Saturday, January 30, 2010


On the other hand, if a person is referred to with detailed titles and a list of his traits, he should deny the honor, as is seen in the Talmud Yerushalmi, Shevi'it. A man who has studied one tractate and is honored for learning two must declare that he has only learned one tractate. Perhaps the same is true if somebody is praised in an exaggerated way. We have seen that great men have requested that they not be given exaggerated titles, neither during their lives nor after their death. One time when the great and famous Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach phoned Zomet Institute about some matter, he started the conversation by simply saying, "Hello, this is Shlomo Zalman Auerbach..."

Date :6 Sh’vat 5766, 4/2/2006
“The Best of Parashat HaShavuah” Articles taken from list subscriptions on the internet, edited, reformatted and printed for members of Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu (Editor: Arieh Yarden)
Dedicated to the loving memory of Avi Mori
Moshe Reuven ben Yaakov z”l
Please respect the Holiness of these pages
These pages are also sent out weekly via the internet in MS Word format. Anyone who is interested in receiving them, can subscribe via the Parasha web site: - Arieh.
Extract from SHABBAT-B'SHABBATO, published by the Zomet Institute of Alon Shevut, Israel;

Monday, January 25, 2010

Why I've Unsubscribed from Areivim

I've finally unsubscribed from Areivim (not from Avodah), a list I cofounded in the '90s. The advent of blogging made it largely marginal and irrelevant, but there was still some independent value in a forum of identified peers, as opposed to the comments sections on blogs.

Finally, however, the moderation became too onerous. I wrote in yesterday, concerning the Kiddush Hashem that came about through my talmid at MTA, Calev Lebowitz, recounting a frustrated email that I sent the AIA. The email read:

Your implication that Calev Lebowitz (a talmid of mine) acted
inappropriately or precipitously in any way, shape or form is vile
slander, and you should ask his mechilah forthwith. An even more
egregious statement was made by Rabbi Shafran in its far more direct
implication. The AIA continues down the slippery slope of irrelevancy
that began with its incomprehensible, irresponsible and downright
stupid closing of the JO.

It seems that Agudath Yisrael of America seems to agree that
sensitivity training is necessary and has already made up brochures
[according to what you wrote] and has worked with the TSA to educate
them. This makes it an even more egregious insult to Jews that the
stewardess and pilot would do what they did, as they could have and
should have known better. All airlines should require their personnel
to have this training and if there is no public outcry then they will
not have any reason to do so.

The fact that the Agudah is telling people to be cautious and to
alert airline staff as to what they are doing is not because the bachur
did anything wrong, but just an added caution to help inform others who
wish to listen so as to attempt to keep them calmer. This does not
guarantee a positive response and does not make what was done to the
bachur right or correct. If Jews there do not speak up they will
continue to be treated badly.

The Moderator at Areivim rejected this post, saying:

We found the tone of your words to be more likely to add heat to
the discussion rather than light. This does not mean the content is
inappropriate. If you can find a way of making the same point in a
manner more likely to lead to constructive conversation, kindly do so
and re-submit.

It may be helpful to consider the following question when rewriting:
Is this how I would say it if I were standing in a room with all of
the list's diverse membership in earshot?

Thank you,
The Areivim Moderation Team

To which I responded:

Go jump in the lake. I am reporting what I wrote, no more no less.

I'm tired of this. I'm unsubscribing. Be well.


Friday, January 22, 2010

My now famous talmid of the USAir Tefillin Scare!

My now famous talmid, Calev Lebowitz! As I wrote on VIN in a comment: "I was the boy in question, Calev Lebowitz's, 10th grade rebbe. He is a really wonderful young man - bright, thoughtful, polite and sincere. I can guarantee you that he would never do anything that might have the most remote possibility of causing a Chillul Hashem. Anyone who criticizes him, as some have done here, without knowing him, is guilty of Chosheid b'Kesheirim in the truest sense!"

Monday, January 18, 2010

Super-duper Mitzvah


The NASI Project

760 Close In Age Shidduchim and Counting.

In under 2 years we have B"H accomplished much.

With more help from the community we could accomplish much more.

We ask all families with children in shidduchim to contribute $50 to the NASI Project.

8448 118th Street
Kew Gardens, NY 11415

6887 Wilderton Avenue
Montreal, Quebec H3S2M3

For additional information, please contact us:

The NASI Project IS working. Proven 760x already.

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The NASI Project is endorsed by Ziknei Roshei Yeshiva Shlita,
and under the direct daily auspices of leading Roshei Yeshiva.

Our overhead is practically zero. The small handful of individuals involved in the project,
are all volunteers. Every penny goes towards facilitating more close in age shidduchim.

Letter From Roshei Yeshiva (English)

Letter From Roshei Yeshiva (Hebrew)

Open Letter to Mothers of Boys


The Age Gap
(Flash - click on each slide to continue to the next one.)

Basic Explanation

Extended Explanation

The North American Shidduch Initiative

A Remarkable Travel Resource!

I am traveling to EY tonight for a brief visit to my sons who are learning there. I googled "davening times flight to Israel" and got this remarkable resource:, which will calculate davening times for your flights (assuming standard flight plans) for flights from almost anywhere to anywhere!

Its results come in table form, with zmanin for Alos, Sunrise, Zman KS, Minchah Gedolah, Sunset and Tzeis including corrections for delays (in fifteen minute increments) for up to three hours.

A interesting tidbit is that at this time of year, the window for Zman KS - which, stationary, would be three hours (sha'os zmani'os), is right now in flight 1 hr 9 min.

This site should be a pre-flight must!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Next Time Someone Talks About Orthodox Jews Not Saving Non-Jews on Shabbos

The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition

Rescuers describe 'Shabbat from hell'

Jan. 15, 2010
Judy Siegel-Itzkovich , THE JERUSALEM POST

The large field hospital established by the IDF Medical Corps at 10 a.m. Shabbat local time was already treating dozens of patients four hours later, when its commander, Lt.-Col. Dr. Itzik Reiss, was able to take a breather and speak to Israeli health reporters via a conference call.

Children with severe fractures set only with cardboard arrived at the hospital for treatment. Some young patients had been freed from rubble but had to have limbs amputated due to severe gangrene, he said. Within a few hours, operations were performed.

The hospital has an emergency room, pediatric, orthopedic, internal medicine, obstetrics and surgery departments, clinics and other facilities. The delivery room and premature baby unit are prepared to function but have not yet received any women or infants.

The patients started arriving after a local hospital, unable to function normally, announced the IDF facility's existence.

The Israeli facility, set up in very hot and humid weather, has enough equipment to function for about two weeks. The 121-member team has 40 doctors, including a psychiatrist, 20 nurses, 20 paramedics and medics, 20 lab and X-ray technicians and administrators.

Among the staff are Orthodox Jews who went to Haiti even though it was Shabbat. Reiss said they avoided performing unnecessarily tasks like shaving, but did everything needed to save lives. The military personnel are both regular army and reserve soldiers.

It was not clear how many desperate patients would reach the hospital over the coming days, he said. Reiss said he expected victims of infectious disease would start arriving soon.

Haitians were wandering aimlessly in the streets, Reiss said.

"It is very difficult. There is a bad feeling of destruction. It is very sad," he said.

The field hospital may continue operating under Israeli auspices after getting it restocked in two weeks, or it may be turned over to locals, he added.

Meanwhile, the ZAKA rescue and recovery contingent pulled eight students alive from the collapsed university building, after a 38 operation.

"You have to understand that the situation is true madness, and the more time passes, there are more and more bodies, in numbers that cannot be grasped. It is beyond comprehension," said Mati Goldstein, the head of the delegation.

The six-man team - four from Israel and two from Mexico - arrived in Haiti aboard a Mexican Air Force Hercules cargo plane, immediately after completing their work in recovery and identification in the Mexico City helicopter crash that killed philanthropist Moshe Saba and four others.

On arrival, the delegation was dispatched to the collapsed eight-story university building, from which cries could be heard.

After hours of work with rescue equipment provided by the Mexican military, the ZAKA volunteers succeeded in pulling the eight students out alive.

In a disturbing e-mail that Goldstein managed to send to ZAKA headquarters in Jerusalem, he writes of the "Shabbat from hell. Everywhere, the acrid smell of bodies hangs in the air. It's just like the stories we are told of the Holocaust - thousands of bodies everywhere."

Amid the stench and chaos, the ZAKA delegation took time out to recite Shabbat prayers - a surreal sight of haredi men wrapped in prayer shawls standing on the collapsed buildings. Many locals sat quietly in the rubble, staring at the men as they prayed facing Jerusalem.

At the end of the prayers, they crowded around the delegation and kissed the prayer shawls.

Due to the breakdown in communications in Haiti, the ZAKA delegation was unable to make contact before Shabbat with the IDF Home Front Command contingent that is now in the country.

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