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Inbox: Issue 1003

“I believe that parents are a lot more competent, caring, and understanding than Screen Safer is giving them credit for”


Pray, Don’t Hide [Cold Shock in Zurich / Issue 1002]

Thank you for your factually accurate report of the shocking anti-Semitic attack in Zurich last week.

As noted in your article, the chareidi communities of Zurich are close-knit and everyone knows everyone. Thus, the attack on such a well-known and respected member of our community as Rabbi Jung was traumatic to all.

In spite of our shock, many Jewish people in Zurich feel that the attitude to take is one of determination and bitachon. We were encouraged to hear that the attacker was overpowered and stopped by Heaven-sent, heroic, non-Jewish passersby who very probably saved the victim’s life. And while the SIG warned all to “exercise caution,” always a good (if vague) idea, there were positive messages as well.

I personally appreciated Councilman Yehuda Spielman’s message that we should continue to “show our Jewish identity, wear kippahs, because the attack aims to make us hide” (Jerusalem Post). Similarly, Baruch Strauss made headlines in Zurich’s prestigious Neue Zürcher Zeitung last Friday by announcing, “We will not hide. On Saturday, I will proudly walk in the streets, as usual, wearing my Jewish clothes and my fur hat.”

I believe that this is the way forward. May Hashem protect us and all Jewish communities all over the world.

Tamar Fischer



Don’t Perpetuate Stereotypes [Screen Safer / Issue 1002]

I have been following the Screen Safer articles and found them disturbing. I understand that the nisayon of technology is very multifaceted, and the answer is definitely not one-size-fits-all. I commend all those who work with teens to encourage safe technology use.

However, what bothers me about these articles is the way they present the teens and their parents. The teens are presented as all-knowing and in touch with themselves, while the parents are presented as clueless and out of touch with their children and reality. This is the stereotype of today’s generation, but I think we need to give the parents more credit.

Perhaps the parents in this past week’s article also asked their own sh’eilos. They may have gone out of their way to help their son. The proof might be in the fact that when their son did buy a smartphone, he heavily filtered it. The father also listened when he was called and changed his outlook, which says a lot about the gadlus of the father.

I believe that the focus should be more on empowering parents and less about how parents are completely unaware of what is going on in their teen’s life. Most of us do go out of our way for our children.

Yes, there is definitely a sharp learning curve for us adults who did not grow up with today’s technology. In every family, each child may have different needs, and it’s a constant challenge to figure out what to allow for each child so they can have their needs met. However, I believe that parents are a lot more competent, caring, and understanding than Screen Safer is giving them credit for.

Name Withheld


They Say It Like It Is [The Kichels / Issue 1002]

The Kichels piece about the Yom Tov clothing was absolutely brilliant. Bracha Stein and Chani Judowitz, your insights and talents are remarkable. It’s no wonder so many turn to the Kichels before reading any other feature.

An amused and appreciative fan,

Monsey, NY


We’re Suffering Too [Inbox / 1001]

I’m the mother of some delightful neurotypical children, as well as one complex special-needs child. I read “Locked Out,” the letter from the woman bemoaning the lack of help for special-needs children in out-of-town communities, with bitter sadness. I live in a large metropolis on the East Coast. Nevertheless, my child is in public school. While there may be some children whose needs are accommodated in Jewish special-needs programs, my child isn’t one of them. And rest assured, it isn’t because of any lack of effort on my part. None of the five special education programs in the general area were able or willing to educate him. Ditto for camp.

In 2024, there is a Jewish child in a non-Jewish school because no one wanted or was able to take him in (my interpretation of the situation varies based on my mood).

Baruch Hashem this year I have help on Shabbos. For the last eight years, though, I did not.

I am not writing this letter to be mekatreig on Klal Yisrael, chas v’shalom. But reading the letter from an out-of-town mother imagining piles of money and busloads of volunteers coming our way in in-town communities elicited strong feelings. In my experience, nothing could be further from the truth.



Giving Credit Where It’s Due [Turning a New Page / Issue 1001]

I read with rapt fascination your magazine’s feature article on the recent launch of Dirshu’s Amud Yomi program. The prose was uplifting and the numbers staggering (1,200 chaburos! 38,000 daily downloads!), and I enjoyed reading of yet another mile-marker for the exponential growth of limud Torah in our times.

There was, however, one thing that niggled at me as I searched fruitlessly for a sidebar, a footnote, or even a stray mention: The amud yomi program has been ongoing since its original inception in the year 1973! For a bit of history, let us turn to a tribute to the legendary Dr. Yaakov Greenwald, penned in 2020 by Rabbi Yisroel Besser in the pages of this very magazine (“The Hidden Healer,” Issue 808): “The amud yomi shiur Dr. Greenwald pioneered and delivered was inspired by Rav Yaakov Teitelbaum, a great admirer of daf yomi, who still felt that a blatt each day was too much to master.” The program was founded with a single shiur in Monsey, and garnered the approbation and support of Rav Moshe Feinstein and Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky.

Today (Sotah 14a), more than 50 years later, amud yomi is in its fourth uninterrupted cycle through Shas and is embraced by countless lomdim throughout the Torah world. The program is well established and well organized, with its own website, calendar, and resources; what it may lack in fanfare and publicity, it more than makes up for in the commitment and fulfillment of its adherents.

Dirshu and its founders are to be lauded and revered for the seismic advances they have introduced onto the Torah landscape of our nation. But as we do so, let us not forget those who came before us and the ongoing legacy of their magnificent initiative.

And to all of you riding the burgeoning wave of holy enthusiasm who have just begun to learn amud yomi, we say: “Welcome aboard!”

Aryeh Gibber
Chaburas Amud Yomi

Oak Park, MI


Another Initiative [Turning a New Page / Issue 1001]

With all of the attention given to the launch of the latest iteration of amud yomi, under the Dirshu umbrella, it behooves us to give credit to the Oraysa Amud Yomi V’Chazara project, which, since the beginning of the current daf yomi cycle, has been steadily gaining thousands of adherents around the world. Briefly, it involves learning one new amud, five days a week; Friday and Shabbos are for chazarah. Oraysa offers many options for bechinos; recorded and live shiurim in various languages; and many other resources, online, in print, and by telephone. Please consider featuring this phenomenal movement in a future issue.

Moshe Benoliel

Far Rockaway, NY


The Menorah’s Shape [Fragments from Fustat / Issue 1001]

I believe there were several inaccurate points in the article about the Rambam. The article states: “Traditionally, it has been accepted that the proper form of the Menorah is with rounded arms.”

However, Rashi (Shemos 25:32) explicitly says the arms were straight. (In contrast, maaseh choshev doesn’t have an explicit source.)

The article also says: “Remember, he was a scholar, not an artist.”

I believe this is inaccurate because:

1) It is highly unlikely that the Rambam would write something misleading and inconsistent with his halachic opinion just because of a lack of artistic talent (especially considering the opinion of Rashi, who preceded the Rambam).

2) Rabbi Avraham ben HaRambam writes explicitly in his commentary on the Torah (ibid. 25:32) that the Rambam held that the arms of the Menorah were straight. His depiction as such was therefore not due to lack of talent.

Rabbi Moshe Kesler


Mutual Benefits [Hijacked Connection-Double Take / Issue 999]

When I read this Double Take, I instantly identified with Nina; how annoying to have a neighbor who treats your home like a free Internet cafe. Even if a family has a computer they’re not using, there’s something very invasive about having someone in your house doing their own things in your space.

But after some thought, I realized how often Nina’s daughter was hanging out with Aidel. And Nina knew that; she saw her daughter coming home with little packages of baked goods she’d made with her neighbor. Did she ever stop to wonder if Aidel found Shira’s constant company annoying? If Nina had such a hard time telling Aidel how intrusive her visits were, shouldn’t she have been equally concerned that Aidel felt the same way about Shiri’s visits, and was just uncomfortable shooing her away? We only know Aidel didn’t object because Rochel Samet gave us a view into both character’s minds, something impossible to achieve in real life.

Even without knowing how Aidel felt about Shiri’s visits, if Nina would’ve opened her eyes a bit and realized how immeasurably she was benefiting from Aidel, she probably would’ve realized her Internet services were only a small measure of payback for the free mentoring her daughter was constantly receiving.

Personally, I once found myself irritated by an acquaintance who regularly asked for favors that were quite a stretch, until one day, I realized this same acquaintance regularly got me freebies and deals I wouldn’t normally know about. What’s mind-boggling to me is how long I remained oblivious to all that I was receiving.

Name Withheld


Only the Master Maestro Will Do [By the Warmth of the Sun / Issue 991]

The article about Rav Moshe Shapira ztz”l was a masterpiece. However, I felt one small phrase somehow changed the shade of the article, both by insinuation and by the omission of another facet.

The writer wrote that Rav Moshe went from Ponevezh to Chevron, but to those who were familiar with the numerous facets of Rav Moshe’s personality, this was not the complete picture.

What actually happened is that a small group of bochurim from the Chevron Yeshivah, then situated in Geula, were accepted into the Brisker Rav’s son’s shiurim, where they learned Seder Kodshim. In fact, one of the lions of that group was Rav Boruch Mordechai Ezrachi; others included Rav Sholom Povarsky, Rav Moshe Mordche Chodosh, and Rav Aryeh Finkel.

Rav Moshe joined this group and received the Brisker Rav’s permission to attend the shiurim of his son, Reb Meshulam Dovid.

Rav Moshe’s quiet dignity and unbelievable attention to detail (in whatever small way we could appreciate it) were in fact the mesorah of Rav Shmuel Rozovsky of Ponevezh and the Griz and Gramad of Brisk. An additional facet of Rav Moshe’s personality was a very firm dislike of a wrong svara, another mesorah of Beis Brisk.

While anyone who can play a keyboard may be able to play at a simchah or teach a child music, for those who truly understand, only the master maestro will do. Similarly, many people can quote or teach machshavah, but it was Rav Moshe who was respected by many gedolim, including Rav Aaron Lopiansky and Rav Gershon Miller, who recognized the true depths of Rav Moshe’s greatness.

The information concerning Rav Moshe’s time in Chevron/Brisk was verified with Rav Moshe’s son Reb Shlomo.

Henoch (Henry) Shulzinger,



(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 1003)

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