from HaRav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz Zichron Meir Bnei Brak
Call for Awakening in a Time of New Decrees
This letter was issued by HaRav Lefkowitz to provide
encouragement and guidance in these difficult times.
BS'D, 11 Iyar 5763
First of all we must reflect. As the Tribes of Israel did
when it says: "And they turned, trembling, to each other
saying, `What is this Elokim has done to us?'"
(Bereishis 42:28). Undoubtedly Hashem's actions toward
us have a purpose based on the will of the Creator.
Thus Chazal said all events are middoh keneged middoh
to allow us to understand and know why Elokim [acts
toward us in a certain way] and to know what to rectify. This
is what we say in Selichos, "Umimakoh atzmoh mesaken
retiyoh" (from the Selichos of the first Monday of
Bahab). Chazal say, "The ways of Hashem are not like
the ways of flesh and blood. The way of flesh and blood is to
strike with a knife and heal with a bandage, but HaKodosh
Boruch Hu heals with the same implement with which he
strikes, as is written, `And they came to Moroh and they were
unable to drink the water, for it was bitter.' Says Rav Levi,
'The generation was bitter in its ways and it cried out to
Hashem . . . '" (Shemos Rabboh, 50, 3). [And eventually
Hashem showed them a bitter tree that sweetened the
During the last several decades, our way of life has changed.
We have grown accustomed to luxuries of all sorts--clothing,
furniture, weddings, apartments, and much more.
Competitiveness among ourselves has increased to the point
where everyone lives in comparable circumstances, the haves
and even the have- nots.
Now the Creator has sent us these decrees in the form of
budget cuts carried out by those whose intention, chas
vesholom, is to reduce the number of lomdei Torah
and to bring many families to the point where they will lack
food to put on their tables. [Hashem's purpose] is to make us
yearn to return to a bygone way of life. He is trying us to
see whether we will clutch onto the corners of the Altar, the
Altar of ameilei Torah, and not slacken in
Torah learning. This is the meaning of the words,
"Umimakoh atzmoh mesaken retiyoh" in our case.
The same applies to girls' schools. Advanced study courses
for Bais Yaakov teachers are being decreased and many
teachers are drawn to studies they do not need for their
profession but rather to obtain academic degrees and
credentials. And although their sole aim is to secure salary
increases, these courses constitute a breach in standards of
modesty. This development has also led to lessened
appreciation and esteem for the Torah and lomdei Torah
and is diametrically opposed to proper chinuch habonim
for both girls and boys. As a result there are many problems
among young men and women who have unhitched themselves from
the yoke of what the chinuch obligates them.
Now they [government figures] want to intervene in various
ways and to alter the spirit of education in Bais Yaakov
seminaries. All this has been sent by Hashem Yisborach
to teach us to preserve the pure goal for which Bais
Yaakov was founded.
To our Dear Avreichim, the Students of the Kollelim
Have compassion on yourselves and your households, strengthen
yourselves and bring to fruition the words of the Tana,
Kach hi darkoh shel Torah, pas bemelach tochal . . .
uvaTorah atoh omeil. Im atoh oseh kein, ashrechoh vetov loch,
ashrechoh bo'olom hazeh vetov loch lo'olom habo (Ovos
6:4). Eventually you will merit maintaining [Torah learning]
in wealth. The "eizer kenegdo" as well should accept
upon herself with equanimity the task of running the home
according to the circumstances in order to allow her husband
to continue toiling in Torah. This really depends on the
merit of the individual scholar. As Chazal learn "zochoh--
eizer . . . " (see Rashi on Bereishis 2:18),
indicating it starts with the Torah scholar. When he has
zchus he is zocheh to have the help of his
Regarding the Continued Existence of the Yeshivas and
We believe with emunoh sheleimoh that the Creator will
preserve and maintain the Torah halls and that the yeshivas
will continue to teach Torah to Hashem's Nation so that Torah
will not be forgotten from the mouths of their descendants.
Certainly the yeshivas' existence does not depend on them
[the government authorities] and their budget funds. As
related in Michtav MeEliahu (Vol. I) once at a large
convention someone claimed that eventually the yeshivas would
cease to exist, chas vesholom, since they have no
natural base for their subsistence and are always left
hanging. "Don't worry," replied HaRav Ozer Grodzensky,
zt'l, "In fact on the contrary, the Torah has to rely
on miracles, as Chazal say, and it never has a natural
foundation." Neither was the Chofetz Chaim zt'l
pleased with those who wanted to establish a fund that would
have generated earnings the yeshiva could have used on a
steady basis for its subsistence, saying, "No, Torah can be
increased using all of the principal right away."
To the Rabbonim, the Roshei Kollelim and Institution
We are well aware of your many laborious efforts and of the
heavy burden you have borne on your shoulders to this day,
and without a doubt this labor will become heavier.
Nevertheless we ask you not to give up, for this is the time
to gird our strength and redouble efforts to bear the holy
load of maintaining lomdei Torah, to make concerted
efforts through all available means to assist them willingly
and with a seiver ponim yofos to allow them to face
the trials and continue toiling in the holy and pure Torah,
without yielding, chas vesholom, to the wills of those
who seek to reduce the number of places of Torah and who want
to change the way of life of the chareidim ledvar Hashem
be'emes. And in keeping with your level of dedication and
toil and efforts as part of the upholders of the Torah and
Torah scholars, may you merit great success in your
activities, in peace and serenity, and be blessed with the
brocho, "Boruch asher yokim . . . "
(signed) Who blesses and Seeks your Welfare,
(signed) Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz
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