Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

17 Adar I 5760 - February 23, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Billions Paid in Excess Salaries to Public Servants
by M. Plaut and Yated Ne'eman Staff

Irregular salaries of almost NIS 2 billion were paid to top officials in various public sector bodies in 1998, according to a report this week released by Yuval Rachlevsky, the Finance Ministry's wage director. The total cost to the State, paid to a small group of well-compensated officials, dwarfs the payments made to the entire chareidi sector.

Gedolei Yisroel Warn Against Smoking
by S. Baruchi

Maranan verabonon the gedolei Yisroel warn everyone to take the mitzvah of safeguarding one's health seriously, especially in respect to cigarette smoking which has been unequivocally proven to have devastating effects on health. Maranan verabonon state that whoever can prevent himself and others from smoking, or can break the habit is obligated to do so. They add that one must absolutely abstain from smoking in public places.

Chinuch Atzmai Rejects High Court Intervention
by Yated Ne'eman Staff

"Since the establishment of the State, Torah educational systems and Chinuch Atzmai have always enjoyed full educational autonomy. Any undesirable intervention by the High Court in the curriculum or number of classroom hours constitutes an intolerable offense to the core of the system's spiritual autonomy. We reject it completely and firmly oppose this new trend on the part of the High Court."

It is a Mitzva to Confiscate Fireworks and Combustibles from Children -- Beis Din Would have Struck Children Who Frighten Others [In this Manner]

A frightened infant is in mortal danger, as is explained in Yuma, 84b: It is a mitzva to desecrate Shabbos in order to save a child from panic.

[It also says, ]"Cursed is the man who raises a ferocious dog that frightens women." Bovo Kama, 83a.

Knesset Criticizes Interior Minister's Permission for Consular Marriages
by E. Rauchberger and B. Kahn

Sharp criticism was directed in the Knesset plenum last week against Minister of the Interior Natan Sharansky, in the wake of his decision to enable foreign consulates in Israel to register couples for civil marriages. Many Knesset members -- including non-religious ones -- sharply criticized his decision and demanded that it be rescinded. The UTJ representatives sharply condemned the decision and its implications, and told Sharansky that he had failed to weigh the matter sufficiently and, as a result, the decision should be canceled immediately.

Lev L'achim's Fight Against Missionaries in Israel
by Moshe Schapiro

Nine missionary "synagogues" in Yerushalayim alone; 60 communities nationwide; 10,000 Israelis in messianic Jewish groups; over 3,000 active missionaries; according to staff members of the anti-missionary division of P'eylim / Lev L'Achim -- these are the grim statistics of the year 2000.

Gedolei HaTorah in America Join Gedolei HaTorah of Eretz Yisroel's Internet Warning
by Betzalel Kahn

In the wake of the directives issued by Israel's maranan verabonon, the gedolei Yisroel regarding the serious prohibition of misusing the Internet, which as they said, "constitutes a terrible danger for kedushas Yisroel and the continuation of the generations," the gedolei HaTorah in the United States have joined their call, publishing a warning to American chareidi communities about the great danger of connection to this destructive device.

Letter of Gedolei Yisroel Against Smoking

We hereby appeal to our precious, beloved young folk who are not yet addicted to smoking, the bad habit whose end result can be very bitter: Please, dear brothers, do not do harm to yourselves and do not contaminate your surroundings by taking up this evil habit.

Police: "Report Tefillin Thefts"
by A. Cohen

"The fact that people do not file complaints about the theft of tefillin is the main reason police cannot open a comprehensive investigation which could curb the trend," according to Rabbi Yisroel Yod of the Pe'er Institute. His remarks were based on a letter to him by the head of the Dan Region Police Investigation Department, Moshe Goldstein, in response to an earlier letter of Rabbi Yod.

Battle For the "Heter Mechiroh"
by Rabbi Nosson Zev Grossman

There were reports that the Chief Rabbinate was not planning to use the anachronistic heter mechiroh during the coming shmitta year, but a battle is being waged by various groups against this plan. Among the Torah-observant sector which conducts itself according to the directives gedolei Yisroel, and increasingly among even a broader range of religious Jews, a feeling of consternation can be detected because of this recurrent struggle.

Hundreds Demonstrate in Beit Shemesh Against the Mayor
by Betzalel Kahn

A large rally was held in the Ramat Beit Shemesh neighborhood of Beit Shemesh on Friday, 5 Adar I in protest at Mayor Dani Vaknin's antagonistic behavior towards the chareidi sector.

Significant Rise In Argentinean Antisemitism and Assimilation
by Eliezer Rauchberger

Antisemitism in Argentina is currently on an upswing and the Jewish community is afraid that attacks on Jewish communal and Israeli institutions are liable to recur.

Ministry of Interior Director Visits Bnei Brak
by Yated Ne'eman Staff

In a recent tour of Bnei Brak, Avigdor Maoz, Director of the Ministry of the Interior, stated, "I am convinced that the Bnei Brak Municipality will stand by all economic and social obligations it has undertaken to make the municipal systems more efficient, for the benefit of all citizens. Welcome efforts have already been made in these areas." The purpose of his visit was to study the Municipality's needs and to explore the possibility of financial aid from the Ministry of the Interior.

The Ben Ish Chai Opposed the Zionist Movement
by S. Fried

The Ben Ish Chai, HaRav Yosef Chaim, was the greatest Iraqi rabbi of recent generations. From his citadel in Baghdad, in which he wrote his renowned works, he cast the net of his leadership over everyone of Iraqi descent in all the places of their dispersion, including Jerusalem.

New Water Techniques in the Negev
by Yated Ne'eman Staff

The drought is not affecting the farmers in the Negev highlands. Instead of using fresh water, an article in Ma'ariv says that they have developed a method of irrigating with the brackish water that is relatively plentiful there, and they have achieved a major breakthrough: a hectare of olive orchards irrigated with brackish water yields four times as much as a hectare irrigated with fresh water. Brackish water, it seems, is good for tomatoes and grapes; even St. Peter's fish have become used to it.

HaRav Avraham Ben Tov, z"tl
by A. Cohen

Last week, thousands of Bnei Brak's residents, headed by rabbonim and roshei yeshiva and joined by masses of bnei Torah,D accompanied the illustrious mechanech, HaRav Avraham Ben Tov, zt"l, on his last earthly journey. He was niftar after a difficult illness in the 64th year of his life.

HaRav Yaakov Kohn zt"l
by Betzalel Kahn

On Monday, 8 Adar I, thousands of Bnei Brak residents led by gedolei Torah accompanied HaRav Yaakov (Phillip) Kohn zt"l on his last earthly journey. HaRav Kohn, one of the pillars of the bnei Torah community of France for over forty years, was niftar after a difficult illness. The levaya left from Kollel Chazon Ish in Bnei Brak.

Hechover Reb Yosef Kahn, zt"l
by A. Kahn

Last Friday (12 Adar I), Hechover R' Yosef Kahn z"l, one of the founders of the chareidi community of Copenhagen and one of the most prominent and outstanding askonim of Agudas Yisroel in Denmark, was brought to his final rest. His levaya was attended by a huge throng. He was 99 years old at the time of his petirah.

Louis Epstein, Builder of Torah in Memphis & Yerushalayim
by Yerachmiel Seplowitz

One of the little Yerushalayims around the world is the city which American Jews call "the Jerusalem of the South," Memphis, Tennessee. Situated in the middle of the Christian "Bible Belt," the Jews of Memphis have established a makom Torah which many a larger Eastern city would envy.

Lev L'Achim Volunteer Dies in `Line of Duty'
By Mordechai Friedman

A Lev L'Achim volunteer who was wounded in a car accident three weeks ago after delivering a shiur to school children in the poverty and crime-ridden Yerushalayim neighborhood of Ir Ganim, died last Shabbos morning. Rabbi Zev Tzvi Koff, 28, left behind a wife and four children, the youngest of which is just six months old.

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