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26 Kislev 5775 - December 18, 2014 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly

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The Center of the Universe
At The Center of the Universe
by Mordechai Plaut

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Breaking the Walls of Our Towers

Among other things, we accuse the Greeks of trying to make our forefathers "forget Your Torah." An outside power may try to stop people from learning Torah, but how can it hope to cause them to forget what they have already learned?

Yosef the Benevolent Monarch

by Mordecai Plaut

An analysis of the dialog between Yosef and Pharaoh from a political perspective

And Pharaoh said to his servants, "Is there anywhere to be found a man like this, in whom there is the spirit of G-d?"

The terse statements of the Chumash hardly do justice to the extreme impression Yosef's statements must have made on Pharaoh. Here was a young man, Yosef, who had been languishing for years in a pit of a prison, and who was also a foreigner whose entire life in Egypt had been as a member of the servant class. In the hope of finding an acceptable interpretation to his dreams, Pharaoh has him fetched from his prison and brought before him in the royal court. After hearing a report of the dreams, Yosef offers his interpretation. Pharaoh's response to Yosef's interpretation of his dreams is not just assent to the connection that Yosef had suggested between the imagery of his dreams and events in the real world, but it serves as the introduction to the fairy-tale-like imminent appointment of the stranger in a strange land to be the viceroy of the entire realm. It was a truly stunning reversal of fortune for Yosef, and quite a leap for Pharaoh himself to thrust Yosef above all his established officers and advisors. Must we write it off to the mysterious working of Hashgochoh in the flow of history, or is there a way to understand better the true dynamics of what was taking place?

Rain and Kinneret Watch

Our weekly report of the rain and the level of the Kineret.

HaRav Shlome HaKohen, zt"l of Vilna, Author of Cheshek Shlome

In honor of his yahrtzeit, 29 Kislev (5666)

The history of Reb Shlome's chiddushei Torah dates back to when he was but a child. In one of his seforim, Reishis Bikkurim, chapter 39, we find Torah novellae that were written in his youth. He points out there, that these chiddushim were written before he was bar mitzvah!

From Our Archives

Opinion and Comment
A Danger that Must Be Avoided

by Mordecai Plaut

The gathering of maranan verabonon the gedolei haTorah vehaChassidus last motzei Shabbos parshas Vayeishev just to discuss the problems posed by cellular telephones should be a powerful indication of how serious the problem is. Travel is difficult for some, and all are very concerned with how they spend their time, yet they nonetheless came in person because the danger is perceived as very serious and the need for action is urgent.

Opinion and Comment
The Spirit of Chanukah

by HaRav Tzvi Kushelevsky

The story of Chanukah is well known to all. The Greeks came and defiled the Beis Hamikdosh and all its oils. The Chashmonaim, after liberating the Beis Hamikdosh, could find only one jug of oil fit for lighting. They lit the Menorah with that one jug and miraculously, the oil burned for eight days. The question has been asked: We are taught that if a large proportion of Klal Yisroel is impure, then the service of the Mikdosh can be performed in an impure state, even with impure oil. Why, then, was a miracle necessary? Even if there was no pure oil to be found, the Chashmonaim could have kindled the Menorah with impure oil, since all of Klal Yisroel was impure at that time.

Opinion and Comment
Subjugating Nature for Avodas Hashem

by HaRav Menachem Dan Meiseles

Part IV

In the first part, HaRav Meiseles first noted that one of the Greek decrees at the time of Chanukah was that the Jews had to carve on his ox's horn that they have no part in Hashem the Elokim of Yisroel and afterwards they had to plow with that ox. He also catalogued the differences between an ox and a donkey, noting that the ox symbolizes high spiritual levels while the donkey symbolizes matter: chomer. Also, the ox is kosher while the donkey is not.


Av, 5765 - Kislev 5766 (August-December 2005)

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