For the week ending 18 December 2010 / 10 Tevet 5771

Tevet 5771 / December 2010

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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Dear Talmid,

The happy fires of Chanukah were sadly followed by the massive fire which raged in the north of Israel, claiming dozens of lives and destroying homes and forests.

From a Torah perspective we view such a tragedy through the lens of one of our great rishonim, Rabbeinu Nissim, who thus addressed this issue in his classic Deroshos HoRaN (Sixth drosho).

"Sometimes things happen in distant places, in faraway islands, in order to arouse Jews to teshuva and cause them to fear lest such tragedy reaches them… And when they fail to learn from the evil which befalls others, tragedy travels closer to them. There is no doubt that one who sees all these catastrophes which are truly warnings from Hashem and persists in his habitual conduct is similar to one who has been warned before sinning and is therefore culpable."

Tragedies near and far are thus seen as part of the Divine plan. How thankful must we be, collectively and individually, that we are spared reminders close to home. The Torah, Mussar and Hashkafa which you and so many others were privileged to learn at Ohr Somayach will hopefully help all of you to better understand the warnings from Above and make the improvements in your lives which will make further warnings unnecessary.

Alumni Update

  • Close to 100 university students, a record number, are arriving in the coming weeks for the traditional winter programs of learning and touring.
  • Accompanying these students are alumni Rabbi Zev Kahn, Rabbi David Delman and others who are active on university campuses.
  • A new element in this program is the Internship Program for a select dozen of academically outstanding students.
  • New publications by alumni include "Malbim on Shemos" (ArtScroll) by Rabbi Reuven Subar, "Revealing the Secret" by Rabbi Daniel Leeman and "Lasting Impact" (fourth in the "Impact" series) by Rabbi Dovid Kaplan.
  • Well researched and well received articles on kashrus by Rabbi Yehuda Spitz have appeared in the English language Hamodia.
  • It has been gratifying to see many alumni paying their debts of tuition for the time they were in Yeshiva.
  • A touching letter appeared in Yated Neeman from Dr. Tuvia Meister (Tuvia Avrohom ben Chaya Zisha) about his battle with cancer and the miracles he has enjoyed.

And in Conclusion

The entire Ohr Somayach Family joins in wishing you hatzlacha in everything you do.

Rabbi Mendel Weinbach | Rabbi Nota Schiller

Roshei Hayeshiva

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