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A Window into the Chareidi World

18 Adar II, 5784 - March 28, 2024 | Mordecai Plaut, director | Vayishlach - 5782 Published Weekly
Stories - Fiction

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The Hundredth Anniversary of a Miracle in Russian Georgia

Motzei Shabbos, the night of Purim d'Prozos, commemorated one hundred years since the miracle that was experienced by Chacham Yaakov Debrashvili, one of the illustrious figures of Georgian Jewry.

Kutaisi, once the capital of Georgia (a country conquered by Stalin who changed its name to Gruzia), contained its largest concentration of Jews. Chacham Yaakov lived near the site where a large statue of Lenin stood, a statue that Stalin demolished, and replaced with one carved in his image.

One time, the Chacham passed by the statue, accompanied by a Jew who asked why the statue had been changed. Rav Yaakov tersely quoted in reply, "Better the live dog than the dead lion," a verse in Mishlei.

That day, his escort attended a bris milah, and quoted that saying in the name of Rav Yaakov. An agent planted at the event by the KGB, reported to his superiors that the latter had dubbed Stalin a dog, and Lenin, a lion.

We will pass over the horrible tortures inflicted upon Rav Yaakov in prison.




The Paroches Made from Napoleon's Cloak

Napoleon Bonaparte, emperor of France for several years, a brilliant general and conqueror of much of Europe had a special feeling for Jewry. He tried to constitute a Sanhedrin at one point. When he campaigned in the Middle East, he issued a special call to the Jews to join him.

There are many legends and tales about contact he had with various Jewish leaders and with plain folk. Many are unverifiable and there is no way to know if they happened or not.

There is one persistent story about a paroches for the Aron Hakodesh in shul that was made from a cloak of Napoleon. There are many versions of how the cloak came into Jewish hands. But there is no question that there exists an ornate paroches that whose structure is consistent with a royal cloak from the time of Napoleon, as we will discuss.




A Toast to Biden?

Although Yahiya Sinawar probably adheres to the Moslem proscription against alcoholic beverages, he is almost certainly experiencing the feelings that lead those in the West to drink a toast to US President Biden. If only a week ago he was counting the days until the Israeli army entered Rafiach and being fatally cornered, he can now begin the countdown to the Israeli surrender to world pressure.

He can see the light at the end of the tunnel in which he lives. It looks like Israel might have to end the war and allow Hamas to claim victory and reassert control over the Gaza Strip.

The turning point was when cracks started to appear in the relationship between Israel and the US, that have since widened considerably. Biden finally ordered his representative in the UN to abstain on a resolution calling for an immediate cease fire. It also mentioned the release of the hostages, but importantly, it did not condition the cease fire on the release of the hostages.

On his path to return to the White House, the American president decided to throw Israel under the bus in the hope that he can win back the support of the pro-Palestinian voters who have expressed displeasure at his support of Israel's right to defend itself against a terror group that committed horrible crimes five months ago and vows to repeat them whenever it has the chance.




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

He Was a Father - A Conversation with HaRav Reuven Feinstein

by Rav Refoel Berlson

Twenty years after the passing of Maran HaRav Moshe Feinstein zt"l, author of Igros Moshe and one of the greatest poskim of recent generations, we asked his son, HaRav Reuven Feinstein, to share some of his memories and to tell us what was special about Reb Moshe's approach to halachic rulings. What distinguishes the approach to halachic ruling in Igros Moshe? HaRav Reuven Feinstein: "His approach was to extract the halochoh only after great omol in the sugyos of the gemora and the shittos of the Rishonim. The halochoh would emerge on its own through iyun. He didn't gather different halachic shittos but dug down to the foundations and from there drew forth the halochoh lema'aseh. This genius is reminiscent of the genius of HaRav Dovid Karliner zt"l.

Home and Family
The Many Against the Few: The Story of Bais Yaakov in Eretz Yisroel -- From a Tender Seedling to a Fruitful Tree

by Yehudit Golan

Part VII

Going Out to the Settlements

With the end of winter, the classes were closed and all the volunteer teachers were sent home. Even after the transit camps shrank and the immigrants were sent to permanent settlements, the holy work didn't stop. Sometimes a school grew and became established and in other cases, it was a big disappointment to the teachers and public activists.

"Messilat Tzion and Eshtaol were two settlements in the Jerusalem corridor to which, in the main, the immigrants from Yemen were sent," says S. "The immigrants were divided like flocks of sheep, sent here and there without being consulted. Three of us friends went out to Eshtaol, not far from Shaar Hagai, in order to meet our students from the transit camp. We hoped that we'd be able to organize a religious school for them in the new settlement. "And as if a whole year hadn't passed, the girls came out to greet us affectionately and accompanied us to their homes while their parents voluntarily signed up to give their daughters a religious education. With the complete list in our hands, we left the settlement hoping to return as teachers there.

"The list was presented to the Ministry of Education and soon we received official permission to open a Bais Yaakov school in Eshtaol. We equipped ourselves with notebooks, books, writing utensils and we set out once again for the promising settlement. And then, when we were in Eshtaol, we received a strange and indifferent welcome. No one came out to meet us and a several of the girls who saw us whispered to us with serious faces, `Teacher, forbidden! Teacher, forbidden!'


These links were fixed, Tammuz 5781