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The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 | The Jewish Home

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SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News


The Week In News



SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Dear readers, The loss of Ari Fuld is tremendous. Anyone who met him, even those in total dis-

JEWISH THOUGHT Living with the Times . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Torah Musings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 The Weekly Daf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Bobker on Hoshana Raba. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

agreement with him politically, speaks of his larger than life presence and contagious positivity. A brief look at the statements made after his murder shows a deep respect by those he used to fiercely debate. He wasn’t one to hide his opinion that the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people, but at the same time he engaged those with a different opinion respect-

LIFESTYLE Humor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Emotional Health. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

fully and in a friendly manner—not very common in today’s climate of personal attacks against those we disagree with. I happened to bump into Ari this summer. We only spoke for a few minutes, but I was

NEWS Israel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

struck by the unusual energy he exuberated. It left you with a feeling of, “I can do this. I can do whatever it takes to be the best person possible.”




Human intellect can’t and shouldn’t find a reason for a hateful 17-year-old to take the life of such a unique individual. Yet it would be wrong not to make sure Ari’s memory inspires us to stand up for our own principals, to let go of the fears and feelings of incompetence which hold us back from doing what’s needed. -In a way, Yom Kippur is the most joyous day of the year. Once a year, we get to withdraw deep inside ourselves and connect to who we really are. All the outer layers of jealousy, lust, and power-seeking seem to fade when the chazzan begins Kol Nidrei… By the time we reach Ne’ilah, the people in shul have been woven into a sort of large being. Me and you are out. It’s about us—Klal Yisrael on a shared destiny. This explains the unfettered joy that follows as the close of Yom Kippur ushers in Sukkos. Indeed, it’s stated in the Gemara that one who hasn’t seen the joy of simchas beis hashoeiva in the Beis Hamikdash hasn’t seen joy in his life! This is the pure joy of celebrating who we are, our heritage, and our future. Perhaps this is a taste of the world to come. Let us try to connect with it, yearn for it, and hopefully experience it very soon. Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos and a most joyous zman simchaseinu,


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

Cmmunicated The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 | The Jewish Home

American Israel Gap Association (AIGYA) Announces the Rosina Korda Gap Year Scholarship Exclusively for Fair Attendees 2018 American Israel Gap Year Fair, November 15th The American Israel Gap Year Association will host is sixth annual American Israel Gap Year Fair on Thursday, November 15, 2018, at YULA Girls High School, which is located at 1619 South Robertson Boulevard, Los Angeles 90035. Students, parents, and educators are excited about a new program that will enable some deserving students to spend a life-altering year in Israel. “This year, we are extremely proud to announce the establishment of the Rosina Korda Gap-Year Scholarship exclusively for AIGYA Fair attendees,” says Founder/Executive Director Phyllis Folb. “Mrs.

Korda was a child of Holocaust survivors, an accomplished school psychologist, loving wife and mother, and a pillar of the Los Angeles community. This scholarship reflects Rosina’s deep love of Judaism and connection to Israel.” Robert Korda, Rosina’s husband explains, “Rosina’s love affair with Israel was generational. Her father kept five pictures on his dresser; his three children lost in the Holocaust, Ben Gurion, and Golda Meir. Family and Israel is what he held dear, and so did Rosina. Our sons spent a combined seven years in Israel after high school. She would be so proud that a scholarship in her

name would be used to encourage students to go on a Gap Year in Israel.” The gift is for three $3,000 scholarships which will be awarded to students planning to attend a program represented at the 2018 AIGYA Fair—one each for a boys’, girls’, and co-ed program. Applications will be sent to students who attend the fair and apply to participating programs. Fair attendees include students from Northern and Southern California, Seattle, Phoenix, and Las Vegas, making it the largest in the West and the only cross-denominational Israel Gap Year Fair in the United States.

Masa Israel Journey is the Fair’s featured sponsor. YULA Girls School is among a growing list of community sponsors and supporters, including YULA Boys, Shalhevet, Valley Torah, Harkham GAON Academy, de Toledo High School, Milken, Touro College Los Angeles, American Jewish University, Young Israel Century City, Young Israel North Beverly Hills, B’nai David-Judea, Beth Jacob, Adat Shalom, NCSY, USY, and JLIC/Gesher. Registration is open: See or for more information.

Experience the Essence of Sukkot in Jerusalem Joy Lapinsky

The holiday of Sukkot is synonymous with joy. In Israel, the merriment of the “season of rejoicing” is palpable, with the celebrations literally brought onto the street.

Parks and museums hold special events with live music, craft booths, and food trucks in abundance. The traditional festivities of Simchat Beit HaShoeivah, which take place during the intermediate celebratory days, creates street parties which go on into the wee hours of the night. On the “restricted” days, there’s music in the air from the thousands of families singing in the sukkot, which line the pathway and yards, and which adorn balconies and occupy parking lots. As one of the most vibrant holidays in the country, it’s no wonder that it’s the most popular tourist seasons as well. While there is no other experience like the one of Sukkot in Israel, there is one element that many tourists crave—the intimacy of gathering with family and friends in their very own sukkah. Dwelling in the sukkah, for many observant and traditional Jews, is a quintessential activity of Sukkot which can lose its magic when conducted in a spiritless dining room-style sukkah found in hotels. While renting an apartment is an option, the logistics of preparing it without actually being in the country can become daunting—and not exactly the ideal way to start a vacation. Luckily there is a new lodging option for tourists in Israel who are seeking home comforts without compromising on luxury accommodations—Sweet Inn—and the name says it all! This new enterprise spanning the cities of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv (as well as many European cities), provides a hotel-like concierge experience with personalized services for their guests. Sweet Inn Jerusalem is no exception, offering high-quality, short-term rentals in the most prominent

parts of the city, each designed by local interior designers with an emphasized effort on infusing the surrounding neighborhood’s unique character into the design. When it comes to Sukkot, this service extends to constructing and decorating a sukkah as well. At Sweet Inn, guests have the option to customize their stay exactly as they choose with a selection of à la carte additional services, from arriving to a custom stocked fridge, to setting up a local smartphone, to car rentals, housekeeping, and grocery deliveries throughout their stay. Beyond that, Sweet Inn can arrange for tickets to local events, tour guides, and more. They even offer insider tips to the city which gives tourists an authentic, enchanting perspective of a foreign city and access to the Sweet Inn app which provides 24/7 customer care and assistance. Sweet Inn is the ideal solution for tourists seeking an authentic holiday experience, while being pampered by the city’s local staff who are always ready to meet lodger’s every need. Many Sweet Inn apartments include a balcony where a kosher sukkah can be assembled, providing an intimate setting with a stunning backdrop for its guests to connect to the spirit of the holiday. To experience Sukkot in Jerusalem is to experience true joy. To experience Sukkot in Sweet Inn in Jerusalem is to experience the essence of the season of rejoicing. Find out more about the Sweet Inn here:



The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 | The Jewish Home


For a virtual guid ed tour of the hospital, go to and en






















‫הנה בית הרפואה מעיני הישועה כאן בבני ברק שבראשות ידידינו הר״מ רוטשילד פועלת גדולות‬ ‫ שנה וכעת הרחיבה פעולותיה בהוספת בניינים חדשים וזה ממש הצלת נפשות וכל‬25 ‫ונצורות כבר‬ ‫העוזרים ומסייעים בזה יזכו לס״ד בעסקיהם ואריכות ימים ושנים טובות והקרן קיימת לעוה״ב‬


American Friends of Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center • 1559 East 5th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11230 • 718-382-7500




The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 | The Jewish Home

New Eating Disorders and Pediatric Psychiatry Department at Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center


In line with its major expansion in the field of mental health, Bnei Brak’s Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center announced the opening of its new Department of Eating Disorders and Pediatric Psychiatry. This new department incorporates the existing Eating Disorders Outpatient Clinic, a Pediatric Psychiatry Day Care and Inpatient Ward, a Malnutrition Unit, as well as an Obesity Unit. The dedicated team of professionals includes psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, occupational therapists, and specialists in psycho-drama, pet, music, gardening, and self-awareness therapies. After urging global audiences to help create a dedicated hospital department to treat anorexia and other highly destructive eating disorders, Professor Rael Strous, Medical Director of Mayanei Hayeshua’s Mental Health Center proclaimed, “The community is no longer immune to anorexia and other highly destructive eating disorders. We must respond urgently to this clear case of Pikuach Nefesh.” Dr. Moshe Rothschild, founder of Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center, avers that because of the particular sensitivities around this field of medicine, and the spiritual hazards posed by treating mental health issues at a secular mental health facility, many cases go untreated in the religious community. That’s why Mayanei Hayeshua recently opened a mental health wing catering specifically to the cultural needs of this community. Esther Herman, head of Mayanei Hayeshua’s Eating Disorders Clinic, emphasized “An eating disorder is essentially a struggle over the life of someone whose distorted thinking prevents them from understanding how much harm they are causing to themselves. Even patients who understand how serious their situation is, and who want to be healed, find it hard to break their obsessive patterns of behavior.

“Many of the patients who arrive at Mayanei Hayeshua are in an advanced stage of the illness. Their desire to continue losing weight is paramount. When we have no choice, and we assess that the patient’s life is in danger, forced hospitalization can sometimes be the only solution.” Located in central Israel, Mayanei Hayeshua Hospital services over 250,000 residents in Bnei Brak, Petach Tikvah, and Ramat Gan. Committed to operating in accordance with Halacha and Torah hashkafah, and highly sensitive to the needs of the religious patient, the hospital features understanding staff, a fully-equipped beis medrash, and special protocols for Shabbos and yomim tovim. All this comes sideby-side with top-notch medical services throughout the various wings of the entire medical complex.

The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 | The Jewish Home




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Living with the The Week In Times News

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz

SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 | The Jewish Home


Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman

Sukkos, the Yom Tov that commands us to be fully joyous, as the posuk (Devorim 16:14-15) states, “Vesomachta bechagecha vehoyisa ach someiach,” is upon us. After the intense days of the Yomim Noraim, we look forward to the celebrative days of Sukkos. The kitchen is humming with action as the sukkah goes up, the children are busy coloring and decorating, and everyone is anticipating the welcome respite. The Vilna Gaon famously expressed that the most difficult mitzvah of the Torah to observe is that of being happy on the eight days of Sukkos without having any sad thoughts or worries intruding. I read the diary of a young man who learned in the Volozhiner Yeshiva. He writes gushingly about the joy of the Lithuanian Jews during Sukkos. I have excerpted a few paragraphs. Read along with me: “The small towns of Lita were solemn a whole year round; there was no income and poverty was all they knew. But when Yom Tov arrived, old, dark bread was replaced with white bread, and everyone wore freshly cleaned clothing. Yom Tov brought a tremendous change. Everything was different. It felt like going from darkness to great light. “During the Yom Tov of Sukkos, the town of Volozhin was adorned. All its inhabitants were swept up in celebration. The yeshiva bochurim sang and the school children danced around so merrily. From every corner of town, there was heard only much joy and happiness, as the town of Volozhin was overcome with rejoicing and festivity. “The rest of the year, people were not overtly joyful, but when Yom Tov descended, they erupted in joy. Their natural inclination became one of jubilance and satisfaction. On Yom Tov, those very same people who were so serious all year sang and danced in blissful animation. “This was true of all the Lithuanian shtetlach, but was most pronounced in Volozhin due to the presence of so many yeshiva bochurim. A whole year, they were in a different world, in the world of learn-

ing, but when Sukkos came, their inner happiness burst forth and they added even more to the city’s exultation.” To enhance our joy, let us scratch beneath the surface of the mitzvah for which Sukkos is named. We hope that a greater, deeper understating and appreciation for the Yom Tov will increase our simcha during these days. The Torah commands us (Vayikra 23:42-43) to dwell in a sukkah for seven days, beginning on the 15th day of Tishrei, “lemaan yeidu,” so that the generations will know that when Hashem took the Jews out of Mitzrayim, He gave them sukkos in which to live. It is interesting to note that the Torah does not say that the mitzvah is to remember what took place at that time. Rather, the mitzvah is to know. Other mitzvos, such as tzitzis and Pesach, are to remember what happened, as the Torah states,

The Vilna Gaon (Shir Hashirim 1:4) offers an answer. He writes that the Ananei Hakavod that we commemorate on Sukkos is not the Holy Spirit that hovered over the Jews to protect them when they left Mitzrayim. If that was the reason for the celebration, the holiday would be marked during Nissan. Rather, the sukkah commemorates that Hashem returned his Shechinah - via the Ananim - to the Jewish people following the sin of the Eigel. When the Jews sinned, Hashem removed His Shechinah and the Anan from among them. Moshe then returned to the mountain to plead for forgiveness. He descended on Yom Kippur. The next day, 11 Tishrei, he addressed the Bnei Yisroel and informed them of the mitzvah of constructing the Mishkon. He appealed to the people to donate the materials necessary to build the Mishkon, which would be the dwelling place of the Shechinah.

On Yom Tov, those very same people who were so serious all year sang and danced in blissful animation. “Lema’an tizkeru.” Why is the mitzvah of sukkah different? The Tur (625) has a different question. He asks that the sukkah mentioned in the posuk (ibid.) refers to the Ananei Hakavod, which protected the Jews upon their exit from Mitzrayim. Why is the holiday of Sukkos commemorated during Tishrei and not during Nissan, the month the Jews left Mitzrayim?

The Torah relates (“baboker baboker,” Shemos 36:3) that the people brought their donations for the next two days, the 12th and 13th of Tishrei. On the 14th of Tishrei, the builders of the Mishkon weighed, measured and accepted the gold and other materials from Moshe. On the 15th, they began to build. When the construction of the Mishkon commenced, the cloud returned. Sukkos, says the Vilna Gaon, celebrates

the return of the Shechinah cloud that was dependent on the construction of the Mishkon. That happened on the 15th of Tishrei, the day that begins the seven-day Yom Tov. The Ramchal (Derech Hashem 4:7) states that on Sukkos, a remnant of the light of the original Ananim shines again. The influences that they affected in the midbar are manifest once again during the Sukkos period. The Yalkut Shimoni (Emor 653) states that Hashem provides special protection for anyone who observes the mitzvah of sukkah. We can understand this based on the Ramchal that the power of the Ananei Hakavod is regenerated on Sukkos. Just as the Ananei Hakavod protected the Jews in the midbar from heat, cold, rain and sun, so too, on Sukkos, when we commemorate those miracles, the sukkah protects us from those who seek to hurt us. The teaching of the Ramchal also helps us understand the statement quoted in Be’er Heiteiv (639:1) that observing the mitzvah of sukkah is akin to partnering with the Creator in the creation of the world. Since, according the Vilna Gaon, we observe Sukkos in commemoration of the return of the Ananim to the encampment after the Bnei Yisroel repented for the sin of the Eigel. After we undergo the purifying process of Rosh Hashanah, the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah and Yom Kippur, we are then worthy of constructing our little Mishkon and meriting for the Holy Spirit to hover over the sukkah. Providing a resting place for the Shechinah in this world replicates the creation of the world, which provides a physical home for the Shechinah. Sukkah is different than other mitzvos in that it is a mitzvah not only to sit in the sukkah, but to construct it as well. This is evident in the Rama (624:5), who says that those who are punctilious in their observance of mitzvos begin putting their sukkah together immediately after Yom Kippur, in order to go from one mitzvah to the next. In siman 625, the Rama states that it is a mitzvah to work on the sukkah right after Yom Kippur because of the rule that we perform a mitzvah when it comes our way - “mitzvah haba’ah leyodcha al tachmitzena.” Some commentators say that it is derived from the posuk which states, “Chag hasukkos ta’aseh loch - You shall make the Yom Tov of Sukkos” (Vayikra 23:41). This phenomenon is not found with respect to other mitzvos. For example, we wear tefillin daily, but there is no specific commandment to produce them. There is no mitzvah to grow the lulav and esrog.

Living with In theNews Times The Week

SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Why is there a mitzvah to construct the sukkah? We can understand the reason according to the explanation of the Vilna Gaon. Since when building a sukkah we are not simply constructing a room where we can eat and sleep, but also a holy place where we will be b’tzeila demehemnusa, we must purify ourselves and demonstrate proper dedication. That doesn’t happen by itself. It requires dedication and the purity that we achieve through the cleansing process Yom Kippur offers. The Chofetz Chaim writes in his preface to sefer Chofetz Chaim that towards the end of the second Bais Hamikdosh period, sinas chinom and lashon hora spread, and because of that, the Bais Hamikdosh was destroyed and the Jewish people were dispersed into exile. He says that although the Gemara states that the people were beset by sinas chinom, in fact what is meant by that is that the senseless hatred led to lashon hora. Lashon hora is what caused the churban. With this, we can understand the ruling of the Mishnah Berurah (639:2) that since the sukkah is a very holy place, Torah and holy matters should be discussed there and idle chatter should be minimized. Certainly, says the Mishnah Berurah, we must be careful not to speak lashon hora or rechilus there. The sukkah, which commemorates the Ananei Hakavod, allows us to merit sitting b’tzeila demehemnusa, in the shadow of the Shechinah. Since lashon hora causes the Shechinah to depart, we are cautioned to abstain from speaking lashon hora in the sukkah. This is also why the Ananim in the desert were in merit of Aharon Hakohein (Taanis 9a). Aharon loved and pursued peace, and worked to bring people together (Avos 1:12; see Netzach Yisroel 53-54). He engaged in activities that prevented strife and sinas chinom among the Jewish people, allowing the Ananim to stay, for the Shechinah only rests upon the Jewish people when they are united. The Tur (417) writes that the Shalosh Regolim are connected to the three forefathers. Pesach is for Avrohom, Shavuos is for Yitzchok, and Sukkos is for Yaakov, regarding whom the posuk (Bereishis 33:17) states, “Ulimikneihu asah Sukkos - And for his animals he constructed sukkos.” The beginning of that posuk also states that after the confrontation with Eisov, Yaakov traveled to Sukkos. This is the complete posuk: “V’Yaakov nosa Sukkosa vayiven lo bayis ulimikneihu asah sukkos al kein kora sheim hamakom Sukkos.” The Zohar quotes the beginning of the posuk as the source that Sukkos is connected to Yaakov. It is interesting that besides constructing sukkos, Yaakov consecrated the stone at the center of the Bais Hamkidosh known as the even shesiyah (Yoma 54b). The Me-

drash (Tanchuma, Terumah 9) teaches that when Yaakov went into exile in Mitzrayim, he brought trees that would later be harvested for their wood for the Mishkon. Homiletically, Yaakov was engaging in the mitzvah of constructing a sukkah and mikdosh to the best of his abilities, since he lived many centuries before they were commanded. For us to benefit from them, it is incumbent to raise ourselves and participate in their construction.

To have the Shechinah in the sukkah, we have to work at it and prepare ourselves for the task. There can be no better time to work on the sukkah than after Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Sukkos is Zeman Simchoseinu, our time of joy. For having been cleansed of our sins, we merit to sit b’tzeila demehemnusa, in the shadow of Hashem’s grace. Is there any greater joy? Additionally, Sukkos foretells the End

of Days, when we will be redeemed and merit the geulah sheleimah. The messianic period will usher in a time when we will repent, unite, and cease speaking lashon hora and engaging in other activities that cause division among the Jewish people. When we act all year the way we conduct ourselves in the sukkah, we will merit the permanent return of the mikdosh and the Shechinah.



Torah Musings The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Sukkot: Keeping Cool or Crazy? Sarah Pachter

Sukkot is a holiday I call “housekeeper crazy.” And no, not because the housekeeper is going crazy from all the cleaning tasks—that’s Pesach. Sukkot is “housekeeper crazy” because the housekeeper sees “those Jews” and thinks we are crazy! Collectively, we leave our warm, comfortable homes to reside in an outdoor hut for a week. And no, we don’t do this by some beautiful campground out in the wilderness, but adjacent to the front or back door. What are these Jews doing? They must wonder. Truthfully, we may have our own questions regarding this holiday. A famous question asked by Chazal sticks out: Why is Sukkot celebrated in the fall? If the sukkah commemorates the clouds of glory that followed us post-exodus from Egypt, then should it not be celebrated in the spring? Yet the Torah directly commands us to celebrate during the fall, specifically in the “seventh month.”1 Additionally, although all holidays are time periods of joy, Sukkot is meant to elicit an extra dose. How does leaving our homes to sit in a little hut create happiness? A common answer given is that if we were to sit the the sukkah during spring, people would mistakenly think that we are outdoors because of the pleasant weather. Rather, we sit in the sukkah during autumn, when the weather is cold and rainy, to make it clear that this as a mitzvah in the service of Hashem. Well, this answer works beautifully, as long as you don’t live in Los Angeles!

1 cdo/aid/999970/jewish/Why-Is-Sukkot-Celebratedin-the-Autumn.htm

Here, the weather in September or October is perfect as usual, if not a little too warm. I reflected upon this question for some time and came across the answer in a most unusual moment. It was early on a normal Tuesday morning when the phone rang. Our dear aunt, who was more like a mother to us, had suddenly passed away. While trying to digest this devastating information, we had moments to decide if we could attempt to fly to Israel for the funeral. The only flight that would enable us to attend was leaving at 1 p.m. that day and had a layover in New York. We packed up our family of six at turbo speed and raced to the airport. We made the flight, tired but grateful. Six hours and only a few diaper changes later, we landed. But, a bigger hurdle was ahead, as we needed to change terminals and pass through security again to fly internationally. Endorphins spurred us on as we dashed through the airport, begging those in line ahead to allow us to pass. Our family was worn out, but no one complained—not even the baby. We made it to the gate, just as they were finishing boarding. Emotionally and physically drained, we collapsed into our designated seats, and I held our six-monthold close to my chest. She gazed calmly up at me and smiled. As my husband watched, he said, “She has no idea where she even is right now.” I turned to him and coyly replied, “Oh, she knows exactly where she is. She’s in Mommy’s arms, and that’s all that matters.” As I said the words, I realized that

this is analogous for our relationship with Hashem. As long as a baby is being carried by her mother, she has not a worry in the world. Similarly, when a parent pushes her baby in the stroller, even if the road has bumps, twists, and sharp turns, the baby feels safe and protected. Life too has hurdles and sharp turns. Yet, when we believe that we are being carried by Hashem, our fears and anxieties slip away, and that’s when serene happiness starts to seep in. The baby I was holding close on the plane taught me this lesson for the first time while she was still growing inside me. During a routine sonogram, the doctor paused a little too long, and her facial expression indicated that something was wrong. I summoned the courage to ask her, “Is everything okay?” She replied, “Well…I see a blood clot next to the baby.” My heart sank as I prodded her for more information. She continued, “I once saw a blood clot so large, I was certain the baby would not survive. But, that woman gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby. Your clot is smaller, so hopefully everything will be okay.” Upon arriving home, the tears welled up immediately, and I felt myself leaning into Hashem’s presence. I prayed, “Hashem, you are in control. At this point, my body is either going to yield a healthy baby, or a miscarriage, either of which will be painful. My body is your vessel, and whatever you choose, I accept. Just please, Hashem, carry me through the process.” Saying these words calmed me, for I realized that the only way for me to conquer my fear was to submit myself to G-d. Later, I learned of Tammy Karmel, a woman suffering from ALS, who lost all mobility except in one eye. While she was still teaching Torah during the early onset of her diagnosis, she gave a beautiful class on the concept of ki besimcha tezehu. She expressed that we cannot just submit ourselves to G-d, but must joyously accept his will, as well. When she discovered her diagnosis, she made a seuda hoda’a. Initially, her children thought this meant that she was not diagnosed with the disease, but Tammy was actually trying to share a message. She firmly believes that joy is path on which we exit our suffering. Serving Hashem is about serving Him the way He

wants us to serve Him, and this ultimately elicits true joy. A teacher of mine, Aviva Feiner, was expecting a baby after 12 childless years. Moments after her baby boy was born, he was whisked away and found to have a “one in a billion rare disease,” something that no other human had ever been diagnosed with. Every time her baby took a breath in, he was at risk of dying. Yet, just five days after his birth, she spoke to the community at large. Still recouping from her C-section surgery, she recalls entering the auditorium overflowing with people. She felt Hashem’s presence supporting her while she began her speech. “I want you all to know, I have never felt closer to Hashem in my entire life, holding me and carrying me through this process every step of the way.” I believe that this is the message of Sukkot. When we know and feel Hashem’s protection, it matters not where we are physically, or under what circumstances. As we sit enveloped in Hashem’s sukkah, we can let go of the fear, knowing that Hashem is the ultimate protector. Perhaps this is the connection between yetziat mitzrayim and Sukkot. We exited Egypt on Pesach, culminating with Sukkot where we feel Hashem’s ultimate protection. We may think that after the high holidays, Hashem’s presence departs, but during Sukkot, Hashem reminds us that His presence is still close by. Utilizing the sukkah is one of the only mitzvot we do with our whole body. Our entire being is enveloped by the sukkah, the way a mother holds her baby. Essentially, Hashem is enveloping us in His love and security, and this will bring us the joy and serenity we all look for. Whether living in Los Angeles, England, or Australia, we know exactly where we are on Sukkot. We are surrounded and protected by Hashem’s love. May this knowledge bring us the happiness Sukkot offers. And for those lucky enough to have housekeepers, may they remain with you despite the “crazy.” Additional Sources: https:// aid/999970/jewish/Why-Is-Sukkot-Celebrated-in-the-Autumn.htm

SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 | The Jewish Home

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The Week In News Torah

SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Weekly Daf Must tzitzis start out as valid? Rabbi Shmuel Wise, Maggid Shiur of

The daf that falls out on Yom Kippur discusses this issue. Rav Huna rules that if someone put tzitzis on a three-cornered garment (which has no tzitzis obligation) and then created a fourth corner and added tzitzis to that corner, the tzitzis are not valid. As Rav Huna explains, since he affixed the first fringes prematurely—before the garment had a tzitzis obligation—he didn’t fulfill the command of, “You shall make tzitzis on your garments,” which implies that the act of attaching the tzitzis to the garment must be an act of creating valid tzitzis. The gemara questions the notion that attaching the tzitzis prematurely does not meet the standard of “making” the tzitzis from a ruling of R’ Zeira. R’ Zeira discusses the halachah in a case where someone attached a sec-

ond set of tzitzis to a garment and then removed the old set. R’ Zeira rules that the tzitzis are kosher. This would appear to contradict Rav Huna’s ruling: since at the time of attachment the new set was superfluous, according to Rav Huna this should not be considered a proper “making” of the tzitzis! Rava suggests a distinction to reconcile these two rulings. He points out that this act of adding another set of tzitzis was Biblically forbidden under “You shall not add to it,” which forbids us from adding onto the requisite number (e.g. four fringes) of any mitzvah in the Torah. Since the act of adding another set of tzitzis was a Torah violation it is an act that is completely null and void and thus from the halachah’s point of view, this person is considered to have made the tzitzis

at the time when he restored the fringes to their proper number by removing the original fringes. Consequently, these tzitzis were properly made and are perfectly valid. But the gemara rejects this distinction on grounds that it makes the unwarranted assumption that the person’s intention here was to flagrantly add to the number of tzitzis required by the Torah. It’s more reasonable to

assume, R’ Pappa points out, that this person simply desired to replace the old tzitzis—he just chose to add the new tzitzis before removing the old ones. If so we can no longer view the adding of the new tzitzis as a halachically meaningless action; rather, he did clearly add these tzitzis at a premature stage, which means that R’ Zeira’s ruling that the tzitzis are kosher is truly at odds with Rav Huna’s position.


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The Week In News Humor

SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Humor Column #21: In Search Of Paper Chains Rebecca Klempner

Sukkos is coming, and I’m at a bit of a loss. Once upon a time, I had preschoolers. Preschoolers make actually sitting in the sukkah a bit sketchy, but they make sukkah decoration easy. Morah Rivki and Morah Miriam and Morah Leah (doesn’t everyone have a Morah Rivki, Morah Miriam, or a Morah Leah at some point?) send home a pile of projects right before vacation starts and—Voila!—there’s our sukkah decoration. The kids and I would need to spend half an hour the morning before yom tov taping and stapling and tying up paper chains and little doves and ushpizin charts, and that would be that. Did our look like a spread in Binah or Family First? Nope. Did I care? Not really—because, after all, it was haimish and friendly. Baruch Hashem, I like haimish and friendly.

As my kids aged, they brought home ever more sophisticated sukkah decorations. And at home during the summer, they enjoyed doing projects with me, so we made still more sukkah decorations, which I saved carefully until Tishrei. The sukkah became crowded with decorations, and I liked it, because if my sukkah of the preschool years looked haimish and friendly, now if looked doubly so. And then my kids stopped bringing home sukkah decorations. And then my kids stopped enjoying art projects, especially mid-summer. “Ima! It’s not even Tisha B’Av! Why are we making sukkah stars today?” my 11 year old complained, then ducked her head back in her book. Last year, a few days before Sukkos, I pulled out the box with our old decorations and sighed over the sorry state of affairs.

Sudden rainstorms on Shemini Atzeres and erev yom tov had ruined many of our treasures. Others had faded from too many years in the sun. I asked my kids whether they’d help me make new decorations, and I got a single origami dove. They’d rather spend Sukkos vacation reading then toiling over velvet, sequins, and papier-mâché. When I told my husband that I was getting desperate, he suggested that I write a letter to our son’s eighth grade rebbe: Dear Rabbi _______, Our sukkah is looking pathetic. Can you please sack today’s gemara lesson and make some paper chains instead? Or a few stuffed pomegranates and esrogim? With great respect, Mrs. Rebecca Klempner I didn’t think that would go over so well.

My guess is that this year, I will do what I ended up doing last year: I spent the morning before Sukkos pretending I was a preschooler, cutting and gluing and painting all by my lonesome. It was kinda therapeutic, in that “adult coloring book” kind of way, but I probably didn’t cook as much as I normally would before chag. On the other hand, since I usually cook too much food, more food than we and our guests can possibly eat, that might be a good thing. If you happen to be in the neighborhood this Sukkos, feel free to drop by to admire its décor. Just don’t expect any gourmet treats while you sit a spell in our sukkah’s shade. You’ll have to settle for a piece of fruit like the rest of us.

Emotional Health

Self-Transcendence, Part 1 Rabbi Dov Heller, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

I can think of no more enlivening and pleasurable experience than self-transcendence—and no greater pain than self-absorption. Self-transcendence is perhaps the greatest need of a human being. Individuals can transcend the self by connecting to something greater than themselves. A life of self-absorption; focusing on my success, my happiness, my problems, my growth, and my love life leaves one feeling empty and lifeless. Jim Houdan, the author of The Art of Engagement, identifies four elements of self-transcendence: 1. To be a part of something greater than ourselves, some kind of cause 2. To feel a sense of belonging, in

that one feels he has a home where he feels appreciated and accepted 3. To feel one is on a meaningful journey 4. To know that one’s contributions matter, are significant, valued, and are making an impact. People try to fulfill the need to self-transcend in many ways, such as involvement in sports teams, becoming groupies, attending rock concerts, political activism, and all the “isms” that unite people in an experience which forges a connection to something greater than themselves. Many of these experiences are meaningless and offer little to the betterment of humanity, but they demonstrate how great the need is for self-transcendence. What is at the core of a person’s total

obsession with a sports team, listening to talk radio, following each player’s performance, talking ad nauseum about the team’s chances to win? Being a fan means being a part of something “greater” than yourself, being part of a community of fans who are all working together to help the team win. And what if the team does win it all—has the team accomplished anything truly meaningful and worthwhile? It’s not that important. What motivates the sports fan is the experience of being connected to something greater than him or herself. Are you living a life of self-transcendence or self-absorption? What do you really care about other than yourself and your success? If you are connected to something greater than yourself, is it to something meaningful?

The purpose of a human being is to achieve true self-realization. The path to achieving complete self-realization is the path of self-transcendence. No amount of personal success can provide deep personal fulfillment. Ironically, to fulfill ourselves, we must transcend ourselves, as the great sage Hillel said, “If I’m not for myself, who will be? And if I’m only for myself, what am I?” 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


16 54

29, 2015 | The Jewish Home TheOCTOBER Week In News Bobker

SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 | The Jewish Home

BOBKER ON HOSHANA RABA The Adventures of the Aruvah Yid

rue or false? The entire Jewish calendar was rearranged to accommodate one custom dating back to the last of the Hebrew prophets. True. Which one? Willow-bashing. Willow-bashing?! Yes, a rather astounding fact considering that this aravos minhag is nowhere to be found in the Torah. And more: there is no consensus on Hoshana Rabba’s exact origin; however there is absolute rabbinic agreement that this Yom D’arvata, “Day of the Willow,” the most awesome holy day of the entire Sukkos festivities, must always fall on a weekday. Imagine: the rabbis of the Talmud could live with Yom Kippur falling on a Shabbos but wouldn’t allow Shabbos to fall on a Hoshana Rabba. Why not? Let’s go back to the fourth century and find out. With the rabbinic proclamation of chivus aravos, the beating of willow branches, came the halachik prohibition that this was forbidden on Shabbos. But no one listened. The Jews, unwilling to give up this popular custom, persisted

and continued to beat sprigs of willows each morning – even at the risk of being called a mechallel Shabbos! For the Jews of the vibrant Second Temple era, breaking the Shabbos on purpose was no small feat. Yet those Jews wanted to beat, and beat they did. By thrashing and whipping the aravah bundle into submission Hoshana Rabba became the only Jewish festival that seemingly allowed the desecration of an object designated to be used to do a mitzvha! What was it about willow bashing that made it so significant? There is simply no original Torah explanation for it, and, unlike the lulav, there is no need to make a blessing over the aravah because it is rabbinic, not Biblical law, and the rule of thumb is that no blessings are recited over “a custom.” But what exactly is the custom? We get to its essence through rabbinic analogy. Consider: each of the four species was compared to a different kind of Jew. The fragrant esrog possessed taste and an ethereal aroma (a symbol

of the learned G-d-fearing Jew); the straight lulav possessed only taste (a symbol of the learned but non-G-d-fearing Jew); the humble haddas possessed aroma but no taste (symbolizing the G-d-fearing but unlearned Jew); while the poor aravah suffers, having neither taste nor fragrance. The aravah branches were placed vertically around the “base” of the Temple courtyard with their tips directed upwards, not only a metaphorical search for their missing qualities but also a symbol of the Jew out-of-step with the community (i.e.: he didn’t fear G-d), and thus “punished” by being symbolically “beaten” into the ground. Doesn’t this seem rather harsh? And overly acrimonious? Yes, and yes. But the token beating was a reminder of a central pillar of Yiddishkeit, unity, because the imperfect “aravah Yid” was the fragile link that weakened the whole. Jewish mystics then linked the willow top with human “lips,” a recognition that Hoshana Rabba was the conclusion

Bobker The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 | The Jewish Home

of the “lip-serving” prayers and vows that had enveloped Jewish communities since the first day of Elul. In other words: time’s up! The curtain’s coming down! Because this was the “last chance” to “jump aboard” the Train of Teshuva, it was called the “Day of the Great Seal,” referring to the Seal of Life granted by G-d and traced back to His pledge to Abraham, “I will give your children one day for atonement… if Yom Kippur does not, then let Hoshana Rabba [be the day].” And so, by the 14th century, courtesy of the kabbalists of the Middle Ages, Hoshana Rabba had been transformed into a mini Yom Kippur. Consider: Just as Neila “closed” Yom Kippur, Hoshana Rabba ended with the “moment of truth,” when the fate of those who had not repented after Yom Kippur was sealed. The Hoshana Rabba greeting became pikta tava, literally “a good note,” shorthand for “have a good Writ of [Divine] Judgment.” To give it a penitential flavor, the chazzan wore a white kittel. Such soul-piercing prayers as U’Nesaneh Tokef and Avinu Malkeinu were part of the davening. In my father’s shtetl of Żmigród, southwestern Poland, Jews would go outo side motzei Hoshana Rabba and “measure” their shadow by the light of the moon in the belief that this gave them a hint as to whether one would live out the year. The erev yom tov tikkun leil – in honor of King David, the ushpizin of the day who traditionally stayed awake all night singing the praises of G-d and the “back-up” learning to ensure that the reading of Devarim was completed prior to Simchas Torah – ended when wives and daughters arrived at dawn with bundles of fresh willow branches. Sounds like fun, except many rabbis frowned on this sudden kabbalistic turn of events.


ne of them was R’ Yosef Karo, the av bes din of Sfas, Palestine, author of the Shulchan Aruch and chavrusa of R’ Yitzchak Luria (Ari), the greatest Jewish mystic since R’ Simeon bar Yochai (Rashbi), who was 40 years his junior. Rav Karo thought that the infiltration of new customs into Hoshana Rabba was inappropriate. He tried (but failed) to prevent the transition of Hoshana Rabba into a secondary Yom Kippur. And so it was inevitable. The “beatings” of willow branches took on a new mean-

The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015

“I kept beating the willows against the ground until either there were no leaves left, or some impatient adult would beat me over the head with his own shredded branches ordering me, in Yiddish, of course, to stop already!”

ing, akin to the Yom Kippur (scape)goat sent into the wilderness; it became a symbol of the casting away of vices and a reminder of the after-life trashings one could expect as punishment for sinning. The Aravuh Yid who entered Jewish history in the context of saving physical life via healthy harvests had now expanded his outreach into saving spiritual life as well. The result? Rabbinic attempts to stop the public desecration of Shabbos by beating branches to smithereens became even more difficult. When the will of the people clashed with the fidelity of Shabbos it was time to draw a red line. Custom may nullify law (minhag mevatel halacha) but the rabbinic hierarchy was not going to allow willow-bashing to subvert the Torah itself. “What can I do?” moaned the 13th-century Rabbi Solomon ben Aderes (Rashba), the long-serving (over 50 years) pragmatic chief rabbi of Barcelona, Spain, “I must bow my head to the custom of Israel”; i.e.: “Go out and see vos es zogt dos folk [what the Jews are doing] and rule accordingly!” And so the rabbonim changed the calendar as per the authority granted to them by the Torah. By rearranging the first day of Tishrei, already the most crowded of all Jewish months, to not coincide with a Sunday, Shabbos and Hoshana Rabba were permanently kept apart. But why not just shift the scheduled times of willow-beating away from Hoshana Rabba if it fell on Shabbos? No one wanted to mess with Mother Nature. It is impossible for those of us today in the westernized 21st-century to imagine someone starving to death through famine and drought, but that is exactly what Jewish communities faced ever year. This is why the prayers for rain are so heartfelt. Jews firmly believed that Hoshana Rabba was their final chance before the potential arrival of a menacing winter to “beat” as a symbol of hope that all evil would be beaten into the dust of the ground. Yep, it was better to change the calendar! The customs of the folk were sometimes different from the Sinaitic norm. Reb Chaim had a herd of sheep. One day there was a knock on his door. When he opened it he found two Roman soldiers. “What do you feed your sheep?” they asked sternly. “Well,” replied Reb Chaim, “I give them wheat, corn, and leftover ‘stuff’ like that. Why?” “We’re from the Animal Protection Association of Judea


and you’re being fined for not feeding your animals properly!” The next week, there’s another knock on the door. Two more Roman soldiers. “What do you feed your animals?” they ask. “Well,” replied Reb Chaim who was cautious this time. “I give them fresh salmon with yummy kreplach soup and large portions of sizzling steak and hot crisp French fries on the side.” “Well, that doesn’t seem fair when there are Romans starving in Rome,” the soldiers say as they write out a large fine for the Jewish farmer. A few days later, more banging on the door. More soldiers. “What do you feed your animals?” “Well sir,” Reb Chaim replies, “I give each sheep $5 and tell them to go buy whatever they want.”


y favorite activity on Hoshana Rabba, which I looked forward to with mischievous childish glee, was beating the willow branches and then throwing them on top of the sacred Aron Kodesh because that’s where the Shechina presides. This twinning acknowledged the power of the fertility of willow branches and G-d’s benevolence to cultivate life through successful harvests. My father tolerated my rebellious streak but only as it was done “in der heim.” This meant no beating against walls or tables or chairs or shtenders because food comes from the ground. No more than five beatings because there are five willow branches (although one is also acceptable). But since no one was counting amid all the noise and chaos and thrashing, I kept beating the willows against the natural ground until either there were no leaves left, or some impatient adult would beat me over the head with his own shredded branches, shouting at me (in Yiddish, of course) to stop already! Once disintegrated from the holy violence, the aravos, or what was left of them, were no longer a holy item. You can throw them away. Or store them until Pesach and burn them with the chometz. Or replant them to grow more arava trees. Don’t mix up the “ending.” One throws away the lulavim and eats the esrogim, not the other way round. In der heim (i.e.: Polish shetlach) the esrogim were distributed to Jewish mothers who would store them under their pillows until they gave birth when they would bite into the esrog pitam during labor; or make esrog




OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News Bobker

jam or liquor, a segula for an easy childbirth. (Some Ashkenaz families eat the esrog on Tu b’Shvat as a segula to find a good-looking esrog the following Sukkos, or cut holes in the esrog, fill them with cloves (spice), and use it as a besamim holder for Shabbos havdala. Remember: in the olden days, Jews were overwhelmingly farmers, tillers and planters, spending their days seeding and sowing and growing in an optimistic Zman Simchaseinu mood. One day, Reb Yaakov, who ran a chicken farm, sent his young son, Dovi, to the market with a crate of chickens to sell. On the way the poor boy tripped, the crate spilled open, and the chickens ran for their lives. Dovi quickly chased them through the neighborhood, scooping them from their hiding places and returning them to the crate. When he came home that night he told his father, “Tatta, I’m sorry, I fell and the chickens all got away but I chased them and managed to round up all twelve of them.” “Great job, son,” his father replied, “considering you only left with seven!”

SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 | The Jewish Home

W “

“Well, sir,” Reb Chaim replies, “I give each sheep $5 and tell them to go buy whatever they want.”

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henever the Torah uses the expression Ha’Chag, t he “Festival,” it is referring to Sukkos, the most agriculturally important of all the pilgrimages to Jerusalem. Sukkos is mentioned more times than any other yom tov during Israel’s independent status. And it was the first yom tov celebrated in King Solomon’s newly completed Temple, its festivities coinciding with the dedication. Fast forward 200-plus years and we have several of the prophets (Isaiah, Amos, Hosea) complaining that the drunken “partying” on Sukkos was getting out-of-hand. The early 6th-century exile to Babylon put an end to the revelry. With agricultural sovereignty and a seasonal dependence on the land gone there was little to celebrate, until Ezra led the way back about a century later and, reminded of the joys of Sukkos, the returnees enthusiastically embraced the yom tov once again. Although the thrice annual mitzvah

of pilgrimage, Shalosh Regalim, applied only to the men, entire families made the trek. On arrival in Jerusalem, the rich, by means of colorful caravans being pulled by donkeys or camels, the others on foot (it took R’ Hillel two weeks to walk from Babylon), the throngs made their way to the Motza Valley to search for large willow branches (arvei nahal) with elongated leaves, red stems, and smooth edges from brooks of running water because they had to be fresh or damp. The 16th-century R’ Moshe Isserles (Rema) of Mapa and Shulchan Aruch-fame would gather willows daily to make sure they were freshly moist. (In our home, we preserve the moistness by wrapping the branches in aluminum foil or wet towels and store them in the fridge until needed. The good news? This prevents the leaves from falling off from a lack of dampness. The not-so-good news? There’s less room for my wife’s delicious pavlova ice cream!) With Temple trumpets blaring in the background and prophets Chaggai, Zechariah and Malachi at the head, masses of

The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015

Bobker The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 | The Jewish Home

lulav-waving Jews would circle the Temple altar on each Sukkos day (except Shabbos) with a rousing unison cry of “Hosha na!” (“Please, bring salvation now!”), piercing and loud, based on the Torah’s, “The maiden cried out [my italics] and no one came to rescue her.” Because they were led by prophets, this “Save us!” plea became known as the “Custom

of the Prophets.” The obvious question is: “Save Us!” from what? Pogroms? No. Technology? No. A long davening? No. A more basic threat: hunger and starvation. Hoshana Rabba and life-saving water for a successful harvest were synonymous. This is why the wet brook was the preferred spot to gather aruvah twigs, an ac-


knowledgement that rain is subject to Divine judgment on this day; rain being one of three areas over which mankind has no control (the other two are birth and resurrection). Remember: two of the hoshanahs (the 5th and 6th) are ecological; proof that the rabbis of the Talmud were concerned about their surroundings long before Al Gore gained weight worrying over endangered species and climate change.


ne h a l ac h a of Hoshana R abba, inactive and dormant today, was the pouring of water (a sign of rain) over, or near, the Aron Kodesh itself; a human reaffirmation that rain and dew were not just Heavenly rewards but that their absence was a sign of pending G-dly retribution in the form of one (or more) of the thirty curses in Bechukotai (for a description and details of these curses, and more evil, look under “H” for Hitler & the Holocaust). Our early ancestors knew: a fertile earth equaled growth, growth equaled sustenance, sustenance equaled life…and the Jew was ordered to “Choose Life!” And more! If there is no flour, there is no Torah; if there is no Torah, there is no flour (Ein kemach, ein Torah; ein Torah, ein kemach), an observation from the Mishna’s Pirkei Avos. Which is why, starting immediately after Shemini Atzeres until the beginning of Pesach, when Israel’s rainy season ends, we recite, daily, a piyut for

dew (tal) penned by R’ Eleazar ben Killir, a famous and prolific Byzantine poet from the 6th-century, who died after a jealous competitor put a scorpion in his shawl. This tefilla is called tefillas Geshem, or as the Yiddishists explained it more to the point: “Only a fool grows without rain!” After spending the morning praying for rain, two Jews are suddenly caught in a downpour on the way home. “Quick, open your umbrella!” one says to his friend. “It won’t help,” he replies, “it’s full of holes.” “Then why did you bring it?” “I didn’t think it would rain!” I still have memories of R’ Yosef Shimson, the elderly chazon, a Czech Holocaust survivor, in the shteeblel I grew up in, banging the shtender with his fist, glaring at those making noise (i.e.: me), shouting, “Sha! Shah shtil” (“Quiet! Be quiet”) as he would place his ear next to the willows convinced that one could physically hear the rhythmic movements of the sounds of wind and rain. On the way home from shul I once asked my rabbi how he thought his d’var Torah went. “Reb Yossel,” he beamed, “my sermon was a smash hit! I had the olam glued in their seats!” “Wow,” I replied, “clever of you to think of that.” Have a freilichen yom tov! Joe Bobker is the author of the Torah with a Twist of Humor series and the 18-volume Historiography of Orthodox Jews and the Holocaust. He can be reached at



The Week In News Dirshu

SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 | The Jewish Home

“Day of Jewish Unity” Promotes Worldwide Achdus One Million People Spanning Six Continents Join Together in Prayer By Yosef Sosnow

More than one million people across the world gathered together on Friday, September 7, to pray for Jewish Unity. This remarkable initiative, held just three days before Rosh Hashanah, was spearheaded by the organization ‘Acheinu’, the outreach arm of ‘Dirshu’, the international Torah organization. The Day of Jewish Unity is a revolutionary initiative designed to unify all Jewish people from around the world by engaging in a day of peace and prayer on behalf of the current state of affairs, as the Jewish nation finds itself in a precarious position both domestically and internationally. The political diversity and relentless hostility we face today is unprecedented. From our polarizing environment that has spawned a nation divided, to global military threats that continue to wreak havoc, the notion of peace and unity has never been more distant. Nevertheless, Acheinu maintained that every Jew was born with an innate ‘brotherhood’ mentality that connects every one of us. We are always there for each other, physically and in prayer. In times of crisis, the Jewish nation has historically turned to prayer for help. With the daunting uncertainty surrounding the well-being of our people and homeland, our prayers are needed more than ever. The Impetus Behind The Day of Jewish Unity That was the impetus behind The Day of Jewish Unity. It would be a day where all Jews put aside their differences to unite in brotherhood and prayer. The inspiration for the Day of Jewish Unity were the teachings of the Chofetz Chaim about the severity of the sin of ‘Lashon Hara’ – speaking gossip or ill of another. The day of Jewish Unity was marked with prayer rallies throughout the world. The flagship event, however, was held at the Kotel Hamaaravi in Yerushalayim early Friday morning, September 7. It was impossible not to be moved when the thousands who filled the entire Kotel Plaza thundered the Shema Yisrael and the prayer of ‘Hashem Hu Elokim’ that is said at Ne’ilah on Yom Kippur. One participant related, “It felt as if the very heavens were opening.” One of the extraordinary things about the event at the Kotel was not just the massive crowd - the entire Kotel Plaza from the Kotel right up until the back was jammed - but rather the wide-ranging participation of Jews from all walks of life. There were Sefardim and Ashkenazim, kippot srugot of the National Religious, alongside the distinctive, white-knitted yarmulkas of the Toldos Aharon Chassi-

Dirshu Yom Limud and Tefillah at Kever Rochel

Yeshiva Yedodei HaTorah in Melbourne, Australia

dim, all kinds of Chassidim and Lithuanian Yeshiva types. There was even a large contingent of soldiers in military uniform who temporarily put down their guns and joined in the prayers. That unprecedented achdus and kiddush Hashem at the Kotel was a microcosm of the achdus displayed the world over. In his heartfelt, short remarks delivered at the Kotel, Rav Dovid Hofstedter, the founder and Nasi of both Dirshu and Acheinu, emotionally hailed this unique achdus and its power to bring with it yeshuos in advance of the New Year. He spoke with deep passion about the profound achdus through Torah study and prayer that the Jewish Nation was displaying throughout the world as they came together ‘As one man with one heart,’ to

collectively invoke Divine Mercy. Prayer Gatherings All Over the World The event at the Kotel, led by the Gedolei Yisrael, was the flagship event but it was by no means the only event. In Israel, Yom Limud and Tefillah gatherings were held in Meron, Kever Rachel, Bnei Brak, Tzfas, Ashdod, Modiin Illit and numerous other locales. In America, there were tens of locations where tefillos were held and in Europe, large gatherings were held in France, England and even in Odessa, Russia! The Chofetz Chaim, Also, A Light Unto the Nations… The idea to promote Jewish unity resonated in such a profound way that it was even picked up by a number of import-

ant opinion makers both from within and without the Jewish Community. Articles about the importance of the Day of Jewish Unity that coincides with the yahrzeit of the Chofetz Chaim appeared in numerous general publications, most notably a seminal article in Fox News, penned by Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas and Presidential Candidate, and an article in The Hill, by entrepreneur and former Press Secretary for President Trump, Anthony Scaramucci. There were also important articles in the Jerusalem Post and the Times of Israel, that picked up the story and ran with it. In his Fox News article, Huckabee wrote, “There are too many forces in our world trying to destroy the Jewish people and the Holy Land, but Jews need to stay strong and united – and we must join them.” Huckabee explained that The Day of Jewish Unity, is designed to serve as a light to all of mankind by emulating the teachings of the Chofetz Chaim. “Acheinu promotes this day of prayer in honor of Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan, who devoted his entire life to promoting respect and civility and cautioning about the evils of gossip. Though Rabbi Kagan died in 1933, his teachings live on. “I think if Rabbi Kagan was alive today to see how divided the world still is, he would be disappointed. And yet, through the rabbi’s teachings, I also know that he would not give up hope but would continue to call for courtesy, understanding and cohesion.” Huckabee explains that the right to Free Speech is not necessarily license to abuse speech. “As Americans, we are blessed to have the right to speak our minds and voice opposition to the government without fear of reprisal. But there is a difference between articulating your views and spreading vitriol. “We can disagree with one another, yet remain courteous. A disagreement does not have to be a fight…” A Call for Civility in Discourse Anthony Scaramucci, founder and co-managing partner of SkyBridge Capital, who served briefly as White House Communications Director under President Trump, wrote an important article published in The Hill, a publication that is a go-to website for anything political and is faithfully scoured by the ‘Who’s Who’ in Washington. In his article, Scaramucci, calls on all Americans – Democrats, Republicans and people of all faiths to emulate the teachings of the Chofetz Chaim and his, “teachings about the evils of gos-

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SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 | The Jewish Home

sip and disunity among people.” Scaramucci’s call for civility in discourse was announced to coincide with the annual Day of Jewish Unity. He writes, “The political and social discourse in America has grown so poisonous and partisan that I worry for our children’s future. We have forgotten the many values we share and what it means to disagree with civility. As a society, we must find a way to break the fever. John McCain knew how to reach across the aisle and work with people with whom he did not always agree.” Scaramucci then invoked the Chofetz Chaim and the Day of Jewish Unity. “His passing comes just before the annual Day of Jewish Unity, which is celebrated each year in memory of a rabbi known as the Chofetz Chaim. This rabbi’s chief contribution to Jewish thought was teachings about the evils of gossip and disunity among people. Acheinu, the outreach arm of the Jewish education organization Dirshu, created this day originally to unify the Jewish people but is also asking people of all faiths worldwide to unite in prayer for global peace and stability.” Rising Above our Differences… Without Insult Jeremy Frankel perhaps put it most succinctly when highlighting the strife between Jews both in Israel and America and solutions to combat that discord. He writes in the Jerusalem Post, “We are a world divided. In Israel, there is a huge chasm separating the ultra-Orthodox and the secular Jews. In America, there is a vast gulf between liberals and conservatives. Rather than trying to bridge these gaps, each day there seem to be more harsh words driving the wedge deeper and spurring more distrust. “If our two countries are to survive, the disparate groups within them need to unite and work together. This does not mean we ignore our differences; this means we choose to rise above them to actually get things done for the greater good.” Frankel goes on to highlight why ‘The Day of Jewish Unity’ is so important. “That is what Acheinu, the outreach arm of Dirshu, a Jewish educational organization, is preaching. Each year, Acheinu holds a Day of Jewish Unity – this year on Friday, Sept. 7. On this day, Acheinu asks Jews everywhere to put aside the bickering and the snide comments to unite in prayer for peace. It is fitting that this day is observed in memory of Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan, known as the Chofetz Chaim. The Chofetz Chaim wrote extensively on the importance of refraining from gossip and not slandering one another. “I’m the first to admit that being kind to everyone and holding your tongue can be very hard. When you staunchly disagree with someone, your first impulse is to fling a cutting retort, but if we follow the teachings of the Chofetz Chaim, we know that we should ignore that first im-

Soldiers participating in Dirshu's Yom Limud and Tefillah at the Kosel

Dirshu participants in Gateshead, England

pulse. If we pause and restrain ourselves, we can craft a response that, while dissenting, does not insult or impugn the other person.” School Children Inspired to Emulate the Chofetz Chaim Another truly exciting element of the day was the fact that thousands of children and teens were touched by the Day of Jewish Unity. Special programing was held for both boys and girls, in schools across the world. According to Rabbi Gershon Kroizer, who oversaw the division that covered schools in Israel and Europe, “Hundreds of schools encompassing many thousands of children participated utilizing the unique content provided to commemorate the auspicious day.” In the United States and Canada, Dirshu arranged special, age-appropriate material for schools that brought the message and legacy of the Chofetz Chaim to life. Dirshu prepared three different booklets to be distributed to participating boys’ and girls’ schools across the United States and Canada. The booklets were specifically designed for three age groups: grades 1-3, grades 4-5 and grades 6-8. The booklets

contain age-appropriate halachos from both the sefer Chofetz Chaim and Mishnah Berurah, as well as inspirational and educational stories about the Chofetz Chaim with biographical material about the Chofetz Chaim and his life’s mission. The children also recited Tehillim on behalf of Klal Yisrael and the tefillah of ‘Acheinu Kol Bais Yisrael’. The Children Understood How The Chofetz Chaim Relates To Them On A Personal Level. Rabbi Yehuda Brecher, Principal of the Yeshiva Ketana of Waterbury, whose school participated exclaimed, “It was a phenomenal event! To mark the Chofetz Chaim’s yahrzeit, our school held a special assembly where we said Tehillim together. I spoke to the boys about who the Chofetz Chaim was and how, through his sefarim, he immeasurably enriched each and every one of us. Although the children had certainly heard of the Chofetz Chaim, they gained a true appreciation of what he did for us when I showed them the actual hard copy of the sefarim of the Mishnah Berurah and Chofetz Chaim and explained how pivotal they are in our ev-

eryday lives. They became cognizant of how the Chofetz Chaim relates to them on a personal level.” Rabbi Brecher continued, “At the assembly, the children were told numerous stories about the Chofetz Chaim after which we said Tehillim and sang the song of ‘Acheinu’ in an effort to promote the achdus that the Chofetz Chaim so desired to uphold. I sincerely feel and hope that the enhanced appreciation for the Chofetz Chaim and the lessons that both the younger and older students learned about being sensitive and kind to others are lessons that will remain with them for a long, long time.” “One of the beautiful side benefits to participating in the Yom Limud and Tefillah,” Rabbi Brecher highlighted, “is the fact that a number of Rabbeim in the yeshiva are Dirshu learners and conveyed to their students the special, personal connection that they felt to the day.” Rabbi Brecher concluded, “I realized how much the special ‘Day of Unity’ and the commemoration of the lessons of the Chofetz Chaim meant when I saw how one of our Rabbeim sent an email home to all of the parents expressing his deep satisfaction that the children were so enriched by the special assembly devoted to following in the pathways of the Chofetz Chaim. “ The Yeshiva Ketana of Waterbury was but one small example of the impact that the day had on a wide range of schools that truly represent the entire panoply of Orthodox Jewry. Schools from diverse communities across the United States and Canada participated in the Yom Limud and Tefillah school programs, such as Toronto, Canada, Houston, TX, Baltimore, MD, Cleveland, OH, Albany, NY, Phoenix, AZ, Passaic, NJ, Atlanta, GA, Staten Island, NY, Denver CA, Deal, NJ, Livingston, NJ, Denver, CO, Boston, MA, Boca Raton, Florida, Chicago Ill, and Los Angeles, CA, Monsey, NY, Lakewood, NJ, Brooklyn, NY, Manhattan, NY. Many Bais Yaakov Schools and Seminaries also participated. They included Bais Yaakov of Boro Park, The New York Seminary, At Alis, Hannah Sacks Bais Yaakov of Chicago, Yeshiva Derech Hatorah for Girls of Cleveland and many more. “Who are We to Split us Apart?!” In the Times of Israel, Zachary Silver sums up the power of the Day of Jewish Unity, “Our greatest weapon against… bigots and ignorant haters is our unity. We must remain strong and unified in the face of the hatred persistently growing against us. In order to be a strong, singular people, we must look at what unites us, not what divides us. At the end of the day, we all come from a strong heritage that is millennia old and filled with brave and outspoken people. And, according to the rabbis, we were all together — as one people — at Mount Sinai when G-d gave us the Torah. If G-d saw fit to put us all together, who are we to split us apart now?”



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Thousands Mourn Ari Fuld Thousands of people from around Israel attended the funeral of Ari Fuld, Hy”d, this week at the Kfar Etzion cemetery, just south of Jerusalem. Fuld was a well-known Israeli activist and a beloved husband and father of four who was stabbed by a Palestinian terrorist on Sunday morning outside of a supermarket at Gush Etzion Junction. Before succumbing to his wounds, Fuld managed to chase down the murderer and shoot him. Others ran after the 17-year-old murderer,

SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 | The Jewish Home

and police managed to capture him. Ari’s wife, Miriam, spoke at the funeral: “My dearest Ari, this is my last chance to say all the things that need to be said, so you better be listening,” she said. “You were a good man. I am not sure how to go on without you. We were born less than 24 hours apart and it seems that we lived our lives side by side. No one knew it would be cut so short this morning, on your way to do the shopping, that I asked you to do.” She went on to say that Ari “never backed down from a fight, because you knew you were in the right. You fought for what you believe in. You left behind a legacy for the entire world to savor. We always watched the news together and wondered

how families and wives could be so strong. But that is what we do. We get knocked down and we get right back up, because life is a package deal and we can’t pick and choose. We must accept the good and the bad.”

Arti’s brother also spoke at the levaya. “If there is one word to describe my brother, it was a hero,” said his brother Moshe. “Who else could manage, after sustaining a fatal injury, to draw his pistol, jump a fence and shoot his attacker to make sure that his

attacker would not hurt anyone else – only my brother, only my brother. He was a scholar like no other. His head was always in the Gemara. He went through those pages like normal folk read a novel. He had a thirst for that next page, and he could not put it down for anything. And yet his head wasn’t in the clouds – he was the most grounded person I know.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu likewise praised Ari’s heroism. “With his last strength Ari fought heroically against the terrorist and prevented a graver tragedy,” Netanyahu said. “He was an outstanding father to four children who fought for the truth on the side of Israeli hasbara.” May the Fuld family know no more tzaar, and may Hashem bring them a true nechama.

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*Images for illustrative purposes only


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