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A Window into the Chareidi World

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

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A Conversation with HaRav David Cohen shlita

When the bitter information of the horrendous scope of the destruction of Jewry in Europe became known, a meeting of major rabbonim in Israel was called in Cheshvan, 5705, attended by the esteemed Torah leaders, HaRav Isser Zalman Meltzer, HaRav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, HaRav Isaac Sher and HaRav Yechezkel Sarna. These eminent gedolei hador, as figures representing the conscience of the generation, decided to hold a huge national rally for mourning, teshuva and arousing the people regarding the Holocaust.

Their rousing call bore the words: "Dear Brethren! Let us stir ourselves and harken to the resounding echo from Heaven and cry out with a heartbreaking voice and seek mercy for the remnant of Jewry in Europe. Gather and enter fortified cities, those bastions of holiness, of Torah and piety. Let us go the remnant of the Mikdash and pour out our hearts, and shout in a pained and heartbreaking voice."

On the eighteenth of Kislev. huge masses from all over the country converged on Yeshivas Chevron. A heavy downpour on that day changed some of the plans making it unfeasible to go to the Kosel so that the prayers were said at the yeshiva. The Rav from Krinik, HaRav Chizkiyohu Mishkovsky, recited Selichos and Tehillim, and was responded very emotionally by the assemblage. The stirring messages followed.


We approached the Rosh Yeshiva, HaRav Dovid Cohen, asking him to direct the public in arousement.




What Made the Gazans Rejoice?

A clip was publicized this week depicting the Oct. 7th events. It was filmed by Gazan residents themselves. It shows the streets filled with the vehicles of the murderers coming back, loaded with the corpses of Jewish victims. A cortege of thousands Gazans "escorted" the procession with unbridled and unhidden spontaneous joy, reminiscent to our mind of vicious barracudas, known to thirst for human blood.

It shows huge hordes of men, women and children en masse, surrounding the corpses in ecstatic joy, bodies of those who were murdered so brutally and viciously.

We do not harbor the slightest mote of mercy over those millions of Gazans who were uprooted from their homes and relegated to transit camps. They were all partners in the tremendous tunnel project which Hamas built over many years with the very funds which should have gone to transforming Gaza City into a flourishing place. These citizens knowingly and willingly agreed to forego a comfortable life for the sake of the single goal: to utterly destroy Israel.




The Flask Of Mann: The Thirty-First Yahrtzeit Of HaRav Nochum Abba Grossbard zt'l

This was originally published exactly 30 years ago in 5754, on the first yahrtzeit of HaRav Grossbard zt"l. This is the first time it is being published online. There is very little information available about HaRav Grossbard online.

Part II

Bitachon And Hishtadlus

Last week we posed the question of what practical relevance the level of bitachon of someone like HaRav Grossbard has for us today.

The correct amount of hishtadlus was a frequent topic of discussion between Reb Nochum Abba and his teacher Reb Chatzkel Levenstein, the mashgiach of Mir and later Ponovezh. If Reb Chatzkel felt that a certain step went beyond what was required, Reb Nochum Abba never gave it a second thought.

Finding one's own level is important but how is one to know what his correct level of hishtadlus is? One prominent teacher, a close talmid of HaRav Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler zt'l, who ranks as one of the most famous of the baalei mussar of Kelm, offered the following guidelines.

Chazal tell us that doing complete teshuva for an intentional aveira converts it to a mitzva. The reason for this is that the aveira has acted as a spur to teshuva. By the same token, if the performance of a mitzvah is sincerely regretted, not only is the merit of the mitzvah lost but the person is in a weaker position than he was previously.

An example will make this clearer. ...




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

Opinion & Comment
On the Ways of the Holy Ones: Remembering the Holocaust

by Yisroel Spiegel

Part II

By keeping the voice of Yaakov strong and steady, we Torah- true Jews are commemorating the Holocaust, keeping the memory of the millions alive and continuing along the path which they followed as they sacrificed their lives, their souls ascending in flames directly to Heaven. Our weltanshauung does not see the departure from life on earth as a dead end. On the contrary: the holy souls rise to bask in the light of the heavenly palaces. They surely derive great spiritual satisfaction from seeing the continuation of Jewish life down on earth among brethren who, despite of all the difficulties of our present day, preserve the Jewish lifestyle and its values and practice its teachings as has been done from time immemorial.

We have no place for national and international ceremonies to commemorate the Holocaust. We are also diffident with regard to the locations and expressions of those memorial rites where they always talk about preserving the memory through immobile, inanimate and lifeless media such as archives, museums, photo exhibits, monuments and the like. All these, even if they arouse great interest for research, fall very short of expressing and reflecting the true vibrant life which the deceased millions lived and breathed, the pulsating holy communities in which they thrived, the Torah fortresses, and the bustling, flourishing Chassidic courts from which they derived their strength.

What does properly and significantly express our attitude in a living, concrete way, are the botei knesses and botei midrash from which the voice of Yaakov continues to issue forth. These are the wellsprings of continuity of Torah and Yiddishkeit, as are the yeshivos and bastions of Torah in all of their spiritual colors, schools of thought, spiritual styles, with their respective followings, which flourished and proliferated then - and since those days. These are the indicators of Jewish continuity in these present times.

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

by Yehudit Golan

Part 3

Picture: Transit camp and new immigrant neighborhoods were common scenery throughout Israel. Members of the establishment circulated among the immigrants warning them threateningly that whoever sent their daughters to Beis Yaakov would immediately lose their jobs.

In the first years following the establishment of the state, Bais Yaakov was faced with tremendous opportunities and insurmountable difficulties. The schools were established one after the other for a population that doubled its size and at the same time, the small organization suffered incitement, slander and a bitter struggle against them by the "state" populations. On the front lines, stood the devoted teachers and principals backed by diligent public activists working non-stop: wandering around the world wearily collecting donations, traveling distances across the country to visit each small branch, working tirelessly night and day for their brainchild - chareidi education.

At the time of the establishment of the State, 2,000 boys and 2,000 girls were learning in the educational institutions of Agudas Yisroel. One of the miracles of the time was the establishment of the educational branches. The new government recognized these schools as its own educational stream at the time when it defined the other educational branches. The main and biggest among them was the general education, after which came the Histadrut branch whose members consisted of the workers' party (Mapai). The third was the branch of religious education "Mizrachi" (it was the second biggest in Jerusalem) and the fourth was the Agudah branch under which came the Bais Yaakov schools, "Chorev" and a number of Talmud Torahs.

"I remember," recounts Rav Hillel Lieberman zt'l, "that Ben Gurion told Rav Yitzchok Meir Levin: 'You won't be able to uphold your educational institutions alone. No institution could! Therefore it's important that you include another branch and I promise you that we won't interfere in your curriculum. You'll continue to teach as you've been teaching until today.' "


These links were fixed, Tammuz 5781