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The Week In News


SEPTEMBER 12, 2019 | The Jewish Home




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The Week In News




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The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 12, 2019 | The Jewish Home




Dear readers, Teshuvah, returning to our Creator, never gets tiring. Each year, when we get in the mode of Elul and self-reflection, we’re reminded that we can always return and be welcomed with open arms. If we focus and shake off negative baggage, we are freed to do so in the blink of an eye. Teshuvah isn’t just about being forgiven for wrongdoing. Teshuvah is a mindset. Indeed, the Rambam put the laws of teshuvah together with fundamental beliefs and attitudes of a Yid, before he listed all the specific mitzvos. Seemingly, its proper place is after the mitzvos, once someone hadn’t kept them correctly, and not before instructing a person what they are supposed to do! However, the Rambam’s arrangement recognizes that the neshamah’s true existence is being one with Hashem and that no matter what, it can always return to that status. This is a double-edged sword: for the tzaddik knows he needs to be in a constant spirit of return; no matter what was accomplished till now, it still isn’t the same as the oneness the neshamah knew before being born. Kol yamav b’teshuvah is something tzaddikim would say. Indeed, the Chassidic masters teach us that Mashiach will come “to bring tzaddikim to teshuvah”—to that original G-dly bliss the neshamah once knew. The other side is that even before we head out on the path of Torah and mitzvos, we need to know that this is who we are. We will inevitably stumble and even fail, but that’s on the outside. On the inside, our reality contains a yearning to connect to Hashem. This being the case, teshuvah has a strong element of simchah to it, even more than the simchah that accompanies other mitzvos. Teshuvah is an expression of the eternal bond we have with our Creator which nothing can undo. Our job is simply to reveal it. Let’s use this opportunity to “cash in” to the heightened spiritual awareness when “the King is in the field,” in the words of the Baal HaTanya, and to express a fresh side that will surprise even ourselves. This will G-d willing bring about a ksivah v’chasimah tovah for all. Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos,


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The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 12, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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TheHappenings Week In News

SEPTEMBER 12, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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Parsha The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 12, 2019 | The Jewish Home


in 4

Parshas Ki Seitzei By Eytan Kobre

Weekly Aggada You shall surely send away the mother, but the young you may take for yourself, so that it will be good for you and you will prolong your days (Devarim 22:7) The “prolonged days” mentioned here refers not to the days of this world but to the days of the World to Come. This was a root of the downfall of the once-great Elisha ben Avuya, about whom G-d says, “Return, all sons, who will return; return to Me, and I will return to you (Malachi 3:7) – except for Elisha ben Avuya, who knows My power and nevertheless rebelled against Me.” Once, Elisha ben Avuya was sitting and learning in the Ginosar Valley when he saw a man climb a palm tree, take a mother bird in front of her children, and descend in peace. Later, he saw another man climb to the top of the palm tree and send the mother bird away before taking the young birds. When this man descended from the tree, however, he was bitten by a snake and died. So said Elisha ben Avuya: “It is written, ‘You shall surely send away the mother, but the young you may take for yourself, so that it will be good for you and you will prolong your days.’ Where is this man’s ‘good’ and where is this man’s ‘prolonged days’?” When challenging G-d in this way (r”l), Elisha ben Avuya did not know that R’ Akiva already had explained publicly that the Torah’s promise that “it will be good for you” refers to the World That Is Completely Good

(i.e., the World to Come) and “you will prolong your days” refers to the World That Is Entirely Long (i.e., the World to Come) (Rus Rabba 6).

Weekly Mussar You shall not see your brother’s ox or his sheep driven away, and hide yourself from them; you shall surely bring them back to your brother (Devarim 22:1) This refers not only to one who sees his fellow’s animals being driven away but also to one who diverting his line of sight from the animals, “as if” he does not see them being driven away (Rashi). The imperative to not divert our line of sight “as if” we do not see a friend’s animals being driven away is difficult to understand: if we have no intention of helping our friend, it won’t matter whether we see the animals being driven away or divert our gaze “as if” we do not (in other words, expanding the prohibition to one who pretends not to see will have no impact on one who has no desire to help). And if we intend and want to help our friend, we will do so no matter what. Why, then, does the Torah address the person who diverts his eyes “as if” he does not see? There seems to be no practical difference – that person will either help or he will not. The practical application here, explains R’ Betzalel Rakow (19272003; former chief rabbi of Gateshead, England), is the human tendency to delude oneself. No decent, courteous person would see his friend’s animals go-

ing astray and refuse to take action. That would be callous. But we might divert our line of sight from the animals, “as if” we did not see them going astray. Then we could justify our inaction: hey, I did not actually see my friend’s animals being driven away. It is a silly charade, but it enables us to justify our inaction. We often justify our wrongful actions and inactions by deluding ourselves in this manner. For instance, the Chofetz Chaim often noted how it is rare for one who speaks loshon hara to actually own up to doing something wrong. Instead, they delude themselves into thinking that what they are saying isn’t really loshon hara or that it is permissible (a mitzvah even!) to say loshon hara about that person or in this situation (or any one of several other misguided justifications). That is what the Torah instructs here: Do not delude yourself. You either don’t see your friend’s animals being driven away or you do see your friend’s animals being driven away. Just pretending not to see them fools no one but yourself.

Weekly Anecdote You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together (Devarim 22:10) When the Radzyner Rebbe, R’ Gershon Chanoch Henech Leiner (1839-1890), was a young man, he once entered the local bais medrash of a small town not far from his own, surprised to see it teeming with a sizeable group of misfits in a tumult. When the young Radzyner asked why they were assembled there and

in a state of commotion, the group explained that the town’s wealthiest man was marrying off his son and was throwing a grand feast in honor of the occasion but that they had been left out of the festivities and were famished. “Come with me,” said the young Radzyner, motioning for the group to follow. And with that, he set out for the wealthy man’s home, the bevy of ne’er-do-wells in tow behind him. The young Radzyner arrived at the wealthy man’s home and knocked at the front door. “Sorry, we are not accepting visitors today!” came the loud response from within. But the Radzyner had a plan. “I understand that the town rav is inside at your party!” he called out. “I have a question for the esteemed rav!” After a brief delay, the door swung open, and the Radzyner was allowed inside to ask his question – and only to ask his question. The band of misfits remained outside. “Rabbi,” the young Radzyner addressed the rav sitting at the dais, “why does the Torah prohibit us from plowing with an ox and donkey together?” Now, the rav had no patience for these sorts of questions, and he didn’t particularly appreciate being disturbed at the lavish party. He tried to give the young Radzyner short shrift. “We do not know the reason behind a great many of the Torah’s commandments. But we obey them nonetheless.” “Ah, but I believe there is a simple logical reason behind this specific commandment,” replied the young Radzyner. “You see, the ox chews its

Parsha The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 12, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Weekly Halacha When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof,

so that you not place blood upon your house if anyone falls from it (Devarim 22:8) This is the positive Torah com-

of any floor upon which people may walk if it is ten tefachim (40 inches) above the ground (or above another landing). The fence must be ten tefachim tall and sturdy enough

We often justify our wrongful actions and inactions by deluding ourselves.

mandment to build a fence on the roof of a house that is used for living (Sefer HaChinuch 546; Rambam, Sefer HaMitzvos, Positive Commandment No. 184; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 190:1). A fence is required at the edge

to prevent someone from falling (Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 427:5; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 190:1). While some disagree, most authorities hold that a blessing – “asher kideshanu b’mitzvosav vitzivanu la’asos ma’akeh” – should

be recited upon building the fence (Rambam, Berachos 11:8). Because the Torah refers only to a “house,” shuls are exempt (they are not intended for living ) (Chullin 136a; Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 427:3), as are structures intended for storage or to house animals (Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 427:1; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 190:1; but see Chazon Ish, Maasros 19). One who rents a house is also required to build a parapet if the owner has not already done so (Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 314:2). The Weekly Halacha is not meant for practical purposes and is for discussion purposes only. Please consult your own rav for guidance.

Eytan Kobre is a writer, speaker, and attorney living in Kew Gardens Hills. Questions? Comments? Suggestions? E-mail eakobre@outlook.com.

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cud; the donkey does not. So when the ox finishes its food, it appears as if it has yet additional food to eat. Now, if the ox and donkey were to plow together, the donkey would look upon the ox with jealousy. The Torah, therefore, pitied the donkey and prohibited the plowing of the ox and donkey together so as not to cause pain to the donkey. “And certainly,” the young Radzyner continued, “if the Torah is concerned about the pain a donkey might feel by watching an ox eat lavishly, surely we humans must not slam the door shut on other poor humans while we feast lavishly…” The father of the groom got the message, and his doors were opened immediately to the sorry, starving lot waiting outside.

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Torah Musings The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 12, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Six Steps Towards a Happier Marriage Sarah Pachter

I was recently reminded of a joke about Bill and Hillary Clinton. On their way to Bill’s presidential inauguration, the driver suddenly needed to stop for gas. Pulling into the station, Hillary gasped with recognition. Surprised, Hillary said, “Bill! That attendant was my high school boyfriend!” Sinking in her seat, she could not believe what had become of him. Bill turned to his wife and proudly said, “See, Hillary? Had you married him, you would have been the wife of a gas station attendant instead of First Lady!” Hillary responded, “Oh no, Bill! Had I married him, he would have been the President of the United States.” This joke does not lend itself to shalom bayit. It does, however, describe the power Judaism feels a woman has over a relationship. In Mishlei it states, “Chochmas nashim banta beisa.” (“The wisdom of a woman builds her home.”) Our sages claim that an extra dose of binah, deductive reasoning, was given to every woman in order to raise her family and build her home. Even non-Jewish thinkers share these sentiments, as exemplified by Nia Vardalos’s famous quote, “The man may be the head of the household. But the woman is the neck, and she can turn the head whichever way she pleases.” Creating a harmonious home is the most effective way to influence and build the people inside it. Many reading this article have heard these notions before, but what seems to be less emphasized is how to cultivate marital harmony. The Igerret HaRamban begins with, “Always speak in a soft voice, even when angry.” Shalom bayit experts suggest ending phone conversations when one’s spouse arrives home.

Others maintain that refraining from texting at important moments like during dinner and while conversing is key. John Gottman sums these suggestions up as “turning toward each other’s bid for attention” and exclaims they are pivotal to sustaining a relationship. All of these experts share powerful ideas, but there are also more subtle techniques to build a positive home that will create an overarching atmosphere of respect. Respect is oxygen in a relationship, and creates an atmosphere conducive to growth. Men primarily need respect, while women crave love. However, Rabbi Yaakov Vosoghi, quoting the Rambam in a recent shiur, explains that in order for a marriage to thrive, the respect must be reciprocal. Laura Doyle, author of The Empowered Wife, shares what she calls six intimacy skills that increase respect and marital connection. Her ideas have been adapted by several rebbetzins around the world who incorporate them into their shalom bayit classes. Below, this article will elucidate three of the six detailed techniques, which have proven success rates in helping make great marriages become even better. Skill #1: Self-Care Esther Perel, marriage therapist and bestselling author, explains that one’s spouse cannot satisfy your every need. It is impossible for your spouse to fulfill the role of confidante, partner, breadwinner, therapist, and best friend, simultaneously. She believes it is simply not your spouse’s job to make you happy, and that only you can make you happy. When we learn to care for ourselves, we remove tremendous pressure from our spouse, and in-

ternalizing this precept is the first step to shalom bayit. The creation of woman fulfilled Hashem’s ratzon, His will. As the morning brachot state, “…she’asani kirtzono,” “You (G-d) created me according to Your will.” Part of a woman’s role is to determine her ratzon, and take the initiative to fulfill those goals. This may sound frivolous or even anti-spiritual, however, caring for your physical needs and desires is a great mitzvah. A famous quote (usually attributed to Rabbi Yisrael Salanter) declares, “Someone else’s physicality is your spirituality.” We can expand this to incorporate, “Sometimes your physical is your spiritual.” After all, Rabbi Hillel, heading to the bathhouse, announced, “I’m going to perform a mitzvah of utmost importance!” The concept of self-care is essential to marital harmony, and there is a direct correlation between the two. Nurturing a loving relationship requires patience and attention. If we are sleep-deprived, scattered, or undernourished, our ability to be calm and compassionate with our spouse decreases. Only when your own cup is full can one then pour outward. Additionally, when we treat ourselves well, we show others how we want to be treated. Bonus: your happy mood lets your spouse know that they can succeed in delighting you, which inspires them to do so. Being good to ourselves is crucial for a life well-lived and -loved. Skill #2: Gratitude Doyle recommends expressing gratitude at least three times daily. The more gratitude you give, the more your spouse will want to do for you. An added bonus is that gratitude cuts

out negativity, because you can’t feel grateful and resentful at the same time. In Janice Kaplan’s book, Gratitude Diaries, therapists share success stories of couples who consistently expressed gratitude, and after a few weeks, no longer need therapy. All this gratitude pays great returns on the investment of one’s marriage. You will look more attractive and lovable to your spouse when you start practicing respect. Doyle says that most of the time, when men are no longer attracted to their spouses, it is not a physical issue. Appreciation is attractive because being grateful raises your own happiness level, which makes you more fun to be around! Interestingly enough, a student of mine shared that after practicing the six intimacy skills for a few weeks, her husband started spontaneously complimenting her beauty. More importantly though, gratitude shows our spouses tremendous respect, and lets them know we value them greatly. Skill #3: Receive In a relationship, Judaism defines the female role as a receiver, and the male role as a giver. Although that may sound archaic, receiving can actually be a very powerful form of giving. Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen once shared the following example. Imagine a husband brings flowers to his wife for Shabbat. The wife is disappointed with his choice of bouquet, yet regardless, she thanks him for his thoughtfulness. Who is physically giving? The man. Who is spiritually giving? The woman. Receiving a gift can be the greatest kindness to the giver’s selfworth. When one’s spouse takes the time to pick out a gift, we should always thank them genuinely for their thoughtfulness, even if it doesn’t meet

Torah Musings The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 12, 2019 | The Jewish Home

our standards. A newly married woman I was teaching, Alexandra, shared that her husband purchased a purse for her. She thought the purse was childish and seemed better fit for an eight-year-old. At first, Alexandra thought the gift was a joke, but when she realized he was serious, she thanked him genuinely despite her disappointment. Two years later, she called to tell me that she had kept showing her husband appreciation for every gift, big or small. She noticed that as time passed,

his gifts became more and more on target. “Sarah, you won’t believe it! Do you remember when Michael bought me that ridiculous purse? Well, he spontaneously gave me the most beautiful piece of jewelry last week! I don’t even believe my eyes!” Receiving is the opposite of rejection and sends an overall message of acceptance to your spouse. When they give you something beneath your expectations, receive it anyway and thank them. When we deflect a gift or a compliment, we compromise the

emotional connection that could have been created had we accepted either with grace. This applies when your spouse offers to help with the children or other tasks, as well. Accept graciously, even if they do an imperfect job, or do things differently than you would have. When we receive with this in mind, more acts of love and gifts start coming our way. These three skills are the first tools in using our binah to build respect in our home. Your spouse may notice changes, but might not be able to pin-

point the difference. A woman (or a man), can single-handedly spark positive change in a marriage. One-sided effort can be the catalyst to transform the status of a marriage. Self-care, gratitude, and learning to receive are the first three skills to developing a closer relationship with our spouses. Stay tuned for next week’s article to uncover the last three three intimacy skills and how to implement them.

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14 72

29, | The Jewish Home Feature TheOCTOBER Week In2015 News

SEPTEMBER 12, 2019 | The Jewish Home

A Nation

DIVIDED Against Itself

A Peek into the Vitriol Slung against the Religious Community in Israel’s Upcoming Elections By Tzvi Lev


Tuesday, motorists on Tel Aviv’s central Ayalon t horoughfare were greeted by a massive billboard featuring Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz. Carefully edited to make the veteran educator appear as demonic as possible, the advertisement warned that “if we don’t wake up, rabbis will be teaching our children.” The ad was paid for by the Democratic Union, a party combining the radical-left Meretz faction with a new party led by former Prime Minister Ehud Barak and ex-Labor MK Stav Shaffir. It would have once been unthinkable for a major political party to base their election campaign on stirring up hatred against rabbis. But the do-over elections in September are causing some people to act in strange ways. Every election cycle in Israel revolves around one major issue. In April, it was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s desire to remain in office despite the three different criminal in-

dictments hanging over his head. In 2015, Netanyahu tangled with the Left over his handling of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza the previous year and the fate of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

HATRED OF HADATA When Israelis go to the polls on September 17, one of the primary issues at play will be the complicated relationship between religion and state. This tension between Israel’s Jewish and Democratic aspects is not new. Since the country’s founding in 1948, hot-button issues such as the role of Shabbat in the public sphere and the Rabbinate’s monopoly on marriage have been divisive. Yet never before has this subject taken such a prominent role in a national election and never has so much vitriol been openly hurled at the religious population and at Judaism. Welcome to the fight against “Hadata.” Readers of these pages will remember the article published last year

detailing the battle launched by the secular Left against any semblance of religion in the public sphere. For over two years, the left-wing dominated media has been pumping out stories darkly warning of a takeover of Israel by chareidim, or alternatively, the Religious Zionist community. Often featuring sensational stories that later turned out to be false, the consistent supply of headlines nevertheless succeeded in convincing a significant amount of secular Israelis that their way of life was under attack. The results have been devastating to anyone interested in coexistence between the religious and the secular in the Holy Land. Suddenly, any and all practice of religion became controversial, including things that had never before been a topic of concern. For example, a court banned the northern city of Afula in July from holding a concert for the charedi community featuring the popular singer Motti Steimetz. The reason? Like any event for the charedi community, it mandated sep-

arate seating. Different areas for men and women have been the norm for this community for at least three decades. Yet, according to the secular activists who sued the city, separate seating constituted discriminatory gender separation and was against the law. The judge agreed, with the High Court of Justice later backing his ruling. The city of Haifa had to cancel a Mordechai Ben David concert two weeks later for the same reason. Meanwhile, the flurry of anti-religious activity continues to spread. In Tel Aviv, Mayor Ron Huldai sent a book to every religious first grader that denied G-d’s existence and mocked the very nature of religion. In nearby Ramat Gan, Mayor Carmel Shama-Cohen rammed public transportation on Shabbat through city hall despite the protests of the city’s sizable charedi and religious community. In heavily observant Jerusalem, the municipality banned advertisements promoting support for the traditional Jewish view on marriage.

Feature The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 12, 2019 | The Jewish Home

LIBERMAN’S ANTI-RELIGIOUS PROPAGANDA What caused the anti-Hadata fight to go national was Avigdor Liberman. The gruff and stocky politician had effectively toppled the previous government when he quit his post as defense minister and left the coalition. His abrupt exit left the government with a bare minimum of 61 lawmakers, and it was not long before the entire government collapsed, sending Israel to early elections in April. As the results rolled in on April 9, it appeared that Netanyahu was on his way to another term as prime minister. Racking up 35 seats despite his mounting legal troubles, the right-wing bloc as a whole had 65 seats, more than enough to establish a stable coalition. Yet in what increasingly appears like a calculated political move, Liberman kept on hardening his conditions for joining the coalition. As the deadline closed in, Liberman still refused to join a Netanyahu-led government if the prime minister refused to pass a law mandating that every charedi yeshiva student enlist in the IDF. This condition was rejected by the charedi UTJ and Shas factions out of hand, bringing both sides to an impasse. Being that the six Knesset seats Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu possessed were crucial to passing the 61-seat minimum, his refusal meant going to elections. Immediately after new elections were called Liberman started making increasingly bellicose statements that besmirched the charedi community. Contending that the chareidim were forcing a “halachic state” on Israel,

The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015

the anti-religious rhetoric escalated to heights not seen since Tommy Lapid’s Shinui party portrayed religious people as worms in campaign advertisements back in 2003. All over Israel, billboards were put up featuring a tough-looking Liberman under the caption, “Yes to a Jewish State. No to a halachic State.” On social media, campaign ads told viewers that chareidim don’t work, shirk military

service both spiritually and physically. Ever since the first mechina was opened in Eli back in 1987, Religious Zionist officers have flooded the military and have commanded some of the IDF’s most elite units. Included in the mechinot alumni who fell on the battlefield is Emmanuel Moreno, a long-time operative in the elite Sayeret Matkal unit. He participated in missions so sensitive that the military censor for-

THE ANTI-RELIGIOUS RHETORIC ESCALATED TO HEIGHTS NOT SEEN SINCE TOMMY LAPID’S SHINUI PARTY PORTRAYED RELIGIOUS PEOPLE AS WORMS IN CAMPAIGN ADVERTISEMENTS BACK IN 2003. service, and milk the country’s coffers dry. Last week, Yisrael Beytenu sent a letter to the Attorney General alleging massive voter fraud in the charedi community and demanded that Israel’s top legal official hire observers to watch the ballot boxes. Yet the charedim were not the only ones to be targeted by Liberman’s newfound secular sensibilities. The Religious Zionist community have been raked under the coals as well, with Liberman invoking his refrain of a “forced halachic state” the “messianic rabbis” were allegedly planning. Nothing was off limits to Liberman. One of Religious Zionism’s top contributions to Israeli society is the pre-military academies. Known in Hebrew as the mechinot, these one-year programs prepare religious youth for military

bids photos of him to be published despite 12 years passing since his death in the Second Lebanon War. Major Roi Klein, who died after jumping on a grenade in Lebanon to save his soldiers in the aforementioned war, had spent a year in a mechina, as did Hadar Goldin, a special operations officer whose body has been held by Hamas ever since he was killed in Gaza during 2014’s Operation Protective Edge. According to Liberman, however, the growth of the mechinot was actually a dangerous plot by the religious to take over the army and turn it into a “private militia.” “They are cultivating soldiers whose subordination is not to the direct military commander but to spiritual authority, to the rabbi,” Liberman said

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during an interview last month. “The religious preparatory programs have produced some of the bravest fighters in combat, and I hope they will continue to function, but what is happening today is that the preparatory programs are developing into private religious militias.” Liberman’s rhetoric didn’t stay confined to Yisrael Beytenu but infected the entire political system. For years, the Left has been looking for a wedge to use against the Right. With most Israelis against establishing a Palestinian State, the Left has been roadkill at the ballot box. Yet the anti-religious narrative presented an opportunity: if anti-religious hostility is on the rise, goes the thinking, and every right-wing government always includes the chareidim, then we can channel the fear of a halachic state into votes for the Left. And so it was. The left-wing Democratic Union and Blue and White parties eagerly adopted Liberman’s anti-religious narrative, catapulting religion and state issues into the main theme of the election. Day after day, the aforementioned factions have been pumping out a series of advertisements blaming religious people for all of Israel’s ills. Radical left-wing lawmaker Stav Shaffir alleged that Israeli high schoolers were spending less time learning math due to the public school system’s preoccupation with brainwashing them with Judaism. After a 10-year-old child tragically committed suicide as a result of bullying, some leftist MKs said that Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz was at fault for being too busy teaching

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religion to notice. It seems that no problem can’t be blamed on religious people. Yet the problems facing the right-wing go well beyond hurtful rhetoric. For the first time in recent memory, it doesn’t look like the Right will have enough seats to reach the 61 Knesset members needed to establish the next government. It’s not that the Israeli people have suddenly become left-wing. Rather, Liberman, who was always counted as part of the Right, has now made it increasingly clear that he will side with Benny Gantz, Yair Lapid, Gabi Ashkenazi, and Moshe “Bogie” Yaalon. With Yisrael Beytenu gobbling up 10 seats in the polls, there simply appears to be no way for the Right to attain a sufficient number.

A SCRAMBLE FOR WASTED VOTES As election day approaches, it becomes increasingly clear that the key to victory for the Right hinges on how many votes will be wasted on parties that do not cross the electoral threshold. Currently, the minimum stands at 3.25%, or four Knesset seats. In the previous elections, the Right lost out on no less than eight Knesset seats. There was Naftali Bennett’s New Right, which missed the minimum threshold by only 1,000 votes, and the libertarian Zehut faction. Zehut had exploded onto the political scene in the month prior to the elections in April, with polls showing Moshe Feiglin’s party getting as many as eight seats. As the results rolled in, however, it became clear that Zehut had collapsed. Not only was Zehut not getting eight seats, it did not even pass the electoral threshold, wasting an estimated three

seats. A collection of fringe right-wing parties wasted another seat combined. Had so many votes not been wasted, Netanyahu could have easily formed a government even without Liberman. Yet with the estimated 250,000 ballots going into the trash, Liberman was suddenly able to hold the entire country hostage and send it to an unprecedented re-do election. As such, the challenge for the Right was simple: unity. In newspaper editorials and on social media, in talk shows and on the street, everyone knew that the warring Zehut, New Right, Jewish Home, National Union and far-right Otzma Yehudit needed to run on a joint slate. And so it was. Following weeks of marathon meetings, the Jewish Home-National Union joint list put aside their anger at Naftali Bennett and agreed to run together with the New Right. But rather than Jewish Home leader Rabbi Rafi Peretz leading the list, it was the secular Ayelet Shaked. A successful and popular former Justice Minister, Shaked was installed at the top of the list in the hope that she would be able to draw secular Israelis to vote for the list dominated by Religious Zionism. The merger drastically reduced the number of wasted votes but still left the problem called Zehut and Otzma Yehudit. It was clear from the beginning that there would be problems merging with the far-right Otzma. The radical party had run with the Jewish Home and National Union in April on a list titled the Union of Right Wing Parties (URP), but cracks in the list quickly appeared. Otzma members accused the URP of failing to keep their com-

SEPTEMBER 12, 2019 | The Jewish Home

mitments and of being left-wing, and they quickly scrapped the deal after new elections were called. In addition, Naftali Bennett also opposed running together with Otzma, feeling that their extreme brand of politics would turn off secular voters who would otherwise be taken in by Shaked. Negotiations went down to the wire but to no avail. Otzma refused pressure from Prime Minister Netanyahu, top rabbis, and even its own members and refused to run together with the other aforementioned factions. This decision could easily be a death knell for the Right, as current polls show Otzma wasting as much as three Knesset seats. Another problem was Zehut. While still reeling from its unexpected collapse in April, Moshe Feiglin swore that he would take his party to the end. However, his mounting debts did him in. With the party owing millions in loans it took out ahead of the April elections, Netanyahu promised to cover the debt if Zehut dropped out of the race. With a long string of polls showing that Zehut wasn’t even coming close to passing the electoral threshold, Feiglin bowed out. Holding a press conference with Netanyahu last week, Feiglin left the race in exchange for a promise by Netanyahu to appoint him as a minister should Netanyahu stay on as Israel’s prime minister.

THE LEFT UNITES The Left had also initially faced a similar scenario after former Prime Minister Ehud Barak appeared on the scene with his new party. Together with Yair Golan, an outspoken former

general who once compared Israel to Nazi Germany, Barak contended that his proudly left-wing faction could get as much as 10 seats. However, the polls said otherwise. With every survey finding Barak’s new party hovering around the electoral threshold, the anxiety among leftwing voters rose. More and more senior left-wing figures pressured Barak to merge with other similar-minded parties in order to generate momentum and avoid wasted votes that could give Netanyahu the edge he needs. Finally, Barak gave in. Announcing a merger with the radical-left Meretz and adding fiery Labor MK Stav Shaffir, the new alliance called itself the Democratic Union. With only a little more than a week to go until elections, this union is everything Blue and White isn’t. Proudly left wing, openly calling for a Palestinian State, and with strong message discipline, the party initially appeared to be getting as much as 10 seats. But in recent weeks, the Democratic Union started dropping in the polls. For some reason, their loud and anti-religious platform isn’t working. If the party started at 10 seats in the surveys, they are now averaging between 5 and 7, only slightly above the death zone of four seats. And then there is Blue and White. In the previous elections, the faction led by Yair Lapid, Benny Gantz, Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon and Gabi Ashkenazi was the hottest thing on Israel’s election scene. Headed by no less than three former IDF chiefs of staff and the charismatic Lapid, many viewed the party as the ones that would finally topple Netanyahu. That was then. Over the past two

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months, serious fissures have appeared among the four aforementioned leaders that cast doubts over the party’s future following the elections. One major issue is the party’s unclear worldview. Lacking any coherent ideology, and with their leaders contradicting each other on key issues at least twice a week, the only thing that holds them together is the desire to send Bibi packing. That’s why Gantz can promise to repeal the “racist” Nationality Law while giving Zvi Hauser a senior spot on the Knesset list. Hauser, it should be pointed out, literally wrote every word of the Nationality Bill when he worked at the Kohelet Forum think tank. And that’s why professional charedi hater Yair Lapid can have charedi MK Omer Yankelevitch in his party, and why a proponent of settlements such as Yoaz Hender can sit next to radical leftist Ofer Shelach in the Knesset. Another issue is Gantz. If the griz-

zled general was once seen as prime minister material, today many people have their doubts. He’s come out as an atrocious interviewer; his many missteps have led campaign spin doctors to hide him from the cameras for fear of future gaffes.

paid private investigators to surreptitiously probe Lapid and his cohorts. While Gantz had gone to this unusual step to see who was leaking damaging personal information about him to the press, the revelation that he had hired private investigators caused a deep

THE CYNICAL AND CALCULATING POLITICIAN WHO SENT ISRAEL TO NOT ONE BUT TWO ELECTION CYCLES IN A YEAR NOW SEEMS TO REAP THE BIGGEST BENEFIT FROM HIS SHENANIGANS. His stuttering and blatant gaffes have been the biggest gift to Blue and White’s rivals. “Gantz, it’s too much for him,” warn the ominous clips disseminated by Likud’s communications specialists on social media. Meanwhile, many missteps by Gantz have raised questions about his leadership skills. Earlier this month, news reports surfaced that Gantz had


strain between him and his co-leaders. Yet despite everything listed above, Gantz and Blue and White still have a serious chance of unseating Netanyahu. Currently, Blue and White and Likud are locked in a tie with an average of 32 seats. With the right-wing and left-wing blocs tied at around 56 seats apiece, and with Liberman at 10 seats, Gantz can re-

alistically see himself as the heir to Netanyahu’s seemingly endless term at the top.


election day less than a week away, the two blocs are neck and neck and only one person holds the key to Israel’s future: Avigdor Liberman. Yes, the cynical and calculating politician who sent Israel to not one but two election cycles in a year now seems to reap the biggest benefit from his shenanigans. With the two blocs virtually tied, Liberman again finds himself as the deciding factor. Neither the right or the left has enough Knesset seats in the polls to reach the magic 61 needed to establish a government. Should he commit to Netanyahu, Israel’s longest ever serving prime minister will get yet another term at the top. But if Liberman throws his support to Gantz as expected, it will be the dawn of a new day for Israel’s 9 million residents.


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British Airways Pilot Strike

British Airways was forced to cancel virtually all flights for Monday and Tuesday after its pilots went on strike for the first time in the airline’s history this week. The strike was called by the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) amid a heated dispute over pay with the airline that shows no sign of abating. BALPA is planning another strike for September 27. Further strike days may be announced in the future. Almost 200,000 passengers were supposed to be flying on September 9 and 10

SEPTEMBER 12, 2019 | The Jewish Home

on the airline. The strike comes amid a bitter dispute over pay. Pilots are unhappy with British Airway’s offer of an 11.5% salary increase over three years. They want a greater share of the airline’s profits. The airline posted operating profit of almost $2.5 billion for 2018, an 11.6% increase over the previous year. “We are seeking to share in a tiny fraction of that huge profit,” a BALPA spokesperson told CNN Business. In harder times, pilots had made “significant sacrifices” to keep British Airways afloat, such as giving up annual leave and accepting pay cuts, the spokesperson said. ”Fundamentally, BA pilots have lost trust and confidence in their management.” BALPA general secretary Brian Strutton told the BBC on Monday that the profit-sharing arrangement the union had proposed would entail staff receiving up to 7% of base pay in good times and zero when times were tough. It would not involve an increase in base pay. Other labor unions, representing nearly 90% of all BA staff, including engineers, cabin crew, and ground staff, had accepted the pay increase of 11.5%. The cost of the strike for the airline will likely be around $49 million per day, which means in total, the three announced strike days would cost British Airways around $148 million.

Putin Supporters Lose in Elections

The summer in Moscow saw tens of thousands of people protest over barring opposition candidates from upcoming elections. This week, when the nation headed to the polls, pro-Kremlin candidates suffered substantial losses in Moscow’s city council elections, an unusual blow to president Vladimir Putin’s ruling party. The city council itself has little power, but the anti-Kremlin opposition had targeted its elections in an effort to demonstrate the unpopularity of Putin’s party, United Russia. While the Russian president himself remains popular, his party’s support has plummeted in polling, particularly in the capital. Russia’s top opposition leader Alexey Navalny hailed Sunday’s result as a victory of his strategy of tactical voting,

in which he had called on people to vote for any candidate with the best chance of defeating the Kremlin’s pick. In practice, this largely meant voting for candidates from the Communist Party, which acts as a mostly tame opposition. With all votes counted on Monday, the Kremlin saw its majority in the 45-seat Parliament slump from 40 to 24. The Communists took 13 seats, while the nationalist A Just Russia party took three. The liberal Yabloko party, that is allied with Navalny, also won all four seats where it fielded candidates. United Russia’s leader in Moscow, Andrei Metelsky, lost his seat. Writing on his popular channel on the social media messenger, Telegram, Navalny called it a “fantastic result” and said it was proof his strategy, dubbed “Smart Voting,” worked. Navalny had called for people to make the tightly managed vote a “referendum” on United Russia. His group set up a website where people could learn which candidate would most likely defeat the pro-Kremlin candidates. A number of Russia’s best-known activists joined the campaign. Local elections took place across Russia on Sunday, and the Kremlin saw better results outside of the capital. United Russia, though, saw extreme defeat in the far-eastern city Khabarovsk, where the party lost all of its seats to the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party and the Communists. The Kremlin had successes in the governor races that were held on Sunday,

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with all six of its candidates winning in the first round. Moscow’s vote was the most closely watched. The normally little-noticed election attracted major attention following this summer’s protests. They were sparked when authorities blocked virtually all anti-Kremlin candidates from running in mid-July. Tens of thousands of people joined demonstrations most Saturdays since then.  Authorities responded with the harshest crackdown in almost a decade, arresting hundreds and handing harsh prison sentences to several demonstrators. Police also raided the barred opposition candidates’ homes and jailed many of them, including Navalny.

Spain is Best Country to Visit

For the third year in a row, Spain took the top spot in the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitive Report – the best place for people to visit. The European winner boasts over 3,000 miles of coastline and 48 UNESCO World Heritage sites. France ranked in second place, followed by Germany, Japan, and the United States. Rounding out the top ten were the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, Canada, and Switzerland. The report, which included 140 countries, ranked countries based on infrastructure, safety and security, health, culture, accommodation, sustainable travel initiatives, value for the money, and other considerations. It also considered a country’s natural and cultural resources and travel and tourism policy. Finland, Iceland, and Oman were ranked the safest countries in the world, while El Salvador, Nigeria, and Yemen – which came in last overall – were ranked least safe. Wherever you go, it’s best to avoid the following countries: Yemen, Chad, Liberia, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mauritania, Angola, Haiti, Burkina Faso, and Sierra Leone. They came out as the worst places to visit in the world.

Trump: Talks with Taliban Dead President Donald Trump announced this week that his administration’s covert with the Taliban to end the 18-year conflict in Afghanistan are “dead.”

“As far as I’m concerned, they are dead,” Trump said on Monday. The president didn’t give any hint if he would withdraw the 14,000 U.S. troops from the wartorn country as scheduled, saying merely that “we’d like to get out but we’ll get out at the right time.” Trump’s remarks come a few days after it was revealed that he had called off talks with senior Taliban officials that were supposed to take place over the weekend in Camp David. The summit, which included Afghani President Ashraf Ghanii, was scrapped after the Taliban admitted to killing a U.S. soldier last week. Sgt. 1st Class Elis Angel Barreto Ortiz was killed on Thursday in Afghanistan when a car bomb exploded at a checkpoint near NATO headquarters and the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. Barreto, a 34-year-old paratrooper from Morovis, Puerto Rico, was a maintenance control sergeant assigned to Company H, 82nd Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Barreto had joined the service in 2010 and is a recipient of the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star Medal. He was the 16th U.S. servicemember to have been killed in Afghanistan in 2019. Calling the decision to kill an American soldier “a big mistake,” Trump said that he refuses to negotiate while American troops were being targeted. “They thought that they had to kill people to put themselves in a little better negotiating position,” the president said. “We had a meeting scheduled. It was my idea and it was my idea to terminate it. I didn’t even discuss it with anyone else. I cancelled Camp David on the basis that they did something that they sure as [anything] shouldn’t have done.” Following Trump’s announcement, the Taliban vowed that it would continue killing U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. “We had two ways to end occupation in Afghanistan: one was jihad and fighting, the other was talks and negotiations,” said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. “If Trump wants to stop talks, we will take the first way and they will soon regret it.” The current impasse likely spells the end of marathon negotiations between the Taliban and the United States. Under the tutelage of Afghani-born diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad, the two sides had appeared intent on hammering out a deal that would end the 18-year conflict.

A Fountain of Youth? A new study suggests that science may soon be able to reverse the process of aging, the Independent reported. The study, which involved giving volunteers a growth hormone and two diabetes medications, showed that participants lost an average of 2.5 years from their biological age, with both their epigenetic clocks

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The Week In News and their immune systems improving over time. Steve Horvath, a researcher from the University of California, Los Angeles, told Nature: “I’d expected to see slowing down of the clock, but not a reversal. That felt kind of futuristic.” The changes continued to be present in participants’ blood after the experiment was over, the Independent noted. The study’s limitations include its small size – just nine people – and the fact that there was no control group. In addition, the study aimed to examine how the growth hormone affects tissue in the thymus gland. The drugs’ effects on participants’ epigenetic clocks were only examined as a secondary consideration. Scientists now hope to achieve the same results in larger, controlled studies in the future.

Robert Mugabe, Former President of Zimbabwe, Dies Robert Mugabe, who served as Zimbabwe’s president for 37 years, died on Friday at 95.

SEPTEMBER 12, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Seen as a revered leader by his followers and as a dictator by his opponents, Mugabe was forced by senior security forces officials to resign his position in 2017. He had previously claimed that “only G-d” could ever remove him from office. Zimbabwe President Mnangagwa tweeted on Friday: “It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe’s founding father and former president, Cde Robert Mugabe. “Cde Mugabe was an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people. His contribution to the history of our nation and continent will never be forgotten. May his soul rest in eternal peace.” Mugabe, a former teacher, spent ten years in prison for opposing the white-minority government prior to Zimbabwe’s independence. In 1980, the guerilla war orchestrated by Mugabe succeeded in winning the country its freedom, and Mugabe was crowned prime minister. He and his comrades believed white leadership made their people “a race of no rights beyond those of chattel,” CNN noted. In 1987, Mugabe stepped down as prime minister to become his country’s

president and head of the armed forces. Later, despite a deepening economic crisis, Mugabe obstinately refused to step down, claiming that “only G-d who appointed me will remove me,” calling efforts by the U.S. and European Union “unjustified” and “illegal.” On November 7, 2017, after angering officials by firing Mnangagwa (who was First-Vice President at the time) in order to clear the position for his wife, Mugabe was placed under house arrest and finally forced to step down.

Labour MP Steps Down to Combat Anti-Semitism

John Mann, a longtime Labour lawmaker, will not run in the general election and will instead focus on combating anti-Semitism, the Times of Israel reported. “I’m not prepared to stand as an MP with Corbyn as leader,” Mann, 59, told the Jewish Chronicle. He added that he will still remain a Labour member. “Corbyn has given the green light to the anti-Semites and, having done so, has sat there and done nothing to turn that around,” he told the Sunday Times. “Every time I go into a meeting with a group of Jewish people, I wince when they raise the issue of the Labour party and Corbyn. It is impossible to overstate the anger that I have about that. He has not just hijacked my political party – he has hijacked its soul and its ethics. I will never forgive him for that.” According to The Guardian, Mann was named an “anti-Semitism czar” by former Prime Minister Theresa May just before she stepped down. PM Boris Johnson then promoted him, allowing him to take the position full-time. He told the Jewish Chronicle that the new role “will allow me to devote 95 percent of my life to fighting the war against anti-Semitism, rather than the five percent I was able to devote while working as an MP. “I think I can make a significant impact internationally, particularly on areas such as the IHRA definition.” He told the Chronicle, “It was ‘Jew this… Jew that’ to two members of the community and myself who were just sitting outside having some food and attempting to chat. That’s the scale of the problem – it’s becoming normalized. “When Corbyn goes, the problem doesn’t go with Corbyn. But his failure to lead is the big problem – as is the problem of anti-Semitism on the left. Corbyn is an enabler. His unwillingness to undo the damage he has done has had huge conse-

quences. He’s not just an enabler; he’s the enabler in this country. “His refusal to sort things out – and the things he’s done and said in the past – gives an open license to it.”

Dutch Rescuer of Jews Dies at 99

Diet Eman, a Dutch woman recognized by Yad Vashem as a Righteous Among the Nations, died on Tuesday at 99, The Washington Post reported. Eman, who was a resistance fighter, worked with her fiancé Hein Sietsma, to shelter a Jewish violinist named Herman in The Hague. Following that experience, Eman became involved with the Dutch underground, helping to save dozens of Jews after the Netherlands was occupied by the Nazis in 1940. She told Iowa’s Sioux City Journal: “In the beginning you have no idea what risk you are taking. Then, you’re so deep in it, you can’t go back.” Among other things, Eman translated BBC radio reports to spread forbidden news, served as a courier, and buried weapons in her parents’ garden. Together with a resistance group, she and Sietsma helped to provide money, ration cards, and false documents for Jews trying to escape the Nazis. The pair were eventually arrested. When the Gestapo officers were distracted, Eman succeeded in tossing an envelope full of ration cards, hidden under her blouse, away from her. During Eman’s time in the Herzogenbusch concentration camp in Vught, she resisted interrogations by pretending to be simple-minded. After her liberation in 1944, Eman returned to working with the resistance. She later learned that Sietsma had been killed in Dachau, but found a letter which he had written on a piece of toilet paper and thrown from the train on the way to Dachau. The letter, found with other prisoners’ messages and belongings, read: “Darling, don’t count on seeing each other again soon. I have the feeling that it will take at least a year… Even if we won’t see each other on earth again, we will never be sorry for what we did, and that we took this stand.” After the war, Eman became a nurse and moved to Venezuela. She later married an American, settling in Michigan after their divorce. Eman, who in 2015 was called “one of our national heroes” by Dutch King Willem-Alexander, is survived by two children.

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UK: Amber Rudd Resigns, Citing “Assault on Democracy”

Senior Conservative lawmaker Amber Rudd resigned her position as the UK’s Secretary of State of Work and Pensions last weekend, accusing Prime Minister Boris Johnson of an “assault on democracy.” Rudd’s resignation follows that of Johnson’s brother, Jo Johnson, last Thursday. In a letter to PM Johnson which she shared on Twitter Saturday night, Rudd wrote that she cannot “stand by as good, loyal, moderate Conservatives are ex-

pelled” in an “assault on decency and democracy.” She added that she “no longer” believes that “leaving with a deal is the government’s main objective.” “I remain committed to the One Nation values that drew me into politics,” she added. In the six weeks he has been prime minister, Johnson has expelled 21 Conservatives – including the country’s longest-serving MP – after they blocked his move to leave the European Union without a deal. Rudd, who has been a member of Parliament since 2010, told BBC Sunday that she has “not seen enough work going into actually trying to get a deal,” even though she believes Johnson is “trying to get a deal with the EU.” “It’s like 80-90% of government time is going into preparing for no deal,” she said, adding that “the absence of actually trying to work to get a deal is what has driven 21 of my colleagues to rebel, and I need to join them.” Therese Coffey will replace Rudd as Work and Pensions Secretary, Britain’s Press Association said.

N. Korea Launches More Projectiles Despite assertions that it is willing to

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sit down with the U.S. for talks and agreements, North Korea is continuing to show its belligerent side. On Tuesday morning, North Korea launched two unidentified projectiles from South Pyongan Province toward the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan. The projectiles flew approximately 205 miles and were launched at 6:53 a.m. and 7:12 a.m., Korean time.

The launches happened just hours after a top North Korean diplomat working on nuclear negotiations with the United States said Pyongyang would be open to resuming talks with Washington. The envoy, Choe Son Hui, said in a first-person statement published on Mon-

day by North Korean state media, that North Korea is willing “to sit with the U.S. side for comprehensive discussions of the issues we have so far taken up at the time and place to be agreed late in September.” “I believe that the U.S. side will come out with a proposal geared to the interests of the DPRK and the U.S. and based on the calculation method acceptable to us,” Choe said, referring to North Korea by an acronym for the country’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. After more than a year of refraining from missile tests, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s regime has conducted 10 launches since May including Tuesday’s. Most of those are believed to be shortrange missiles. In the past, U.S. President Donald Trump has called the tests “very standard” and noted that Kim had agreed to stop testing long-range ballistic missiles. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that Kim hasn’t yet violated his commitment to Trump, but the U.S. is “disappointed that he is continuing to conduct these short-range tests. We wish that he would stop that.” “But our mission set at the State Department is very clear: to get back to the table, to present a mechanism by which we can deliver…a full, completely denuclearized and verified denuclearized North Korea.”





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SEPTEMBER 12, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Days Before Rosh Hashanah, Daf HaYomi B’Halacha to Embark On Chelek Hei, Hilchos Pesach Chaim Gold

Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program is completing the difficult halachos of Eiruven and moving on to hilchos Pesach. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the beginning of hilchos Pesach coincides with the yahrzeit of the Chofetz Chaim. The Dirshu Daf HaYomi B”Halacha program is devoted to learning a daily page of the Chofetz Chaim’s Mishnah Berurah and a daily portion of one of the Chofetz Chaim’s mussar sefarim. Certainly, the zechus of the Chofetz Chaim is an integral component in ensuring that the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha has grown beyond belief with thousands of shiurim and many tens of thousands of participants all over the world. “Now is an opportune time to join the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program and complete most of the halachos of Pesach in advance of next Pesach,” said Rabbi Shlomo Rozenstein, Dirshu’s Director of Public Relations. “This is the second machzor of the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program. About seven years ago, the first time we started hilchos Pesach, many new participants joined. Chelek Daled, which

is primarily devoted to eiruven, had been viewed by some as a difficult undertaking. Once, we reached Chelek Hei and hilchos Pesach, however, many more joined. We anticipate a tremendous bump in enrollment this year with the start of hilchos Pesach on 26 Elul/September 26, just days before Rosh Hashanah. What a wonderful kabbalah to undertake in advance of Rosh Hashanah and in honor of the Chofetz Chaim’s yahrtzeit.” Indeed, Dirshu’s special, Fifth Annual International Yom Limud and Tefillah will be held on Tuesday, 24 Elul/September 2, the day before the completion of Chelek Daled. Yidden throughout the world will gather to recite specific perakim of Tehillim and learn segments from the two seminal seforim written by the Chofetz Chaim, the Mishnah Berurah and the Sefer Shmiras Haloshon. The Yom Limud and Tefillah, under the auspices of Dirshu and its kiruv arm, Acheinu, is designed to reach out with a message of achdus to all Jews from across the spectrum and at all levels of observance, promoting Torah learning and te-

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fillah. All of Hilchos Pesach is Within Reach Hilchos Pesach is one of those areas in the Mishnah Berura where lomdei halacha with limited time often choose to learn only the seemingly more relevant halachos. Many of the important simanim, which on the surface, seem to either be very intricate or not as relevant to our times are therefore neglected. Countless individuals suffice with learning the beginning of Chelek Hei which deals with the halachos of bedikas chametz and biur chametz and then skip over to the seder night thus missing numerous vital halachos. There are the halachos of taaruvos chametz, the halachos of what one must do if, G-d forbid, he finds chametz in his house on Pesach, the halachos of kashering keilim, baking matzos and the list goes on… In fact, during the last machzor of the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha, one of the lomdim remarked, “I would never have dreamt that I would one day be zoche to learn all of the halachos of baking matzos, all of the complex details on how to properly sell chometz to a gentile and the detailed wording of the shtar, the document of sale. When would I have ever sat down and properly learned the difficult halachos of hagalas keilim, kashering keilim for Pesach with so many associated, contemporary scenarios? But I have done just that, thanks to Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program.” The many tens of thousands of participants in the Dirshu Daf HaYomi B’Halacha don’t just learn perfunctorily. They learn and review the halachos together with the Dirshu Biurim U’Musafim that depicts hundreds of modern-day scenarios emanating from these halachos and they were tested on all of them! In fact, the senior Rosh Yeshiva of Ponovezh, HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein, shlita, said before the commencement of hilchos Shabbos in reference to the Dirshu edition of the Mishnah Berurah, “We have been zoche that a Mishnah Berurah with many important additions has been published. This is very important. It would be a tremendous zechus for every single person to try keeping Shabbos according to halacha. In this zechus may we merit the geulah sheleimah”. “Halacha is the Ikker” “Halacha is the ikker,” were the words of HaGaon HaRav Dovid Feinstein, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Mesivta Tiferes Yerushalayim and one of the senior poskim of our generation, when asked what his father Rav Moshe would have said about a daily halacha learning program such as the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha.

One prominent Rosh Yeshiva, upon his visit to a Dirshu testing site, observed hundreds of people diligently taking tests on halachah and mussar, and exclaimed, “Can one imagine what simcha there is in shomayim?! Can one imagine the nachas that the heilige Chofetz Chaim and the heilige Rav Yisroel Salanter, founder of the Mussar Movement, must be having, when they look down and see thousands of people from all walks of life learning halachah and mussar?! The tens of thousands of lomdei Daf HaYomi B’Halacha comprise an army; an army of soldiers declaring, ‘My day will be one in which I encounter Hashem Yisborach every second!’” More than a decade ago, the Posek Hador, HaGaon HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, zt”l, encouraged the hanhala of Dirshu to create halacha programs whereby lomdei Torah would be encouraged to learn, understand and know halacha l’maaseh, practical halacha. Over the course of the years, lomdei Dirshu in both its Kinyan Halacha and Daf HaYomi B’Halacha programs have followed through on Rav Elyashiv’s guidance and have wrought a transformation in the Torah world. With the completion of Chelek Daled, Hilchos Eiruven and the commencement of Chelek Hei, Hilchos Peasch, Daf HaYomi B’Halacha learners will now be able to learn the entire hilchos Pesach. Fleeing This World for the ‘World of Hashem’! Perhaps, the discerning remarks of the Sar HaTorah, HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, can serve as the greatest catalyst to start learning hilchos Pesach with the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha. He recently said, “In our generation, the generation of ikvesah d’Meshicha, there is a great tumah, impurity in the world. The power of the yetzer hara in this world is greater than it ever was. That is why we must flee from ‘this world’ and enter ‘the world of Hashem’. What is the ‘world of Hashem’? The ‘world of Hashem’ is the daled amos of halacha.” Whereas some of the Dirshu programs cater to those who are able to devote a considerable part of their day to learning, the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program is for everyone. Now, right before Rosh Hashanah, is an optimum time to join and begin Chelek Hei. Learning daily halacha with a structured program will have a transformative impact on your life. What are you waiting for!? To join Daf HaYomi B’Halacha please call, 888-5-Dirshu, or e-mail, info@kolleldirshu.org.

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SEPTEMBER 12, 2019 | The Jewish Home


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