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The Week In News

JANUARY 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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The Week In News

JANUARY 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home

CONTENTS COMMUNITY Happenings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

JEWISH THOUGHT Torah Musings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Living with the Times . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

FEATURE Tribute: Moshe Arens, One of Israel’s Greatest Defenders. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

LIFESTYLES Book Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Emotional Health. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Tribe Tech Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Humor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15




Dear Readers, What is it about cynicism that’s so appealing? For some people, it’s almost like a drug beckoning us to ride its high. Is it the false sense of strength of being able to say, “I think it didn’t happen,” or “Who said it’s a good thing?” In reality, cynicism is poison. It poisons us from appreciating people and things around us. I would argue that cynicism shouldn’t be used even against wrong ideas. This is what Amalek was about. He knew he would lose the war, but it wasn’t about winning. He wanted to pour cold water on the hot panic and awe the nations of the world had towards the Jewish people. Once he started up, the appearance of invincibility that the Yidden had acquired during the makkos and at the Yam Suf disappeared. For that reason, we are commanded to remember and destroy Amalek for all eternity. Amalek is the archenemy of truth. He doesn’t argue with logic; he says, “So what?” or “Big deal!” or “Who said?” Once he pops his cynical question, the aura of absolute truth has faded. The strength to win against Amalek comes from the Moshe Rabbeinu in each generation. When His hands are raised which leads to Yidden look up to Hashem, v’gavar Yisrael. May we experience the ultimate truth with the coming of Mashiach. Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos,


T H E P R E M I E R J E W I S H N E W S PA P E R H I G H L I G H T I N G L A’ S O R T H O D OX C O M M U N I T Y The Jewish Home is an independent bi-weekly newspaper. Opinions expressed by writers are not neces­sarily the opinions of the publisher or editor. The Jewish Home is not responsible for typographical errors, or for the kashrus of any product or business advertised within. The Jewish Home contains words of Torah. Please treat accordingly. FOR HOME DELIVERY, OR TO HAVE THE LATEST ISSUE EMAILED TO YOU FREE OF CHARGE, SEND A MESSAGE TO EDITOR@JEWISHHOMELA.COM



TheHappenings Week In News

JANUARY 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Rabbi Yosef Kushner Leads Two-Day Yarchei Kallah At LINK Kollel in L.A. Rabbi Eli Stern The LINK Kollel in Los Angeles hosted a two-day yarchei kallah during the legal holiday on December 31st and January 1st on the subject of “Unfair Business Competition.” The maggid shiur was Rabbi Yosef Kushner of the Bais HaVaad of Lakewood, New Jersey. The shiurim each day were proceeded by a two-hour seder limud in the relevant sources in Shas and poskim with the avreichim of the kollel learning b’chavrusa with the numerous baal habatim who attended. Rabbi Kushner is well-known for his two sefarim on contemporary halachic issues, Commerce and Shabbos and Commerce and Issurei Hana’ah. In particular, his sefarim are a model of clarity, felicity of expression, and demonstrate an acute awareness of the intricacies of today’s business world based on the psakim of his esteemed father-in-law, HaRav Shlomo Miller, shlita. Rabbi Kushner’s oral presentations were extremely deep, plus he has a very engaging, warm style that also exhibits a good sense of humor. He demonstrated unlimited patience in answering numerous questions both during and after the shiurim, touching upon many practical business applications. The learning was divided into two major sugyos. On the first day, the famous sugya of «Ani HaM’hapaich B’chararah” was used to illustrate the question of what is considered “stealing” someone else’s deal (or intellectual property). The Gemara discusses a well-known case of where one fisherman sets out bait to attract fish and another fisherman swoops in and “steals” the fish that had been attracted. This is the paradigm for any situation where one businessman is about to con-

summate a deal and his competitor encroaches and tries to steal the deal by offering sweeter terms to the client who is about to agree to the former’s terms. The Gemara terms such an interloper a “rasha” (and he is so labeled in the community), but there is no mechanism for the beis din to undo his actions. On the next day, the learning centered around the sugya of «Yoreid L’soch Umnoso Shel Chaveiro.” This entails trying to steal away a client that another Jew regularly does business with—for example, trying to convince a business to switch to another insurance company, title company, or credit card processing company. When the beis din determines that the second

businessman has unlawfully encroached and stolen this client, this is called «marufia” and they can intervene to nullify this transaction as being unfair. Rabbi Kushner proceeded to give many practical examples delineating exactly when it would be permissible for a competitor to make an offer to someone else’s existing client. As an added bonus, Rabbi Kushner gave a special shiur on Monday evening, December 31st, delineating a number of not so-well-known halachic problems in the area of yichud at work and in the home. In particular, he focused on the case of one man being “alone” with one woman, which is a Torah prohibition. According to the opinion of Rashi (which

is followed by many poskim), the heter (dispensation) of “baila b’ir” (fear of the husband being in town) would not apply in this case. He spoke about how the issues of yichud would affect a speech therapist working in people›s homes, a repairman coming to one›s house, or a cleaning lady working in someone’s home. He also discussed the question of two women and one man in an office situation. The yarchei kallah attracted a full house to all of Rabbi Kushner›s presentations. Those who attended avidly asked many questions and Rabbi Kushner obliged them long after his shiurim were finished.

Chana Levitan Addresses Singles at YICC/Shalom Bayit L.A. Event January 13th, Shalom Bayit L.A. and the Young Community at Young Israel of Century City (YICC) co-hosted an event with marriage and dating coach, Chana Levitan. Over a hundred people attended the event, entitled “How to Marry the Right Person.” Chana Levitan is a certified Imago Relationship Therapist with a Master’s Degree in clinical sociology and family counseling, with an emphasis on Family Systems Theory. In addition, she is the author of two well-received books, I Only Want to Get Married Once and That’s Why I Married You. At Sunday’s event, Levitan explained that shared values are the most important consideration in choosing a spouse, and that many people are overwhelmed by personal chemistry/attraction in a way that makes them blind to the larger issues. Her talk touched upon three key issues: why

marriage matters and is important, how a person must identify his or her own values/ beliefs in order to know what to look for, and the five things necessary for lasting

love. This last item includes shared values, healthy boundaries, trust, respect, and good communication. Participants filled out a worksheet

during the lecture in order to write down their own values and begin the process of introspection.

TheHappenings Week In News

JANUARY 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Dr. Normal Blumenthal Speaks to Los Angeles Teachers about Childhood Anxiety Yehudis Litvak The Los Angeles Teacher Center of Torah Umesorah presented a workshop for teachers on the subject of Childhood Anxiety: A Rising Concern for Educators Today, hosted by Yavneh Hebrew Academy. The speaker, Dr. Normal Blumenthal, a clinical psychologist and Director of Trauma, Bereavement, and Crisis Intervention at OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services, spoke about the increasing rate of anxiety in today’s children. According to statistics, anxiety is the third most common mental illness among children, affecting one in eight children. Dr. Blumenthal discussed the causes of childhood anxiety, emphasizing that it is often not the parents’ fault and that it is crucial for the teachers to work together with the parents to help the child. He listed common symptoms of anxiety, pointing out that it often doesn’t look like what people associate with anxiety. “Teaching has changed radically, reflective of broader change in children today,” said Dr. Blumenthal. It is important for teachers today to be aware of mental health issues and take them into consideration when planning and conducting classes. Dr. Blumenthal spoke about what is developmentally appropriate for each age group. Some anxiety is normal and necessary, but excessive anxiety needs clinical

intervention. Dr. Blumenthal touched upon how a teacher could go about informing the parents when a clinical diagnosis is suspected. While teachers cannot diagnose or treat their students’ anxiety on their own, they can implement certain classroom interventions that reduce the students’ level of anxiety. Dr. Blumenthal recommended incorporating outlets and soothing activities, such as slow breathing, tempered exercise, visualizations, and meditative activities. He also spoke about unstructured time, which might trigger anxiety in some children, and mentioned reduction or elimination of homework as a potential intervention. Can anxiety be cured? Dr. Blumenthal said that mental health professionals are not necessarily curing anxiety, but they are helping people live with anxiety. Sometimes that involves therapy, and other times medication is also necessary. “Medication is not a cop out,” said Dr. Blumen-

thal. “Skillfully applied medication reduces anxiety enough for therapy to work.” “Are we [in this generation] just weaker?” asked Dr. Blumenthal. His answer was Yes. The world gets easier to navigate with each generation, and we are less able to tolerate discomfort and anxiety. In addition, the role of parents is changing in society. Parents have less influence on their children than ever before, and the children are exposed to scary news items on their

own, without their parents to filter it for them. Bullying is on the rise, and social media makes bullying easier. Social media also increases pressure on children to measure up to their peers. Our children will live in a very different world than the world we are used to, “an individually tailored world,” said Dr. Blumenthal. We need a paradigm shift in preparing our children for the world of the future.

Rabbi Shaya Cohen Inspires Parents and Teachers to Work Together to Motivate Our Children’s Spiritual Growth Yehudis Litvak The Los Angeles branch of Torah Umesorah hosted an inspiring and informative evening to unite parents and teachers on the subject of Resonance: The Power of Mechanchim and Parents Marching in Tandem. Mothers, fathers, and teachers filled the Bais Yaakov L.A. auditorium to learn about the impact of relationships on spiritual growth. The guest speaker, Rabbi Shaya Cohen, Rosh Yeshiva of Zichron Aryeh, is a former resident of Los Angeles who played a key role in building up the Valley Village Jewish community. “When I came here in 1975, no one could have imagined what we have here today,” said Rabbi Cohen. “The status of the frum community is truly amazing.” Yet, success comes with its own dangers. “We don’t see the areas where we have fallen short because of the success we are experiencing,” continued Rabbi Cohen, explaining that in his line of work he encounters too many boys and girls, and now also adults, who are drifting away from Yiddishkeit. Rabbi Cohen spoke about the impor-

tance of building a relationship with Hashem—for our children, and (even more so) for ourselves, their role models. “For the sake of all our children we have to strengthen ourselves,” he said, emphasizing excitement, inspiration, and passion in our relationship with Hashem as crucial for the future of the next generations. Another important factor is “resonance”—parents and teachers must work together. “There are so many nuances, variations, and contradictions between parents and schools that weaken commitment,” said Rabbi Cohen. “If we are all in step together, we can change the world.” Citing Rashi, Rabbi Cohen defined chinuch as “beginning of entry into a way of life that we are destined to remain with.” He emphasized that it’s a “long term game.” Our children will have to continue their personal and spiritual growth on their own. All we can do is give them the inspiration and tools to start off on this journey of growth. “Extremely important, and sadly missing today, is a passionate, active relationship with Hakadosh Baruch Hu,” said

Rabbi Cohen. How do we help our children build this relationship? In order to love somebody, we have to get to know them, appreciate their qualities, and interact with them. We know Hashem through His middos and actions. From the earliest age, we must nurture our children with stories of hashgacha pratis, pointing out Hashem’s involvement in their lives. Going further, we must teach them that the whole purpose of creation is chessed and that Hashem’s main mode of interacting with us is rachamim. If children are exposed to these ideas before they are faced with the challenges and disappointments of life, then when they get older, they will able to see the good even in hardships. But it’s not enough to just preach these ideas. We ourselves must internalize such a relationship with Hashem, to the extent that it becomes contagious. Another factor is tefillah. “Without a relationship, tefillah is meaningless. With a relationship, it can forge a deeper relationship,” said Rabbi Cohen. Another ingredient is bitachon, which we can model

for our children when things don’t go the way we want. The second part of the evening was devoted to the relationships between parents and children and teachers and students. The deeper the relationship the more influence the adults have on their children’s spirituality. “Feeling good about myself is the essence of human happiness,” said Rabbi Cohen. “If we can make our children and students feel good about themselves, we can catapult them into a life of continued growth.” The ingredients necessary for these relationships are respect for the children— their time and space—and a positive view of the children. We must learn to have realistic expectations, limit our criticism, and discover the greatness inside them. It is also important to teach them that Hashem gave us Torah and mitzvos for our own benefit, and to take the time to acknowledge and answer their questions. Another important ingredient is patience. With it, we can weather all disagreements and differences.



The Week In News Torah Musings

JANUARY 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Taking Baby Steps toward Greatness Sarah Pachter

Anyone who has ever watched a toddler learning to walk knows how exciting it can be to witness. Over the course of a year, infants go from uncoordinated newborns, to crawling and curious babies, and then, suddenly, those first amazing steps are taken! Parents everywhere beam with pride as their child navigates one step, then another, until—BOOM!—they crash to the ground. Of course, in most situations, rather than comfort and coddle the fallen child, we rush to congratulate them and encourage them to stand right back up for just a few more steps. This cycle repeats itself over and over, falling and rising again, until that toddling child becomes a sea-


soned walker, on the move and ready to cause trouble wherever they can find it! It is mind-boggling to think about everything that a baby accomplishes in just a few short months. Babies’ ability to fall without being discouraged and immediately get back up again creates an exponential potential for growth. Only with their can-do attitude and refusal to give into failure are babies able to transform themselves into fullblown walkers. When a young child falls, they don’t dwell on the mistake they just made. There is only pure tenacity and the desire to achieve their goal. Young children don’t become ashamed, and they don’t care








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about what other people think, making it that much easier to get right back up and try again. Unfortunately, once we grow up, we are all too quick to give into failure. Unlike the baby who can’t wait to get up and take its next few steps, failure in adulthood can paralyze us and cause stagnation. Be it a bad date, a job rejection, or even just running late to a meeting, we are so quick to let negativity take hold and allow the bad thoughts to fester. We worry about what others may think of our failure and wonder if we can ever get past it. Once we are down, it can be hard to get back up again. “Sheva yipol tzaddik vekam—A righteous person falls seven times and rises.” (Mishlei 24:16) Failure is part and parcel of being human. Throughout life there will be innumerable challenges to face. What makes a tzaddik unique is their ability to rise after they fall. Not only do they get up, but those difficult situations are actually vehicles for learning and growth. In the back of their mind, they know that although Hashem may not be visible in that moment, they are not alone. G-d created this difficult moment as a unique opportunity to learn and grow from. While cooking in the kitchen one afternoon, my baby was happily playing next to me. A small toy she was playing with skid across the floor and landed under the counter towards the back of the baseboards, where even most brooms don’t reach. She crawled towards it and tilted her head to get a better view, then positioned herself on her tummy, attempting to reach it, but to no avail. With a pause, she calculated her next move. Looking towards me for help, she started expressing her frustration. I instinctively began to reach for the toy to hand it to her, then retracted, realizing that the struggle was good for her and would help develop her gross motor skills. Understanding now that she was on her own, she maneuvered herself way closer to the toy and after another try, succeeded in reaching her goal. She beamed with joy at her accomplishment. Although parents know without a doubt that we love our children and want them to succeed, from the child’s perspective that is not always so clear. In their moment of struggle, it can be difficult to understand that when their parents take a step back, it

is ultimately for the child’s benefit. As children of Hashem, when we look at our own life’s trajectory, we may feel alone in our struggles, wondering where Hashem is in our lives. During difficult times, we may feel anger or dismay that Hashem wants us to stretch ourselves. Hashem’s seeming absence may feel immeasurable as we struggle to figure it out by ourselves. But Hashem is never truly absent. That “step back” is actually an act of love from Hashem. He is always watching, guiding, and cheering us on, and oftentimes he is protecting us from hardship in more ways than we can ever imagine. One Shabbos a number of years ago, I attended shul with my sister-in-law and my three-year-old niece. As the energetic toddler jumped in between the pews, I watched her mother strategically place her hands so my niece would not bump her head. She simultaneously stopped the siddurim from falling on my niece or on the floor. I remember thinking, Wow, my niece has no idea that her mother is guarding her every move to make sure she does not hurt herself. That’s when it hit me: Just as parents do so much for their children without their children’s knowledge, so too is our Father in Heaven constantly protecting us even when we cannot see it. Although it may not always seem that way, He is orchestrating every move of our lives to ensure the best outcome for us. Witnessing my niece’s “blind spot” was sweet and endearing, but as adults it can be easy to take the goodness in our lives for granted. We live our lives obliviously, barely noticing all the amazing miracles that keep us safe daily. Hashem is with us during the hard times even when we can’t see Him, but he is also with us every time we wake up in the morning and take a deep breath, arrive safely at our destination after a turbulent plane ride, and so many other moments that we are being protected without our knowledge. Just like a parent knows when to step in and when to let their child fall, struggle, and eventually get back up again, Hashem is the ultimate parent who is always supporting us, even during difficult times, rooting for us to become stronger and greater each day. The next time you find yourself on the verge of collapse, remember that G-d always has your back, propelling you to find your footing and learn to run.

The Week In News

JANUARY 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home


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Living with the The Week In Times News

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz

JANUARY 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Let Us Sing

Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman Yetzias Mitzrayim and Krias Yam Suf are bedrocks of our faith. Locked in with no way out, the Jews were miraculously freed from slavery. Subsequently, as they stood at the Yam Suf, they once again were locked in with no way to proceed. Their tormentors were behind them and a large impassable body of water lay in front of them. In each situation, they required deep levels of faith in order to be redeemed. Hashem sent Moshe to speak to Paroh on behalf of the Jewish people, seeking their freedom. However, instead of the meeting leading to anything fruitful, Jewish suffering worsened. There was reason to believe that by following the word of Hashem, Moshe had made things worse. It required a great degree of faith for the Jewish people to continue to believe that Hashem would free them. They maintained their faith and therefore were freed. However, once again, it seemed that by following Hashem, they faced ruin. Hashem told Moshe to lead the people to Pi Hachiros, between Migdol and the Red Sea. Paroh chased after them and found them encamped at the sea. The people feared and cried out to Moshe and Hashem. Moshe responded that they should remain silent and Hashem would fight for them. The water was not yet split and Hashem told Moshe to tell the people to travel on. Even though the command made no sense, they placed their faith in Hashem and proceeded to march into the water. Due to their emunah and zechus avos, the water split for them and they walked on dry land (Rashi 14:15). Because they acted solely based on emunah and bitachon, without thinking about whether it made sense or not, they were freed. In fact, Hashem told them to act in such a manner to teach the Jewish people that, as Rav Chaim Soloveitchik taught, emunah and bitachon begin where intelligence ends. Many times, things don’t necessarily make sense, but that should not cause us to lose faith and lose hope. We

believe that if we follow the word of Hashem, we will not fail. Chazal teach that at the splitting of the sea, simple maids merited perceiving Divine splendor and glory in a way that surpassed the visions of even the greatest prophets. We wonder what it was that they saw. Were the Jews at Krias Yam Suf the only people to appreciate the magnitude of miracles? Surely not. Was the sight of a mighty sea splitting the greatest supernatural experience? The Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 23:3) sheds light on the vision apparent at the splitting of the sea. The Medrash concentrates on the word “oz,” which opens the eternal song of the shirah. Chazal say that Moshe Rabbeinu had previously sinned by uttering the word “oz” in a complaint against Hashem. “Be’oz chotoh,” with “oz” he sinned, “ube’oz tikkein,” and with “oz” it was rectified.

have not rescued them” (Shemos 5:23). Moshe’s ode of repentance is apparent in this week’s song, “Oz yoshir Moshe uvnei Yisroel.” The opening word “oz” is the very term with which he sinned. There is something that bears explanation. Moshe erred when he used the word oz to complain about the situation facing the Jews. He did not use that word in the actual shirah. What, then, does the Medrash mean when it says that Moshe sinned with “oz” and repented with “oz,” when that word is not part of the song? We may be able to understand the depth of the connection by observing that when the Jewish suffering seemed too much to bear, Hashem appeared to Moshe and told him that the oppression would soon end. Yet, when Moshe followed Hashem’s instructions and spoke to Paroh, the workload was increased. It seemed to Moshe

There will be a day, soon, when we will understand all that has transpired.

Moshe Rabbeinu erred by asking Hashem why it was necessary to increase the suffering of the Bnei Yisroel. Hashem appeared to Moshe and told him that He heard the cries of the enslaved Jewish people. He would free them from oppression and take them to the Promised Land. Hashem instructed the reluctant Moshe to appear before Paroh and ask him to permit the Jews a brief respite to worship Hashem in the desert. Unreceptive to the request, Paroh tightened the pressure on the poor slaves. Moshe registered his complaint to Hashem, saying, “Umei’oz bosi el Paroh ledaber biShmecha heira la’am hazeh vehatzeil lo hitzalta es amecha - Since I spoke in Your Name to Paroh, he has worsened the way he treats the people and You

that appealing to Paroh for better treatment was a bad idea that backfired. In time, however, it became clear that the increase in work was a means of advancing the redemption, for it allowed the Bnei Yisroel to be redeemed 190 years earlier than originally prophesized. The harshness of servitude caused their freedom to come sooner. Even great nevi’im, who feel Hashem’s mastery over the cosmos, don’t merit seeing both parts of the story, the beginning and the end, come together the way the humble maids did as the Jewish nation was born as a free people at the yam. It was the specific factor about which

Moshe had complained that was the catalyst of the redemption. At the sea, as he witnessed his oppressors washing up dead on the shore and saw the mighty Egyptian army reduced to corpses, Moshe understood it. On the shore of the Yam Suf, as geulim, Moshe and the Bnei Yisroel perceived the perfect symmetry of the Divine plan as they saw everything they had been promised come to fruition. It was then that they sang the shirah. The root of the word shirah is shir. The Mishnah in Maseches Shabbos that lists the accessories that an animal may carry outside on Shabbos includes a shir, a round ring worn around the neck of the animal. Rav Moshe Shapiro explained that shir is a circle. He said that at the moment they sang shirah, Moshe and the Bnei Yisroel perceived the perfect harmony of creation, how there is a beginning, middle and end to everything. They witnessed the realization of what was foretold to the avos, to Moshe and to them. When they saw that, they sang. The Bais Halevi explains: “There is another level: he who perceives the kindness shown to him through the suffering as well, as it says, ‘I thank You, Hashem, for You have answered me and become my salvation’ (Tehillim 118:21), an expression of gratitude on the ‘inui,’ the affliction, as well as the salvation - I thank You for both, for both are beneficial and good for me. This was the attitude of Moshe Rabbeinu and the Bnei Yisroel when they sang at the Yam Suf.” At that instant, they perceived the benefit of their long bondage. There is another time that the word “oz” appears in Tanach that can contribute to our understanding of this equation. The posuk in Tehillim states, “Nachon kisacha mei’oz,” meaning that Hashem’s throne has been fixed in place since creation. The Sefas Emes explains that mei’oz refers to the “oz” of Oz Yoshir. There is a certain depth of comprehension of Hashem’s Hashgocha and clarity in the revelation of His dominion that was not revealed to the world until Krias Yam Suf. The Torah recounts that when Moshe originally told the Jewish people that Hashem had spoken to him, foretelling their release, they were unable to hear his message “mikotzer ruach umei’avodah kasha” (Shemos 6:9). The Ohr Hachaim explains that their inability to accept words of consolation was due to the fact that they had not yet received the Torah. Without Torah, their spirit was compromised. Torah expands the hearts of those who study and observe it. The Jews in Mitzrayim

The Week InTimes News Living with the

JANUARY 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home

were not yet blessed with that ability. Perhaps the Sefas Emes can help us explain why in Mitzrayim the Jews were unable to have faith in Moshe’s announcement that he had come to free them. The light of emunah that shined in the world at the beginning of creation had been dimmed until Krias Yam Suf. Thus, the abused slaves in Mitzrayim didn’t have the benefit of the emunah sheleimah that resides within every Jewish heart since that moment. At Krias Yam Suf, there was a new revelation. Everything in the world that had previously been thought to be disparate and imperceptible came together clearly. They were no longer slaves. They were a new nation of geulim, having been crafted goy mikerev goy, one nation plucked from among another. The Maharal says that as they formed into a nation, they developed as people. Their minds became clearer and their hearts purer. They became capable of accepting the words of Hashem and His servant, Moshe. It was at Krias Yam Suf that they understood that the bitterness, suffering and oppressive toil were means of hastening their freedom. Thus, the Torah records their song as “Oz yoshir.” They sang a song of oz, appreciating the profound mistake in the original complaining “oz.” They rectified their error by singing “oz,” comprehending the way of Hashem. The Medrash (Shemos Rabbah 23:2) states, “Oz yoshir is compared to the posuk (Tehillim 106), ‘Vayaaminu bidvorov yoshiru tehilaso.’” The Shela explains that this means that in merit of their faith, the Bnei Yisroel received ruach hakodesh and were able to sing shirah. In other words, oz is interchangeable with amanah, faith. Oz, because they were infused with emunah in Hashem, yoshir, they sang shirah. When the Jews were taken from Mitzrayim, they were physically freed and were no longer slaves, but it was at Krias Yam Suf that their neshamos were freed (Sefas Emes 645). Thus, it was after they went through the Yam Suf that they were able to soar, reaching higher levels of emu-

nah and kedusha. It was then that they merited ruach hakodesh and the ability to sing shirah. Shirah is written in the Sefer Torah as “oriach al gabei leveinah, bricks on a wall.” The amount of white space on the scroll equals to that of the written words. There are as many spaces as there are words, because in shirah, everything comes together. The words and the silence, the black and the white, the darkness and the light, all combine to form shirah. We all have challenges, aspects of our lives that we don’t understand. There are happenings that impact Am Yisroel and Eretz Yisroel that we can’t comprehend. We experience times that we think are good and others that seem to be not so good. We wonder why we suffer and why others suffer. We wonder why there are so many tragedies in the world, including senseless murder, disease, abuse, and sadness. But we have to remember never to lose our faith and that one day it will all become clear to us. There will be a day, soon, when we will understand all that has transpired. On that day, everyone will sing shirah, but we, men and women of faith, can sing shirah every day. Just as the Torah records concerning the Jews at Krias Yam Suf, “Vayaaminu baHashem,” we, bnei uvenos Torah, possess the harchovas hadaas granted to us with Yetzias Mitzrayim and Matan Torah to realize that we should maintain our faith and hold on tight through the cycles that lead to one goal. The sefer Orchos Chasidecha recounts a story of emunah and bitachon. On May 7, 1945, Nazi Germany signed its unconditional surrender to the Allies. Following fierce American bombing, Japan surrendered at the end of the summer. Thousands of Jews had found refuge in the Japanese-controlled Chinese city of Shanghai. However, as American bombers shelled Shanghai in a final effort to defeat Japan, the refugees feared for their lives. As the bombing campaign intensified, some students of the Mir Yeshiva, who fled Poland and Lithuania to the safety of

Shanghai, suggested moving further inland to the city of Nanjing. The mashgiach of the yeshiva, Rav Yechezkel Levenstein, wouldn’t hear of it. He argued that they should remain in Shanghai, saying that moving would disrupt the sidrei hayeshiva. When pressed, he explained that all the journeys of the Jews as they traversed the desert, going from Mitzrayim to Eretz Yisroel, were “al pi Hashem.” They followed the Anan Hashem wherever it took them. They stayed there as long as the Anan did and moved only when it dictated they should.

Elozor Menachem Man Shach quoted a posuk from this week’s parsha. The Torah relates that Moshe Rabbeinu’s hands remained raised in prayer as the Jewish people battled Amaleik: “Vayehi yodov emunah ad bo hashomesh.” The literal translation of the verse is that Moshe’s hands had faith until the sun set. “Many people have emunah in their hearts,” Rav Shach cried out. “Der mashgiach hut gehat emunah in zeine hent. The mashgiach had faith in his hands.” Rav Levenstein, the world-renowned tzaddik, possessed a tangible emunah and was able to feel the Divine kindness in every episode and event.

“Hashem helped us until now,” said Rav Levenstein, “and we must have bitachon that He will guide us at this stage of the war as well. Until He sends a sign that we must move, we are staying here.” Because of Rav Levenstein’s wellearned reputation and fierce bitachon, the yeshiva followed his direction and stayed in Shanghai, despite the apparent dangers.

His students relate that he derived much of his emunah from his daily recitation of the shirah, the words of Oz Yoshir, which were seared into his soul and armed him with the emunah he carried in his holy hands.

Rav Levenstein later testified that the reason he didn’t move was because his rabbeim had appeared to him in a dream and told him that a move would be very dangerous. In fact, hundreds of Nanjing citizens were subsequently killed.

In this week’s parsha, we sing the song that proclaims that we know we will continue singing until we merit to chant the song that will celebrate the revelation of reasons behind the many centuries of hardship and suffering.

In his hesped on Rav Levenstein, Rav

Oz yoshir.

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TheBook Week In News Review

JANUARY 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Secret & Sacred by Yehudis Litvak (2018) Reviewed by Teva Saks

In this final book in Yehudis Litvak’s young adult trilogy that began with Swords & Scrolls, the Chanukah saga is about to take a darker plunge. This historical novel guides the reader through the deception, tension, and denial of the Chashmonayim period. The Seleucid Empire dominates the Land of Israel; Yerushalayim is in ruins, the Hellenists’ Jewish allies murder their fellow Jews, and the Maccabbees are fervently fighting back. The Beis Hamikdash—the Jewish nation’s pride and joy and the place where Jews best connect to Hashem—has been defiled. As they fight this civil war, the cast evolves and discovers deeper truths and new relationships: Pinchas, a zealous kohen, yearns to complete his avodah in the Beis Hamikdash—but first he must avenge his father’s murder. Will he lose his priestly privileges

in the process? Miriam dreams of her upcoming marriage to Pinchas. But he insists on fighting for his people. Will he return alive? Elisha has returned to the ways of Hashem, but who will marry him given his shady background? Leah arrives in Modiin, claiming to be a Jewish orphan from Yerushalayim. Yet her Greek garb and past associates make Miriam and her family suspicious. All these characters struggle to find answers to timeless questions about Hashem and the way He runs the world. The book is not only about the Jews battling the Greeks; it’s the Jews loyal to Hashem fighting the Hellenist Jews, lies pitched against truth, dreams rising above despair. Through Litvak’s steady pacing, in-depth research, and

ageless discussions, the reader experiences intrigue, mystery, distrust…and the ultimate miracle of Chanukah.

The book was a pleasant read, igniting a deeper yearning for the Beis Hamikdash while bringing the pivotal miracle to life. For those looking for blood and gore, this book will not completely satisfy. For those looking for a detailed portrait of the devastating rule of the Seleucids: look no further. This YA book will be enjoyed by teenagers, who will be able to relate to Leah’s quest for truth and will thrill at the bravery and determination of the Jewish army. But any reader, from middle grade to adult, will enjoy discovering the heart, mind, and backdrop to the miracle they thought they knew. Secret & Sacred is available via Amazon.

Emotional Health

How to Deepen Any Relationship Rabbi Dov Heller, LMFT

Choosing to be vulnerable is the one sure way to deepen any relationship. When you choose to be vulnerable, you put yourself in an emotionally dangerous position by telling the truth about how you feel about another person or any sensitive issue in your life. Choosing to be vulnerable feels dangerous because you don’t know how the other person will react. She may reject you or shame you. Ideally, you hope the other person will listen and embrace what you’re expressing. When two people are emotionally vulnerable with each other and listen to each other, the result is always a deepening of the relationship and a greater feeling of connection and closeness. Max was having a hard time working with his new boss of six months. He was getting worn down and resented her criticism and micromanaging. He considered talking to the CEO about her but decided instead to talk with her. He knew he was taking a risk which might cost him his job, but he felt it was the right thing to do. He refused to continue to suffer and feel resentment. “Maybe I’m being overly sensitive, but

it seems since Day One all you’ve had to say to me is negative remarks. I know I have a lot to learn, but your approach isn’t helping me learn. I’m sure you have good intentions, but to be honest I’m beginning to resent you.” Her response transformed the relationship. “You know,” she said, “I saw you as an ambitious guy who wants to succeed, so I decided to push you. I didn’t realize that my pushing was actually hurting you and turning you off and disconnecting us. Let’s give it another try and see how it goes, okay? To be honest, very few people have ever been so direct with me, and I want you to know how much I respect that.” From that day on, their relationship deepened, became more honest and authentic. Joan’s marriage of 20 years was beginning to feel routine and shallow. There were no real problems between her and her husband—they didn’t fight—but she felt like the passion was gone and they were drifting apart. She tried to figure out what was wrong and decided to have an honest talk with her husband.

She took a risk at being vulnerable. “Frank, I’ve not been feeling good about us. I feel disconnected from you and alone. I don’t know what’s going on and what to do about it, but it scares me, and I’m not happy.” Frank took the opportunity to share his own experience of discontent, expressing to Joan that he had been feeling that her career had become more important to her than their relationship. Although they didn’t know exactly where to go at that moment, they both sensed that a significant shift had taken place and that some new path had opened up for both of them. Are you in a relationship that feels stuck, lifeless, or is causing you pain? The one sure way to improve it is to risk being emotionally vulnerable with the other person. These questions may help you see some options for how to be more vulnerable: • What am I feeling towards this person? • Am I willing to tell him or her exactly how I feel? • What am I most afraid to share with him or her?

• What is so dangerous about being vulnerable with this person? What do I have to lose? • What do I long for most with this person? • What specific change do I want most to experience regarding this person? • If I could be sure that I would get a positive response, what would I say to this person? One more thing to keep in mind: It is extremely important when being vulnerable to speak in I-statements, such as, “I often feel scared when you…” or “I find myself thinking that you might…” You-statements, on the other hand, usually are experienced by the other person as being critical or as attacking. “You never seem to understand me when…” “You don’t get me when I try to tell you how important it is to be on time…” It’s true that choosing to be vulnerable might blow up in your face, but you will always feel good that you gave it a try even if it fails. As they say, “No pain, no gain.” If this is true about life in general, it is certainly true about getting the love and respect you long for and desire.

Tech The Week In News

JANUARY 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Can Home Automation Improve Our Davening? Dov Pavel I am usually the one who touts the benefits of technology within the confines of religious life. I point out how it can enhance your Shabbat and yom tov by turning on and off your lights. I research ways to use your gas fireplace on Friday nights to make your Shabbat a little warmer, and I will write about how you can listen to Daf Yomi on the Amazon Echo. However, there is an area where technology may not be compatible with religious life: I am referring to, of course, having your phone turned on in shul. We all have a siddur app on our phones that is handy when we are not in shul. At the last wedding I attended, there was a large minchah minyan with nearly everyone davening from their phone. I am sure Steve Jobs is smiling down from heaven as everyone davens from their phone. However, if Hashem is smiling at this is another question. The problem with using a phone during davening has two facets. The first is the potential distraction to others by having your phone ring or vibrate, disturbing the people around you. Second, the distraction it causes in your own tefillah even if it is not disturbing others. My phone is always vying for my attention. I have alerts for breaking news, stock movements, weather and the president’s tweets, just to mention a few. While

these alerts alone can be a sensory overload, having to view and swipe an alert during Shemoneh Esrei will surely ruin any focus and connection one is having with the Almighty. Taking a siddur is always the best idea and really the only option in a shul with shelves full of siddurim. When not in a shul, a habit I try to form when beginning Ashrei is to turn the phone to Do Not Disturb mode. Turning off your ringer alone will not stop the distracting notifications as Do Not Disturb mode can. There are settings you will need to consider when turning on this mode and the options will depend on the phone and the version of the software you have. An alternative to the Do Not Disturb mode is to turn on Airplane mode. The second issue with phones and tefillah is forgetting to turn off your ringer when entering shul even when it is left in your pocket. My shul has a charging station in the lobby with compartments with locks and keys, so you could safely leave your phone outside of the shul and even charge it while you daven. Yet, it is all too common for someone’s phone to ring or chime during davening, disturbing the entire minyan. The last time this happened, I thought for a moment, Maybe this is a sign for me to pursue a simpler, less technological life. Then I realized the purpose of my

articles is to find ways to mold technology so that it is compatible with halachah and observant life. Thus, the idea for this column occurred to me. By then, I had taken three steps backwards and likely thought little of any of the words I was saying. Even if you turn your phone to vibrate, the vibrations are enough to disturb those around you. Of course, if you have made it a habit of turning your phone to Do Not Disturb or Airplane mode you can also turn off the sound and vibrations. However, wouldn’t it be nice if there was an automated way of silencing your phone whenever you enter shul? As your Orthodox Tech Journalist, I decided to research this possibility and update you as technology evolves. I believe I have two potential solutions for you. One if you are an Android phone user and another less robust solution if you are an iPhone user. For Android users, you may recall, my previous column discussed using the IFTTT (If This Than That) Platform to turn off motion on your camera. Another IFTTT recipe I created was to mute (including vibrations) your Android phone when entering a location. If you go to www.ifttt. com/p/tribetechreview you will see my growing list of IFTTT recipes for the shomer Shabbat user. If you select the “Mute Android phone when entering shul,” you

will be able to tap on the map (not the address) and alter the location if my shul is not your default shul. You can also zoom in and out of the location to provide greater location accuracy. This can be important if you live very close to shul or pass nearby without entering. You will also need to enable the reverse recipe of turning the mode off when leaving shul if you want it to be truly seamless. This is a pretty clean solution. I have been testing it with some Beta users and it seems to mostly work well, but until you are confident that it is, I suggest you double-check your phone before entering shul. Unfortunately, iPhone users will have to wait for the next column... Until then, stay tuned, and Shabbat shalom!

Dov Pavel is a tech enthusiast who reviews personal technology and home automation through the lens of a Shomer Shabbos consumer. He is not affiliated with any of the companies whose products he reviews and the opinions he expresses are solely his own. Dov is not a halachic authority and readers should consult their own rabbi as needed. Previous articles can be found at Follow @TribeTechReview on Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In.


Bad Publicity Rebecca Klempner My latest book has just come out— meaning, it has arrived in the United States, but not yet at my home. In general, that’s a good thing. But it’s also preventing me from writing my next book. Last week was my “off week,” meaning that I didn’t have to do the copy editing for this fine publication. Usually, I get to write, write, write during such weeks. In fact, when one of my appointments canceled on me due to the flu, I secretly rejoiced because I assumed it would give me two extra hours to work on my next book. But this was what really happened: SUNDAY: I exchanged emails with my editor requesting a change to my book’s marketing blurb on the publisher’s website. After that, I carefully crafted a friendly (not desperate, not demanding) note to bloggers to ask them to review Adina at Her Best or interview me. MONDAY: I hunted down all those

bloggers’ email addresses and so on, then sent out the note I concocted the previous day. As I pressed SEND, I prayed, “Please G-d, let them think my book is good. Or at least not extremely bad.” TUESDAY: I sent PDF versions of my novel to those who responded positively to Monday’s emails and private messages. Then I drafted a letter about author visits. WEDNESDAY: I sent out tweets, posted on Facebook, and began to plan a MailChimp campaign. THURSDAY: I asked my editor yet again when I might receive my copies of the book, then I set up my book’s Goodreads page. I need my book to sell well because 1) that means more royalties for me, 2) royalties help pay exorbitant L.A. rent, and 3) no one wants me to need to find a job other than writing. (In case you doubt #3, let me assure

you that the last time I had a desk job, I fell asleep at my desk regularly out of boredom, a lack of human interaction, and too little sunlight. And when I was a teacher, I worked so hard at trying not to blow a gasket at nudgy children each day that at the end of the day, my gasket would blow at home, where my own nudgy children live.) When you become a writer, you think you will be writing. But there’s a lot more to it. After you write, you revise—a lot. Then you spend time looking for potential publishers for your latest masterpiece, selecting the one most likely to accept your work. And then you must send them a query letter or submission.

And if your story gets rejected, you get to begin this process all over again. I have one short story I’ve revised seven times and submitted 12. I have a picture book manuscript I have submitted to 10 publishers and about a dozen agents. I think I’ve spent more time trying to sell these stories than writing them. Meanwhile, I would like to rewrite my next novel and submit it to some agents, and last night, I had a wonderful short story idea that I was planning to write later today. Yet, here I am, preparing my humor column again, because I must hit my deadline. After that, I need to edit the Jewish Home-LA’s local content. If I finish those jobs before I need to make dinner, there about five more marketing tasks on my To-Do list. Maybe next week I’ll get to write my new short story.



The Week In News Feature

JANUARY 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Tribute: Moshe Arens, One of Israel’s Greatest Defenders Aaron Feigenbaum Moshe Arens, who served multiple times as both as Minister of Defense and Minister of Foreign Affairs, was much more than a career politician. He was a man who dedicated his life to defending the State of Israel and guiding it towards greatness. Throughout his life, Arens was never afraid to do what he thought was right, no matter the political costs or how hard the choices were that he had to make. Ideology didn’t matter to Arens. He could be a pragmatic centrist on some issues while a uncompromising hawk on others. Despite sometimes fierce opposition to his maverick ideas, Moshe Arens never compromised his principles. Moshe Arens was born in Kaunas,

Lithuania, in 1925, and moved with his family to Latvia in 1927. In 1939, with the spector of war looming large, Arens fled to the United States. He served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during the war.

A young Menachem Begin speaking at a gathering of Herut members

Shaarei Chessed


The Jewish community of his native Latvia suffered massive losses during the Holocaust, mostly at the hands of Latvians. About the tragedy that befell his homeland, Arens remarked, “I could not understand where this evil had come from. Yet, it had been there all this time, beneath the ground.” Shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union, Arens told the Latvian defense minister, in no uncertain terms, that Latvia would have to acknowledge its role in the Holocaust if it wanted good relations with Israel. Arens and his family relocated to Israel in 1948, shortly before the state was officially established. Arens settled with American members of Betar (a Zionist youth party) in the border settlement of Mevo Betar. He then joined the Irgun and became one of the Herut’s founding members. (Herut was the precursor to the modern right-wing Likud party).

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In 1951, after being unable to find a job due to his unorthodox political views, Arens returned to the United States and studied first mechanical engineering at MIT and later aeronautical engineering at CalTech. He then returned to Israel and served as professor at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa from 1957 to 1962. Afterwards, he became the deputy CEO of Israel Aerospace Industries (now Israel’s largest defense company) and served from 1962 to 1971. He was awarded the Israel Defense Prize in 1971. Arens turned his attention to politics after the end of the Yom Kippur War. He was elected to the Knesset in 1973, and then re-elected in 1977. At that point, he served as chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. In 1979, Arens came into his own as a political force to be reckoned with by refusing to approve the Camp David Accords and Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty. In his view, Israel’s complete withdrawal from the Si-

nai Peninsula was too great a price to pay. Arens voiced his opposition to the deal in his trademark no-nonsense style. “The Egyptians attacked us four times, in the War of Independence, in the [1956] Sinai campaign, the Six-Day War and the Yom Kippur War. They were defeated four times. You will not find any other example in history of an aggressor getting back everything it lost in war. It’s neither logical nor reasonable.”

Lavi fighter jet

The 1980s marked a period of frequent career changes for Moshe Arens. He first left the Knesset in 1982 to become the ambassador to the United States, naming a then-unknown Benjamin Netanyahu as his deputy. In so doing, he helped launch the latter’s political career. Arens then moved on to replace Ariel Sharon as Defense Minister the following year under Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, and he oversaw the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon. Arens also implemented extensive organizational changes within the IDF that resulted in innovations such as a missile defense system, ground forces command and a special tactics division.

Oslo accord

In 1984, Arens returned to the Knesset and was appointed Minister without Portfolio. During this time, Arens advocated for the Lavi fighter jet, a project being developed by his former employer IAI that would have been Israel’s first natively developed fighter jet. Ultimately though, the Knesset opted to shut down the project in

JANUARY 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home

1987 due to cost overruns, instead opting for cheaper American F-16s.

Site of scud missile attack during the Golf War

Arens returned to the diplomatic arena in 1988 with his first appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Joining him was Benjamin Netanyahu who again served as his deputy and subsequently as ambassador to the U.N. Arens remained in this post until 1990. That same year, Arens was again appointed Minister of Defense. During his tenure, he wrestled with the aftermath of the First Intifada as well as with the implications of the newly signed Oslo Accords. Arens vehemently opposed the Oslo Accords. In a Haaretz op-ed several months before his passing, Arens argued that the Accords involved “negotiating with a terrorist organization” and “implanting this gang of terrorists as the leadership of the Palestinian population in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.” Ultimately, he believed, “It is hard to believe that Palestinian terrorism would have reached such a level [as it did in the Second Intifada] had it not been for the leadership provided by the PLO terrorist leadership embedded in the area by the Oslo agreements.” Furthermore, he argued, Oslo marked “Israel’s tacit recognition” of the Palestinians’ right of return, which he called a “weapon against Israel’s very existence.”

Bus bombing in Yerushalayim during the second intifada

In another one of his most defining moments, Arens dealt with the threat of Iraqi SCUD missiles during the first Gulf War. In response to Saddam Hussein’s unprovoked attack against Israel in 1991, Arens lobbied for sending an Israeli commando force to retaliate against Iraq. However, he was overruled by Prime Minister Shamir, who heeded the U.S. call not to get involved in the war. Arens retired from politics after the election of Yitzhak Rabin but returned briefly in 1999 to serve as Defense Minister under Netanyahu, his former protégé. Upon his retirement, Arens commented, “I felt I had done my thing. Politics was not my profession. It’s not a pleasant job.”


The Week In News

Arens continued to be active in political life by writing eight books as well as many articles for Haaretz. In his columns, Arens continued to be no stranger to controversy. He adamantly opposed the 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, spoke out against the treatment of Israeli Arabs and defended actions by the Israeli Supreme Court. In addition, despite arguments that such an action would threaten the Jewish character of Israel, Arens advocated for annexing the West Bank and giving its Palestinian residents Israeli citizenship. Despite his maverick views, even those who disagreed with him praised Arens for his grace and tenacity. When Arens wasn’t writing about politics, he often turned his focus to historical topics, most notably the role that the Betar fighters played in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. His last column for Haaretz was about Simcha Rotem, who passed away last month and had been one of the last surviving members of the Jewish Warsaw Ghetto fighters. However, Arens’ lasting legacy is his contribution to politics. Arens himself acknowledged this by publishing his appropriately titled autobiography, In Defense of Israel: A Memoir of a Political Life just last year.

Survivors of the Warsaw ghetto marching on the 4 year anniversary

After decades of service, Arens came to be regarded as a wise member of the “old guard” and a true political statesman. He helped shape the careers of notable figures such as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and was lauded for his passion and dedication to Israel by figures across the political spectrum. Upon Arens’ passing, Netanyahu remarked, “There was no greater patriot than him. I loved you as a son loves his father.” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin remembered Arens as “a man of honor who never flinched from the fight” and “a devoted man of learning who toiled day and night for the security of Israel and its citizens.”

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Moshe Arens with Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir

Arens is survived by his wife Muriel, four children, and many grandchildren.

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Dirshu The Week In News

JANUARY 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home

“Dirshu Ruined my Life!” Thousands of Lomdim led By Gedolei Yisroel Participate in Dirshu Convention by Chaim Gold

“You ruined my life!!” he said, as he grabbed me by both arms. Those were the startling words that a Yid who met Rav Dovid Hofstedter told him to his face when he happened to meet him in the streets of Boro Park. “I don’t have a day, I don’t have a night, I don’t even have a minute to go to a simcha….” With a pure smile bathing his entire face, the Yid exclaimed, “On behalf of myself and my whole mishpacha, I don’t know how to thank you!” As Rav Hofstedter related this anecdote to a spellbound audience at the Grand Melava Malka Siyum there was virtually no member of the wider Mishpachas Dirshu who did not understand and identify with the message conveyed by this Yid from Boro Park. Rav Hofstedter eloquently explained, “Whatever previous lives we had, have been ruined because this, constant dedication to accountable, limud HaTorah and relentless hasmadah has become our lives!” The Grand Melava Malka, where throngs of Yidden joined the lomdei Dirshu who had spent Shabbos at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Stamford Connecticut, was the culmination of an unforgettable Shabbos led by Gedolei Yisroel. The overwhelming feeling throughout the Shabbos by lomdei Dirshu and their wives, was one of simcha, joy and ecstasy, thanking Hashem for a life permeated by ol Torah! HaGaon HaRav Shlomo Feivel Schustal, shlita, who spent Shabbos at the convention, gave a deep, intricate shiur klali after Shacharis on Shabbos morning. Before embarking on the sugya upon which the shiur was based, he expressed his profound feelings of awe, amazement and emotion. He explained that he felt unable to begin the shiur without first sharing his emotions with the assemblage. “I am hear for Shabbos,” he said, “and what is so remarkable is that I see all types of Yidden, older, younger, baalei battim and kollel yungeleit, all learning with such a bren, such she’ifos, such tremendous motivation to learn, to know and to retain…” The Rosh Yeshiva continued, “We live in an era where the yetzer hara, r”l, is constantly coming up with new innovations to try to make us stumble. Baruch Hashem, Hashem has also sent chiddushim as antidotes to the yetzer hara and Dirshu is such a chiddush! It gives a person his primary cheshek, desire, and goal in limud haTorah. It requires a tremendous zechus to be able to gift Klal Yisrael with so much lim-

HaRav Lipa Geldwerth delivering a keynote address at the Melaveh Malkah

ud haTorah!” After Mincha on Erev Shabbos, an eye-opening shailah and teshuva session was held with HaGaon HaRav Reuven Feinstein, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of the Staten Island Yeshiva. The Rosh Yeshiva answered many important chinuch questions. His answers and explanations for why he answered the way he did, were tremendously insightful. After Kabbolas Shabbos, HaGaon HaRav Yeruchem Olshin, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva, Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood delivered an address citing a Medrash that states that the bnei Yisrael were protected in the zechus of Yaakov Avinu. The reason why it was Yaakov and not the other avos is because Yaakov symbolizes Torah. Rav Olshin went on to praise the lomdei Dirshu for bringing such an ashirus, wealth of Torah. “They live in a different world, in a world of Torah,” he said. One of the highlights of the convention every year is the shailah and teshuva session on all 4 chalakim of Shulchan Aruch with HaGaon HaRav Yechiel Mechel Steinmetz, shlita, Skverer Dayan of Boro Park. The teshuva session with Rav Steinmetz was followed by a beautiful oneg Shabbos that was addressed by HaGaon HaRav Dovid Olewski, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Ger. In the early morning before Shacharis, Rav Dovid Hofstedter, Nasi of Dirshu, gave a shiur klali on Perek Eilu Tereifos, the complex perek that the Daf HaYomi is now doing in Masechta Chulin. During Mincha, one of the most breathtaking traditions of the Dirshu convention took place. Whereas during Shabbos morning davening all of the aliyos are given to the Gedolim, at Mincha the aliya of shlish is sold in Dirshu currency, pages of Gemara. The bidding was the greatest testament to the Dirshu mission. 1,000 blatt, 2,000, 3,000, it kept on going until one Dirshu learner prevailed by pledging to learn 8,200 blatt Gemara over the next twelve months!!! That Yid gave the ali-

ya to Rav Dovid Hofstedter as a token of his gratitude, for ‘changing his life.’ At the inspiring shalosh seudos, HaGaon HaRav Moshe Pruzansky, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Chemdas HaTorah and founding Rosh Chaburah of Dirshu’s iyun chaburah in Beth Medrash Govoha, introduced HaGaon HaRav Zev Smith, shilta, one of Dirshu’s most popular maggidei shiur. In his powerful address, Rav Smith said that Dirshu’s middle name is ‘accountability.’ HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Sorotzkin, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Telshe and Lakewood Mesivta, eloquently brought proof from Chazal the fact that the difficulties that we have in our generation and in any generation - whether it is government intervention in our observance of Yiddishkeit or difficulty with parnassah - is a result of a lack of complete immersion in Torah. “Torah is life!” the Rosh Yeshiva exclaimed, “This is not a poetic turn of phrase, it is the metzius!” The Convention’s high point was the melave malka and the climax of the melave malka was the unveiling of plans for the Dirshu World Siyum to be held next winter. The lomdei Dirshu were given given an advance preview of the worldwide siyumim in Eretz Yisroel, England, France, South Africa, and culminating with an unprecedented kovod for lomdei Torah that will transpire at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, where the entire arena will be transformed into a giant bais medrash celebrating the accomplishments of lomdei Torah with accountability. “The purpose of the Dirshu World Siyum,” explained Rav Dovid Hofstedter, is to galvanize, empower and energize lomdei Torah throughout the world, young and old, whatever standing and station in life, irrespective of what shevet they belong to, k’ish echad b’lev echad to accept upon themselves the ol, the yoke of Torah, to become a mamleches Kohanim v’goy kadosh and to rise above the nisyonos. That is our objective and goal! Hashem has given us

the tools to survive. Today there are all kinds of aids to help us in learning. There are umpteen ways to do the Daf, with this shortcut and that aid. Dirshu’s goal however is not to do the Daf, it is to LIVE the Daf!” The chairman of the event, Rav Yoir Adler, asked the Rosh Yeshiva of Telshe, HaGaon HaRav Dovid Goldberg, shlita, to address the crowd. Rav Goldberg spoke about the fact that a person must not only learn Torah, but be machshiv Torah, show how much he cares for, appreciates and values Torah. “At this convention,” exclaimed the Rosh Yeshiva, “I saw not only tremendous limud haTorah, but perhaps even I saw how the people value Torah. Ashreinu!” The final address of the evening was given by HaGaon HaRav Lipa Geldwerth, who masterfully brought out aspects of the unique greatness that characterizes Dirshu. “Looking around on Shabbos, I saw so many colors and shades. People representing twenty different Chassidusin, twenty different yeshivos, Sefardim, Yekkes... the one thing that binds them together is the fire of Torah! If someone would ask me what is the one most unique thing that Dirshu has accomplished, I would say, that they made Torah keva, the most important thing in a person’s life.” Perhaps Rav Dovid Hofstedter encapsulated the primary message of the night at the end of his remarks, when, with such love he looked at the audience and said, “Tayere lomdei Dirshu, Mishpachas Dirshu, our close family. You have ruined my life. I don’t have a day, I don’t have a night, I am constantly preparing for another shiur, running here, running there, not able to have time to attend a simcha. On behalf of my entire mishpacha I want to say, I don’t know how to thank you! We have ruined our lives for Torah, because Torah is our life!” A more comprehensive report on the Dirshu International Convention, with detailed messages of the Gedolei Yisrael will be forthcoming bez”H, next week.

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JANUARY 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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