This story took place back in the early 1960s, when big mainframe computers were first being introduced into business. Mainframes are computers that are known for their large size, amount of storage, processing power, and high level of reliability. They are primarily used by large organizations for applications requiring high volumes of data processing. It is often referred to as a “dinosaur” not only because of its size but because it’s becoming extinct.

Hashem told Moshe to appoint Yehoshua bin Nun to become his successor. The Rambam in Mishne Torah asks why specifically Yehoshua merited to be selected when there were other more qualified candidates, like Elazar and Pinchos, who surpassed him in their intellectual acuity. The Rambam answers that although Yehoshua, Pinchos, and Elazar were all students of Moshe, Yehoshua was his most faithful disciple. He ministered to Moshe, followed him everywhere, and scrutinized his every action. About him, Chazal say that personally attending a Torah scholar is greater than studying itself. This is why Yehoshua merited to inherit the mantle of leadership from Moshe.

A short time ago, a well-respected individual from London flew to Eretz Yisrael and called Rav Eliyahu Mann shlita, one of the prime disciples and attendants of Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlita. He had a very important sh’eilah to ask – actually it was a request from his mother back in England – and he did not feel up to the task of personally approaching the tzadik.

The lessons of Bilaam the Prophet, his talking donkey, and the angel who stood in his way, are immense and valuable. Bilaam was a wicked man who was graced with Divine powers. Instead of using them for good purposes, he employed them to curse others, to build up his personal prestige, and gain wealth through illicit actions. Nevertheless, Hashem sent an angel of mercy to protect him and turn his heart away from sin. Hashem sends warning signals to each and every one of us on a daily basis. Some are meant to protect us and some are meant to harm us. It is up to us to make the correct choices in our lives, so that the angels who are sent are “Angels of Mercy” and not, G-d forbid, “Angels of Death.”

It is said in the name of the Arizal: “The pasuk states: “…lo yacheil d’varo” and Chazal interpret it that one should not make his words “chol” (mundane). Every spoken word is precious, for it creates huge fortresses in the upper worlds – both for good and for bad. If one speaks good words, he influences the powers of good and spirituality to his defense. If he does not, he causes the Sitra Achra (Satan) to be aroused, and he creates negative angels who look to prosecute him. As it says in the rest of the pasuk: “k’chol ha’yotzei mi’piv yaaseh” – whatever emerges from his mouth in this world, “yaaseh” – will be felt in the next world.

In the summer of 1944, the Nazis were already on the defensive, as Allied forces led by the United States, Great Britain, and Russia continued their push into Europe, liberating countries one by one. As a result, the Germans were constantly disbanding satellite work and concentration camps and shipping the inmates off to larger camps like Auschwitz, Majdanek, and Mauthausen. Reb Yosef Friedenson z”l was then a young man interned in the Starachowitz slave labor camp, and when the camp was shut down, he was shipped to Auschwitz-Birkenau. He arrived on the morning of Tisha B’av 1944, and was thrown into the garish existence and nightmare that defined Auschwitz.