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Ki Eshmira Shabbos - Kel Yishmiraini!!!

This was sent to me by R' Elie Mishaan.

Last night, Rav Frand told over an unbelievable story that I thought you'd all appreciate. He received a letter from a rabbi who lives in Israel. This rabbi was sitting on a bus one day recently when a soldier sat down next to him. The soldier asked: "Are you a rav?" They ended up getting into a deep conversation and the soldier revealed a story that happened to him and his shipmates during the recent battle with Hezbollah. This soldier was on the Israeli boat that was hit by a missile (it was all over the news when it happened because it showed Hezbollah was stronger than the world thought). Anyway, all who were on that boat witnessed a nes from Hashem.

It was a Friday night and several of the Orthodox Israeli soldiers on the ship approached their captain with a request. They explained how crucial they felt it was that everyone eat a Shabbos meal that night. That is apparently not the norm for that ship, but these few soldiers begged their captain to not only permit this request, but also allow everyone to do it together. They said they need Hashem's help to stay safe in this battle. Furthermore, to have all the crew members of a war ship together eating at once was never done. Normally, they ate in shifts so as not to be vulnerable to the enemy at any point. However, nes number one occurred when the captain granted these frum yiddin their wish (only caveat was that there had to be 4 soldiers on the deck at all times watching the situation outside).

The soldier then explained where he was in all this. He had been very tired and his next shift of duty was at 12am midnight that Friday night. So he was planning on getting to sleep and skipping dinner so that he could be re-energized for his shift. However, when he heard everyone was eating together he decided to pop in for a few minutes before his nap. When he got there every soldier (less the 4 outside) was davening together. It was an unbelievable scene to see all these Israelis on different points of the religious spectrum answering kaddish and saying l'cha dodi in unison. Following kabbalat shabbat, they all sat down to have the shabbos meal together. Not only are the meals usually in shifts, but they are also a bit rushed. Similar to eating lunch in the middle of a work-day, these soldiers have many responsibilities and cannot take their time. This time, they were all together laughing, eating, enjoying and singing for several hours. When the meal ended, they started the bircat hamazon.

The soldier told the rabbi on the bus that he ended staying for the entire meal and blessing afterwards. His plans to sleep were foiled. However, he now has great appreciation to Hashem. The soldier told the rabbi on the bus that he ended staying for the entire meal and blessing afterwards. His plans to sleep were foiled. However, he now has great appreciation to Hashem that he missed his nap. Moments after bircat hamazon began, the ship was smashed by a Hezbollah missile. The soldier explained several possible scenarios that should have happened. First of all, the size of the missile should have sunk the ship. A big enough hole should have been created to drown the vessel. But, the missile hit a huge anchor being stored on the deck that absorbed a lot of the impact. Another nes. He also explained that the ship cought fire and the tons of stored fuel in close proximity to the flames should easily have exploded... they did not. Nes number three. Then the most obvious of the nissiim- if the crew had eaten according to their normal schedule, tens of soldiers would have been killed. They were saved because everyone was eating together in one room on the opposite side of the ship from where the rocket hit.

The soldier ran down to his quarters and found his entire room, belongings, and bed melted to ashes from the heat of the fire. He personally knew what his fate would have been had the big shabbos meal and davening not taken place. He has become an orthodox Jew from the experience. But there's more to the story. Upon searching the ship after sustaining the missile attack, soldiers found an open book in one of the rooms. It was Sefer Tehillim. What was it open to? Chapter 124. Rav Frand was explaining how we may be powerful, smart, etc., but it is Hashem taking care of us and giving us success that allows us to survive. That is exactly what that kapitel tehillim is saying. But the language used is what is so eye-opening:

"A song of ascents, by David. Had not Hashem been with us- let Israel declare now! Had not Hashem been with us when men rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us alive, when their anger was kindled against us. Then the waters would have inundated us; the current would have surged across our soul. Then they would have surged across our soul- the treacherous waters. Blessed is Hashem, who did not present us as prey for their teeth. Our soul escaped like a bird from the hunter's snare; the snare broke and we escaped. Our help is through the name of Hashem, maker of heaven and earth."

Dear Rebbe, Harav Alley Shlita,

Sometimes a secular song pops up in my head from one of the classic rock bands that I used to listen to, many times provoking a nostalgic type of feeling and tempting me to actually listen (although it almost never has happened).
I dont think its terrible, however I remember the days when I listened to them frequently, and I am not so proud of them.
My question is regarding secular music in general. What is wrong with listening to it if there is anything wrong (assuming there is no kefirah, nivil peh etc)?
Additionally, I heard that Rav Ovadya listens to Arab music-is this true?

On an unrelated topic: Due to certain time restraints, I am limited to learning only a couple of hours a day at most to over the next couple of months. There may be a chavrusa oppurtunity for me early in the morning that would allow for better learning, but it will entail going to a "road-runner" like minyan (6:40-7:15). Is it better to learn by myself, half the time thinking about everything else in the world but learning, however davening in a more kavannah-conducive minyan, or learn more shtark and not daven as well, likely having to catch up most of the time?

All You Need is Love (and fear, towards Hashem)

You are a Lamdan. See Tzitz Eliezer vol. 13 chapter 12.

But I'd love to talk about it on the phone!!!

Love me.

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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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