All Shiurim at the Tif

Entrusting children to non-Jews to save them - v5 #9 by R' Aaron Cohen

11:02 minutes (1.9 MB)

As word spread that the Nazis were planning to conduct a mass murder of children, parents frantically sought ways to save their children. Could they give the children to a priest or church, knowing that they would be inculcated with Christian beliefs? Could they entrust the children with non-Jewish acquaintances who avowed that they would return the children to their families after the war

Reference Material (pdf)

Can someone in hiding adjacent to a Minyan be considered to be davening bi'tzibbur - v4 #4 by R' Aaron Cohen

9:05 minutes (1.56 MB)

The Jews in the Kovno Ghetto constructed a Bais Medrash for Tefilla and Torah, and they made a secret room adjacent to it for those hiding from the Nazis. The question arose: if they could hear the Tefillos from that secret room but could not see the Bais Medrash, was it considered Tefilla Bi’tzibbur?

Reference Material (pdf)

Can a boy use the name of his adoptive father for an Aliya - v3 #11 by R' Aaron Cohen

5:52 minutes (1.01 MB)

A man saved a boy from the mass murder of 1200 children by the Nazis. He adopted the child, protected him, and cared for him. Tragically, the child’s parents were murdered during the Holocaust. The adoptive father asked Rav Oshry: when the boy is called up for an Aliya to the Torah, can his own name be used when referencing the boy’s father?

Reference Material (pdf)

Divrei Hisorerus 5778 by Rav Meir Stern

28:40 minutes (4.93 MB)

Endangering oneself to join the partisans - v4 #10 by R' Aaron Cohen

13:04 minutes (2.37 MB)

R’ Yitzchak Gold posed the following question to Rav Oshry: The conditions in the Kovno Ghetto were appalling. Periodically large groups of Jews were deported to concentration camps; Jews were often killed suddenly without cause; many died of hunger and illness. Could or should one risk one’s life to join the partisans to fight against the Germans, even though that entailed enormous danger as well?

Geniza of Aron Kodesh of destroyed Bais Knesses v2 #17 by R' Aaron Cohen

10:01 minutes (1.85 MB)

Following the war, Rav Oshry travelled throughout Lithuania and witnessed the heart-rending obliteration of Batei Knesses, Batei Medrash, and Yeshivos. The question arose: Is it necessary to bury the remnants of an Aron Kodesh? What about the other parts of the Bais Knesses, Bais Medrash, or Yeshiva?

Reference Material (pdf)

Setting up matzeiva in destroyed cemetery by R' Aaron Cohen

10:11 minutes (1.88 MB)

Rav Oshry describes the wholesale destruction of Jewish cemeteries throughout Lithuania by the Nazis and their Lithuanian accomplices. A Mr. Segal posed the following Shaila to Rav Oshry: The tombstones of his parents’ graves had been destroyed and it was impossible to identify the location of their burial within the cemetery. Should he set up a Matzeiva (tombstone) memorializing his parents in the cemetery, even if it would not be located where they were buried?

Reference Material (pdf)

Kohein whose vocal cords were damaged - can he duchen - v4 #9 by R' Aaron Cohen

14:00 minutes (2.53 MB)

A Kohein, attempting to smuggle a piece of bread for his sick mother, was caught by the Nazis and beaten mercilessly. His vocal cords were permanently damaged and his voice was barely audible. While suffering great emotional trauma, he turned to Rav Oshry with trepidation to ask: Is he still allowed to fulfill the Mitzva of Birkas Kohanim, despite the difficulty in making his voice heard to the Tzibbur?

Reference Material (pdf)

Keeping remnants of Sifrei Torah in one's home - v4 #21 by R' Aaron Cohen

11:12 minutes (2.05 MB)

Rav Oshry notes that the savagery of the Nazis and their cohorts was also directed at articles of Kedusha such as Sifrei Torah, Seforim, Tefillin, etc. One individual, a descendant of the Vilna Gaon, had a Sefer Torah that had belonged to the Gra and was passed down in the family through the generations. Despite his efforts to hide the Sefer Torah, he found it after the liberation torn to shreds. Could he keep the remnants of the Sefer Torah in his home as a memorial to his family, or did he need to bury it in the ground as the Gemara and Shulchan Aruch prescribe?

Putting on Tefillin that was found without checking its Kashrus - v4 #19 by R' Aaron Cohen

6:03 minutes (1.17 MB)

In the aftermath of the Holocaust, survivors were faced with a shortage of Tefillin. Some pairs of Tefillin were found in the possession of non-Jews, apparently taken from homes and Shuls as the Jewish communities were ravaged. Given the extenuating circumstances, could these Tefillin be used without checking their Kashrus?

Reference Material (pdf)

Fulfilling Krias Shema by listening - v4 #13 by R' Aaron Cohen

9:26 minutes (1.75 MB)

After the liberation, Rav Oshry searched for Jewish children who had been taken into non-Jewish families. He found a 14 year old boy wearing a cross, who asked Rav Oshry incredulously if there were still Jews left from the Kovno community. The boy eagerly went with Rav Oshry and was entrusted to a foster family. He had no knowledge of the most basic elements of Torah and Mitzvos and could not read Hebrew, and the question arose how he should initially fulfill the Mitzva of Krias Shema.

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