Dei'ah Vedibur - Information &

A Window into the Chareidi World

Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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New Bus Routes to Tie Chareidi Communities Together

Public transportation from Beit Shemesh, Ashdod and up north is undergoing improvement.

Beginning May 28th, two new direct intercity lines, #885 from Ashdod and 887 from Beit Shemesh will go to Tsefat via Afula and Meron. In addition, in less than a month, beginning from the 22nd of Sivan, more buses will be added by the Tnufa company on the Beit Shemesh-Jerusalem route.




Beginning Learning Alef-Beis — Minhagim and Their Reasons

Shavuos is the time that we all received the Torah together, directly from Hashem yisborach, but each of us also receives it in a more personal way on his third birthday, when, according to the ancient custom we begin to learn Alef-beis. A noted educator explains here the connection between the individual matan Torah of every child and our nation's matan Torah, and the other customs that prevail when a child learns the first parts of Torah that he can relate to. This was first published in 1996.

Numerous minhagim were promulgated by rabbonim of earlier generations for the time when a child begins learning Torah. Their aim was to imbue the children's neshamos with the fundamental ideology of Judaism. Upon this firm foundation the children later build their character, in a life of devoted to Torah observance. In addition, these minhagim possess special spiritual qualities for the child's future success in Torah studies.

The minhagim are cited in numerous rishonim: Machzor Vitri by R' Simcha of Vitri, a student of Rashi's (chap. 508); Orchos Chaim by R' Aharon HaKohen of Lunel (parts II and III); HaRokei'ach by R' Eliezer of Worms (Hilchos Shavuos 296); Kol Bo (74); Migdal Oz by R' Yaakov Emden; and others.

The Machzor Vitri writes at length about these minhagim and cites sources and reasons for each of their details. It is certainly worthwhile for us to examine their foundations, which embody their aims, and in addition to describe how to correctly fulfill the minhagim, so that we will benefit from them in the ways that Chazal intended.




Shavuos—Perceiving Yichud Hashem

by HaRav Nosson Wachtfogel zt"l

"The parshiyos about a nazir and a sotah are juxtaposed, to teach us that anyone who sees a disgraced and defiled sotah should abstain from drinking wine (like a nazir), because after seeing such a sight one can be aroused to lewdness" (Sotah 2a, and cited in Rashi, Bamidbar 6:2).

Many have wondered why it is that now, after seeing that the sinful woman is visited with such a disgraceful punishment, one need abstain from drinking wine to deter sin? Isn't the sight of her being punished sufficient to prevent us from plummeting to sin? Why is it necessary to seek further means to prevent him from sinning?

In our prayers on Shavuos we mention the yom tov as being zman matan Toraseinu. This appellation, besides actually indicating the essence of the yom tov, also teaches us the way we are to serve Hashem on that day.

On Pesach we mention in our prayers that it is zman cheiruseinu, which indicates that during this yom tov our main service is to remember our Exodus from Egypt and all the miracles that HaKodosh Boruch Hu did for us at that time. We also conduct the seder on Pesach to recall the miracles that He did for us.

Similarly, on Shavuos, zman matan Toraseinu, our chief duty is to recall the revelation on Mt. Sinai with all the sounds and fiery torches, all the clamor, the awe and reverence, and the other spectacular experiences and revelations that accompanied it.

It is perplexing, however, why we are obliged to remember the receiving of the Torah on Shavuos. After all, Hashem's gift of the holy Torah on Shavuos did not last. The tablets given then bearing the Ten Commandments were broken, and Moshe Rabbenu had to pray to Hashem on our behalf until He answered our prayers and gave the second set of Tablets. It would make more sense, from this perspective, to celebrate zman matan Toraseinu on Yom Kippur, since it was then that we received the Second Tablets containing the Torah which we still have.

Why, therefore, do we celebrate receiving the Torah on Shavuos when we received then only the First Tablets, which are no longer with us?




Despite the Vicious Propaganda, Chareidim do not act Primarily for Money

Since the budget was proposed, the Opposition has been expressing its opposition to the budget by attacking the chareidim. In fact the budget is just a normal Israel government budget, with those in the government getting funding for their constituencies, who voted for them at least in part for that reason.

The chareidim are being portrayed has "sucking the blood" of the rest of Israel even though there is no objective facts to support this.

It is also clear that if the chareidim had gone together with the parties that are now attacking them, they would have gotten at least as much money, and probably more. But this did not happen.

It didn't happen because the chareidi public cannot be bought with money. Not even a lot of it. Those who shell out bills at demonstrations are polluted with the old time, detested anti-Semitism which regards Jews as money grubbers, pursuers of money, but what can they do if the reality points in the opposite direction?

If the chareidi stereotype were accurate, we would find ourselves as part of the leftist government which dispenses money generously, even munificently.





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