Jerusalem – At a Rosh Chodesh event held in Ashdod at the Shevet Halevi community in Ashdod, Rav Avraham Eliezer Vozner, the grandson of the Shevet Halevi, spoke about the increased incidence of people who had come down with “yenem machla.”
He related that his grandfather had recently told him of 10 people who had come down with the machla from his own community. He then asked his grandfather, “Until when will the Satan cause tragedies among us? Doesn’t it say that ‘the tzadik decrees and Hakodesh Baruch Hu fulfills’?”
“My grandfather told me, ‘How can one give blessings when there is interferences?’ When I asked him what was interfering, he told me, ‘When someone talks on the telephone and in the middle of the conversation, the reception fails — the conversation goes dead. It’s the same thing with prayer. The conversation is cut off.
“My grandfather explained, ‘Prayers are not acceptable to Hashem if one talks in the middle of prayer. When the mispalelim stop talking in the middle of prayers, then the disease will also stop.” Rav Vozner then read a letter from his grandfather asking the public to strengthen themselves particularly in the area of not speaking devorim beteilim during prayers and upholding the sanctity of a shul.
In the Shevet Halevi community in Jerusalem, the avreichim had all the mispalelim sign — including themselves — that they would not talk during prayers whether in the beis midrash or any other place they davened. The Shevet Halevi expressed his satisfaction when he heard of the initiative.
The Rosh Chodesh event was attended by Rav Chaim Vozner, the son of the Shevet Halevi; Rav Yaakov Landau, the head of the kolel; Rav Alter Yitzchak Rabinowitz, a rosh mesivta in the Czernobyl yeshiva; and Rav Aaron Zev Cheshin, a moreh tzedek in Ashdod.
The main speech was held by Rav Chaim Vozner, who spoke about the importance of holding such get-togethers frequently to discuss topics of chinuch bonim, and other vital issues like the importance of using kosher cellphones and other screened media devices.