commemorate the exodus from Egypt, whose purpose and goal was the giving of the Torah, and one should think that this festival of Shavuos should be at least like the other two.

HaRav Hirsch explained that the mitzvos of the two are not advantages but restraints, as it were, while Shavuos, which celebrates the giving of the Torah, does not have any pragmatic limitations.




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

Rav Wolff Rosengarten Speaks to Yated Ne'eman about his friend and colleague HaRav Moshe Soloveitchik zt'l, in honor of his first yahrtzeit. He was niftar 19 Iyar, 5755. This was first published in 5756 (1996).

Part II

In the first part we learned about Rav Wolff Rosengarten and about the early years of HaRav Moshe Soloveitchik's life in eastern Europe, Switzerland and Eretz Yisroel.]

Private Leadership: Seeing but Unseen

When the yeshiva reopened its doors in Lucerne, there were ten talmidim. The number gradually rose to between fifty and sixty, which represented very significant progress for those times. There were few Jewish youths in Switzerland altogether and of these, only a mere handful were possible candidates for full time learning.

After leading the yeshiva for ten years and raising a nucleus of sincere and dedicated bnei Torah, Reb Moshe's sense of responsibility again dictated that it was time to move. His children were growing older and he wanted to raise them in a community where Torah life was stronger.




History Rhymes; and Rav Moshe Sheinfeld's Remarks are Still Relevant

B. Yemini reminds us that the horrors of October 7 are not without historical precedent.

Accounts of the massacre in Hebron in 1929 are similar to what the residents near Gaza experienced 7 months ago. At the time there was no occupation. The Jews in Hebron had lived there for generations.

There is no need for an occupation or colonialism to bring about a massacre. All that is needed is copious amounts of hate. That is what results in the events of Hebrew in 1929 or those in Kibbutz Be'eri in 2023... or on the campuses of universities across America.

Yemini recalls the alliance between Arabs and the Moslem Brotherhood and German Nazis. There was a plan for dividing the spoils of murdering Jews. A survey in 1941 of Arab opinion done by the American consulate found that 88 percent supported the German Nazis and only 9 percent support the Allies.




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Outstanding Articles From Our Archives

Opinion & Comment
Everything Depends on One's Starting Point A Mussar Talk of the Mashgiach HaRav Yechezkel Levenstein zt'l, delivered Lag BaOmer 5702 (1942) in Shanghai.

Transcribed by his talmid, Rav Moshe Binyamin Bernstein zt"l

The gemora (Yevomos 62b) says: "R' Akiva had twelve thousand pairs of disciples." This implies that there were no individuals among them; thus the sages specifically use the word "pairs."

We have often mentioned that one must examine every word of Chazal as carefully as one examines the Torah itself. Only because of our limited intellect do we fail to understand their words-the truth is that deep secrets lie behind every word.

"They all died in one time period." We should contemplate this point in depth. "All" means that not even one was spared. "Because they did not treat each other with due honor" - yet this fact leaves us unaroused. Could there be any greater proof of how careful one must be where the Torah's honor is concerned? Or greater proof of the clarity and truth of this principle?

We indeed observe mourning all the days of the Sefira in remembrance of this plague, exactly as if this event happened yesterday. But if something like this happened in our time, chas vesholom, how it would it waken us! Why don't we contemplate this matter? We see how particular G-d is concerning his close ones and how the punishment of disrespect for bnei Torah is beyond comprehension.

"It was taught, they all died from Pesach until Shavuos." The Maharsha explains that this was so that no one should ascribe the plague to any other cause, because this is the best and healthiest season of the year.

This too can be well understood in the light of our shmuess on Shavuos. We said that the way G-d directs the world is for the sake of the complete rosho as well. G-d's actions leave no room for him to err, and only a madman or a rebellious sinner can make any mistake.

Opinion & Comment
Entering the Yeshiva Reflects the Idea of Osuroh No Ve'ereh

From an unpublished talk given to the graduates of Yeshivas Hanegev, Nisan 5748, by HaGaon Hatzaddik R' Reuven Yosef Gershonowitz zt'l, rosh Yeshivas Hanegev

"For Hashem grants wisdom; from His mouth knowledge and understanding" (Mishlei 2:6). Wisdom emanates only from Hashem.

On the other hand, it also says, "He gives wisdom to the wise" (Doniel 2:21). The question is, "How does one get wisdom to begin with, if Hashem only grants it to those who already possess it?"

This is not difficult, for we must know that even the initial wisdom originates from Hashem as a gift. No one has it from himself! So if Hashem endows that wisdom, what does man add? A person must put his heart to it. He must desire it. He must be intelligent enough to know that he wants wisdom. This alone makes him one of the wise to whom Hashem gives [further] wisdom.

(We find in Midrash Tanchuma Vayakheil 7 where it discusses Betzalel, and it says that he had wisdom even before the Divine spirit of wisdom filled him.)

Moshe's Prophecy in the Merit of His Effort

Let us study Moshe Rabbenu's prophecy. How did he achieve prophecy? It is written, "The Angel of Hashem appeared to him in the fiery flame from within the sneh. And he saw and lo, the sneh was burning with fire, but the sneh was not consumed. And Moshe said: Let me approach and see (Osuroh no ve'ereh) this great sight; why is the sneh not being burned?"

The Sforno comments on the phrase: "And Hashem saw that he had approached to see" - to inspect and contemplate this phenomenon. And then Hashem called to him. Chazal teach us, "One who seeks to be purified is Divinely assisted, as we see, `And Moshe went up to Elokim and Hashem called to him from the mountain.' "

Moshe's "seeking to become purified" reached such an exalted degree that "He gazed upon the vision of Hashem."


These links were fixed, Tammuz 5781