“With great sensitivity, honesty, erudition, truth, and excellent, albeit painful and necessary, reporting, Mishpacha provided its readers with a Torah-based perspective on the war”
Compelled to Rip Out Pages [Nightmare Come True / Issue 981]
We live in Yerushalayim and are trying to protect our children (and ourselves) from the horrific scenes that happened last Shabbos. Of course we are davening the whole time, and our thoughts are with all those who are directly affected by this massacre. The children pick up by osmosis the severity and the seriousness of these times. However, we try to create in our home a positive and secure environment for our children to come out from these trying times strengthened and not, chas v’shalom, scarred.
We have had a subscription to Mishpacha for over a decade, and this is the first time we felt compelled to rip out pages not to expose our children and us to the pictures of these monsters behaving with such brutality.
We guess that it is a positive thing for the world to know what kind of neighbors we have and what they are capable of doing, and that without Hashem’s constant protection of us, we would not survive.
Still, Mishpacha is a Jewish family magazine and should be wholesome for our families without any disturbing graphic images. Please keep this in mind in the future.
May Hashem send us the geulah shleimah b’karov.
The Correct Balance [Nightmare Come True / Issue 981]
I commend you on your reporting of the shocking atrocities that have taken over our lives this past week.
The entire week we were inundated with the most horrific barbaric stories and images. We opened Mishpacha over Shabbos to see the magazine found exactly the correct balance in reporting the tragic stories. You did not shy away from the terrible horrors that are being perpetrated, yet you did not engage in the sensationalism of much of the other media, and you kept the imagery appropriate for a family magazine.
May we all merit a speedy yeshuah in these difficult times.
Complete Disregard [Nightmare Come True / Issue 981]
I have been able to avoid seeing images of the tragic and horrific loss of life in Eretz Yisrael, only to see the most graphic images in Mishpacha. This is such disrespect to those that have been hurt and complete disregard for the traumatic impact that these photos have on adults and any child who might pick up this magazine and not know what they are stepping into.
You should have listened to every therapist, every rav, every school community that begged parents to not allow access to this imagery. One cannot unsee what has been seen.
I’m angry that I now have those images in my head and very, very disappointed at your choice to publish them. You can do better.
Dvora Entin, LCSW
Excellent and Important Read [Nightmare Come True / Issue 981]
Thank you for your most recent issue “Ana Hashem Hoshia Na,” reporting on the Simchas Torah War that has shockingly and terribly befallen our nation and our Land, Hashem yerachem aleinu.
With great sensitivity, honesty, erudition, truth, and excellent, albeit painful and necessary, reporting, Mishpacha provided its readers with a Torah-based perspective on the war.
From Rav Yitzchak Berkovits’s and Rav Aharon Lopiansky’s hashkafic pieces to the interviews with upper echelon of Israeli government and IDF, to firsthand accounts from survivors of the attacks, Mishpacha’s publication was an excellent and important read for all adults in Am Yisrael.
While Klal Yisrael as a nation is suffering terribly, and while our people and Land fight for our home and survival, we must all be nosei b’ol im chaveiro and emulate Hashem’s middah of imo Anochi b’tzarah (see Rashi, Shemos 3:2).
Perhaps not incidentally, over Shabbos I finally had time to read your reporting of the Yom Kippur War, published in the Succos edition, and particularly enjoyed the powerful interview with Rav Chaim Sabato.
May Hashem have mercy on His nation and His Land and may we merit immediate Yeshuah and Geulah.
Michal Horowitz, Woodmere, NY
Through a Current Lens [Cut ’n Paste / Issue 981]
Last week I was privileged to be published in this wonderful magazine, sharing a story of tension and catharsis during the height of the judicial reform protests this past summer.
Somewhat ironically, the piece was released only now, in the wake of our nation’s cataclysm; rereading it, I find it sounds almost tone-deaf to my own sensibilities.
There I wrote about the pervasive “fear” and “vitriol” that characterized those difficult days. Yet what would we now give to return to those comparatively benign conditions? After all, we have now seen what real fear, and real vitriol, look like. The summer’s events appear trivial when refracted through the lens of our present circumstances.
Upon further reflection, however, perhaps this is precisely the point. Maybe in these moments of utter clarity and heightened perspective, we can finally recognize how errant we were, how much we allowed sinas chinam to invade our collective conduct, how misguided our fears of our fellow Jews were.
I would never be so presumptuous as to ascribe cosmic causes to any misfortune, much less the slaughter and torture of my brothers and sisters. Nonetheless, far greater men than I have already noted the contrast between the resounding disunity of recent times, and the breathtaking achdus in our post-Simchas-Torah reality.
We have learned, I hope conclusively, that the most negative rhetoric between rivaling Jewish or Israeli factions dissipates in the face of existential need. Our soul-level connection supersedes these more superficial distinctions. Sadly, it took a calamity of unbearable proportions to surface this lesson. May Hashem return us soon to more “innocent” times. And let us retain the spirit of this moment even after, b’karov mamash, these horrors subside.
Rabbi Ari Koretzky
Executive Director, MEOR Maryland
Piece of the Old Country [A Light from Lublin / Issue 980]
Kudos for the article and pull-out section on Rabbi Meir Shapiro ztz”l in the Succos edition of Mishpacha. I was delighted to read about Rabbi Shapiro’s visit in Toronto to my great-grandfather Rabbi Moshe Langner, the Strettiner Rebbe ztz”l, and about Rabbi Meir Shapiro being the shadchan who made the shidduch between my great-aunt Rebbetzin Tzipora Pearl Langner and my great-uncle, the Tolner Rebbe Yochanan Twersky.
I had been aware of this fact as well as that when Rabbi Meir Shapiro visited the home and shul of my grandfather, Rabbi Dovid Flam ztz”l in Montreal that year (he was married to the oldest daughter of the Strettiner Rebbe, Sarah Langner ztz”l), Rabbi Shapiro had served as the sandek for their son Yisrael, my mother’s younger brother. I had been told that when Rabbi Shapiro visited the Flam home, he claimed that Rabbi Dovid Flam’s home was truly a piece of the old country in the new world.
The late Rabbi Yisroel Flam of Monsey was born on November 15, 1927 (20 Cheshvan).
The article does not mention Rabbi Shapiro’s visit to Montreal during this period.
Sense of Belonging [Voice in the Crowd / Issue 980]
I wanted to add something to a point in Yisroel Besser’s article. It’s even more pertinent in the current situation that we Rachmana litzlan find ourselves in at the moment.
One of the most significant aspects of being a frum Yid is the sense of belonging to a vibrant kehillah, anchored by a shul and guided by a dedicated rav. This sense of belonging and guidance plays a pivotal role in our daily journey.
I am incredibly fortunate to be part of a close-knit kehillah where our rav tirelessly motivates and challenges us to lift ourselves in various aspects of life, be it in our commitment to daily learning or our approach to technology, or our engagement with contemporary issues. Having such a guiding presence in our lives is invaluable and essential.
Moreover, being part of a kehillah of like-minded individuals is equally essential. Surrounding yourself with people who share your commitment to self-improvement can be an incredible source of inspiration. When you witness fellow mispallelim continuously striving to better themselves, it pushes you to do the same.
Recently a family member who belongs to a different shul shared his experience of davening in a home minyan that has been around for two decades. What struck me was that this group lacked the guiding influence of a rav. Similarly, I’ve occasionally davened in other shuls where you can see the rav’s leadership unfortunately lacks the power to motivate the kehillah, resulting in a noticeable absence of kevod beis hamedrash during tefillos.
The importance of kehillah structure cannot be overstated, not only for our own spiritual growth, but also for the well-being and education of our children. They need to witness and learn the values of kevod haTorah, kevod hatefillah, the way people care for each other within a kehillah.
He Came Through [People of the Book / Issue 980]
Thank you for the beautiful article about baalei korei in the Succos edition.
I personally want to thank Rabbi Moshe Metzger who came through for my husband, a fellow baal korei, when he could not find a replacement one week. Rabbi Metzger walked a long way to our shul and refused payment.
As the wife of a baal korei, I see the many hours spent preparing the parshah, haftarah, and the megillos to make sure there are no mistakes. I also want to give credit to the neshei baalei korei who give up vacations and simchahs when replacements cannot be found. Many families also eat late seudos when baalei korei fill in for two or three other jobs.
May the zechus of Torah protect them all.
Fifty-Four in One [People of the Book / Issue 980]
As someone who has been leining on a regular basis since my bar mitzvah some 50 years ago, I thoroughly enjoyed your profile of the six veteran baalei kriah and appreciated your noting that is the correct term, rather than the far more popular baal korei. (Dikduk aficionados will tell you the same is true for the person who blows shofar on Rosh Hashanah — the term is “tokeia” or “baal tekiah,” not “baal tokeia.”)
Allow me to share two or three of my own special experiences over the years. Once a veteran baal kriah has leined every parshah multiple times, there are limited opportunities for new leining experiences and challenges. In 2017, Adam Rosen, a veteran baal kriah in Florida, realized that most regular baalei kriah don’t necessarily get to lein every single parshah every year due to bar mitzvahs, people who lein certain parshiyos every year, etc. So, he set out to do “54 in 1” — all the parshios and megillos in one calendar year. (The story of his experience can be found online.)
Living as I do in a neighborhood blessed with excellent baalei kriah who can lein every parshah every week, and having struggled through a long stretch of time with voice issues, I thought I would never merit the opportunity to accomplish that. But Hashem runs the world.
When our neighborhood opened several outdoor minyanim during Covid, I offered to lein at one minyan for as long as it would run. Well, the minyan ran twice a day, seven days a week, in every type of weather (and without heaters!) from Shabbos Parshas Shelach 5780 to Pesach 5782. With scheduling help from one of the local shuls, I continued leining every Shabbos after that Pesach through B’haalosecha, thereby meriting to lein not one but two complete cycles of parshiyos and megillos.
While I can certainly relate to the special feelings your interviewees experienced as they leined the Shirah or the Aseres HaDibros, the leining that touches me deepest has long been Chassan Torah and Chassan Bereishis on Simchas Torah. Whether it is because of the special trop utilized for them or the fact that the tzibbur is more actively involved with those readings than with any other parshah, that pair is the highlight of the year for me.
Last summer I spoke in shul about the heightened sense of hakaras hatov I have to the Ribbono Shel Olam for the opportunities I have had in terms of leining over the years. I merited to lein Tazria-Metzora for Rav Aharon Soloveitchik ztz”l when he spent a Shabbos at the Young Israel of Staten Island in the 1970s, and I have leined on Shabbos morning for Rav Reuven Feinstein shlita, from whom I received semichah in 1991, and Rav Hershel Schachter shlita, rosh yeshivah and rosh kollel at Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan and longtime posek for the OU, in whose shiur I was privileged to learn at YU.
I daven that Hashem will continue to give me the koach and ability to lein for many years to come and that my krias HaTorah will always be l’sheim ul’tiferes.
Rabbi Robert J. Greenberg
Fresh Meadows, New York
Don’t Make It a Policy [Inbox / Issue 981]
I am responding to the woman who wrote about struggling to give up an iPhone.
A couple years after seminary, I, too, got a smartphone. When I got married, I continued to use it. And then we moved to Israel, where I felt very uncomfortable using a smartphone. So I used it over Wi-Fi in the house and had a flip phone with me when I went out. That was nice, since when I went out with my husband, I had nothing to distract me!
When we moved back to the US, I continued to use it over Wi-Fi, but my husband was very uncomfortable. At one point, I kept my iPhone high up and only took it down as needed. Eventually, I didn’t remember where it was, didn’t need it, etc. Any important family news that my siblings find out about via WhatsApp makes its way to me somehow when it’s important!
Similarly, my husband is a BT and a wise rebbi advised him, “Don’t declare, ‘I no longer listen to non-Jewish music.’ Instead, tell yourself, ‘It just happens to be I haven’t been listening to it.’”
I found that having my iPhone available if I ever needed it helped me transition away from it.
Hatzlachah with your struggle!
Tzippy B., Lakewood, NJ
Different from Men [Living the Dream / Calligraphy Fiction Supplement]
The Calligraphy story “Living the Dream” highlighted a phenomenon in our community worth noting: Woman-to-woman advice and coaching seems to be monetized far more frequently than for men.
Especially in the areas of dating, shidduchim, and marriage, men have built-in mashgichim, rebbeim, and rabbanim who are easily accessible in a beis medrash or shul setting. In contrast, a young woman’s education removes her from the high school setting after 12th grade and often takes her overseas for a year before returning. Her network of built-in mentors is less accessible.
Coaches have jumped into this void, and women seeking guidance have fewer options, or more expensive ones. (To clarify, licensed mental health professionals fall into a different category, and should not be confused with coaches.)
There are still altruistic rebbetzins and teachers, and they remain magnets to women seeking clarity or mentoring. But this was a story of a teacher jumping ship from that altruistic model. If her family finances benefit, it may be the right move on a personal level. But from a communal standpoint, we should be paying attention to how often women in particular are targeted with for-profit chizuk and guidance, and contrast this to men seeking the same.
Fayga Nathan, Wickliffe, Ohio
Mechanech in Holiest Form [What My Teacher Taught Me / Issue 976]
I just read your Issue 976, which featured personal accounts of “what my rebbi taught me,” and I’d like to share what my rebbi taught me in 1969.
I attended the Mesivta of Long Beach from 1966 until I graduated its high school in June 1970. In 1969, my junior year, the menahel (who had also been my tenth-grade rebbi), Rav Chaim Zelikovitz shlita, offered our class a drivers’ education course on the condition we would not bring a car to the yeshivah during our senior year. The dormitory was a good 15-minute walk — three very, very long blocks — from the yeshivah, and every so often during my senior year, my mother would “lend” me her Ford Galaxy convertible for a few days. (I obviously didn’t tell her about the menahel’s condition.) I would park the car around the corner from the dormitory, or around the corner from the yeshivah, so the hanhalah wouldn’t find out that I had a car.
One morning after Shacharis, I got a message from a member of the hanhalah that Rav Zelikovitz wanted to see me immediately in his office. I knocked on the door of his small office (which I recall was carved out of a walk-in closet), and with his notorious raspy, Canadian-accented voice, he screamed, “Mordechai, didn’t we have an agreement?! No cars allowed in the senior year!” (It seemed someone snitched on me.) He went on and on, berating me, and I just silently froze, crying and shivering. He yelled that my rule-breaking was grounds for suspension, or expulsion, and he finished off his tirade, saying with a bright red face, “Mordechai, now get out of my office!”
As I walked toward the door totally broken and drenched in tears, he called out in a very soft voice, “Mordechai, now come back here.” Then he put his hand around my shoulder and whispered gently in my ear, “Mordechai, let’s make a deal — I won’t tell if you don’t tell!”
It was then quite clear to me that he knew that because I had a car, I stayed an extra hour after night seder, and I came early before Shacharis.
The year ended with Rav Zelikovitz appointing me to deliver the devar Torah as the class general speaker at graduation.
Postscript: Just a few months ago, some 53 years after this incident, I paid a visit to Rav Chaim in Lakewood. I repeated the story, which had and continues to have a profound everlasting impression of a mechanech in his holiest form. I hope it gave him chizuk, and nachas.
Mutty Grunberg, Har Nof, Yerushalayim ir hakodesh
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 982)
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