For the week ending 6 November 2010 / 28 Heshvan 5771

Marcheshvan 5771 / November 2010

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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Dear Talmid,

What is the significance of the number 39?

This is the question one of our rabbeim asked of his shiur some 20 years ago when we were finally relaxing after our beloved Eretz Yisrael had been hit by 39 missiles from Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

"There are 39 classes of forbidden labor on Shabbos" was one of the responses.

"Any other suggestions?" asked the rebbi.

"The sinner is punished with 39 lashes" came the reply from a young talmid from faraway Scotland.

"Both answers are great," said the rebbi, "but I prefer the second one because in regard to the number of lashes the Torah states lo yossif – "you shall not add any more – no more missiles."

As Ohr Somayach enters the second half of its 39th year, we think of this number both in regard to the security situation in Israel and to the future of the yeshiva. Our hope for an end to missile attacks has been shattered by the thousands of missiles fired by terrorists since the Gulf War ended. It is our firm belief that the Torah learned in Ohr Somayach, and the thousands of Jews who have become Bnei Torah through the efforts of the yeshiva and its products throughout the world, provide the zechus for our country to survive and prosper despite our enemies.

As one who had the privilege of being a part of this glorious history, you have the ability and responsibility of reaching out to others and to continually express your gratitude to the yeshiva that was the turning point in your life.

Alumni Update

  • Some 1200 people packed the Shirat Yerushalayim Hall in Yerushalayim for two evenings during the Aseres Yemei Teshuva (one for men and one for women) to be inspired by Ohr Somayach speakers in our first annual Yemei Iyun on Teshuva. In addition to the Roshei Yeshiva the speakers included two veteran magidei shiur, Rabbi Dovid Kaplan and Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair and the Dean of the Ohr Lagolah Program, Rabbi Shmuel Bloom.
  • The Winter Zman, marking the second half of Ohr Somayach's 39-year history, began with the usual bang with most of the yeshiva learning Mesechta Baba Basra, a Mesechta on which dozens of talmidim have made a siyum in past years.
  • An alumnus from those early years, Reuven Dembs in Netanya, sent us a check which was greatly appreciated. However, what was even more appreciated was the beautiful letter and photo of his large family of children and grandchildren which accompanied it, in which he expressed his gratitude for what the yeshiva did for him. He also mentioned that he is approaching the completion of his third siyum hashass as a teaching of Daf Hayomi in the Netanya community.
  • Another alumnus from the early years, Rabbi Zvi Boruch Hollander, who was in Yerushalayim for the wedding of his son who learns in the Mirrer Yeshiva, visited the yeshiva and gave a guest lecture to the Ohr Lagolah students. Rabbi Hollander, who today serves as the kashrut administrator for the OU in California, shared with them his many years of experience in rabbonus, chinuch, outreach and kashrus.
  • Joining the impressive array of dozens of seforim written by Ohr Somayach alumni is "Dawn to Destiny: Exploring Jewish History and its Hidden Wisdom" by Rabbi Yonason Goldson. This is "a comprehensive overview of Jewish History from Creation through the redaction of the Talmud, illuminating the intricacies and complexities of Torah tradition and philosophy according to the sages and classical commentaries”. For more information see
  • Exciting upcoming events for next month include the annual JLE group and Mentors Mission here on our campus and retreats on the west coast and in Lakewood for former JLE participants and new ones from the more than a dozen campuses on which Ohr Somayach representatives are active.
  • The roshei yeshiva recently visited the Posek Hador Maran Rav Yosef Sholom Eliyashiv and received from him a letter blessing their efforts in building a large new campus on land near the present one.

All of your rabbeim join us in wishing you a healthy winter filled with success in all your activities.

Rabbi Mendel Weinbach | Rabbi Nota Schiller

Roshei Hayeshiva

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