Tuesday, Jul 23, 2024

My Take on the News

First Things First: Elul Is Here!

I have many things to report to you. Over the past two weeks, there have been a number of stories here in Israel that have bordered on sheer madness. Just as an example, one of those stories concerned the Netanyahu family’s vacation on Moshav Neve Ativ in the Golan Heights. The anti-government protestors have been working hard to inject as much misery as possible into the prime minister’s life, and when they heard that he would be vacationing in Neve Ativ, they arrived to demonstrate against him, causing a major commotion as the police tried to block them from approaching the prime minister. The protestors erected tents near the settlement and even made efforts to destroy the reputation of the hotel where he was staying by posting negative reviews online. This issue is going to reach the courts, since the hotel owners refused plan to sue every person who lowered their rating without ever having stayed in the hotel.

But it didn’t end there. Netanyahu decided to continue his vacation in the nearby moshav of Ramot, and the residents, having seen the chaos that took place in Neve Ativ, wrote to the Shabak to ask them to keep the prime minister away. “After the events in Neve Ativ,” they wrote, “with all due respect to the prime minister’s vacation plans, we will not allow or accept any interference, major or minor, with the ongoing operations of all the businesses in our moshav, especially the tourism and agricultural businesses. We will use all legal means possible to prevent any such harm.” There are dozens of vacation cottages in Ramot, and it is also the fruit-picking season; the five large packing houses in Ramot are in the middle of the mango harvest, and the residents were fearful of the potential disruptions to their work. They claimed that when the prime minister vacationed in Neve Ativ, the moshav was closed and agricultural laborers and tourists were unable to access it. If Moshav Ramot is locked down for several days, they claimed, the economic damage at the height of the fruit-picking and tourist seasons would be enormous. Of course, the residents also supported the protestors. “We have no problem with the demonstrations, and we recognize the freedom of demonstration and expression,” they said. “Some of us even participate in the protests, but this would disrupt the lives of an entire community. In the end of the day, we all saw what happened in Neve Ativ.”

If this story sounds bizarre to you, then you are not alone. I feel that their reaction was far beyond the pale. And this is far from the only abnormal event to happen over the past two weeks. I will share another, even more outrageous story below, but before I get to it, I must bring up the real issue of the day: Elul is here!

Every year, I announce the arrival of Elul in the issue of this newspaper that is published in advance of Rosh Chodesh. I was asked to do this by a distinguished talmid chochom named Rav Chanoch Henoch Karelenstein, who passed away on erev Rosh Hashanah, the very last day of Elul 5759/1999, at the age of 42. The Torah world was shocked by his untimely passing; he was a world-class Torah genius who taught thousands of talmidim, and everyone was certain that he was poised to become one of the gedolei Yisroel. Shortly before his passing, he asked me to make a point of proclaiming the arrival of Elul in the newspaper every year, and I have fulfilled his dying wish throughout the intervening years.

So let us begin with the most important news of all: Elul is arriving!

An Inspiring Shabbos in Petach Tikvah

I know very little about what the average family vacation looks like in America. Of course, I am familiar with the “mountains.” I spent almost an entire year learning in Yeshivas Zichron Moshe in South Fallsburg, where I had the distinct privilege of attending a daily shiur delivered by Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel, who used to summarize his teachings in Hebrew for my benefit at the end of every shiur. This isn’t the place to discuss Rav Elya Ber in detail, but I must say that he is an incredible man, an enormous talmid chochom and an outstanding marbitz Torah. When I completed my year in the yeshiva and returned to Eretz Yisroel, I gave him a gift that caused both of us to cry: a collection that I had compiled of the divrei Torah that he had delivered in yeshiva, generally just before the end of Shabbos each week. I had brought a typewriter with me from Eretz Yisroel, and I used it to type up the divrei Torah after I heard them. Some of those divrei Torah were incredible insights that I thought could only have resulted from ruach hakodesh. When I took leave of the rosh yeshiva at the end of that year, it was with great emotion. But I digress. My point is that I am familiar with the Catskill Mountains, but I do not know what sort of vacations are enjoyed by families who do not spend their summers there.

Let me tell you a little bit about my summer vacation in Eretz Yisroel. I spent a good deal of time this bein hazemanim in a geriatric hospital in Petach Tikvah known as Beit Rivkah. This wasn’t exactly a vacation, but it was a mitzvah. My father-in-law is convalescing there, following a medical event a few weeks ago that landed him in the intensive care unit in Maayanei HaYeshuah for a period of time. It is a sad situation, and it is very difficult.

I spent this past Shabbos (Parshas Reeh) in Petach Tikvah, and I could easily write a book about the experience. Beit Rivkah is located in a Yemenite neighborhood, where most of the shuls cater to Yemenite congregations. I davened in a shul where the Yemenite nusach was practiced, and I found it very interesting. I could easily write at length about the family of Rabbi Rafael Tzubari, who lives nearby (at 17 Rechov Sinai, in case you need the address—although I hope you will never have a need for it). The Tzubari family graciously invites anyone who needs to be in the area for Shabbos to eat and sleep at their home. There is a sign in every ward in the hospital informing visitors that if they need accommodations for Shabbos, they are welcome to call Rafael Tzubari. This family has been hosting complete strangers every Shabbos for the past 30 years, an act of chessed that simply defies description. And Rabbi Tzubari has a wealth of stories to tell about his experiences, some of which involve gedolei Yisroel who benefited from his hospitality. After all, no one has any guarantees in life, and Beit Rivkah has seen thousands of people pass through its doors in very serious condition, including many religious patients. The Tzubari family has therefore had many opportunities to host distinguished rabbonim and leading roshei yeshiva, among many other guests. Perhaps I will write more about Rafael Tzubari in the future.

“Abba, It’s Me! Your Son!”

There was one scene that I witnessed on Shabbos that left me heartbroken: the sight of a yungerman imploring his father to recognize him. “Abba!” he cried. “It’s me! It’s Shloime, your son!” This took place in the lobby of the ward where I was attending to my father-in-law. I was standing a short distance away, and I was deeply pained by the sight. And then I thought about Elul. Our Father in Heaven is standing in the field, and He does recognize us, even those of us who have strayed far from Him and have barely kept up a connection with Him since last Elul. When we call out to Him, He looks at us and replies, “Yes, My sons!”

Before Shabbos began, I went out to a grassy area outside the facility for some fresh air. I found a young man sitting on a bench there and chatting with an elderly man with an amputated foot who was confined to a wheelchair. Beside them sat another elderly man who appeared Russian and was also visiting the patient. My attention was immediately drawn to them, until the younger man looked up at me and snapped, “Why are you staring at us?” I apologized and moved away; based on their appearance, I gathered that the trio were the type of people who despise religious Jews, and I decided to keep my distance from them. But then the man in the wheelchair showed up at Mincha in the hospital shul (which, for some reason, is open only on Shabbos, with a minyan made up of local Yemenite men). He turned out to be a charming man, and I learned a valuable lesson: One must never judge another person based on a superficial impression or gut feeling.

There was one other interesting incident, which I am not sure how to interpret. I got up very early on Shabbos morning, since the Yemenite minyan in the hospital shul begins at 7:15. I davened there not only because it was the closest minyan (although I slept in the Tzubaris’ home rather than in the hospital) but also because they had promised to give me Maftir in honor of my father’s yahrtzeit on erev Rosh Chodesh Elul. When I arrived, I found a young man tearing paper towels from the roll in the automatic dispenser next to the sink. This was the sort of automatic dispenser that releases another portion of the roll for every sheet that is torn off. I watched as the young man tore 30 sheets of paper off the roll and placed them next to the sink, and I found it a very perplexing sight. As you know, I happen to be a very curious person, and I couldn’t resist asking him what he was doing. “I’m leaving paper towels for the people who will come to daven and will want to dry their hands after washing,” he said.

“But it’s prohibited to tear paper towels on Shabbos,” I pointed out.

“That’s exactly why I’m doing it,” the young man replied evenly. “I am helping them avoid chillul Shabbos.”

That is the end of my story, and I must ask you: What should I have thought about this scene? What could possibly explain his behavior? Indeed, what would Rav Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev have said about this? I am still not sure how to relate to it.

A New Organization in Latin America

Now that I have told you where I did go over bein hazemanim, let me tell you where I did not go. I didn’t go to Argentina, even though I was invited there.

Let me explain. I was given the opportunity to join Rav Dovid Lau, the chief rabbi of Israel, on a trip to Argentina. (I can guarantee you that I would have come back with a highly entertaining article, not to mention a date for an interview with Rav Lau, who is due to be stepping down from his position soon. But I didn’t make the trip, so that article did not materialize.) The occasion for his visit was the establishment of the newly founded Latin American Rabbinical Conference. In addition to Rav Dovid Lau, the guests at the event included Rav Eliezer Wolff (the chief rabbi and av bais din of Amsterdam and a member of the bais din of the Conference of European Rabbis), Rav Eliyohu Bar-Shalom (the rov of Bat Yam), and dozens of rabbonim from the Jewish communities of nine different countries in Latin America. The founding scroll was signed at a festive ceremony held in Buenos Aires and attended by rabbonim and community leaders from Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Peru, Chile, Uruguay, and Ecuador. It was certainly a fascinating event … but I was not there.

The Latin American Rabbinical Conference will be responsible for dealing with halachic issues affecting the Jewish communities in Latin America and advocating for the rights of the Jewish communities, including freedom of religious practice. It will also be active in preserving Jewish tradition in the smaller and more remote Jewish communities and in combating anti-Semitism. The organization intends to hold conferences of rabbonim and community leaders in various Latin American countries. Rav Dovid Lau remarked at the event, which was held on Tu B’Av, “The founding of the Latin American Rabbinical Conference is so important and significant because it conveys the message that the Torah in all of Latin America is one Torah, which connects it to rabbinic organizations throughout the world and to the Chief Rabbinate in Israel. This rabbinical conference will increase kovod Shomayim and will give support to Jews in distant places, and it will be part of the network of rabbonim throughout the world. The Latin American Rabbinical Conference will thereby be able to preserve the standing of Judaism in the best possible way. The Torah of all of Latin America is one Torah.”

Rabbi Pinchos Goldschmidt, the president of the Conference of European Rabbis, was also present. Also present was Rabbi Eliyahu Hamara, the founder of the Latin American Rabbinical Conference and president of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA), who is also a member of the Conference of European Rabbis. Rabbi Hamara said, “The founding of the Latin American Rabbinical Conference is vital and relevant in light of the significant growth in the number of mitzvah-observant members of the Jewish communities. We are pleased to receive the blessings of the leading rabbonim in Israel and Europe, and we are ready to collaborate with them for the sake of achieving important goals.”

Distributing Disposables to Diminish Discord

As I write these lines, the bein hazemanim vacation is drawing to a close, and we are once again tensely davening to Hashem to spare us from misfortunes during this period of the year.

There is an outpouring of chessed that takes place every bein hazemanim. There are the summer camps here run by Ezer Mizion for children with special needs, the programming offered for widows and orphans by Zeh Lazeh, the programs run by Mesugalim for children on the autistic spectrum, and many more such initiatives. Hundreds of yeshiva bochurim and seminary students give up their vacations to give to others!

Last week, for instance, was the annual yom kef (day of fun) organized by B’Lev Echod, which treated many families to the playground facilities and swimming pool at the Magic Kass amusement park, followed by a musical performance in D-City featuring Simcha Leiner, Ohad Moskowitz, and Koby Brumer. For a short time, 6000 men, women, and children were able to forget their daily struggles—and that number includes 800 children with various syndromes or forms of disability. Welfare Minister Yaakov Margi, who was present for the event, tearfully asked one of the children for a brocha. I overheard another of the children with special needs telling someone proudly, “My brother was able to come here because of me.” The brothers and sisters of these children are aware that it is only because of their special siblings that they have the opportunity to enjoy these experiences.

I also visited the bais medrash of Ohr Leah (which is adjacent to Avichayil’s bakery, an establishment that is familiar to anyone who learned in the Brisk yeshiva in Yerushalayim), which is home to a kollel serving dozens of yungeleit. This bais medrash is also the site of a chessed organization where several distributions of goods are arranged throughout the year. During the year, Rabbi Eliyohu Cohen serves as the rosh kollel and maggid shiur in this bais medrash in the daytime, while he spends his nights hauling food and other goods from place to place and putting together packages for the needy. This week, the organization distributed packages of disposable utensils and similar household goods to needy families. The packages were very heavy, but, of course, no one complained about the weight.

When I met Rabbi Cohen, I asked him about the occasion for the latest distribution. In general, packages are distributed in advance of the shalosh regalim, on Chanukah and Tu B’Shevat, and at the beginning of the school year. Why did he schedule another distribution in the middle of a clear summer’s day? “It’s for shalom bayis,” he replied. “It’s the middle of the summer, children are home from school, and when the sinks are piled high with dishes, families often quarrel about who should wash them. We are handing out packages of disposable utensils that should last the families until Rosh Hashanah so that they will be able to keep the peace at home.”

May Hashem bless us all in the merit of the prodigious chessed that is taking place within Klal Yisroel at this time!

Cyber Attack Paralyzes Maayanei HaYeshuah Hospital

I have many more things to report to you, and I am not even sure where to begin. Let’s take the recent cyber attack on Maayanei HaYeshuah Hospital in Bnei Brak, for example. When a hospital’s computer systems go down, it is a bona fide emergency. For a person, the equivalent would be a medical crisis that demands immediate hospitalization. When the hospital was paralyzed by the attack on its computer system, all the patients were transferred to other facilities. The entire country was buzzing about this incident after it happened.

There were also plenty of security incidents that I can write about. Our enemies do not rest; they have no concept of bein hazemanim. A few days ago, Israeli security guards at the Erez Crossing foiled an attempt to smuggle small reconnaissance drones through the checkpoint. Meanwhile, terrorists opened fire at an Israeli position in the northern Shomron. In Shechem, the home of the terrorist who murdered the Yaniv brothers was demolished. But perhaps the most significant story of all is the fact that Israeli forces successfully destroyed the infrastructure of a terror cell that was planning to carry out a series of attacks. This cell was led by a former security prisoner who was freed in the Shalit deal!

There are also rumors that something is happening in the north. Today (Sunday), Prime Minister Netanyahu convened the security cabinet (and asked Aryeh Deri to join them). When the cabinet meets, it usually signifies that something important is happening. The defense minister also made an overt threat directed at Hezbollah, the terror organization that sits in Lebanon. I have no further information about what led to this, but we must hope and daven that we will hear only good news. I can tell you, though, that the cabinet also discussed the wave of refusals to serve in the army, which are linked to the anti-government protests.

Then there are some other small news items: The commissioner of the police force testified before the Meron investigative commission once again and tried to lay all the blame on the government, denying that the police had any culpability at all in the tragedy. Israel has also been hit by a severe heat wave in recent days. Finally, many doctors are threatening to leave the country because of the judicial reform, but many Israelis actually embraced this threat; it would be a good thing if they made room for younger doctors to work here.

There is also plenty to say about the political situation. The polls have been indicating all sorts of fluctuations on the political front, but the most recent polls have shown favorable results for Netanyahu and the right. We are also approaching the date of the elections for local governments throughout Israel, which will have to be the topic of a separate article. There is much to write about, especially where the chareidi cities are concerned. There have also been some developments in the international sphere, on which I will have to report very soon.

Vilifying the Victims

I promised you a story from the realm of the bizarre; well, here it is. It all began on erev Shabbos a week and a half ago, shortly before the beginning of Shabbos on the week of Parshas Eikev. Based on the initial reports, it seemed that some hilltop youths or “extremist” settlers had gone on some kind of rampage, resulting in the death of an Arab. Some even called it murder. The media reported it as follows: “Violent conflicts erupted between Palestinians and settlers in the village of Burqa near Ramallah. According to Israeli security forces, a group of youths from the illegal outpost Oz Tzion entered the village of Burqa and fought with a Palestinian, seemingly in a dispute over land ownership. At the height of the argument, one of the settlers opened fire on the Palestinians and killed 19-year-old Qusai Matan. An IDF spokesman related that according to the report received from the Palestinians, Israeli citizens opened fire on the Palestinians during the dispute in the village of Burqa, leading to the death of a Palestinian. There were also reports of Israeli citizens wounded by rock throwing.” This sounds horrible, and the story led to an avalanche of outrage against the right wing, with particular focus on the two men who were at the center of this story, Elisha Yered and Yechiel Indor.

Nevertheless, it slowly became clear that the truth was exactly the opposite of what was reported. Yechiel Indor, a resident of Ofra, was admitted to Shaare Zedek Hospital with a crushed skull. This certainly implies that it was hardly a classic case of murder. Given Indor’s injuries, it seems that if he is indeed responsible for shooting the Palestinian (which is what he stands accused of having done), it was pure self-defense. Nevertheless, the police asked for him to remain under arrest even while he was in the hospital, with police officers standing guard in his hospital room.

As for Yered, his experiences this week might have been entertaining if not for the fact that they involved the police force in our own country. At first, the courts extended the detention of both men by five days. When it was later revealed that they hadn’t entered the Arab village at all, that they had merely been shepherding their sheep nearby, and that the Arabs had emerged from the village to attack them, the Magistrate’s Court ordered Yered released to house arrest. The prosecution immediately appealed the Magistrate Court’s ruling to the District Court, which is a higher circuit. When the judges on the District Court agreed with the lower court’s decision, the police and prosecution decided to take the case all the way to the Supreme Court. The case was heard by a single Supreme Court justice, who decided to return it to the Magistrate’s Court to be reviewed again. Once again, the court issued the same ruling: Yered was to be kept under house arrest, which meant that he would not be in police custody. The prosecution then decided to submit another appeal to the District Court, which backed the Magistrate’s Court again, and the case returned to the Supreme Court once again. On Thursday, the Supreme Court concurred with the two lower courts’ rulings that the suspect should remain under house arrest.

The entire country was astounded by this chain of events. It was clear to everyone that the repeated appeals had nothing to do with a quest for justice of any kind, and that the prosecution and the state were trying to preserve their own pride and honor at the expense of two young men who were nearly murdered, one of whom fired a gun in self-defense. That young man, by the way, is still in need of Heavenly mercy to regain his health.

It has now become clear that Elisha Yered and Yechiel Indor were not two murderers; on the contrary, they were two heroes. We are all waiting now to see if everyone who was quick to condemn and vilify them will now ask for their forgiveness. Moreover, this series of events makes the state look very bad. As I told you, this is a bizarre story bordering on madness. I am sure that we will be hearing more about it in the days to come.

Another Lapid AboutFace

This week, I read that Yair Lapid has been inveighing against Netanyahu, who has been—in Lapid’s own humble opinion—destroying Israel’s foreign relations. Lapid’s hubris is reaching record heights once again. When he was the foreign minister of Israel, he destroyed Israel’s relationships with several foreign countries, especially Poland, and he also managed to destroy the Foreign Ministry itself. Not only that, but many left-wing activists have been urging President Biden to impose sanctions on Israel and to reassess America’s relationship with Israel. In light of the left’s own actions, their complaints about the destruction of Israel’s foreign relations amount to crocodile tears.

I recently quoted an excerpt from Lapid’s book about the dangers created by protests against the government and the crucial necessity of stamping out such protests. I didn’t quote the entire passage at the time, but I will continue the excerpt here. “When all other options were exhausted,” Lapid wrote, “it was time for the state to flex its muscles. The power that the government possessed made it possible for it to act with restraint despite the threats, the demonstrations, and the protests. Normal life in Israel wasn’t undermined, there was no revolution or apocalypse, the era of Moshiach did not come nor was there a Churban. A properly functioning society faced the test of a difficult reality and overcame it. We can now note with satisfaction that the country continues functioning at a time of crisis. Democracy was stable in the face of a combative, determined, throng that was suffused with belief in its cause, well-organized, and broadly funded, and the rule of law triumphed.” What utter mendacity!

There are a number of columns in various publications that focus on Lapid’s constant reversals, with titles such as “Lapid—Yes and No” or “The Daily Lapid.” It is amazing to see how often and how egregiously this man is capable of reversing himself. I have contributed my own observations on this subject before, and I will add one more here. Lapid today is in favor of violent protests, but he has gone on record saying the exact opposite.

Memories After My Death is a book written by Yair Lapid purportedly in the voice of his late father. Here is what the living Lapid writes in the name of the deceased Lapid about the violent protests that took place during the period of the Disengagement: “When we returned, we found a divided country whose streets were in an uproar. The settlers came out to protest in huge numbers. One hundred thirty thousand protestors took part in the ‘human chain,’ and one hundred fifty thousand participated in the prayer of protest on Rosh Chodesh Shevat (and I have to admit that this was the first time I discovered that the month of Shevat is in January). Two hundred thousand protestors came to a demonstration in Rabin Square. Most of the protests were not violent, but there were also some types of demonstrations that were more aggressive such as when the members of the Zo Artzeinu movement blocked roads and called for a civil rebellion, and a series of rabbis called on their students to disobey orders when the moment of truth arrived. Like everyone else, I watched these events with concern and dismay. The settlers, whom I had loved and admired in the past, appeared to have lost their minds….”

At this point in his narrative, Lapid reaches the height of his hypocrisy. “Beyond the flood of emotions and experiences,” he continues, “an incomparably important truth bubbled to the surface: The state could not give in. The prime minister had launched an initiative, the government had approved it, the Knesset had passed it into law, and the Supreme Court had given its ruling. When a grassroots movement rose up against this, filled with treacherous faith and incited by messianic rabbis, and it challenged the rule of law, the government had to act with all the means available to it.”

So according to Lapid, anti-government protests were totally unacceptable at the time of the Disengagement, but today he applauds such protests as ideal. If that isn’t sheer hypocrisy, then I don’t know what is.

A Page Out of the AntiSemites Book

Do not make the mistake of thinking that the incitement against the chareidi community has subsided. It is only beginning, and that is very sad. The results of this incitement are visible everywhere. I am reminded of the old story about the Jew who advised his friend to read the anti-Semitic newspaper Der Sturmer and enjoy its depiction of the Jews. After all, he said, it was the only newspaper that reported that the Jews were rich, powerful, and dominant in the world economy; all the other papers reflected the reality that the Jews were downtrodden and impoverished. By the same token, a person reading the secular newspapers in Israel today might easily be convinced that the chareidi community is plundering the state coffers and living in the lap of luxury, its institutions flooded with funding as its members enjoy all the perks of their dominant position. But of course, this picture does not have even the most tenuous connection to reality.

Here are a few pertinent headlines that appeared in recent days: “Not a small jackpot at all: This is how a chareidi authority became a pipeline for political funding.” “The new law about rabbonim will create hundreds of new jobs.” “Arab municipalities protest that the government is strengthening the chareidi and chardal [nationalist chareidi] sectors at their expense.” “The Ministry of Education announces that teachers’ wages will increase this year only in the chareidi parties’ school systems.” “The Yerushalayim municipality has been funding events for chareidim in violation of the law.” “This is how the Interior Ministry became the Ministry of Summer Trips for chareidim and settlers.” “The government is due to approve an additional 164 million shekels in funding for Torah institutions today.” “Wages of religious council leaders to increase by dozens of percentage points.” “The Minister of Housing has become the Minister of Chareidi Housing Affairs.” “The Ministry of Religious Services is planning to strengthen the rabbinic courts and authorize them to rule on child support cases even without the litigants’ consent.” And, last but not least: “Deri’s plan to distribute food vouchers gives preference to the chareidi poor.”

As you can see, the newspapers would have us believe that the chareidim are basking in more affluence than ever—even as the average chareidi person feels that he is suffocating. I am reminded of the story about the man who asked his neighbor to lend him a horse for a few hours. “I am sorry,” the neighbor replied, “but my horse died.” As he spoke, however, the horse suddenly neighed loudly in the stable. The would-be borrower was piqued. “How can you lie to my face like that?” he demanded.

The neighbor looked at him petulantly and demanded, “Whom do you believe—me or the horse?”

Well, I would ask the same question: Should we believe the media, with its assertion that the chareidim are rolling in money, or should we believe our bank accounts, which show that the opposite is true?

Remembering Rav Elyashiv and Rav Moshe Feinstein

I recently read a number of fascinating stories about Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and about other gedolei Yisroel who gave generously of their time to people who sought to consult with them about various matters. One set of anecdotes was told by a son-in-law of Rav Mordechai Goldstein, the rov of the Mishkenos Yaakov community in Beit Shemesh, who was close to Rav Moshe Feinstein when he was in America and later moved to Eretz Yisroel and developed a close connection to Rav Elyashiv. In one particular story, Rav Goldstein related that he was once told by Rav Elyashiv that if a cheder receives a building from the municipality and does not accept a reasonable number of Sephardic applicants, the administration is guilty of theft. “If you open a cheder in your own home, you can do as you please, but when the building belongs to the city, you must follow the rules,” he said.

That story is fairly piquant, but I am not sure if it will be appreciated in America as much as in Israel. However, the next story, which is more relevant to us, is fantastic: Rav Goldstein went on to recall that his son was born after Rav Moshe Feinstein’s passing, when his grandmother was very ill, and he considered naming him Refoel as a zechus for her recovery. When they consulted with Rav Elyashiv, however, he advised them to name the child after Rav Moshe, which would be a greater source of merit. Indeed, the child was given the name Moshe, and the grandmother lived for another year.

He also recalled that he had once visited Rav Elyashiv while the rov was lying in bed with a fever. When he finished his conversation with the rov, he realized that the rebbetzin was surprised that he had disturbed Rav Elyashiv while he was in that condition. Rav Goldstein said to her, “I used to be a neighbor of Rav Moshe Feinstein, and I saw people coming to speak to him at all times of the day and night, regardless of the circumstances.”

The rebbetzin replied, “We understand what Rav Moshe Feinstein was. After he passed away, my husband began receiving dozens of shailos from all over the world about complex cases of agunos and mamzerus, and we realized that all of these types of serious questions had previously been brought to Rav Moshe.”





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