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Volume 22, No. 2, #154 - click here

 Publisher's Letter:
     Publisher's Message
 Let's Shmooze:
     Let's Shmooze
     A Tale of Two Mirrors
     D?var Torah Vayakhel-Pekudei
 Cover Story:
     Gershon Veroba: Second Impressions
     Regesh: Vol. 11
     In Memory of Rav Avigdor Miller
 Sound Off:
     Jews on the Moon
     Freedom Under Attack
     K'Ish Echod B'Lev Echod
 Real Life:
     A Holocaust Lesson From Rav Moshe
 Health & Advice:
     Dear Bubby
 Special Report:
     The Z Report
     Can't You Just Plotz
     Older But No Wiser
 Top 10's:
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May 2009 • Sivan 5759 Volume 22, No. 2, #154
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A Tale of Two Mirrors

Part One

It must have been about twenty years ago. My family and I were making our annual pilgrimage to the Bronx Zoo. We entered one of the houses; perhaps it was the gorilla or monkey house.

It was, of course, not a house, but rather an enclosed part of the zoo where the animals are behind glass panes and the room is darkened.

As I made my way through the darkened passageways of the ‘house,’ I noticed that there was one exhibit which was causing many people to chuckle and nod approvingly as they looked into the small cubicle of the animal on display.

I walked over to the area and noticed a small sign posted at the entrance to the display: ‘The creature you are about to see is responsible for the extinction of hundreds of other species. This creature is by far the most murderous, destructive, cruel and genocidal of all the beasts you have seen already or will see in the zoo today.’

I was really excited and puzzled as to the identity of the animal I was about to see firsthand. Perhaps it was a rattlesnake or a tarantula? What else could this brute be?

As I entered the cubicle I stared at the glass, however, the only thing I saw was my face starring right back at me. In fact, as I strained to get a better look at what I was viewing, and as my eyes adjusted to the lack of light, I realized that I was starring into a mirror!

What? The creature is me?

Could I be that destructive?

Could I be so cruel as to practice genocide?

Part Two

Rav Mordechai Gifter zt’l (1915-2001), the former Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Telz in Cleveland, Ohio was an American born Jew who went off to Lithuania to study in the Telz Yeshiva. He never forgot the great Torah giants of pre-war Europe whom he had the privilege of meeting, and from whom he learned. Visitors to his modest home in Cleveland were often impressed with the large collection of portraits of Gedolei Yisroel (great rabbinic personalities) which adorned one wall of his sefarim-lined study.

Although I personally never had the privilege of meeting Rav Gifter, a friend of mine did and actually was in the Rosh Yeshiva’s home in Cleveland. He was an eye witness to the famous ‘Wall of Fame’ where one could see rare and inspirational photographs of the giants of yesteryear who guided and taught the Jewish people.

This Chol HaMoed I was talking to the fellow who was in Rav Gifter’s home.

He related to me the following:

In the middle of this wall of pictures, there was a small, seemingly picture-less frame hanging on the wall lodged in between the large portraits of the Gedolim. As one moved closer to this small frame, one realized that the frame housed a small mirror and under the mirror were the words: ‘You can be here too!’

What, me?

Could I ever become so great?

Could I be a Gadol B’Yisroel?

It all depends on which mirror you want to look into.

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