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The Rabbi's Desk

02/22/2019 02:59:46 PM


The Derasha will be delivered following services in the Straus Main Sanctuary
by our Guest Scholar this Shabbat
Dr. Elana Stein Hain
“What Makes Legal Loopholes Religious?”

Following the presentation will be our daughter's Zeved haBat

Inside: (no longer linked, please scroll down)
•  Last Week's Derasha: Scent of a Nation, Whoo-ah
•  Parent-Child Learning Parsha Questions
From the “No Coincidences” Department 
•  Great Quote for Reflection
•  For This, Hashem Made the Internet 


My Derasha from this past Shabbat
in the Benaroya Sephardic Center / Chetrit Sanctuary

Scent of a Nation, Whoo-ah
Parent-Child Learning Continues
Last year's questions on
Parshat Ki Tisa

From the “No Coincidences” Department 

Please God we will be naming our new daughter this Shabbat, 12 Adar I 5779. This happens to be the anniversary of a very tragic day for my ancestors. Exactly 100 years ago to the day, on 12 Adar I 5679, there was a terrible pogrom in the Ukrainian town of Felshtin in which my great-grandfather, Rabbi Dovid Shlomo Novoseller (my father’s maternal grandfather), was the Av Beis Din. While my great-grandfather and his son survived, his wife and two daughters were murdered. The pogrom was so devastating that word reached the USA and was reported in the New York Times. For my new daughter to be named on the exact same day 100 years later following the murder of three saintly women from my family’s history, is a remarkable testament to the resilience of our people drawn from faith in Hashem and commitment to Torah. 

Click here for the New York Times article

Click here to read more about the Felshtin Pogrom

Great Quote for Thought and Study
I came across this quote in a book this week and I thought of some questions for thought and study that I present following it.

My freedom thus consists in my moving about within the narrow frame that I have assigned to myself for each one of my undertakings. I shall go even further: my freedom will be so much the greater and more meaningful the more narrowly I limit my field of action and the more I surround myself with obstacles. Whatever diminishes constraint diminishes strength. The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees oneself of the claims that shackle the spirit.

— Igor Stravinsky, Poetics of Music in the Form of Six Lessons 

What comparisons can be made between 'the narrow frame' and the concept of halachah (Jewish law)?

Does halachah promote or inhibit creativity? What are some examples of either?

Can Stravinsky's observation be used as a metaphor to deepen our understanding and appreciation for Jewish life?

For This, Hashem Made the Internet

A few months ago, I wanted to procure a copy of Chidushei Maran Ri"z haLevi which is generally a hard to find sefer since it's sold primarily by descendants of the author Rabbi Yitzchok Zev haLevi Soloveitchik. So I made the order with an individual in Jerusalem, Rabbi Yaakov Rosenes, who takes orders for hard to find books and purchases them himself and ships them out. His website is Truly this it was for this website that Hashem made the internet. Recently, I saw an article written about him in Mishpacha Magazine. The following is an excerpt from the article.

Thursday night in Jerusalem is always hectic —but this one was particularly so for Rabbi Yaakov Rosenes. Two large orders had come into his seforim website: Dvir in Raanana wanted 12 volumes of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv’s he’aros, along with the last three volumes of his Sh’eilos U’Tshuvos; and Jeff in New Jersey was seeking the 18-volume Tiferes Tzion by Rav Yitzchak Zev Yadler.

Google often lists Rabbi Rosenes’s website, Virtual Geula, among its top results for Torah literature title searches, offering hope to seforim hunters like Dvir and Jeff who have exhausted every other possibility. Rabbi Rosenes has built an extensive list of contacts and seforim purveyors over the years; for Dvir and Jeff, he knew exactly where to turn.

Rabbi Rosenes set out from his home office in Ramat Shlomo in the family car. The first pick-up — Rav Elyashiv’s seforim, for Dvir — took Rabbi Rosenes to the old part of Givat Shaul, the home of Rav Chaim Zeivald. Rav Zeivald was the editor for most of Rav Elyashiv’s seforim, and a formidable talmid chacham in his own right. The particular volumes that Dvir in Raanana wanted were nearly impossible to find in stores. Rabbi Rosenes knew that Rav Zeivald was the world’s sole source for these works.

The door to the Zeivald home opened and the rich aromas of Erev Shabbos wafted out. Rebbetzin Zeivald explained that the rav was at the beis medrash, but she invited Rabbi Rosenes in to take the seforim while she and her daughters continued with preparations. He surveyed the 1950s décor in the salon and made his way around the family table, at that moment serving as a staging area for baked goods.

Stepping around baskets of clean laundry and grandchildren’s toys, he arrived at the tall bookcases, where Rav Zeivald had prepared the order. Most of it, that is — a few stray items had to be located at the top of the packed shelves. A chair was provisioned for him to climb on to reach the last volumes. Rabbi Rosenes collected the box of simple black books containing Rav Elyashiv’s treasured divrei Torah and left for his next pick-up — in the cozy back alleys of Beis Yisrael, near Yeshivas Mir. (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 749)

Mon, December 6 2021 2 Tevet 5782