“The discomfort you felt seeing any images in Mishpacha isn’t a fraction of the extraordinary pain and bewilderment a huge chunk of Klal Yisrael is going through”
Sacred Obligation [Guestlines / Issue 983]
I was very happy to see the inspirational words of mori v’rabi Rav Moshe Wolfson shlita featured in last week’s Mishpacha. I think it’s important to mention that since Simchas Torah, Tehillim b’tzibbur is said in Beis Medrash Emunas Yisroel (where Rav Wolfson is mara d’asra) every evening for one half hour.
Rav Wolfson said that it is a chov kadosh for every member of the shul to come whenever possible. Saying Tehillim at this crucial time, he said, is a fulfillment of V’ahavta lerei’acha kamocha and Lo saamod al dam rei’echa. Rav Wolfson also quoted the teaching that tov me’at b’kavanah meiharbeh shelo b’kavanah and exhorted us to say the Tehillim slowly and with great feeling.
May we see yeshuos b’karov.
Rabbi Shimon Finkelman
Protecting Yishmael [The Front Lines in People’s Minds / Issue 983]
The coverage of the media’s bias against Israel was presented very well. What is the source for Yishmael’s ability to be defended by the media? The answer can be found in this week’s parshah.
Hagar has run out of water in the desert. She puts Yishmael down “tachas achad hasichim,” which simply translates to “beneath one of the bushes.” This action of Hagar was a protection for Yishmael to be covered by the sichim — in today’s terms, we might think of that as the media, those that have the public’s ear and who shield Yishmael’s children.
May we all be protected by Hashem from their evil intent.
Rabbi Mordechai Menashe Adelman
Whose Opinion Counts? [The Front Lines in People’s Minds / Issue 983]
The cover story of this past week’s issue was a reminder that with all the talk of public opinion, really we need to be concerned right now only about HaKadosh Baruch Hu’s opinion of us — not the media’s, foreign countries’, or anyone else’s.
(And to be perfectly honest, I don’t remember a time in recent history when, at least from my limited viewpoint, HaKadosh Baruch Hu had so many reasons to be so proud of us as He is right now. The examples can fill issue after issue of future magazines, of Klal Yisrael’s achdus, Torah, tefillah, tzniyus, and chesed.)
So let’s try to worry less about everyone else and work on living up to HaKadosh Baruch Hu’s high opinion of us.
Miriam Klapper, RBS
Flip Through Your Options [Connected Journal]
I read Aliza Feder’s “Connected” journal the past six weeks and have utmost respect for what she has done. I’m sure her “experiment” has inspired many others! It takes tremendous strength to give up on technology we’ve come to rely on. However, being a flip phone user all my life I wanted to enlighten you about a few things that can make life simpler, and encourage others to follow.
First of all, there are many different flip phones out there — find the one with the most convenient texting method for you. Second, most flip phones today have the option of email without any other Internet access which can make life simpler as well. Depending on your phone plan, some flip phones can receive picture texts and text to overseas numbers at no additional costs. Some of them even have a weather app! I suggest you walk into a heimish flip phone shop and ask them about these options.
As for online shopping, have you considered shopping from an Internet kiosk? The geder of not having Internet at home is a biggie. I’ve tried and tested it — the menuchas hanefesh you get makes it all worth it!
Much hatzlachah to all of Klal Yisrael in this area.
Finessing the Fig [Connected Journal]
I really liked the series in which Mrs. Aliza Feder courageously shares her journey with us. Each week, it brings me back to the awesome inspiring feelings of the Nekadesh event and helps me tap into my inner self’s outlook on technology.
There are just a few points I would like readers to know about the Fig phone, because I’ve had a different experience than Mrs. Feder has had in this regard. First, my Fig phone does not give me texting issues with freezing. I know that different Fig phones even of the same model have different issues with them, no two are exactly alike, but readers should be aware that they do in essence work.
And if we’re talking about convenience, it has voice-to-text, which, although it needs to be checked over to make sure the correct words came through, I personally feel is much more convenient than the screen on any smartphone.
Also, Mrs. Feder mentions the aspect of needing to know what time a store closes... I would like to point out that the Fig phone has Waze, and on Waze one can find stores and their phone numbers, which can be called to get the opening hours.
Thank you for such a real and personal serial of growth!
Y. T., Queens
Fan Mail [The Kichels / Issue 983]
Yes, a kippah has many uses, but the cartoon with the yarmulke being used as a fan....
Did you snap that picture of me and my husband when I wasn’t looking?
Elkie Kantor, Yerushalayim
Time for Pain [Inbox / Issue 982]
Mishpacha is known not to deviate from the reality, while still staying true to Torah values. That is why we all buy it.
Sometimes there are challenges that makes us feel uncomfortable. Yet we read about them and discuss the issues to find solutions and bring awareness. After so many years of tackling important issues, I was very surprised by the recent backlash to your coverage of the Hamas massacres.
As much we all want to continue living the comfortable Lakewood life, we can’t keep our heads in the sand. There are kidnapped Yidden. There are Yidden who are missing limbs. There are parents who have children on the front lines. There are hundreds of thousands of Yidden in intense tzaar. And all we can think about is that we have been exposed too much?
Exposed to what? To Yidden’s lives shattered, destroyed, to so much potential cruelly snuffed out.
Consider how many children actually experienced the horrors — and all we think about is that we saw a picture that scared us? We are way too comfortable in Lakewood and the surrounding towns. In times like these, we need to feel pain and suffering of other people rather than complain that our safe cocoon of the highest standards of luxury was slightly prickled.
If we had first degree relatives suffering right now, our gut reaction would be pure pain — not dismay at being “exposed.” Yet our brothers are in intense pain! Avraham split from Lot because of their differences in values. Yet when danger struck, he risked his life for his brother (nephew).
As Bnei Avraham, we have to feel like our actual brother are in pain. When your brother is kidnapped you don’t make cheshbonos. You go in overdrive. You run on adrenaline. Only after the dust settles will the time come for healing. At a time of intense pain for a family, micro pain is not the focus. That is pure selfishness and immaturity.
Mishpacha got it right the first time. There was no reason to apologize.
Lonely In Luxurious Lakewood
Straight into the Garbage [Inbox / Issue 982]
I’m in total agreement with the people who took you to task for the horrific pictures of the war.
One person said she tore out pictures. But in line with the statement that one cannot unsee what has been seen, I did one better. I threw the magazine straight into the garbage.
(And no, not seeing the images didn’t detract one iota from my ability to be nosei b’ol.)
Intentionally Blinding Yourself [Inbox / Issue 982]
I was shocked and dismayed to read letters stating that the coverage of the war was “too graphic.”
Perhaps it was not graphic enough! The sheer extent of the tragedy, the horrors that our brethren in Israel experienced, the agony of those still waiting for news of their loved ones is incomprehensible.
Where can a Yid find the audacity to hide under the covers in the face of such horror, horrors that our brothers and sisters experienced? To intentionally blind oneself and find the delicate war coverage in the Mishpacha to be “too graphic” is self-centered and displays a complete lack of empathy.
We must educate ourselves, and at the very least not bury our heads in the sand. And in all honesty, the pictures featured in the Mishpacha barely scratched the surface of what happened.
Thank you for continuously reporting and educating us.
Can’t Sleep at Night [Inbox / Issue 982]
I know I’m reiterating a point that’s been mentioned by previous letters, but I am so incensed by the other letters that I felt compelled to repeat it.
A reader writes angrily that Mishpacha’s coverage of the events in Eretz Yisrael left her unable to sleep, and urged the magazine to print only “beautiful and uplifting” articles, thereby enabling the reader to sleep peacefully.
I would like to ask one question: did it ever occur to you, that after your people, your family, have been massacred in the most brutal and vicious attack that’s ever occurred in your lifetime, that maybe losing a bit of sleep over it is entirely appropriate?
How can you complain that you were caused to lose sleep, when you are aware, I hope, that 400,000 Jewish mothers cannot sleep at night because they dread being the mothers whose sons will never come home?
How well do you think hundreds of your brothers and sisters are sleeping in tunnels in Gaza r”l, or in hospital beds with missing limbs, or in any of the thousands of homes with empty beds, beds that will remain empty forever?
How restful is the sleep of the families whose lives, homes, limbs, past, present and future have been blown apart? There are thousands of parents sitting shivah for their children and letter writers are complaining that the pictures of their pain disturbed them.
In the secular world they are still watching. National television still interviews weeping fathers begging the world not to forget that their beautiful children are in Hamas captivity. How do you think that father would feel, after a torturous day begging the world to remember what happened, if they were told that there are religious people complaining to magazines that the pictures of his home caused them pain….
And please, please, leave emunah out of this. We have a clear obligation to be nosei b’ol im chaveiro. Feeling another Jew’s pain means just that: feeling pain. Not having a heartwarming kumzitz.
We know one gadol story after another, describing how our leaders wept bitterly and felt tremendous anguish at other Jews’ tzaros. Do you think they didn’t have emunah? If you don’t understand how the two concepts coexist, reach out to a rav who will be happy to explain it. But don’t exempt yourself from the basic tenet of Yiddishkeit of being nosei b’ol under the cover of being a baal bitachon.
Believe me, the discomfort you felt seeing any images in Mishpacha isn’t a fraction of the extraordinary pain and bewilderment a huge chunk of Klal Yisrael is going through. And yet, not only do you not strive to feel more of their pain, you are upset that you even got a taste of it.
I have heard many people state, almost with pride, how they’ve managed to avoid witnessing any trace of the suffering in Eretz Yisrael, as if it were inappropriate social media hype. If there are mental health considerations, that’s one thing, but they don’t bother going there: their reasons are “it gets me upset,” or “it makes me sad.” Yes, you should feel distressed! Yes, you should feel upset! Are you part of the Jewish People? All of a sudden it’s a Jewish concept not to be upset by Jewish suffering? Chazal make it clear: the more intensely you feel the suffering of Klal Yisrael, the greater a person you are.
Maybe, maybe, look at something your brothers and sisters went through that makes you deeply uncomfortable, and feel just a drop of the terrible trauma, shock and anguish they experienced. And then, feeling confused, pained, and in real agony, cry. Cry and daven with a real passion that Hashem have rachmanus on His nation. You will have grown as a Jew, become more connected to the Jewish People, and have contributed a real powerful tefillah to arouse divine mercy.
Do this instead of insisting on only seeing material that is “beautiful and uplifting,” running away from feeling the pain of Klal Yisrael, and in your happy and comfortable state patting yourself on the back on being a true baal bitachon.
A rav was once asked why he allowed his young son to read a Holocaust book. After all, it might give him nightmares. He replied, “A million Jewish children lost their lives in the Holocaust; my son can lose one night’s sleep.” To the all the unhappy readers out there, thousands upon thousands of acheinu beis Yisrael suffered unbearable losses; you can lose a night’s sleep.
May Hashem have rachmanus on Klal Yisrael.
Give Sunday, Gain Shabbos [Safeguard the Queen / Issue 982]
Thank you, Mishpacha, for the recent article on Rav Yitzckak Zilberstein’s call to redouble our efforts regarding shemiras Shabbos.
I write this letter in the wake of unprecedented displays of achdus in Eretz Yisrael and manifestations of religious yearning by nonreligious Israelis, especially soldiers, seeking tefillin, tzitzis, kosher food, and kiddush cups. Perhaps the greatest impediment to greater respect for, if not outright halachic observance, of Shabbos among many Israelis is the lack of a “Sunday” weekend day off — something we take for granted here in America.
If our secular and traditional brethren in Israel had Sundays off for leisure, travel, shopping or entertainment, it would significantly diminish the temptation to use Shabbos Kodesh for these activities.
Indeed, if Israeli football (soccer) games were played on Sunday afternoon, we wouldn’t be witness to the frequent spectacle of even traditional families going to shul Shabbos morning, making Kiddush and eating a family Shabbat seudah, before heading out to the irresistible and nationally televised soccer match.
This is not a new concept; just prior to Rosh Hashanah, Rabbi Warren Goldstein, chief rabbi of South Africa, penned a persuasive essay on this matter in the Jerusalem Post and he referenced a prior survey he commissioned showing widespread support in Israel for this initiative. He specifically noted the sentiment among many chilonim that having Sundays off would result in a greater desire to respect Shabbat.
Might I suggest this agenda be embraced by Mishpacha and its readers and by our many relevant askanim. There is wide appeal for a four-and-a-half day workweek in Israel. Now is the time to leverage the widespread appreciation for kedushah mentioned above to introduce Sunday as a non-working day.
This will lessen the temptation for chillul Shabbos, diminish the issue of Shabbos as a religious-secular flashpoint, and bring greater glory to the Shabbos Queen.
Dr. Eli Rybak, Clifton, NJ
Honored Guests [Tracing the Maggid’s Footsteps / Issue 980]
I was delighted to read about Rav Paysach Krohn in the Succos edition. It isn’t easy to capture the essence of people who are greater than life in a few mere pages, but Mishpacha writers seem to never fail at it.
The comparisons between this famous mohel and his predecessor Avraham Avinu were very befitting, although they wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the tremendous amount of chesed coming out of the Krohn’s home.
The Krohns’ hachnassas orchim is legendary. It is true that they rarely spend Shabbos at home nowadays being that Reb Paysach is a sought-after speaker, but a friend and I were zocheh to be hosted by the Krohns on Shabbos Vayakhel-Pekudei 28 years ago, and this experience will forever stay etched in our hearts.
We must have been around ten singles from various backgrounds invited over that week. I remember walking in on Erev Shabbos to find Reb Paysach learning at his desk and Mrs. Krohn playing the piano (!) surrounded by her local grandkids that she had just bathed and dressed prior to sending them back home. I thought they must be the most organized people on earth!
When we came back from shul, I was curious about a serving table next to Reb Paysach’s seat in the dining room, with a tall pile of open books and printouts. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that he had meticulously planned every single article he would mention during the seudah, and was naturally pulling them off one after the other!
From course to course, Rabbi Krohn and his wife made us feel so comfortable, and kept everyone involved in the conversation by asking them questions about their backgrounds and listening to their life stories. We especially had a fun time seeing Mrs. Krohn in action vetoing new stories for her husband’s upcoming books or speeches.
On our way back from shul on Shabbos morning, I had asked Reb Paysach a question on the parshah and we were looking for an answer in various seforim. At one point Mrs. Krohn, wanting to get started with the seudah, inquired about what was bothering us and told us exactly in which mefareish to go look for the answer!
After Shabbos was over Reb Paysach made arrangements for us to go back to yeshivah, and took the time to call our parents to give them a nachas report on their children, which obviously made them feel so good. A lifelong kesher developed between our families since.
I have no doubt that our experience was shared by hundreds of others over the years, and that the middah of chesed is the driving force behind every one of the Krohns’ enterprises. We wish them many more years of zikui harabbim and nachas from their children, who all emulate their parents’ ways so well.
M. C. S.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 984)
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