A Letter from Rabbi Zweibel


chaim-dovid-zweibel-1Dear Readers,

I am writing to friends and supporters of Agudath Israel to call your attention to an important gathering for the men of our community tomorrow night, Tuesday, 7 Menachem Av/July 28, in the Ohr Hachayim Viznitz Hall, 1824 53rd Street, in Brooklyn.

The asifa, which is being sponsored by community askonim, will be focusing on the timeless (but also all too timely) theme of “Vi’asisa hayashar vi’hatov.” It will feature two distinguished rabbonim – Harav Avrohom Schorr, shlita, and Harav Dovid Ozieri, shlita; as well as two respected legal experts – Benjamin Brafman, Esq. and Jacob Laufer, Esq. I will be serving as the evening’s chairman. We will start with Mincha at 7:15 and then proceed with the program.

Introspection about how to better live our lives in consonance with Torah ideals is always timely. It is particularly timely during the days leading up to Tisha B’Av, when we mourn the fact that we remain in Golus, and the reasons why.

And in the wake of recent headlines and front-page photographs that made every feeling Jewish heart ache, it is even more timely for us to take a good, hard look at our obligations to our fellows, to our society, to our government.

I don’t think I can adequately convey how compelling this gathering should be to us all. But I am confident that you realize how vital it is that we hear words of mussar and chizuk, and that we learn to distinguish between conduct that conforms with dina d’malchusa and conduct that does not. I am also confident that you understand how important it is to demonstrate to the wider world how heartfelt and determined Jews respond to news like the tragic tidings of recent days. Tomorrow night’s symposium and our attendance are an important part of that response.

Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel
Executive Vice President
Agudath Israel of America

{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. When are we going to have a major assifa to address the pending “Toeivah Marriage” bill which is waiting in the N.Y. State Senate?

  2. The only Eitza is to learn learn learn the sugyos of Financial Halahca. When the community is as aware of the halahcos of dinei mammonos as they are of the halachos of Shabbos and Kashrus, then the community standards for Finances will be where the community standards are regarding shabos and Kashrus.

  3. I hope the evening will include the announcement of a program to put learning Choshen Mishpat on a par with learning Hilchos Shabbos and Kashrus, as AG recommends.

    It might be useful to consult with the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation regarding their methods of putting Shmiras Halashon “on the map” for everyone when it had become a “forgotten” mitzvah.

    We need all the help we can get.

  4. As an addition, there should also be a program for women. Many women now work outside the home or run their own businesses from home, and they also need to know the halachas.

    Also, a woman is required to be “ezer k’negdo” to her husband – in this case being “k’negdo” when she senses he is stepping out of bounds. For this knowledge of where the boundaries are is also necessary.

    And if she is aware of the importance of the halachas, she will be less likely to pressure her husband for material things when he cannot provide the required money in a yoshor way.

  5. I assume that the agudah will now be scrutinizing the sources of their donations .

    I am sure they will also be removing donors with questionable buisnesses and activity from theyr board as well.

  6. to rachel r an asifa wouldnt be good enough for you you bash frum people with all your comments you should learn shemiras haloshon before you write another comment (by the way i did )

  7. Rachel R. –

    Keep up your great comments. You are a great voice for emes and yashrus, which are so important in Yiddishkeit. I can provide with you with information re how to ‘participate’ in a limited way in such gatherings, but would rather not post it here. If there was another way to contact you that might work, otherwise you or a man close to you could talk to those in charge and see what they say.

  8. Learning Choshen Mishapat or other sforim on these topics, does seem to be a good idea. It does not seem to be learned as much as Orach Chaim. But —

    Rabbosai, do we have to learn Choshen Mishpat to avoid things which everyone knows is wrong?

    Learning it will help, like all halochos; learning them helps. But, lema’an Hashem some things are obvious, or considered obvious. True *sometimes* there may not really be anything wrong done, but there still is the matter of Chillul Hashem. Chillul Hashem can happen r”l even if there is nothing wrong done. Chillul Hashem is of course a more chomur issur. Hahem yishmerainu mikol issurim.

  9. What in the world are they going to see in Choshen Mishpat?
    We ars clearly taught that we don’t have to be concerned with the money and assets of an Einu Yehudi. Neither are we to be concerned with his health and well being. To the contrary, this helps us keep away from Assimilation.
    But, when we are caught, and there is a major Chilul Hashem, we all go haywire.
    So what are we to teach our children and young couples:: Do as you want, BUT DON’T GET CAUGHT, because of Chillul Hashem.

  10. There is a relatively new wonderful organization Machon L’Choshen Mishpat that is committed to providing awareness and education in all areas of financial halacha.

    People who do things they know are wrong won’t benefit from learning. BUT our community as a whole COLLECTIVELY enables such things by not being educated about the halachos. Scandals DO NOT happen in a vacuum. They happen when a society is not vigilant in those areas.

    Its time we started seeing dikduk halacha perhaps even “chumros” financial halachos e.g. paying on time, mekach taus, reneging on employment and rental agreements, etc etc.

    Tzion B’mishpat Ti’padeh

  11. I don’t understand. My parents went through the war and had no opportunity to go to Yeshiva and certainly not to learn Choshen Mishpat.They operated a business. I can attest that every single penny they ever made was honest and hard earned.

    We get lost in pilpulim. There are simple basic truths about what is honest and what is not – what is chilul hashem and what is not.
    Lets get back to basics. Fundamental notions of honesty, humility and simple lifestyle should guide us – then we will not have the problems of the last few days.

  12. To #14.
    You are probably right.
    But logically he makes sense. I wish you would have tried to distroy the argument instead of the messenger.
    The fact is that there is no requirement of Hashovas Aveidu L’Akim in a situation where there is no Chillul or Kiddush Hashem. It is not even allowed, Lo Sechonem.

  13. For those who question the proper way to relate to non-Jews I would recommend the biography of Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetzky, zatzal, by Rabbi Yonasan Rosenblum. (Reb Yaakov: The life and times of Hagaon Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetzky. R. Yonason Rosenblum. Artscroll, 1993).

    I will not comment on it here. Read the biography. You will find Reb Yaakov’s life and hashkafa inspiring and informative in many ways. If you are too young to remember who Reb Yaakov was, ask your father or your Rav. He was the contemporary and partner with Rabbi Moshe Feinstein in restoring the Torah to its glory here in the US after the Holocaust.

  14. Anonymous: I have just googled Machon L’Choshen Mishpat at http://www.machonmishpat.com. It is under the supervision of Rabbi Chaim Kohn, who is listed as speaking at at least one Agudah event on financial halacha in 2007. This seems like a very informative site and I plan to surf more of it myself. I recommend to everyone to check it out and see if you find it useful.

    However, the problem with not learning on a regular basis is that we forget something that is not constantly reviewed. Also, remember that the Yetzer Hara is always looking for an opening, and the best defense is study.

  15. I am shocked.

    Paying wages on time, mekach tous, is a chumrah???

    How about genaivoh, genaivas da’as, dinoh de’malchusoh? Are these also chumras. Even with a’kum?

    If some people think so we really need these shiurim. Before the shiurim we need rabbonim and other teachers to just tell us the halochos that are nogeiah. The protim can be asked and discussed/taught later.

    Lema’an Hashem!!! Le’ma’an Tzion!!! (true meaning) !!!

  16. For those who are interested:

    Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s sefer “Love Your Neighbor” is a listing and explanation of the mitzvas “bein adam l’chavero” including halachos of business. Read it and see that paying wages on time, gneivas da’as, etc. aren’t chumros – they’re plain old-fashioned halacha.

    PbP is right – we really need shiurim if people don’t know this any more!

  17. The intention was learning the halachos of regarding paying on time, mekach taus, reneging on employment and rental agreements, etc etc.

    In scenarios where there would be a machlokes haposkim perhaps even being chosheh lchumra for a minority opinion etc. Like many people do in areas of Shabbos and Kashrus

  18. Re #20:
    Yes. I understand what you are saying, and agree, for people like you.

    For many others, just the ikorei dinim would be a chiddush.