Jewish Home LA - 11-25-21

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The Week In News

NOVEMBER 25, 2021 | The Jewish Home


‫‪The Week In News‬‬

‫‪NOVEMBER 25, 2021 | The Jewish Home‬‬

‫לזכות רפואה שלימה הרב שמעון הלוי בן לאה‬

‫לזכות רפואה שלימה‬ ‫הרב אמיתי בן שושנה‬


The Week In News

NOVEMBER 25, 2021 | The Jewish Home




Dear Readers, Impulsive feelings. Imagery. Public pressure. Shaming. Who would imagine the power these currently wield? If we can travel back in time and ask people what their opinion would be, taking into account the relative risk involved, regarding shutting down schools, not visiting the elderly, masking young children... I imagine the answer would be very different from the reality we currently live In. Or how about gender depending on feeling. Or voting for a president whose health & mental capacities are clearly shaky. Defending widespread vandalism. Smear campaigns against good people. Unchecked lust for power, and the list goes on. Like fashion, it depends on what the “cultured” have spoken. Large eyeglasses were in when I was a kid. Then came small, and the smaller the better. Then back to large. It’s shocking how all people’s tastes change depending on what they’re seeing. Looking at the way we were dressed 30 years ago has us wondering what we were thinking?! How we dress is one thing but thinking depending on the local culture is not the way it should be. This is indeed the theme of Chanukah: It may feel sophisticated to dress like a Greek. It may feel cultured to think like a Greek, but as a Yid we think Jewish. Thinking Jewish is the mindset of recognizing there’s a creator of this world. Who was, is and will continue to be. And Who watches and cares about how we behave. This may feel old fashioned, but it’s fresh, current and real. As we’re going to press, we received word on the passing of Rabbi Shimon Raichik, Rav of Congregation Levi Yitzchok. Rabbi Raichik was a passionate Yid of the old school on one hand, but very approachable and personable on the other. A big loss for the Chabad community. Next week is also the first yahrtzeit of my wife’s aunt, Morah Mira Labkowsky. A wise, real person who had great depth, yet was very approachable and enjoyed a good laugh. These were people who were grounded in authentic yidishkeit, which gave them a strong foundation and enriched their lives. This is the secret of the Neshama and the eternity of the Jewish people. By living a life filled with soul, independent of passing fads and whims, we will complete the mission we were born to accomplish: the revelation of G-d, here in this physical world. When we shall no longer experience want or pain, with the coming of Moshiach now. Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos,


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TheHappenings Week In News

NOVEMBER 25, 2021 | The Jewish Home

Micha Kaufman-Man Of “Chesed” Last week LA was honored to have a very special guest in our midst. Micha Kaufman. Micha comes from Teaneck, New Jersey. What’s so special about Micha is that he is and always has been an “Ish Chesed” - a man who devotes himself to doing acts of “chesed “ and kindness towards others. About 2 ½ years ago Micha donated his kidney through Project Renewal to an 85 year old woman that he matched. Ever since then he made it his mission to visit other kidney donors the night before and father their surgery to give them words of strength and encouragement. He was on his way to visit a recovering donor in December 2019 but first he went to daven Mincha at a local Shul. As he was leaving services with a friend of his they were hit by a car head on. It was a very serious accident. They were both rushed to a nearby hospital.Unfortunately his friend died of his injuries two days later. Micha suffered serious injuries all over his body, including his head. He was in a coma for 2½ months and the doctors told his family that his chances of survival were very slim. The entire Teaneck community gathered together to pray and say Tehillim for Micha’s recovery. His Rabbi, Rabbi Rothwax said at the gathering that since it was the time of Chanukah when great miracles took place they were all praying for a miracle for Micha to recover. His sister who was with him in the hospital and zooming the event said that after the crowd of 1500 people finished davening Micha wiggled his toes for the first time since the accident! There was a youtube made entitled “Micha’s Miraculous Recovery” which shows him emerging from the coma, then step by arduous step how he slowly learns to walk & talk again until 2 ½ months later he is finally able to leave the hospital on his own two feet. Micha’s life has been turned upside down. He can no longer drive, or hold down a job. He needs constant physical therapy. His memory is very poor. However in spite of all these obstacles he has not lost his desire to continue to do acts of kindness. Micha has made it his mission to go and speak to students in high schools and upper grades to encourage them to become “Chesed Agents”, ambassadors of kindness. He has already spoken to almost all the schools in the NY/NJ area and he asked if he could come to LA to speak. With the help of Mrs Sandy Kalinsky it was arranged for Micha to come out to LA the week of November 8th. Micha was kept very busy. He spoke at many of the local day schools including the upper grades at Emek, Yavneh, Maimonides and Gaon Academy. He spoke at several high schools including Valley Torah, YULA and Shalhevet. He even spoke to college students at UCLA Hillel. Micha’s impact was unbelievable. He was a source of inspiration everywhere he

spoke. He told them “I was always on the giving end of“chesed” - visiting people in hospitals, packing & delivering Tomchei Shabbos food, served on the Chevra Kadisha etc. Now that he’s on the receiving end it’s very difficult for him. He can no longer do what he was able to do before his accident. He therefore requests of them to become his “chesed agents”. He goes on to give examples of the many ways to do “chesed” by giving some examples: if you can drive, drive someone who doesn’t have a car to a doctor’s office, or grocery shopping or wherever they may

need to go. If you don’t drive you can meet them at their house and help them unpack and put away their groceries. If you babysit, offer to babysit for a couple who can’t afford one once a month so they can get out. If you’re good in sports go to a child who’s challenged and has difficulties and offer to play ball with him or her. Go visit some elderly or sick people who are shut in and keep them company. Something he stresses that everyone can and should do is call your grandparents every Friday to wish them a good

Shabbos. It takes so little time but it means so much to them. Micha purchased 1,000 magnets that say “Olam Chesed Yiboneh”, “the world is built upon kindness” which he distributed to the students to place on their lockers as a constant reminder to always think of ways to do “chesed.” The LA Jewish students and community were fortunate to hear Micha’sinspirational message. Please daven for Micha Chaim Ben Sora to have a complete recovery by committing to do acts of “chesed” and kindness in his name.


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The Week In News Living with the Times

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman

The Yom Tov of Chanukah is almost upon us; beginning this Sunday evening. A fuller understanding of the special days helps us appreciate and enjoy them better. The basic story of the miracles we commemorate during these days are well known; we’ve been hearing them for as long as we can remember. Although the eight-day celebration was established by Chazal of that period and the Yom Tov has the status of a mitzvah miderabonon, there is no shortage of oblique references to Chanukah in the Torah. The Ramban in Parshas Beha’aloscha famously connects Aharon Hakohein’s lighting of the menorah in the Mishkon to the lighting of the Chanukah menorah in our day. Additionally, in Moshe Rabbeinu’s final brocha to Klal Yisroel, he says to shevet Levi, “Boreich Hashem cheilo - Bless his army, Hashem” (Devorim 33:11). Rashi explains that Moshe was referring to the Chashmonaim as they set out to battle the Greeks. Moshe was asking Hashem to cause the righteous ones to defeat a much larger, better trained army of scoffers. Throughout the parshiyos of Bereishis, which we have been studying since Sukkos, there are hidden references to Chanukah available for us to study and add to our exhilaration and anticipation of the special chag. The Zohar Hachodosh, at the end of Parshas Noach, sees the miracle of Chanukah in the interchange (Bereishis 8:8) between Noach and the yonah sent from the teivah to see if the waters of the Mabul had receded. Rabi Pinchos says that Hakadosh Boruch Hu wanted to test the Jewish people. He sent them into exile in Bovel, as the posuk states, “Vayishlach es hayonah mei’ito - And he sent the dove away.” The veiled message is seen in the words. Vayishlach refers to Hakadosh Boruch Hu, and yonah refers to Knesses Yisroel. The posuk continues, “Velo motzah hayonah manoach lechaf ragleha vateishev eilov el hateivah ki mayim al pnei ha’aretz.” The simple translation is that the dove could not find a place to rest its feet, so it returned to the teivah, because the earth was covered with water. The Zohar Hachodosh explains a hidden message of the Torah, stating that Klal Yisroel was sent from Eretz Yisroel into Bovel, but the king of Bovel made their lives unbearable, causing them hunger and thirst, and murdering many of the righteous people. Because of the torture they

NOVEMBER 25, 2021 | The Jewish Home

Chanukah: Hidden and Revealed endured, “vateishev eilov el hateivah,” the people repented, and Hashem allowed them to return to the “teivah,” to Eretz Yisroel. But upon their return to Eretz Yisroel, the Jewish people continued to sin and Hashem once again sent them away. This is seen in the Torah, as the posuk tells us that the yonah was again sent out from the teivah: “Vayosef shalach es hayonah.” This is a reference to the next time the Jews were sent away, which was during the time of the Yevonim when they lost control of Eretz Yisroel. Then, like when they were sent away, Knesses Yisroel returned, as the posuk says, “Vatavo eilov hayonah le’eis erev - And the dove returned towards evening time.” The Zohar explains that the Yevonim darkened the faces of the Jewish people, so to speak. Just as transpired to them the first time, when they went into golus, this time, as well when they were under the control of Yovon, they were tortured, and their righteous people were killed. Everything turned black for them, as they had lost the tzaddikim who brought them light. Therefore, the yonah, which was sent into

not yet returned from the fourth and final golus, and the return back home is dependent upon [and awaiting] their repentance. [For an understanding of this Chazal, see Shiurei Rabbeinu from Rav Moshe Shapiro on Chanukah.] Perhaps we can say that this is the reason why the nes of Chanukah is commemorated throughout the ages and has not been forgotten along with the many other minor holidays which were established to celebrate miracles in days gone by. It is because through the Kohanim’s kindling of the shemen zayis zoch in the menorah that Klal Yisroel survived the tyranny and darkness of the Yevonim. Another place where baalei Kabbolah see a reference to Chanukah is in the cryptic exchange between Yaakov and Lovon, when they part from each other at the end of Parshas Vayeitzei. The Torah recounts that they formed a mound of stones as testimony to their agreement to keep a safe distance from each other. Lovon referred to this monument as Yegar Sahadusa, while Yaakov called it Galeid, ostensibly the Lashon Hakodesh version of the name Lovon gave it in Aramaic.

We look into the flames and we behold their timeless message. the clutches of Yovon, returned in the darkness [of evening] to its home. But this time, there was a difference: “Vehinei alei zayis befiha - There was an olive leaf in her mouth.” The Zohar says that had Hakadosh Boruch Hu not awakened the spirit of the Kohanim [referring to the Chashmonaim at the time of the neis Chanukah] to kindle lights with olive oil, there would have been no place of refuge for the Jews. Had the Kohanim not had the spirit to battle Yovon, resurrect the kedushas haMikdosh, and light the menorah again with shemen zayis, we would have been destroyed by Yovon. The Zohar concludes that each time the yonah returned – at the time of golus Bovel and at the time of golus Yovon – Klal Yisroel did teshuvah and was accepted back. However, says Rabi Pinchos, the third time the yonah was sent, it did not return: “Omar Rabi Pinchos, chutz min galusa reviah d’adayan lo shovah vehakol taluy b’seshuvah.” The Jewish people have

The Megaleh Amukos, who, as the name of his sefer suggests, reveals all sorts of deep secrets in his work, explains that the numerical value of the word “Yegar” is 213. He says that this is a reference to the 213th year of the Second Bais Hamikdosh. It was then that “gavra haklippah,” the forces of evil were strengthened to the degree that the wicked Antiyochus was able to slaughter a chazir in the Bais Hamikdosh. Lovon was anticipating that sad day when he said “Yegar.” Yaakov Avinu beheld the same historic moment and beseeched Hashem for mercy. He called the pile Galeid, hinting to the Chashmonaim, who would rise up to avenge the act of Antiyochus and his decrees. By giving the pile that name, Yaakov was asking for Hashem to hear their tefillos and cause them to win their battles, just as he would hear the tefillos of Shmuel in Gilad. Like many of the accounts in Sefer Bereishis, this one, as well, is replete with historical significance and import. The era

of the neis Chanukah was foreseen and influenced by Yaakov Avinu. Additionally, the sefer Tzeidah Laderech quotes the Maharshal, who saw another connection between Yaakov Avinu and the neis Chanukah. When Yaakov crossed the Yaabok River to retrieve his pachim ketanim, Hashem said to him, “You sacrificed for the sake of pachim ketanim, small jugs, and I will repay your children with a miracle involving pachim, small jugs,” referring to the pach shemen tahor with which the Chashmonaim re-consecrated the menorah in the Bais Hamikdosh. Beneath the surface of the pesukim depicting our forefather Yaakov, Kabbolah masters see the neis Chanukah playing itself out. Although we aren’t mekubolim, we can benefit from the messages they uncover. In this week’s parsha of Vayeishev, we learn the story of Yosef, widely referred to as Yosef Hatzaddik, the righteous one. He is identified for his piety for having the fortitude to withstand the challenge as presented in the nisayon involving aishes Potifar. Yosef’s spiritual heroism and strength are relevant to us in our day. Isolated in a foreign land and an unfriendly environment, Yosef, at the age of seventeen, was separated from his beloved father, who was his prime role model and teacher. Yosef was a lonely teenager sold by his own brothers into servitude in the most impure country. If ever a young man had an excuse to fall hard, it was he. From where did the rejected, hated, handsome young man find the inner fortitude to muster the ability to rise above his nisayon? The Gemara (Sotah 36b) relates that when confronted by aishes Potifar, Yosef stood at the edge of a spiritual cliff, engaged in a fierce battle with his yeitzer hora. Suddenly, he beheld the image of his father: “Be’osah sha’ah bosah deyukno shel oviv.” Yosef saw the image of his father, Yaakov. Seeing the picture of his father propelled him to the status of a tzaddik. Like a flash of lightning on a stormy night, it showed him the way. Yaakov was the last av, the third of the three avos who imbued nishmos Yisroel with the strength to endure. Yosef was the first of the next generation to tap into those kochos, bringing them to the fore and making them a reality. Yosef was the first Jew sold into exile. Lonely and seemingly forgotten, he nev-

The Week Living with In theNews Times

NOVEMBER 25, 2021 | The Jewish Home

ertheless was able to make the choice of seeing something bigger and remembering a different time and the message it sent. As he engaged in a fierce battle with his yeitzer hora, the image of his father was before him, saving him from succumbing to the evil one. When he saw his father’s image, he was reminded that his father believed in him and saw in him the potential for greatness. He thought of his father’s years in the house of Lovon and remembered him saying, “Im Lovon garti, vetaryag mitzvos shomarti, velo lomadeti mimaasov haro’im.” His own father was also forced from his father’s home, chased, oppressed, and all alone in a foreign land surrounded by impurity. Yet Yaakov never permitted the rasha, in whose home he lived, to influence him. The memories of his father and his image empowered Yosef to resist the temptation to forsake his heritage. He was reminded from where he came and where he was headed. Thus armed, he was able to resist succumbing to the moment and preserved himself for eternity. The images of Yaakov and Yosef were the inspiration for the tzaddikei bais Chashmonai, the heroes of the neis Chaunkah. Yovon had taken hold of Eretz Yisroel, the Bais Hamikdosh, Am Yisroel, and everything holy. Antiyochus had sacrificed a chazir on the mizbei’ach. We can only imagine the reaction of the people around them as the Chashmonaim announced their intention to resist the progressive Hellenists and fight for kedushas Yisroel and kedushas haMikdosh. “The battle is lost. Give it up,” the overwhelming majority of Jews told the determined and stubborn Chashmonaim. “The people aren’t with you. You have to accept the fact that we are not in control and that the people lined up against us are more powerful, better armed and better organized than us.” Like the yonah that returned le’eis erev, in the time of darkness and hester ponim, most Jewish people looked around and saw darkness. They saw Yovon gaining on them. They felt weak and small, their actions inconsequential. Like Yosef Hatzaddik, the Chashmonaim refused to let themselves be influenced by the Yevonim and succumb to their entreaties and philosophical arguments. They were inspired by Yosef’s example of a Jew living in golus, surrounded by temptation, dominated by a heathen, hedonistic culture. And just as he had done, they channeled support from Yaakov Avinu.

Empowered by his example, as well as his tefillos and zechuyos, they embarked upon an impossible task. Like Yaakov Avinu, who understood that even the smallest jugs can belong to the side of kedusha and was therefore moser nefesh to ensure that they also had a tikkun, the Chashmonaim fought valiantly for the sanctity of the Bais Hamikdosh, to take back Hashem’s earthly abode, re-consecrate it, elevate it, and cleanse it of the profane. Just as Yaakov stared down Lovon and Eisov’s angel, they had the courage to face a foe much more powerful than they and triumph. Confronted by the forces of Eisov, they saw Yaakov. They summoned the tefillos of Yaakov from way back when at Galeid and went to war against the prevailing tumah. They didn’t let their minds and hearts be influenced by the prevailing propaganda. They lived lives of correctness and justice in a period dominated by corruption, banality, immorality and evil. At this time of the year, as we celebrate their battles and victories, we are inspired in our own personal and communal battles with the forces of darkness, hedonism and physicality to resist the many temptations the yeitzer hora devises to throw us off the path we have been following since the days of Noach. Chanukah is unique in that it has a birkas haro’eh, a special brocha for one who simply sees lit neiros Chanukah. Perhaps it

is because the Yom Tov owes its existence to those who saw beyond their immediate surroundings and glimpsed the light of truth, the Ohr Haganuz, which is concealed all year round but revealed in the Chanukah lights. We live in a time when, once again, gavra haklippah. But we know that the light shines bayomim haheim bazeman hazeh, now as then. We look into the flames and we behold their timeless message. As we flounder in golus, we are reminded that Noach – referring to Hakadosh Boruch Hu – awaits the return of the yonah, which was sent away from the teivah into golus and has yet to return. The teivah – Eretz Yisroel – waits for us to do teshuvah and be allowed to return to where we belong. At the beginning of this week’s parsha, we read, “Aileh toldos Yaakov, Yosef.” Rashi quotes the Medrash, which explains that Yaakov saw the armies of Eisov approaching and wondered how he would defeat them. The Medrash answers with the words of the novi Ovadiah (1:18): “Vehoyo vais Yaakov aish, uvais Yosef lehovah, uvais Eisov lekash.” One spark will emanate from Yosef and will incinerate the approaching armies of Eisov. That spark is evident every year as we light the menorah. It is the light of the Ohr Haganuz, created at the beginning of time, but hidden after man sinned. The light with which it was once possible to see misof ha’olam ve’ad sofo has been dimmed ev-

ery day of the year. The holy seforim say that the light of the Ohr Haganuz is evident on Chanukah in the flickering flames of the menorahs we light in our homes. That tiny spark can illuminate our lives and the world if we contemplate and absorb the messages it bears. The same light in our menorah is the light that shined at the time of creation from one end of the world to the other. It is the same light that was lit by the Kohanim Chashmonaim, saving the Jewish people from being destroyed in the times of Golus Yovon. It is the same light that Aharon Hakohein kindled at the time of the chanukas haMikdosh and the same light that good Jews have been lighting ever since in the Bais Hamikdosh, in Bovel, in Yovon, and in all the places where we have found ourselves over the millennia until this very day. As we activate the Ohr Haganuz with our menoros, we have the ability to cause that light to shine again across the world. As we kindle the lights, which the Torah hints to and which are delineated in the Gemara Shabbos and elucidated by Rishonim, Acharonim and their talmidim until today, let us be reminded of the greatness we embody. We live in a time of darkness and hester, but we have the DNA to overcome the darkness with light and hester, and with teshuvah, so that we will quickly be ushered back home to Yerushalayim ihr hakodesh bimeheirah.



Sarah's The WeekCorner In News

NOVEMBER 25, 2021 | The Jewish Home

This Little Light of Mine Sarah Pachter

It may be hard to imagine what Israeli-born Michal Oshman, a top executive at TikTok UK, has in common with the small group of Maccabees we know so well from Chanukah. When Michal was 18, she left home to serve in the Israeli army. Overnight she went from an innocent young girl to a soldier in basic training, which included carrying a loaded gun at all times, sleeping in the wilderness, and enduring physical drills in the freezing cold in extreme weather conditions. ‫‏‬Despite their exhaustion, every morning the soldiers’ living quarters had to be spotless by 7:00 AM. If the commanding officer determined that it was not pristine, no one was allowed to go home for a visit on their free weekend. One morning, the toilet had a blockage, making it impossible to clean. Each girl refused to empty out the toilet, adamant that someone else had to do it. As the minutes ticked by, Michal looked around the room and realized that no one was going to step up. Without hesitating, she walked straight into the bathroom, stuck her hand into the toilet, and pulled out the offensive obstruction. She heard the girls cheering behind her, then turned around and found herself face to face with her commanding officer. Michal shrunk in fear, assuming she would be reprimanded that the rest of the bathroom was filthy. Instead, the officer looked her in the eye and said, “Yup, you’re one of us.” Michal was promoted to commanding officer that day. Because she was willing to do what no one else would, stepping up when everyone else remained idle. While Michal shares this moment as a metaphor for how she became so successful at TikTok, the small group of Hashmonaim from the hills of Modiim had their own moment of stepping up to the plate that allowed them to defeat the immea-

surably stronger Greek army. The Jewish nation was being physically and spiritually destroyed by the Greeks, and Judaism was close to being obliterated if no one had intervened. This small group of yeshiva boys became soldiers overnight and came forward when no one else would. Even with no experience, these young Jewish men took on one of the most powerful military forces in the world and WON. This was arguably one of the greatest miracles in the history of the Jewish nation. Let’s compare this incredible military victory to Chanukah’s second miracle, that of the oil. After the crushing military defeat, the Hashmonaim found a pure flask of pure oil in the Temple that burned for longer than it should have, giving us the 8-day holiday as we know it today. Now imagine you are the rabbis deciding on how all future generations will celebrate Chaunkah. What would you pick as the symbol for this holiday, best representing the miracles that took place? The options are a sword for the war, or a candle for the oil. Which would you choose? Walk by any Jewish home in December, and the candles burning brightly in the window are a dead giveaway for the decision the rabbis came to. But even the Maharal wants to know how this happened. Why is light the symbol of Chanukah? Rabbi Fischel Shachter tells a story that sheds light on the power that a small flame has to illuminate the darkness. At 16 years old, young Rivka Schachter weighed a mere 40 pounds when she was sent to Bergen Belson during the Holocaust. She was put to work in a battalion where each day she was taken to the top of a mountain and instructed to carry huge boulders up and down the mountain. Deprived of food and water, the prisoners were killed if they fell, tripped, or dropped their boulder.

One morning, Rivka was unable to move from the truck. A young, frail woman nearby yelled to her, “Get off the truck! If you don’t move, they are going to kill you. Let’s go.” She responded with despair, “I can’t. My feet and hands won’t move. I’m done. Let them kill me here.” The young woman replied, “Then I’ll carry you up the mountain.” “You can’t carry me and the boulder! You’ll die also.” “Then I’ll die for a purpose.” This young stranger miraculously made her way up the mountain, carrying the boulder in one arm and Rivka in the other. Two generations later, Rivka came face to face with her savior, Mrs. Sarah Traut, when their grandchildren were married in an incredible moment of serendipity. One heroic act led to the creation of many Jewish neshamas. Mrs. Traut’s small moment of light was able to dispel the darkness, lighting the way for future generations. Even if you have a small flame in a room full of darkness, that darkness can still feel overwhelming and it may be difficult to see. The small flame may not be enough to fully banish the dark. In truth, however, the darkness may be just the place where the light is found. Sometimes moments of gloom are actually the source for finding the light. In his book Eyes Wide Open, Issac Lidsky, a young Jewish actor who played Screech on Saved by the Bell: The New Class, shares the story of how he became blind at age 13. In an instant, he thought his whole world had come to an end. Despite the obstacles, Isaac was able to build an incredible life for himself, going on to get married, have triplets, and build a multi-billion dollar construction company.

He describes how his blindness is what actually enabled him to become such a success. When he had meetings with investors, rather than proposals being tossed around and nodding in agreement, Isaac forced the businessmen around him to communicate in a deeper way. Because he was unable to see, the person sitting across from him had to fully verbalize their thoughts and flesh out ideas, rather than relying on body language. By strengthening their communication skills, Isaac and his associates built an unstoppable team. Isaac was able to turn his darkness into light. His very problem became the solution. As inspiring as the candle has proven to be, we are still left wondering why the rabbis did not choose a sword as the symbol for Chanukah. There are many 8 year old boys that would have loved to have that as part of their Chaunukah decorations each year! A sword, however, can be deceiving. With a sword as our symbol, millenia of Jews may have come to believe that our hand and our might is what won the war. The true hero of the story was not our physical strength, but our spiritual light. It was our soul, that G-d given link to the infinite, that gave the Maccabees the passion and drive to fight for their people. It was that spark that led Michal Oshman to stand up and do the job that no one else would. It was Sarah Traut’s inner fire and refusal to give up that enabled her to carry a fellow Jew up the mountain in spite of her own limitations. It was that powerful spark that allowed Isaac Lipsky to turn his life around, transforming his disability into his greatest asset and not allowing anything to stop him. Why light? Because a candle’s flame will always rise upward no matter which direction you hold it. That light that refuses to be put down, that will always rise up even in the most difficult of circumstances. A flame will not lie down. A flame will not succumb. A flame does not give up. Chanukah isn’t a story that happened thousands of years ago. Chanuka is your story too. It happens every time we are surrounded by darkness but decide to choose light. Hashem endowed us with our own eternal light, our neshama, as His promise to always carry us through all of life’s darkest moments, leading us through to the radiant glow waiting for us on the other side.

Yidden TheShas Week In News

NOVEMBER 25, 2021 | The Jewish Home

Excitement in the Jewish World:

94 Geonim “Shas Yiden” gather for the Annual Siyum of 470 Shasim and Public Farher on the Entire Shas By Rabbi Eliezer Sandler

The grand gathering of Maranan v’Rabbanan the Gedolei and Me’orei Hador, was presided over by Maran, Sar Hatorah, Hagaon Hagadol Harav Chaim Kanievsky, shlit”a – the Nasi of the Shas Yiden Kollel Network. In an emotional letter to the gathering, the Rav wrote: “These are Emesdike (TRUE) Shas Yiden. Meritorious is Hagaon Harav Avrohom Eisen, the Pozna Rov, who has been the Nachshon (the very first) to produce avreichim who conclude and are examined on the entire Shas every year.” * The Sanzer Rebbe, shlit”a, said: When the Shas Yiden Kollel opened, all thought that even with its lofty goal, it would only be able to produce a few individuals proficient in the entire Shas. Today, to our joy, we witness a significant and tremendous Torah institution. Its Founder, the Pozna Rov, is certainly doing the shlichus (mission) of Klal Yisroel” * When the Boyaner Rebbe, shlit”a, left the hall, he grabbed the hand of the founder of Shas Yiden, the Pozna Rov and broke into an emotional rikud (dance)

Shas, which, in the last year alone, they have EACH covered a minimum of FIVE times. As has been done each year, the gathering is honored by the appearance of Maranan v’Rabbanan the Gedolei Hatorah of our generation. They all came to express their appreciation of the young geonim of the Shas Yiden Network. Founded by the Pozna Rov, Hagaon Harav Avrohom Eisen, of Brooklyn, NY. During these last 13 years, Shas Yiden has brought about a worldwide Torah revolution. Its watchword is: “Lo bashomayim hee” – “It is not in Heaven” to know the entire Shas in depth with all-encompassing knowledge and comprehension.” The magnificent gathering was an opportunity to recognize the rapid expansion of the Shas Yiden network. The dais seated some 94 avreichim geonim, all completely proficient in the entire Shas. The network has six kollelim: Yerushalayim, Beit Shemesh, Beitar, Bnei Brak, Kiryat Sefer and Stamford Hill in London, UK. This Torah reality crushes the long-believed myth that knowing Shas in its entirety is something from the past. Here, for all to see, was the fulfillment of the brocho of the Sar Hatorah, Hagaon

* The Mashpiah, Hagaon Hatzadik Reb Elimelech Biderman, shlit”a: “At this time, the malachei hashoress on High are dancing in honor of the Shas Yiden avreichim, and singing: ‘M’ein Olam Hazeh’ with regard to this awesome gathering!” A TORAH REVOLUTION The Torah world has closely followed the exciting annual gathering at which the Shas Yiden geonim conclude the entire Shas, once again. Before the Siyum, they faced a public examination on the entire

Dais at the Siyum Hagadol

Harav Chaim Kanievsky, shlit”a, the Nasi of Shas Yiden. For over a decade, when Kollel Shas Yiden was just a minyan of avreichim in a small room in Beit Shemesh, Rav Kanievsky spoke of the vision of the Pozna Rov, and blessed and encouraged him to establish additional branches of Shas Yiden. To many it appeared to be a distant and, maybe, an impossible vision, but today it is clearly a vibrant reality.

THE NACHSHON FOR “YEDIAS HASHAS KULO” This year, especially, Hagaon Harav Chaim was so enthused by the great growth of Shas Yiden. Aside from his personal appearance at the event, he also brought his personal letter to be read aloud at the Siyum on his behalf by his chavrusa, Hagaon Harav Yisroel Meir Druk. In the letter, he praises the greatness of Shas Yiden. “Praiseworthy are these talmidei chachomim, outstanding in their great knowledge of Torah, the entire Shas Bavli in breadth and depth. These are Emesdike (true) Shas Yiden, whom I have personally tested, and I found them beki’im gedolim (exceptionally proficient) in the entire Shas.”

Maran Sar Hatorah also noted the great revolution in the Torah world that the Pozna Rov began 13 years ago. As a result, the concept of Shas Yiden is not confined to history – rather, the Shas Yiden story has inspired other efforts in the Torah world to learn the ‘whole Shas’. He also highlighted the fact that the Shas Yiden avreichim are not only au fait in the Gemora of the Shas, but they constantly review all the Gemora, Rashis and Tosfos throughout the year to know it all b’al peh. “Praised is the Pozna Rov that he merited to be the Nachshon (the very first) with this idea to establish such kollelim, and to raise up incredible talmidei chachomim who merit to study Gemora, Rashi and Tosfos, and to do a siyum of the entire Shas each year, through great effort and with great clarity.” When he concluded reading the letter, Rav Druk added, in the name of Hagaon Yitzckak Shaul, son of Rav Chaim, how much his father enjoys and looks forward to the visits of the Shas Yiden avreichim when they come to be farherd.

A FATHER’S TEARS It is difficult to find the words to adequately describe this incredible gathering. From entering to exiting, the atmosphere was electric. Prior to the farhers, the 94 avreichim geonim came in and took their places and were rocking back and forth… Each had a sefer in his hand. Every minute of the day, they are bound up with their pages of Shas, including the time at the Siyum gathering. The fact is that Shas Yiden Kollelim are not limited to specific times. The avreichim are not at Kollel – they are the Kollel. They do not have time for functions - they have 9 blatt a day with four revisions to complete. On erev Shabbos /Yom Tov, and on Shabbos and Yom Tov themselves, they are required to complete 4 blatt with four revisions – ALL to enable



Yidden TheShas Week In News

The Close of Cheshvan 5782

NOVEMBER 25, 2021 | The Jewish Home

‫ חיים קניבסקי‬.‫ י‬.‫הרב ש‬ ‫ בני ברק‬,‫שיכון חזון איש‬ ‫ חיים קניבסקי‬.‫ י‬.‫הרב ש‬ ‫ בני ברק‬,‫שיכון חזון איש‬ B”H

In honor of the Yom Tov for Rabbanan, the Annual Siyum Hashas of the Avreichim Geonim of Kollelei Shas Yiden in Eretz Yisroel and in the Diaspora, under the leadership of our colleague, the Pozna Rov, Hagaon Harav Avrohom Halevi Eisen, shlit”a. Praised are these talmidei chachomim, most outstanding in Torah, who know the entire Shas Bavli in breadth and depth. They are true Shas Yiden whom I have tested personally and I saw that they were extremely knowledgeable in the entire Shas. And praised is the Pozna Rov, shlit”a, who merited to be the Nachshon with this idea to establish these kollelim and to train outstanding Talmidei Chachomim who merit to learn Gemora, Rashi and Tosfos and to complete the entire Shas every year through effort and clear knowledge. More recently, he added an additional kollel in the Torah city of Kiryat Sefer in addition to the new kollel recently opened in the city of London. I send my blessing to the Rabbonim of these kollelim that they should merit to know the entire Torah, to learn, to teach, to observe and to do and to fulfill all the words of Your Torah in love. And may our colleague, Hagaon Harav Avrohom Eisen merit to open more and more kollelim and to increase and aggrandize the Torah, And I bless them that in this merit that all the wishes of their hearts will be fulfilled for the good with brocha and hatzlocha in all matters for a good and sweet year and for all the brochas that are said in the Torah, for a good livelihood, for healing and yeshuos until the coming of the Righteous Redeemer, Amen Chaim Kanievsky

Shas Yiden Avreichim Geonim

each of them to complete five times Shas every year – a minimum total of 13,555 blatt. It was amazing to see all the Shas Yiden avreichim geonim all together, their faces shining with purity and Torah knowledge. ‘Ruach acheres’ - A different spirit encompassed them all. The test was about to begin. The avreichim from London and those from the newly established kollel in Kiryat Sefer, took their places among the others. Suddenly an older member of the audience had a tear rolling down his cheek and he tried to brush it away. It appears that he was the father of two Shas Yiden – two not one, from the same home. “Yes, my boys are learning Gemora, Rashi and Tosfos, every day and night. Boruch Hashem, they really know Shas! As soon as the test starts, you will understand why I am so emotional and excited. Even though you don’t have a son here, you will be just as excited.” The father was asked, but isn’t this kollel for illu’im (remarkable scholars) - are both your sons illuim? “Actually, no. This kollel is for those

who are serious about their Torah. It’s for those who learn with all their might and gevura, day and night. “Being an illui has never been a condition to becoming a godol in Torah,” finished the father.

A TORAH TIDAL WAVE – THE FARHERS Two farhers were conducted. This was the moment to which all the avreichim geonim had been gearing themselves. As with all the farhers that they have had to date, there was no way to anticipate the questions and direction of the examiners. Simply, the questions could emanate from any gemora, each within its own context and the approach of the examiners. They were each eminent talmidei chachomim occupying significant scholarly positions in limud Hatorah. The Rosh Hakollelim, Hagaon Harav Moshe Isaac Samet, shlit”a, opened the gathering with the following words: “We are again entering an awesome gathering that is unique in its combination of yir’ah (trepidation) and rachamim (mercy), a holy gathering before Hashem. Lift

Shas Yiden Avreichim Geonim

Shas Yiden Avreichim opposite the Examiners

Pozna Rov, Founder Shas Yiden; Maran Harav Avrohom Direnfeld, Farherer; Hagaon Harav Moshe Isaac Samet, Rosh Hakollelim

Farher Examiner’s Dais: Hagaonim: Harav Hechosid Yisroel Moskowitz, London; Harav Avrohom Dovid Olevsky, Rosh Kolel Shas Yiden-London; Harav Chaim Zalman Halevi Eisen; Pozna Rov, Founder Shas Yiden; Maran Harav Chaim Freund, Farherer; Reb Zundel; Maran Harav Avrohom Direnfeld, Farherer; Harav Moshe Isaac Samet

All the Shas Yiden Avreichim ready for the Farher Hagadol

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NOVEMBER 25, 2021 | The Jewish Home

your eyes and look about you, how our avreichim have gathered from across Eretz Yisroel and from as far as London – the talmidei chachomim of Shas Yiden. “Vihi noam…” May the pleasantness of Hashem our G-d rest upon us etc.” Without any further ado, he gave the microphone to the first examiner: Maran Hagaon Harav Chaim Freund, shlit”a, Rosh Kollel of Yeshivas ‘Nachalas Moshe’ in Bnei Brak and Rav of Kehilas Lomdei Torah in Rechovot. After a brocho of good wishes he went to challenge the full complement of Shas Yiden with a barrage of questions. Each of the avreichim had a microphone and the collective and immediate responses sounded like a tidal wave of Torah, quoting sources from all over Shas and from the Rishonim. It was a battle of Torah titans. The second examiner was Maran Hagaon Harav Avrohom Direnfeld, Rosh Kollelei Iyun of Belz, Rav of Kehillot Belz in Tel-Aviv and Beit Shemesh, a member of Badatz Machazikei Hadas. Interestingly one of the Shas Yiden avreichim being tested was his son. As with the first farher, no quarter was given in these Torah clashes. All those watching the farhers were ‘blown away.’ How could these young men master it all? But they certainly did. Among the audience were many Americans studying inYeshiva in Israel, and whose parents are supporters of Shas Yiden. They could not believe

Sanzer Rebbe, Harav Hechosid Yisroel Moskowitz, London reciting the Kaddish; Boyanner Rebbe

their eyes and immediately after the farhers, they were on their phones calling home telling their parents about the awesome gathering that they had just witnessed. At the conclusion of the second farher, Maran Hagaon Harav Avrohom Direnfeld, shlit”a, said: “After so many tragedies over this last year, we are fortunate to witness such a simcha as this. That in our midst are great geonim who know the entire Shas. This is an amazing Kiddush Sheim Shomayim!”

470 SIYUMEI HASHAS IN ONE GREAT SIYUM After the farhers, the entire gathering moved to the adjoining hall for a true seudas mitzvah celebrating the Siyum of Torah She’b’al Peh. The Shas Yiden geonim were surrounded by their families – including their parents and their children, all basking in the nachas of the moment. They had all concluded a year of toiling in Torah. Each family, a full partner with their Shas Yid Gaon. Once again, as in past years, the wives were each given a present, as well as a generous cashfilled envelope and a personal letter from the Pozna Rov. Supporters of Shas Yiden participated, and were quite overcome by all that they were witnessing at this seudas mitzvah. The atmosphere became more intense with the arrival of the honored guests – Maranan V’rabbanan Gedolei Hatorah v’Hachassidus.

Sanzer Rebbe; Boyaner Rebbe; Pozna Rov

It was clear that the Shas Yiden geonim merited special attention from the Gedolei Hador, shlit”a. This is a result of the many public farhers that the Shas Yiden avreichim undergo every few months, closely tested by the Gedolei Torah from across the Torah spectrum. It all reached a crescendo with the arrival of the Nasi of the Shas Yiden Network, Maran Sar Hatorah. The glorious singing and dancing was something to behold. With him on the dais were Maranan Hageonim Hagedolim shlit”a, including: Harav Boruch Dov Povarsky, Harav Shimon Badani, the Sanzer Rebbe, the Boyaner Rebbe and Harav Shimon Galai. Bearing in mind that each of the avreichim had concluded Shas 5 times during the course of the year, the total number of Shas completed by the avreichim geonim was 470! These were all combined into one grand and inspiring Siyum Gadol.

THE SANZER REBBE RECITES THE HADRAN The Sanzer Rebbe recited the Hadran and was very emotional when he addressed the gathering. He said that if just one individual does a siyum of a gemora, we make a Yom Tov lerabanan. Here, at the Siyum Hagadol we consider that almost 100 geonim have completed the entire Shas, b’al peh, with chazoras (multiple revising) in-depth study and thorough comprehension. There is no greater Yom Tov than this! It was with wonderment that “we see before

our eyes, the fulfilment of the Divine Promise “that the Torah will not be forgotten by his descendants.”What in yesteryear was the inheritance of the few, the Pozna Rov, shlit”a, has made into a gigantic revolution, and we see the Shas Yiden Network growing exponentially. It must be a mattonah (gift) that the Pozna Rov was granted from Heaven, for he is certainly doing the shlichus (mission) of Klal Yisroel.” The Sanzer Rebbe pointed out that he knows some of the Shas Yiden avreichim personally. Their faces reflect their cleaving to Torah. The chein they acquired through toiling in Torah, envelops them. This all clearly negates the power of the yetzer, hastens the geulah, and is a source of salvation for all of Klal Yisroel.”

THE KADDISH The honor of reciting the kaddish on behalf of all the geonim was given to Harav Hechossid Yisroel Moskowitz, shlit”a, of London and patron of the London Shas Yiden Kollel. His son-in-law, Hagaon Harav Avrohom Dovid Olevsky, shlit”a, was one of the leading talmidei chachomim of Shas Yiden-Yerushalayim. He was appointed to serve as the Rosh Kollel of Shas Yiden, London. A second sonin-law, Harav Yisroel Shvirtz, is also one of the avreichim geonim in Shas Yiden-Yerushalayim.

THE BOYANER REBBE TAKES HIS LEAVE Quite a way into the evening’s program, an emotional moment took

Hageonim: Harav Yaakov Dovid Halberstam, Mo”tz Eidah Chareidis; Harav Moshe Ben Shimon, Rav, Bnei Brak; Pozna Rov

Hagaon Hatzadik Harav Binyomin Finkel, Mashgiach Yeshivas Mir

Hagaon Harav Yisroel Meir Druk reading the letter of the Sar Hatorah

Psichas Hashas beginning of Bochos by the Pozna Rov; Sanzer Rebbe; Boyaner Rebbe; Hagaon Harav Chaim Zalman Halevi Eisen (Mo”tz v’Rosh Beis Horo’o Halishka L’inyanei Sta”m)

Dancing on the Dais

Hageonim: Harav ChaimPeretz Berman, Ponevez; Harav Itamar Garbuz, Orchot Torah; Harav Yaakov Dovid Halberstam, Eidah Chareidis; Maran Harav Berel Povarsky, Rosh Yeshiva Ponevez; Pozna Rov



Yidden TheShas Week In News

NOVEMBER 25, 2021 | The Jewish Home

Sanzer Rebbe addressing the Siyum Hagadol flanked by Maran Harav Itamar Garbuz (Orchot Torah); Harav Moshe Shimon Edelstein (Ponevez); Pozna Rov; Sanzer Rebbe; Boyaner Rebbe, Harav Chaim Zalman Halevi Eisen

Shas Yiden Avreichim Geonim seated at the Siyum Hagadol

Dais at the Siyum Hagadol

Hagaonim: Pozna Rov, Maran Harav Chaim Feinstein (Ateret Shlomo), Maran Harav Shimon Badani (Moetzet Chachmei Torah); Harav Shevach Tzvi Rosenblatt (Rav Bnei Brak)

Maran Hamashpia Hagadol Reb Elimelech Biderman addresses the Siyum

Some of the Shas-wide questions FIRED at the Grand Farher - all in short succession The avreichim hurled back page references and sources from all over Shas with a breathtaking knowledge. When they would pause, it was to refer and to determine the different sources and to debate with the examiners. All present were amazed at what their eyes were beholding. •

Where are kerem rivai and netta rivai mentioned in Shas, and what is the difference between them?

What are the halochos learned from the posuk, “Lo sochlu al hadam - You shall not eat over the blood?”

Where in Shas do we learn the din of biryah and in what context? How many halachos are derived from biryah?

What is the reason that there are no lashes for a lav she’ayn bo maaseh (a negative precept that has no action)? And where is this mentioned in Shas?

Why do we not learn that one who admits to a fine (knas) is freed from shvuas pikadon (and oath of deposit) rather from a different drasha? How many implications can be found in Shas regarding the din of modeh biknas (admits to the fine) and where?

• •

What is the source of tosefes (adding time to) Shabbos & Shmittah? Regarding bitul (annulling items in a mixture) – how many items are there that cannot be annulled in a mixture due to their

importance? (This led to many unanticipated examples of chaticha hareuyah lehiskabed bah and davar shebeminyan mentioned in Shas)

Where does it refer to a transgression done by thought alone?

If a person shoots an arrow at another and converts to being Jewish, or it is the targeted who converts, before the arrow strikes the targeted person, how do we derive the applicable law from Shas?

Where in Shas do we learn a law from what occurred before Matan Torah? And where do we learn that it is not so? What does the Tosfos Yeshonim say in this regard? What does it say in Kesuvos, and where is this referenced in Yevamos and Zevachim?

Who may a Beis Din put to death without giving him a hasro’o (warning)

There are laws of mixtures regarding min bemino (an item in its same category) and besh’ein mino (or not in its same category). In what way are the two reflected? What if wine becomes vinegar? What about R. Yehuda and two bloods?

Which halachos are derived from kabbalah (tradition)and not from Torah verses?

Where is it better to live? With a son or a daughter?

Where do we find that Bnei Aliyah (superior scholars) are few?

How many times and where in Shas, does it declare that the Torah is not in Heaven?

How many times in Shas does it say that one should not do miraculous actions?

Who is to be preferred – the migmar (who learns) or misbar (who explains)? Sinai (filled with knowledge) or the uprooter of mountains (great reasoning powers)? Sefer Torah or talmid chochom?

How do we reconcile that the gemora says we do not listen to Eliyahu Hanavi and then mandates the opposite?

Rav Direnfeld commented that these choices do not apply to Shas Yiden because they each comprise a combination of all these traits. To watch the live farher, please click on

Yidden TheShas Week In News

NOVEMBER 25, 2021 | The Jewish Home

Hamashpiah Hagadol, Hatzadik Reb Elimelech Biderman, shlit”a, who has a special and close connection with Shas Yiden. In a dramatic speech, he described how the vision of the Pozna Rov, some 13 years earlier Pozna Rov and Harav Yerachmiel Ungarisher (Beis Medrash Elyon) developed “skin expressing his appreciation of the envelopes of cash gifts for the wives of and bones, veins the avreichim and sinews” in place. The Boyaner Rebbe, shlit”a, such an amazing manner that there was about to leave and the Pozna are now almost 100 Shas Yiden, Rov escorted him to the building something that is almost unbelievable entrance. Unexpectedly, as they and a cause for consternation. exited the hall, the Rebbe grabbed the Pozna Rov by the hand and “In the beginning, I thought that this began to dance with him, with the developing of Emesdike (true) Shas abandonment of Simchas Torah. He Yiden was an exaggeration,” said the was overcome by the specialness Mashpia when interviewed. “Perhaps of the simcha and expressed his the avreichim don’t really know Shas, amazement at the Torah revolution never mind the entire Shas. Who had ever heard of training large groups engendered by Shas Yiden. to know the entire Shas? However, HAMASHPIA HAGADOL REB after I personally sat with them and ELIMELECH farhered them, I saw that this was no All were privileged to hear the exaggeration. Each of them knows inspiring and warm words of Maran Shas from beginning to end – the

words of Shas are on their lips.” And then the Mashpia added excitedly: “On Shabbos Kodesh we are accustomed to sing “M’ein Olam Haba” (taste of the World-toCome), but now, here at this time, the Malachei Hashores in Heaven, in honor of the Shas Yiden geonim, must be dancing and singing: “M’ein Olam Hazeh” (a taste of this world). These Shas Yiden have shown how it is possible to really be mesameach (to rejoice) with Hashem in this world. Even now, just to sit under the same roof with the Shas Yiden avreichim is a true fulfilment of experiencing Olam Hazeh in the fullest sense of what Olam Hazeh could and should be.



Other speakers and many Gedolim were in attendance. They included Maranan Hageonim Hagedolim, shlit”a: Harav Shimon Badani, Chaver Moetzet Chachmei Hatorah and Harav Binyamin Finkel, Mashgiach of Mir Yerushalayim who both addressed the gathering, as well as Harav Yerachmiel Ungarisher, Rosh Yeshiva Bais Medrash Elyon; Harav

Moshe Shimon Edelstein, Rav Neof Yosef; Harav Moshe ben Shimon, Rav Bnei Brak and Rosh Yeshiva Or Elitzur; Harav Chaim Peretz Berman, Rosh Yeshiva Ponevez; Harav Shimon Galai, Kollel Taharos; Harav Itamar Garbuz, Rosh Yeshiva Orchot Torah; Harav Chaim Feinstein, Rosh Yeshiva Ateret Shlomo; Harav Shevach Tzvi Rosenblatt, Rav Bnei Brak. Many other Rabbonim and Roshei Yeshiva joined the dais during the gathering. After many joyous hours at the gathering, the talmidei chachomim and geonim began dancing with the joy of Torah in their beings. The prayer in the hearts of the Shas Yiden avreichim was, Ribbono shel Olam, just as you enabled us to complete the Siyum Hashas for 5781, may You bless us to do so for 5782 and beyond. May the Torah never cease from our mouths and those of our children, through all generations. To watch the dynamic farher, or for more information on Shas Yiden; to donate click on or call 718-702-1528 or Mail: 1274 49th Street #562, Brooklyn, NY 11219. London: UK Registered Charity # 1191225 - 2 Timberwharf Road, London N16 6DB, England

The Shas Yiden geonim from the London Shas Yiden Kollel Arrived in Israel, and Graced Annual Siyum Hashas On the morning after the Siyum they went to a Lechaim in the home of Maran Sar Hatorah, shlit”a.

One of the high points of this year’s annual gathering of Shas Yiden, with its oral farher (examination) on the entire Shas, as well as the Siyum Hashas, was the participation, for the first time, by the contingent from London, UK. Shas Yiden-London was opened a year and a half ago by the Pozna Rov, founder of Shas Yiden, with the encouragement of Maran Sar Hatorah, Hagaon Hagadol, Harav Chaim Kanievsky, shlit”a. the Nasi of Shas Yiden. The London Shas Yiden geonim landed in Israel together with the patron of Shas Yiden-London, the honored philanthropist Harav Hechosid Reb Yisroel Moskowitz, shlit”a. Two of his sons-in-law are among the Shas Yiden geonim. One, formerly one of the top talmidei chachomim in Shas YidenYerushalayim, Hagaon Harav Avrohom Dov Olevsky, shlit”a, serves as the Rosh Kolel of Shas YidenLondon. The other is Hagaon Harav Yisroel Shvirtz, shlit”a, who learns in Shas Yiden-Yerushalayim. The London scholars joined all the

other Shas Yiden geonim from Yerushalayim, Bnei Brak, Beit Shemesh, Beitar and Kiryat Sefer in the incredible public Shas examination. In just a few minutes it was clear that they all shared a deep knowledge of all the tractates in Shas. This received great acclaim in the Torah scholarship community that it had been established that the Shas Yiden kollelim had shattered the myth that such total knowledge only lay with talmidei

chachomim of bygone times. Through the achievements of the five Shas Yiden kollelim in Eretz Yisroel with these geonei Hashas who are also proficient in other Torah subjects, with the addition of Shas YidenLondon have shown that such achievements are possible in chutz la’aretz (the Diaspora) and are able to face the same rigorous testing. A special and unforgettable moment for the Shas Yiden-London avreichim geonim during their Israel trip, took place on the morrow of the Grand Farher and Siyum. They were invited to a Lechaim in the home of Maran Sar Hatorah, Hagaon Hagadol Harav Chaim Kanievsky, shlit”a. There Maran expressed his great excitement at the establishment of Shas Yiden branches in chutz la’aretz. He then made an exception to his custom by drinking a ‘lechaim’ with the visitors. Thereafter, each of the kollel rabbonim met with Maran Sar Hatorah individually, and who blessed them warmly that they should each merit to continue rising in Torah.



The Week In News Emotional Health

NOVEMBER 25, 2021 | The Jewish Home

Transforming Difficult Feelings Rabbi Dov Heller, LMFT

Natasha was finding it harder and harder to control her anger with her two children, ages 6 and 8. Particularly, she found herself yelling at her older daughter way too often and her husband had begun to point it out to her. She was losing it and decided to take some parenting classes. The techniques she learned were very good but after 3 months of applying them, her anger was still out of control. She began feeling bad about herself and thinking she was a terrible mom. She was feeling hopeless. Judaism takes a strong stand against anger because it is such a toxic and destructive feeling. Our Rabbis suggest many ways to control and reduce feelings of anger such as creating a picture of one’s self not getting angry and looking calm, reframing the situation, trusting more in G-d, and letting go of needing to control every outcome, to name a few. All of these are effective tools in dealing with anger in what I call, a decontextualized way; that is, they are universal remedies for treating anger in a generalized or generic way. Exercising self-control when angry is critical in all situations. The goal howev-

er, is not just to control our anger, but to understand the deeper meanings of our anger in order to transform ourselves. We do this by understanding the unique meaning of the feeling as it is experienced by us personally, in the unique context of our lives. This approach is called, contextualizing one’s feelings. When we come to understand the unique meaning of our feelings we not only stand a chance of diminishing our anger, we gain a deeper and more expansive understanding of ourselves and our emotional world. With this expanded self-awareness new possibilities open up for becoming one’s best self. Feelings are information and every feeling has a powerful lesson to teach us something important about who we are. The key to implementing a contextual approach to transforming difficult feelings is to ask questions that contextualize one’s emotional experience. Here are some examples: Why am I feeling this way in this specific time and place? Why am I feeling this way with this person and not with other people?

What was the specific trigger that brought about this feeling? Have I ever felt this way before? When is the first time I remember having this feeling? Is there a specific memory? How does this person I am presently engaged with remind me of someone in my past who first triggered this feeling? When Natasha explored her anger contextually, she discovered some amazing things about herself and the unique meanings of her anger. First, she realized that she felt threatened and overwhelmed by the needs of her children, emotionally choked by their neediness. She felt angry that they needed her so much, which made no sense since she clearly understood that there was nothing unusual about their needs. Nonetheless, she resented them. Second, when Natasha explored her past, she began to see the connection between her current anger and the bad feelings she had as child in her relationship with her mother. She remembered as a child being overwhelmed by her mother’s self-centered demands. Now as an adult, she began to understand that her moth-

er had narcissistic tendencies that made her feel suffocated. She also saw that she was transferring her childhood anger at her mother onto her children because she had never resolved her anger towards her mom. Upon discovering this connection, she was able to uncouple her anger towards her children from her anger towards her mom by recognizing that her children’s needs were reasonable while her mother’s narcissistic needs was truly dangerous. Natasha, felt a sense of liberation with this discovery and was able to better deal with her children’s needs with more patience, kindness, and sensitivity. Natasha’s transformation of her anger from intolerable to tolerable demonstrates the power of contextualizing one’s feelings. Are you struggling with a difficult feeling that has not been yielded to practical tools and techniques? It is very possible that the relief you long for may be found by exploring the meaning of your feelings contextually. Rabbi Dov Heller is in private practice offering psychotherapy and personal mentoring for individuals and couples. He can be contacted at You may also visit his website at

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The Week In News

NOVEMBER 25, 2021 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

Flooding Disrupts Canada Floods in the Canadian province of British Columbia have sent supply chains across western Canada into crisis. The flooding stranded truck drivers, causing delays in deliveries to grocery stores and blocking access to Canada’s largest port. The crisis is liable to affect the U.S. as well. The predicament was caused by unusually heavy rainfall, which caused flooding and mudslides, closing a regional oil pipeline, submerging railroad tracks, and collapsing highways. Last Wednesday, authorities in British Columbia declared a state of emergency, but urged residents not to hoard fuel or food. Darrell Jones, chief executive of the supermarket chain Save-on-Foods, tweeted, “We understand that these are very uncertain times, and stressful times, and are asking our customers to maintain normal shopping habits.” In a news conference on Thursday, provincial minister of transportation and infrastructure Rob Fleming said, “The message for today is: Conserve fuel wisely and other materials because there are interruptions in the supply chain for a number of things that are essential.”

“This Administration is committed to supporting every individual’s right to freedom of religion or belief, including by confronting and combating violators and abusers of this human right.” On the list last year were Myanmar, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, all of which will remain on the list this year as well. Nigeria, on last year’s list, was removed from this year’s list. Blinken also said that the list of “Entities of Particular Concern” – similar to the Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) list but for groups instead of countries – includes al Shabab, Boko Haram, Hayat Tahrir al Sham, the Houthis, the Islamic State (or ISIS), ISIS-Greater Sahara, ISIS-West Africa, Jamaat Nasr al Islam wal Muslimin, and the Taliban. Earlier this month, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) urged Blinken and the State Department to add India, Russia, Syria, and Vietnam as CPCs, and said it is “disappointed” that Nigeria was removed from the list. USCIRF Chairwoman Nadine Maenza emphasized, “While the State Department took steps forward on some designations, USCIRF is especially displeased with the removal of Nigeria from its CPC designation, where it was rightfully placed last year, as well as the omission of India, Syria, and Vietnam. We urge the State Department to reconsider its designations based on facts presented in its own reporting.”

Searching for Wild Boars in Hong Kong

Russia Among Worst for Religious Freedom The U.S. State Department on Wednesday announced a decision to add Russia to a list of Countries of Particular Concern for engaging in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.”

In a press statement, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “In far too many places around the world, we continue to see governments harass, arrest, threaten, jail, and kill individuals simply for seeking to live their lives in accordance with their beliefs.

Authorities in Hong Kong are taking steps to rein in the wild boards in the region. Last week, officials launched a boar hunt, capturing and euthanizing seven wild boars in an area less than 30 minutes away from the city’s financial center. Previously, policy had been to capture, neuter, and relocate the boars to more remote areas. That policy, Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said in a statement, had failed to “effectively control the wild pig nuisance.” The number of incidents involving wild boars has increased; one of them knocked down and bit a police officer last week. Animal rights groups have condemned the new plan to kill the wild animals. The boars now often wander into urban areas in search of food, creating more of a potential for violent interactions with humans. According to government data, Hong

Kong is home to approximately 3,000 wild boars, and the boars are not a protected species. Last week, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam warned at a news conference, “I understand that a lot of Hong Kong people love the wetlands and nature. However, we also need to protect public safety.” She added that there have been approximately 30 cases of wild boars attacking humans, emphasizing, “We can’t simply sit on our hands while things deteriorate.”

In Greece, Aid Workers Face Charges of Spying

taught to all high school students and in all vocational schools. The law passed 107-13, with one abstention. The course will be taught beginning in 2023, and its syllabus will be decided by Romania’s Education Ministry in collaboration with the Elie Wiesel Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania. AUR lawmaker Claudiu Tarziu claimed the law is unnecessary, since, in his belief, Romania hasn’t seen a single “serious anti-Semitic case” in the past 20 years. Tarziu also claimed that the law is “in contradiction” with Romanian and European Union laws and that it discriminates against “our fellow citizens who belong to other minorities.” According to official statistics included in a report by the Elie Wiesel Institute, a total of 27 anti-Semitic incidents were reported to authorities in Romania in 2020.

China Cracks Down on Celebrities Dozens of aid workers involved in rescuing refugees went on trial in Greece last week on charges of disclosing state secrets and spying. The twenty-four suspects affiliated with the Emergency Response Center International search-and-rescue nonprofit face up to eight years in prison. They also face charges of money laundering, people smuggling, and belonging to a criminal group, which carry quarter-century prison sentences. Amnesty International’s European director Nils Muiznieks noted, “This emblematic case demonstrates how far the Greek authorities will go to deter people from helping refugees and migrants.” According to Human Rights Watch, the trial is “politically motivated.” One of the defendants is a Syrian refugee who saved 19 other refugees by pulling their sinking boat to shore for four hours in 2015. She was arrested in 2018 and spent 107 days in prison, leaving Greece after her release. According to Reuters, she now lives in Germany and has been barred from re-entering Greece, including for her trial; instead, she will be represented by a lawyer.

Romania Mandates Holocaust Ed. in All High Schools

The Romanian Senate last week passed a law requiring a course on the history of the Holocaust and the Jewish People to be

This week, China’s internet regulator announced a new blacklist mechanism targeting celebrities who promote “distorted values” by dressing funny or inducing idolization. The latest crackdown follows a monthslong purge since the summer to cure what a government newspaper called “the troubled parts of the entertainment industry.”

A new “negative list” announced by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) will further tighten regulations on online content in order to create a “positive and healthy” internet environment. Both celebrities and their fans could face indefinite bans if they fall within Beijing’s definition of toxic celebrity culture. The blacklist will target celebrities who flaunt wealth or encourage fans and livestream viewers to offer financial support for their performances. Viral singers and others fan favorites could also face the chopping block if they are found to be promoting irregular aesthetics or if they embroil themselves in scandals that negatively impact society. According to Communist Party-run newspaper the Global Times, “content that induces fans to blindly idolize celebrities or that hypes the comeback of entertainers who have illegal and unethical records” all fall within the new category of illicit online information. “Platforms should put celebrity-related accounts under hierarchical management



The Week In News and monitor and establish warning mechanisms for accounts with a certain amount of followers,” a Global Times report said on Tuesday. “Accounts that publish biased or confusing information that provokes confrontations and manipulates public opinions should be punished accordingly.” Celebrities and their fans, therefore, must abide by both legal and moral obligations, as defined by Chinese regulators. The CAC blacklist could also be used to root out celebrities whose political views don’t align with Beijing’s own. Also on Tuesday, the China Association of Performing Arts released its ninth list of celebrities – totaling 88 people – who are to be blacklisted for ethics violations. Pop singer Kris Wu – who was arrested in July – is also on the list, which currently comprises 446 people designated persona non grata in China’s vast entertainment industry.

American Held by Extremists in Mali

The family of an American man believed to be held by extremists in Mali, Africa, is renewing their requests for help in securing his release. Christian aid worker Jeff Woodke is believed to have been held captive by Islamist extremists for over five years. Els Woodke said she believes her husband has recently been transferred from ISIS terrorists in Mali to an al-Qaeda affiliate and that the new captors may be more willing to negotiate for his release. Jeff Woodke disappeared in October 2016, after armed men appeared at his Abalak, Niger, home. At the time of his disappearance, he had lived over 15 years in the country. The kidnappers killed Woodke’s guards and abducted him. According to Els, “Until recently, the efforts to gain Jeff’s freedom were being undertaken quietly and out of the spotlight, so it didn’t make sense to generate a lot of publicity. But that situation has changed, and I’m now asking for help from my brothers and sisters … from the public, and from the governments of Mali and the United States.” She added that the new captors seem interested in a multimillion-dollar ransom. Turning to Iyad Ag Ghaly, leader of the Jamaa Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) group, she said, “You are the only one with the power to make that happen. Releasing Jeff will require compassion and mercy, but these are the characteristics of a strong and courageous leader.” She also appealed to the Mali government to condition peace negotiations on her husband’s release and requested that the U.S. government pressure Mali into doing so, The Independent added.

NOVEMBER 25, 2021 | The Jewish Home

Els noted that her family does not have the money to pay a ransom, so she is seeking help. She also said that she had received recent information that her husband is still alive. In a statement, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said, “It is United States policy to deny hostage-takers the benefits of ransom or other concessions. However, this policy does not preclude the United States government from helping hostage families with private efforts to communicate with hostage-takers.”

German Justice System “Contaminated” by Nazis for Years Germany’s judicial system was full of former Nazis into the 1970s, according to a report released last week. The 600-page collection of findings, titled “State Security in the Cold War” and compiled by historian Friedrich Kiessling and legal scholar Christoph Safferling, examines the years between the early 1950s and 1974. According to the findings, between 1953-1959, about three in four top officials at the federal prosecutor’s office – which commissioned the report – had belonged to the Nazi party, and over 80% had been employed by Adolf Hitler’s justice apparatus. These former Nazis lost their majority only in 1972. Presenting the report, German State Secretary at the Justice Ministry Margaretha Sudhof said, “On the face of it, they were highly competent lawyers…but that came against the backdrop of the death sentences and race laws in which they were involved. These are disturbing contradictions to which our country has long remained blind.” It took until 1992 for the last prosecutor with a fascist background to leave office. Chief federal prosecutor Peter Frank had commissioned the study in 2017. The authors concluded that “there was no break, let alone a conscious break, with the Nazi past.” In 2016, a government report showed that 77% of senior Justice Ministry officials in 1957 had been members of the Nazi party.

Modi’in and was employed by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation as a tour guide. Prior to his work in the Old City, he had volunteered in Kibbutz Nirim for a year, after completing service in the IDF as a lone soldier and a paratrooper. Eliyahu was shot dead by a Hamas terrorist six months before his wedding to fiancée Jen Schiff. Ina statement, Schiff said, “Eli loved this country. He fought for it. He is the strongest person I have ever known, emotionally and physically. He always treated everyone with love and respect.” The attack occurred near the Chain Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City. Four other people were injured in the terror attack, one of them seriously. Rabbi Zeev Katzenelnbogen, a 46-year-old father of eight, was wounded in the deadly shooting attack as he was returning home from morning prayers at the Western Wall.

The others wounded in the attack were Rabbi Aaron Yehuda, who was hospitalized in serious condition at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, and a pair of police officers who were lightly hurt and received treatment at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem. They were both later released. The terrorist, who was eliminated, has been named as an Arab Israeli from Jerusalem, who taught religion in Arab schools. Eli had been walking to work when the terrorist whipped out a sub-machine gun from under his robe and opened fire. He had concealed more firearms and a knife ready to murder as many Jews as he could. In a statement, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said, “I have directed the security forces to prepare accordingly and be alert, including over concern for copycat attacks. We need to be on heightened alert and prevent future attacks.” The planned massacre was abruptly halted after 32 seconds when two female Border Guards officers shot the terrorist dead. Hamas claimed the attack is the “price” for Israel’s “actions” in Jerusalem.

Gantz Reveals Iranian Drone Bases Eliyahu David Kay, HYD Eliyahu David Kay, 26, was the victim of Sunday morning’s terror attack at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. A recent immigrant from South Africa, Kay lived in the central Israeli city of

Recently, Defense Minister Benny Gantz revealed the locations of two Iranian drone bases that he said were used to conduct attacks against targets at sea in recent months. According to Gantz, one of the sites is located in the area of Chabahar and the other is situated on Qeshm Island, just off the coast of the Iranian mainland.

“I want to stress to you that unmanned aerial vehicles are a precision weapon, which can reach strategic targets throughout the world. Most of the drone attacks that we’ve seen so far have been from southern and southeastern Iran against targets at sea,” Gantz said. Over the past year, Israel and Iran have been engaged in something of a shadow war at sea, with Tehran allegedly conducting a number of attacks on Israeli-owned or Israeli-linked vessels sailing through the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, including one such strike in July on the Mercer Street, an oil tanker that was owned by an Israeli businessman, in which a British and a Romanian crew member were killed.

Gantz warned that Iran’s drone program was a threat to the entire region – not just the Jewish state. “We have seen the attack on Aramco, the launching of drones from Syria, the attempts by Iran to build capabilities for Hezbollah to precisely launch explosive drones at Israel,” he said, referring to a massive attack on the Saudi petroleum company Aramco in 2019 with drones and cruise missiles. The defense minister’s remarks came less than a week before indirect talks are due to resume between Iran and the United States regarding a mutual return to the 2015 nuclear deal. Israel has staunchly advocated against an American return to the accord, which Jerusalem believes is far too weak and ultimately paves the way to an Iranian nuclear weapons. Israeli officials have instead called for a different, harsher diplomatic approach, backed up by the credible threat of a military strike on Iran’s nuclear program. The U.S. has reportedly rejected Israel’s activities against Iranian nuclear facilities, believing such actions to be ultimately unhelpful as they only serve to encourage Tehran to upgrade those facilities in response. “There’s no doubt that a diplomatic solution is preferable, but alongside that we need to have on the table the use of force, which is diplomacy by other means,” Gantz said, referring to a famous quote from military strategist Carl von Clausewitz. “Sometimes the use of force, and a demonstration of it, is able to prevent the need for a stronger use of force. I thank our American allies for the sanctions and other actions they have taken recently on this front in order to reach our shared goal,” he said. He emphasized, “Iran must not go nuclear. This will lead to an unmitigated spread of its terror and will even lead to an arms race in the Middle East and beyond it.” Gantz on Tuesday also revealed that a drone launched by Iran from Syria into Israeli airspace in 2018 had not been on a direct attack mission — as had been implied — but was instead being used to ferry TNT to terrorist operatives in the West Bank.

The Week In News

NOVEMBER 25, 2021 | The Jewish Home

UK to Designate Hamas as Terror Org The United Kingdom on Friday designated the entirety of Hamas as a terror organization, banning support for the group. According to Channel 13 News, the ban may deal a major blow to Hamas’ pocketbook, since “significant fundraising” is carried out within the UK. Responding to the announcement, Hamas spokesman Hazim Qasim said the UK decision is “a new crime committed by Britain against our Palestinian people.” In another statement, Hamas said, “Rather than apologizing and correcting its historical sins towards the Palestinian people – whether the shameful Balfour Declaration, or the British Mandate, that turned Palestinian land over to the Zionist movement – [Britain] supports the aggressors at the expense of the victims.” The ban must still be approved by Parliament. If it passes, violators would face a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison. In a Friday tweet, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, who is in charge of domestic security, said that she had “acted to proscribe Hamas in its entirety.” According to Patel, Hamas “has significant terrorist capability, including access

to extensive and sophisticated weaponry, as well as terrorist training facilities.” “We’ve taken the view that we can no longer disaggregate the sort of military and political side. It’s based upon a wide range of intelligence, information, and also links to terrorism. The severity of that speaks for itself,” The Guardian quoted her as saying. In response to the designation, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted, “Hamas is a terror organization, plain and simple. The ‘political wing’ enables its military activity. The same terrorists — only in suits.”

Arab Terrorist Stabs Elderly Israeli in Jaffa An Arab terrorist on Sunday afternoon stabbed and moderately injured a 67-yearold Israeli man in the central city of Jaffa. According to Israel Police, the 18-yearold Arab, from the Palestinian Authority-controlled city of Jenin, was in Israel illegally. He has been arrested. Initially, police estimated that the incident had been a robbery, but the indications that it was nationalist in nature later increased. According to reports, the victim was stabbed in the back at least five times. A law enforcement official said that the ter-

rorist had also attempted to stab the victim’s wife. Magen David Adom (MDA) transferred the victim to Holon’s Wolfson Medical Center for treatment.

Shin Bet Nabs 50 Hamas Members Israeli security forces arrested dozens of members of a Hamas cell that was in the advanced stages of planning major terror attacks in the West Bank and Israel, the Shin Bet security service said on Monday. The effort to uncover the cell has been ongoing for several months, first coming to light with a round of arrest raids in September, including one in which two Israeli soldiers were seriously injured and several Palestinian suspects were killed in gunfights. According to the Shin Bet, over 50 Hamas operatives were arrested across the West Bank for suspected involvement in the cell. Large quantities of weaponry was seized, including the materials needed to make at least four explosive belts for suicide attacks and an undisclosed sum of money. “You thwarted a large infrastructure, some of which you know was ready to go with explosive belts…grenades and other

explosives,” IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi told the military commanders whose units took part in the raids. The Shin Bet’s announcement about the discovery of the Hamas cell came a day after a member of the terror group in Jerusalem carried out a shooting attack in the Old City, killing one man, Eli Kay, and injuring four people. According to the Shin Bet, the Hamas cell was led from afar by Saleh al-Arouri, deputy head of the terror group’s politburo, and Zacharia Najib, a member of the organization who was released from Israeli prison in the 2011 Gilad Shalit exchange, where he allegedly continues to operate on behalf of Hamas. Both al-Arouri and Najib live in Turkey, which has long had a close relationship with Hamas, which is politically linked to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Najib, who took part in the kidnapping and killing of Israeli soldier Nachshon Wachsman in 1994, was allegedly involved in a failed Hamas plot to assassinate Israelis abroad in 2019. The Shin Bet said al-Arouri invested hundreds of thousands of shekels in the cell’s activities and offered a prize of $1 million if the cell successfully carried out a kidnapping. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called on Ankara to close Hamas’s offices in Turkey and said countries around the world should designate all of Hamas – not only its military wing – as a terror group.

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The Week In News Dirshu

NOVEMBER 25, 2021 | The Jewish Home

Admorim and Rabbanim in Brooklyn Give Chizuk to Dirshu Yidden in Advance of Massive World Siyum of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha Chaim Gold “When we come upstairs after 120, we will be asked, ‘Where is the Shulchan Aruch, the Mishnah Berurah?!’ Dirshu empowers us to have and realize that dream of completing Shas and Shulchan Aruch!” exclaimed Rav Zev Smith, at a recent Dirshu gathering in Flatbush. Later this winter, lomdei Dirshu will be celebrating a major milestone with the Dirshu World Siyum marking the completion of the second machzor of six chalakim of Sefer Mishnah Berurah in Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha Program, where a page of Mishnah Berurah is learned daily with chazara on weekends and monthly tests. In preparation for the upcoming World Siyum, a remarkable chizuk event was held earlier this month in Flatbush in the Beis Medrash of Kollel Dirshu led by Rav Shlomo Cynamon. Prominent Brooklyn Rabbanim together with Daf HaYomi B’Halacha Maggidei Shiur joined to give chizuk to participants in the program and to celebrate the tremendous breakthrough that tens upon tens of thousands the world over are celebrating as they bring daily halachic observance into every aspect of their lives. The event was addressed by Rav Shlomo Cynamon, Rav Dovid Hofstedter, Nasi Dirshu, Rav Moshe Weinberger, Rav of the Agudas Yisroel of Flatbush and R”M at Mesivta Shalom Shachne, and Rav Zev Smith, Daf HaYomi B’Halacha Maggid Shiur. The Rachmastrivka Rebbe: Dirshu Represents Achdus Through Torah In addition, Dirshu’s Nasi, Rav Dovid Hofstedter, paid two special visits to prominent Admorim in Boro Park, the Rachmastrivka Rebbe, shlita, of Boro Park and the Kossover Rebbe, shlita, to personally invite them to the upcoming Dirshu World Siyum. Rav Dovid was joined in both visits by Dirshu representatives of varied chassidishe communities in Brooklyn who have seen the transformative effect on their kehillos brought about by participation in Dirshu’s programs. The first visit was to the Zekan Ha’Admorim, the elder Chasidishe Rebbe of Boro Park, the venerated Rachmastrivka Rebbe. The Rebbe received Rav Hofstedter with great warmth and went out of his way to thank him. Why? Because several of his own grandsons are avid participants in Dirshu’s programs and take regular tests. In fact, one of the Rebbe’s grandsons has taken tests on the entire Shas! A fascinating talk ensued wherein the Rebbe showed his deep admiration for Dirshu serving as an organization that reaches the entire cross-section of Torah Jewry with participants representing many different Chassidic groups, Litvish and yeshivish, American Yidden, Ashkenazim and Sefardim.

Rav Hofstedter then invited the Rebbe to the upcoming Dirshu World Siyum on the second machzor of the entire six chalakim of Mishnah Berurah in Dirshu’s popular Daf HaYomi B’Halacha daily halacha and mussar program that will be held

and Maggidei Shiur, Rav Shlomo Cynamon, the host Rav, opened the event by highlighting the tremendous kiddush Hashem being made by Dirshu throughout the world. He noted Dirshu’s global reach and the fact that Torah observant Jews

“We must all strive to live with the Shechinah, to bring the Shechinah into our daily lives. Being part of the Dirshu worldwide movement and learning Daf HaYomi B’Halacha in the Mishnah Berurah and the Chofetz Chaim’s other seforim in the

Rachmastrivka Rebbe meeting with Hanhalas Dirshu in his home

on March 3, at the Cure Insurance Arena. The Kossover Rebbe: “It is Not a Segulah!” Another fascinating, inspiring visit was that of the Dirshu leadership led by Rav Dovid Hofstedter to the Kossover Rebbe, Rav Shraga Hager, shlita. Rav Hager, one of the distinguished Rebbes in Boro Park who deals with countless contemporary challenges in chinuch and shalom bayis in our communities, greeted Rav Hofstedter with tremendous joy and fondness. The Rebbe, with a warm smile, quipped to Rav Hofstedter, “You are putting me out of business!” He then explained, “Sadly, much of my time is occupied with addressing shalom bayis issues between couples. I have found, however, that when a husband learns in a Dirshu program it is a solution to any shalom bayis problems. You see,” the Rebbe continued, “it is not a segulah, rather it makes utmost sense logically. A yungerman who learns in Dirshu and takes the tests is part of a structured program thereby bringing tremendous structure and discipline to his life and promoting a deep sense of respect between the two spouses.” The meeting concluded with Rav Hofstedter inviting the Kossover Rebbe to attend both the major World Siyum event in New Jersey this coming March and the earlier European event in Radin where numerous Gedolim will visit the Chofetz Chaim’s kever and spend Shabbos in Vilna. The Flatbush Asifa At the Flatbush event for Rabbanim

from all over are positively impacted by Dirshu’s programs. “Dirshu is truly a Klal Yisrael organization!” Rav Cynamon then gave over a powerful message about the commitment and obligation to Torah learning and Torah knowledge afforded by participating in Dirshu’s programs. “...The secret of Dirshu’s success. The motif of Dirshu is commitment, not just to learn with a plan but to learn with a commitment, an obligation, a clearly defined plan. That obligation transforms a person and his family into a new metzius, creating simcha, hatzlacha and protection.” Rav Hofstedter spoke about the importance of the upcoming siyum. “The siyum is important not only because it will celebrate the tremendous accomplishments of lomdei Dirshu for completing the entire Mishnah Berurah through sustained daily learning, but also in the message that it sends to all of Klal Yisrael by expanding the borders of what it means to be a baal halacha and an ish halacha, for whom halacha observance permeates their very essence.” Rav Hofstedter brought out a lesson from Avrohom Avinu highlighting how bringing halacha into our daily lives and not making a move without thinking of the halachos that one must observe, empower a person to bring the Shechinah into their daily lives. Halacha enables you to live with the Shechinah as Avrohom Avinu did. “Our entire life, our every action at every hour and every minute is dictated by halacha. If we don’t learn halacha daily, we will not be able to live halacha daily.

mussar portion of the program, is all part of that mission.” Rav Moshe Weinberger, Rav of the Agudas Yisroel shul of Flatbush, said, “There is nothing that gives a person more clarity in what he is learning than knowing that he must take a test on the material. To really know halacha, you must completely immerse yourself into it and take tests on it. It is such a chizuk to come to a Dirshu test and see so many who have learned with such clarity that they can take a test on what they learned! Rav Dovid,” Rav Weinberger ended, “I want to give you a yasher koach on behalf of Klal Yisrael!” The final address was given by Rav Zev Smith who concluded with a personal story. He was once compelled to take an unscheduled emergency trip to England. Jumping into a taxi, he dashed to the airport and made it to the counter with barely minutes to spare. The clerk asked for his passport, and it dawned on him - he had forgotten his passport at home! No describing how important his trip was could make the clerk change his mind. He would not be allowed on the flight without his passport. “Shas and every halachah in Shulchan Aruch is our passport to Gan Eden!” Rav Smith thundered, “Lomdei Dirshu are the ultimate manifestation of Ashrei Mi Shaba’ah l’Kan v’Talmudo B’yado. As we approach the siyum on the entire Mishnah Berurah, we must thank Dirshu, and its Nasi for giving us the opportunity to reach this milestone!”

The Week In News

NOVEMBER 25, 2021 | The Jewish Home

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