5777

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?

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?

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?

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?

Chatzitza by tefillin - when covering a cross etched on the arm - v1 #26 by R' Aaron Cohen


11:59 minutes (2.19 MB)

Rav Oshry describes the overwhelming burden of the Jews conscripted into forced labor, leaving well before the break of dawn and returning at night. These Jews faced the question of when they could put on Tefillin. One courageous individual secretively put on his Tefillin at daybreak while marching to work, but he was caught by the Nazi guards. After cruelly beating him, they engraved a cross onto his arm where the Tefillin Shel Yad is placed. This individual was painfully embarrassed at this symbol being seen by others as he prepared to put on his Tefillin.

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