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A Besurah ... From the Editor (Issue 190)

Dear Rabbi Hoffman,

I don’t know if you are aware, but this week is not the end of the year, even though you are calling it the “Year-End” edition. In fact, the end of the year was back in Elul, on erev Rosh Hashana, and the Parshas Hashavua then was Nitzavim-Vayelech. That is when the year 5783 ended and on Rosh Hashana, the New Year of 5784 began. Please let your readers know of this obvious oversight and issue a retraction, so our heilige tinokos shel beis rabban should not be confused by your untimely words.


I know it sounds funny, but I am fully expecting someone to write such a letter. I’ve received similar types in the past. And for the past 4 years, I have explained in this column, often in great detail, why we have our annual “Year-End” edition at the end of December. If anyone

feels that I am “not aware” or need to be “made aware” and must “issue a retraction,” with all

due respect (you know what that means), ayin sham, v’kal.


The last time Parshas Vayechi fell out on the final weekend in December was seven years ago. Interestingly, it doesn’t happen all that often. Which makes it unique and unusual - and

certainly worth writing about. (Again, for those who plan to write letters in protest, please google the word “Retraction,” clip it out and hang it on your refrigerator, if that will make you happy.)


The Shabbos we conclude Sefer Bereishis, is also the weekend we conclude the calendar

year. It is cold and dreary outside, the full brunt of the winter lies ahead, soon to be followed by the thawing of spring, the blooming of vegetation and ultimately the glorious revelation of life renewed. Parshas Vayechi is the end of an era, literally and figuratively. Yaakov Avinu’s mortal entity passes on to the next world and leaves his family in Mitzrayim, where the prospects ahead include subjugation, slavery and torturous exile. Sefer Shemos begins with the narration of how Bnei Yisroel sunk to the deepest depths of impurity while enduring the harshest strains of servitude. Thus, at this juncture, the full brunt of Golus Mitzrayim lies ahead, and although we know that in a few weeks, we will be reading about the Makkos, our exodus from bondage, and ultimately our glorious redemption from exile, we still must deal with the suffering and pain as it manifests itself in the present.


Vayechi means life, and it is meant to provide encouragement and consolation, especially

during the doldrums of Winter. In the world we find ourselves today, Bnei Yisroel can certainly use some encouragement and unfortunately quite a bit of consolation. News from Eretz Yisroel is often heartrending and disappointing. We don’t hear much good news. The war seems to be dragging on, day after day, with no end in sight. Jewish soldiers are killed r”l in action and the UN has the gall to say that it is ok, just as long as Palestinians aren’t harmed. People ask me all the time (as if I can do something about it), why doesn’t the world apply the same pressure to Hamas like they do to Israel? The world demands that Israel cease their fire, their campaign of rooting out and eradicating a recognized

terrorist organization, because innocent Palestinians are being killed. Why doesn’t the

world demand that Hamas return every single hostage that was illegally kidnapped from their

homes in Israel? Why should they do that? Aside from the morality of it all, it is pretty clear

and the Israelis have practically spelled it out, that the minute every last hostage is handed over alive and well, Israel will stop firing. But do we hear any sort of call from world leaders or the UN? No. The question is why not? I don’t have a coherent answer to that question.


So it may be a stormy winter out there and the snow hasn’t even fallen yet, but here at the

Mevaser, we are just getting warmed up! We have a mission statement and with Siyata Dishmaya, we hope to see it through: to give life, chiyus, to so many Yidden who read, enjoy and appreciate the Mevaser week after week. Not just in Monsey - but in so many other locations in the Tri-State area as well? Of course, all of Rockland County, but also Passaic, Clifton, Teaneck, Lakewood, Jackson, Waterbury, Far Rockaway, Cedarhurst, Woodmere, Kew Gardens Hills and the Catskills. We do have plans for further expansion iy”H, but until then, you can get the Mevaser by email or view it online.


So, in case you were planning to write a letter complaining about my lack of chronological

knowledge and the vagaries of the Jewish calendar, my response is “Vayechi” - get a life, enjoy life, treasure life and all the goodness that Hashem has given you. The Mevaser is here to help.


Dovid Hoffman

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