Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

4 Sivan 5760 - June 7, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








Sponsored by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Produced and housed by

Shema Yisroel Yad Vashem Tov Center To Open in Jerusalem

by S. Fried

"One Shavuos night, in a hideout between the trees of the forest, the Rav of Potick made kiddush over a bit of wine and recited the shehecheyonu blessing. When asked how he could recite shehecheyonu on so difficult a period, he replied: `My shehecheyonu is in gratitude to Hashem for my staunchness of faith, which has not waned even by a hairsbreadth.'"

This is an excerpt from the Shema Yisroel Encyclopedia, published by the Bnei Brak Kalever Center. The Encyclopedia commemorates the mesiras nefesh and kiddush Hashem of the Holocaust martyrs. The authors gathered the material from hundreds of books written about the Holocaust. They culled unbelievable stories about mitzvah observance and how Torah-observant Jews were meticulous about the halochos between man and Hashem and man and his fellow, even under subhuman conditions. The book describes how the trust and faith in Hashem of these shomrei mitzvos grew stronger in face of the horrors.

The book is encyclopedic in format as well as in scope. Entries are alphabetized under grim topics like "death camps," "ghettos" and "rescue." Never before has such an extensive collection of stories of Jewish courage been compiled.

However, it is difficult to define so shocking and inspiring a book like this as a dry encyclopedia whose purpose is to convey mere information. Whoever picks up this book cannot remain indifferent.

An inseparable part of the work is the section called "Zeicher Le'olom Yehiyeh Tzaddik," containing pictures and biographies of admorim and rabbonim who experienced the events of those days of wrath.

The book is the result of the vision of the Admor of Kalev, a Holocaust survivor who has devoted his life to memorializing the Holocaust martyrs and to increasing Jewish awareness. The Admor stresses that the book is directed to all levels of the nation. Its purpose is to add an unknown chapter to written history: kiddush Sheim Shomayim in the Holocaust.

The Admor plans to found the Shema Yisroel Yad Vashem Tov Center in Jerusalem to complement work done by other institutions perpetuating the Holocaust. The center will conduct lectures and seminars for adults as well as youth. Through use of audio and visual aids, the center will depict Torah Jewry prior to and during the Holocaust and how it withstood the test of faith and mesiras nefesh for Torah amidst persecution, torture and mass murders.

The center will also portray the gedolei Yisroel who were the pillars of fire for the believers' camp, and will describe the remarkable revival of Torah Jewry after the Holocaust.

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