Jonathan and Esther Pollard, Heroes of Israel, in Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim


This week, we were blessed in Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim, in the heart of the Old City of Yerushalayim, to have a visit from Jonathan and Esther Pollard, heroes of Israel.
Rav Aviner had written tens of articles over the years to help the plight of Jonathan, wrote him letters and sent him Divrei Torah every week and visited him in prison.


Here is Rav Aviner's Dvar Torah:
And here is Jonathan's Dvar Torah:

Rav Aviner concluded by saying that he was asked:
Q: Should one recite Shehechiyanu when meeting Jonathan his release as one does when not seeing his friend for 30 days?
A: Yes. 
Q: But Shehechiyanu is only recited when one is joyous to meet his friend, and not when one has never met the person?  And is someone who visited Pollard in prison, as Ha-Rav did, in the category of a "friend"?!
A: This is a unique case.  Pollard is all of our friend since he saved our entire Nation from the non-conventional weapons of the enemy.  When the Netziv met the Aderet for the first time, he recited Shehechiyanu.
Q: This was special since the Aderet was a Torah giant!  And there are other such examples of reciting the blessing for famous Rabbis.  It therefore seems that this is a special halachah for Torah giants!
A: One who saves his friend, and all the more so one who saves the entire community, has an aspect that is comparable to a Torah scholar.  See Pele Yoetz Erech "Hatzalah", who explains the saying of our Rabbis: "Even those of Israel who are empty are as full of Mitzvot as a pomegranate [is full of seeds]."  How so?  It is those who save lives.  And the Pele Yoetz emphasizes: One who saves lives is greater even than a Torah scholar.      
And Rav Aviner recited Shechechiyanu with Hashem's Name and Kingship for Pollard for everyone in the Yeshiva!


Blessed is Hashem who Redeems the Captives!

Short and Sweet - Text Message Q&A #405


Traveling to Space

Q: Is it permissible to travel to space?

A: One should not leave Eretz Yisrael


Making Change from Tzedekah Box

Q: Is it permissible to make change from a Tzedakah box?

A: It is permissible.  Some are strict to give a little Tzedakah at the time (The Brisker Rav was strict not to do so.  His son, Ha-Rav Meir Ha-Levi Soloveitchik, Rosh Yeshivat Brisk in Yerushalayim, explains that even if two people have the same exact watch, they would not want to switch since each watch belongs to the owner.  And so too regarding the money in the Tzedakah box, since it is not the same money.  In the book 'De-Chazitei Le-Rebbe Meir' Volume 1, p. 307.  Although perhaps one can explain that there is a difference between an object which always remains with a person and money, which frequently changes hands).


Reserve Duty in Tzahal

Q: I was exempt from reserve duty because of a wound.  If they allow me to return, should I do so?

A: Certainly.  It is a great Mitzvah.



Q: Is there an ethical value to working?

A: Yes.  1. To earn a livelihood with respect.  2. To help build the world.


Corona Miracle

Q: Should we say Hallel regarding the miracle in the State of Israel that Corona has disappeared within a year when other countries are still in the midst of the pandemic?

A: No.  Rather: 1. Repent.  2. Pray.  3. Give Tzedakah.  4. Give thanks to the Prime Minister.  5. Give thanks to the doctors.


Seperation Wall as Eruv

Q: Is Yehudah and Shomron considered today as one place with regards to an Eruv since there is the Separation Wall?

A: No.  The wall does not encompass the entire area, it is not like a fence around a Yishuv, the area is huge and includes fields, and many other reasons.  Incidentally, the way, the Separation Wall is part of the Eruv in Yerushalayim.


Soldier who Jumps on Hand Grenade

Q: Why isn't a soldier who jumps on a hand grenade to save his fellow soldiers consider a suicide?

A: It is self-sacrifice for the sake of others.  All of Tzahal is based on self-sacrifice.


We are Pregnant

Q: How should I say it: My wife is pregnant or "we" are pregnant?

A: It does not matter.


Amen for Non-Jew's Blessing?

Q: Should one say Amen over a non-Jew's blessing over food?

A: No.  It is an Amen said in vain.


Learning Rav Kook

Q: Why is it so important to learn Rav Kook's works?

A: He is the special Divine agent for building the National and individual soul during the time of our National revival.