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2 Elul 5774 - August 28, 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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Elul Zman Opens in Yeshivas

Tens of thousands of yeshiva students and kollel avreichim flocked to fill the benches of batei midroshim, yeshivos and kollelim throughout the country, many thousands of which are joining their ranks for the first time. All of them will begin the new Elul zman of the Torah world after a bein hazmanim intercession which was, itself, filled with study as per the fervent call of our Torah leadership in view of the difficult situation in the country. The intercession was a carefully balanced period of recouping strength for the upcoming Elul of intensified toil.

Fundamental Guidelines and Safeguards for the Sanctity of Jewry

Some two hundred community rabbonim from all over the country assembled in the beginning of this week through the auspices of the Ve'idas Rabbonei Hakehilos, the Rabbinical Committee for Fortifying the Walls of Jewry, in the Concord Hall in Bnei Brak. The impressive gathering was presided over by HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman and HaRav Chaim Kanievsky for the sake of establishing safeguards for the Torah public in light of the devastation caused by the Internet which has ruined many families and threatens to undermine the fundamentals of Yiddishkeit and of wholesome Jewish families.

"The Underpinning of the Devastation - Lack of Regard for Time"
HaRav Meir Kessler, Chief Rabbi of Modi'in Illit, said in his address:

I have been frequently privileged to be received by the Rosh Yeshiva and to hear his clear-cut stand. It is a marvel to begin with, that a man of his years, distanced from the outside reality by seventy-eight years, is able to see so clearly and size up the situation.

We Have to build an Ark Like Noach's
HaRav Aharon Feldman, rosh yeshivas Ner Yisroel in Baltimore and a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudas Yisroel in America, said:

There was a gathering in America of tens of thousands who came to identify with the war against the Internet. We in American envy your position here. You have kosher cell phones, which also exist in America but it is hard to get people to use them. In the United States, one cannot pay taxes or get a driver's license without using the Internet. So there is a lot of pressure to use the Internet. We envy the situation in Eretz Yisroel where not every home has Internet and there is much awareness of the dangers of the Internet and cell phones. But the danger is very great and it penetrates here as well.

Tens of Thousands Depend on the Transportation Fund of the Chinuch Atzmai

On the threshold of the days of selichos and heavenly compassion, with the return of thousands of yeshiva students and kollel members to their study benches, HaRav A. L. Shteinman and HaRav C. Kanievsky issued a special letter expressing their trepidation regarding the threat hovering over thousands of children, blessed products of intensive outreach efforts who registered for Torah schools, including first graders, who are in danger of slipping away from these sources of Torah waters due to lack of transportation to the Chinuch Atzmai schools throughout the country - and being lost to Klal Yisrael chas vesholom.

From Our Archives

Opinion and Comment
What is Elul?

By Mordecai Plaut

It is told that Maran HaGaon R' Itzele Blazer ztvk'l once stood before the congregation on Rosh Chodesh Elul. He opened the Oron Hakodesh and, turning to the Torah scrolls, said amidst weeping:

Challenges of the Modern World: Tikkun Ho'olom

by Mordecai Plaut

A section of the gemora recently covered in the daf yomi at the beginning of Erchin (2b) discusses what to do about a man who is half-free and half-slave. Beis Shammai argue: "He is forbidden to marry a female slave and he is forbidden to marry a free woman. Should he not marry at all? Wasn't the world created for nothing else but for the creatures to be fruitful and multiply, as it says, `He did not create it for desolation but to be settled' (Yeshayohu 45:18)? Rather [than let him remain thus] for tikkun ho'olom we force his master to make him a free man and he must write a note to pay for half his value [to the master]." Beis Hillel accepted this reasoning.

Comfort on the Tablets of Our Hearts

by Rabbi Mordecai Plaut, based on a shiur of a rosh yeshiva in Yerushalayim

As we read the seven haftorahs of comfort that lead up to the Yomim Noraim, these insights into the true meaning of true comfort should prove very valuable. Part I


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