Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

22 Elul 5764 - September 8, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network












No Comparison
by H. Ofek

"You should learn from your little sister, Henny, how to play properly," the flute teacher screwed up her face in anger and told me in an irritated voice. I turned my head away in shame, trying to overcome my tears. "Look how Henny seals the holes of the recorder properly. She isn't whistling loudly.

Ice and Fire
by Rachel Leah Perlman

Every year when Yom Kippur is near, a memory comes to all in our family of the miracle Hashem once did for us.

The Right Answer
by Risa Rotman

A very moving introduction to the Mussaf prayers on Rosh Hashono is the chazzon's plea that the right words issue forth from his mouth.

This is a prayer we should always express.

Chosen Child
by Zehava B. Fleishman

Being the oldest child in the family, I bore, and continue to bear, the yoke of responsibility for my actions and the effect they have on my siblings. Moreover, as the oldest child of the `rabbi,' I was always watched. In my earliest memories of going to shul with my father z'l, I remember having to behave on a different level than my friends.


by Tova Robinson

Take a close look at your fingerprints. This collection of arches, loops and whorls on your fingertips is yours alone; no one else in the world -- past, present or future -- has the exact same set of fingerprints as you. Your unique pattern of fingerprints is determined by your DNA, a special molecule inside your cells that controls your body's processes, as well as by the environment that your fingers were exposed to in your mother's womb before you were born.

Yom Kippur 5704
as told to Esther Weil

Abish Hirsh tells how his mother is shot by a Nazi when she infiltrates into the part of the ghetto reserved for those who are gainfully employed, that is, the men. The Gestapo leaves her crumpled on the ground, assuming she is dead. Abish quickly takes her to a basement, hides her, gets a gentile doctor to treat her, but her lung has been punctured and after holding out for ten days, she is on the verge of death.

To Fast or Not to Fast
by B. Mazon

Maybe we as women could all make a concerted effort to strengthen our observance of the four public fasts which have rather fallen into neglect in our generation.

Changing Our Filters
by Bayla Gimmel

Modern technology has created dimensions of environmental pollution that our forebears did not know. We have heavy metals in our air and our drinking water, and particles of foreign material all around us.

Buy Yourself a Friend
by Tzvia Ehrlich-Klein

I believe that all of us are familiar with the teaching in Pirkei Ovos, "Make for yourself a rabbi, buy yourself a friend, and judge every person favorably." Why has the middle piece of advice somehow gotten lost in the shuffle of quotes?

Wheel of Fortune
by Rosally Saltsman

I was speaking to a good friend, lamenting my dependent state due to the state of my undependable finances. I was lamenting loudly and tearfully. She, being my oldest friend and the most empathetic, knew just what to say.


Dear Sheindel,

I was appalled by the message in the story "Three Lost Chances" by Yisca Shimony [Aug. 20th issue], appalled by the heading "Elul -- Opportunity knocks, but we don't always answer... in time." To use a Holocaust story to illustrate this is disgraceful.

Your Medical Questions Answered!
by Joseph B. Leibman, MD

I do not like addressing this topic, but my readers insist. I was taken to task for not telling people to empty diapers in the toilet before throwing them out, in the name of stopping the spread of disease. I would rather you touch the diaper as little as possible. Disease is spread well by hands and the key is to just wash your hands vigorously.


Time In -- Elul
adapted from a poem by Chana Besser

A time for new beginnings,
New commitments,
Newly cleansed
and polished souls.

A time when all can be forgiven,
When love grows,
And closeness to Hashem
Reaches new intimacies.

A time to give someone
A new chance,
To reconsider.
Who's perfect, anyway?

A time to ask forgiveness,
To reach out
And feel better
Because we finally dealt with it.

A time for new resolutions,
Realistic ones,
Any little thing might be
Our final soul's repair.

A time to hear the shofar
And let it break down
Resistance to change.

A time to admit
Shortcomings, inertia,
Broken promises,
And ask for strength to do better.

A time to cry from wanting
So much
To be a better Jew,
To taste it
And know that every change
Is miraculous,
From the Only Power Source.

A time to run out to meet Him
In the field,
He's waiting there, hanging out,
Closely; we don't have far to go.

A time to whisper to our Creator,
And feel snug in His nearness,
Like a child
In safe and loving arms.

A time to prepare for Rosh Hashona,
So soon,
A hundred shofar blasts,
A truth beyond words.

May we be written and sealed
For a good year,
The best yet.

May the patchwork from each repentance
Create a blanket of peace
For our people.


by Ruth Fogelman

I raise shofar to lips
But no full-voiced blast
Leaves shofar's mouth,
Only a voiceless breath
Like the first breath that G-d
Blew into Adam
In the Garden of Eden
Like the breath of G-d hovering on undivided waters
Before the first day.
"Today is the birthday of the world"

Happy New Year

by Mindy Aber Barad

Red pomegranate juice
Drips onto the white cloth
Plump seeds scattered on the floor
May your good deeds
Be like these seeds
Vivid and alive.

Fish swims upstream
pushes to meet its Maker
Somehow it knows
May you always be like the head
Never the tail.

Tiny transparent pentagrams
Ooze and burst
May your year be a sweet one
And drip nothing more
Than honey and good deeds.

Perfect Sounds

by Mindy Aber Barad

newborn cry
blasts of ram's horn
wind in the leaves
woodpecker on branch
snore of deep sleep
toddler at play
hungry sucking of mother's milk

perfect taste
first soft crisp bite of apple
sweet ooze of honey
fresh, cool, crush on my tongue
promise of a sweet New Year

Gates are Closing

by Dina Simons

trackless mind
straying from the King's Highway
drifting from the Written Word
empty both in mind and body
Book in hand and Books Above
who by shot and who by stone
who by bomb and who by blade
Curb that body, mind and soul!

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