Over a thousand well-wishers convened on motzei Shabbos 5
Kislev, 5763 (November 10, 2002), the yahrtzeit of R'
Nochum Yoel Halpern zt'l to celebrate the cornerstone
laying for the Chazon Nochum Yeshiva named after him.
The yeshiva ketanoh division of the Chazon Nochum
Yeshiva is currently located in a small rented building and
the yeshiva gedolah in another modest building, both
in Bnei Brak. The enrollment of both yeshivos is about three
hundred and the kollel associated with them numbers an
additional fifty members. It is no wonder that these two
small buildings are inadequate.
At present, plans are to erect a building in the Zichron Meir
neighborhood of Bnei Brak for the yeshiva ketanoh at
the corner of Maharshal and Chofetz Chaim streets, which is
near Kollel Chazon Ish and Ponevezh Yeshiva. The planned
edifice will be four floors high with a large basement with
full dormitory facilities, a spacious dining room, a state-of-
the-art extensive Torah library and a well-furnished fully
air- conditioned beis midrash. The hope is that this
will be followed by a permanent building for the yeshiva
Because of the yeshiva's dire need for space, the building
committee plans, with Hashem's help, to make a special effort
to complete the construction work within a year -- something
almost unheard of in Eretz Yisroel!
What is so unique about the Chazon Nochum Yeshiva?
The Chazon Nochum Yeshiva strives to incorporate the best of
both Chassidic and Litvish worlds. The yeshiva is primarily
intended for talmidim coming from Chassidic homes--
from all Chassidic homes without any particular preference
for any one Chassidic court--and they are taught to embrace
these sacred values. They are also instructed how to study
gemora in depth by the teaching faculty which is made
up of alumni of Ponevezh Yeshiva and Slonim Yeshiva. The
penetrating mussar discourses they hear and personal
instruction, refine their middos and build bnei
Torah about whom can be said, "Yisroel, in whom I take
glory" (Yeshaya 49:3).
The yeshiva's talmidim (there are more than a thousand
alumni throughout the world) are known in Eretz Yisroel and
chutz la'aretz as being both sincere and fervent
Chassidim, true lamdonim, yirei Shomayim, and people
possessing middos tovos.
The rosh yeshiva, HaRav Tzvi Katz, an alumnus of the Slonim
Yeshiva, is the son-in-law of R' Shimon Sirokah z'l,
who was a leading figure in Agudas Yisroel and served many
years as deputy mayor of Bnei Brak. HaRav Katz opened the
yeshiva about fifteen years ago with only thirty students and
now one hundred-and-fifty study there, kein yirbu. His
love and concern for his talmidim has endeared them to
him and they turn to him like sons to a father. The rosh
yeshiva seeks advice and guidance in this meleches
Shomayim from Maran HaRav Y. A. L. Shteinman.
All this, however, would not be possible without the devotion
of those involved with the upkeep of the yeshiva. HaRav
Shlomoh Kostelitz, HaRav Kalman Warhaftig, and HaRav Shimon
Hirsch, who manage the yeshiva, are totally engaged with the
yeshiva's upkeep and carry its heavy financial burden on
their shoulders from when they rise in the morning until they
retire at night. Much of its success and potential of future
development are without any doubt in their zchus.
Rabbi Meir Porush, the Deputy Minister of Construction and
Housing and son-in-law of R' Nochum Yoel z'l, served
as Master of Ceremonies. He described the rapid development
of the yeshiva and kollel of Chazon Nochum. He also
talked about R' Nochum Yoel Halpern's extraordinary
Rabbi Menachem Porush, the Head of Agudas Yisroel of
Yerushalayim, related at length about the honesty and moral
integrity of R' Nochum Yoel who clung to the tzaddikim
who lived at his time, and as a result acquired a true Torah
The mora de'asra of Zichron Meir and rosh yeshiva of
the Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva, HaRav Shmuel HaLevi Wosner cited
with great emotion the posuk, "This is the day Hashem
has made; let us rejoice and be glad on it" (Tehillim
118:24). He pointed out the enormous merit of R' Nochum
Yoel's father, R' Chaim Yaakov Halpern z'l, the
founder of the Zichron Meir neighborhood, which he named
after his mentor -- HaRav Meir Shapira zt'l, the rosh
yeshiva of Chachmei Lublin and initiator of the Daf
Hayomi. "For fifty-five years I have personally been
involved in the development of Torah institutions and
Chareidi communities, and, boruch Hashem, Zichron Meir
and its surroundings, through the untiring support of Maran
the Chazon Ish, has succeeded in becoming the pride of the
Torah Nation. It is full of chachomim and
sofrim and is like "Yavneh and its Sages"
The rosh yeshiva, HaRav Tzvi Katz quoted the posuk,
"With what can I repay Hashem for all His bounty to me?"
(Tehillim 116:12). Through "what"--through "For
what are we?" (Shemos 16:8) we can repay
Hashem. Only through our realization that all comes from the
Creator, and through our being able to broaden the boundaries
of the Torah, can we properly repay Hashem.
Today, he continued, it is fifteen years from the founding of
the junior yeshiva and twelve years from the founding of the
yeshiva gedola. The Chida writes that the Ovos studied
together fifteen hours a day for fifteen years and this is
the source of the fifteen chapters of shir
The Slonimer Rebbe zt'l, the author of Nesivos
Sholom, asks why did they need to study so many years if
the Torah was not given as yet. The answer is, however,
written in Pirkei Ovos (5:22): "Those who have a good
eye, a humble spirit and a meek soul are among the
talmidim of Avrohom Ovinu." It takes many years and
much effort to acquire these middos tovos.
Rebbe Yisroel Danzinger, the son of the Alexander Rebbe said
that as a parent of one of the students, he expresses his
deep gratitude to the rosh yeshiva and the ramim of
The Mayor of Bnei Brak, Rabbi Mordechai Karelitz, pointed out
that the Halpern family has excelled in supporting Torah
scholars for three generations now.
The Spinka Rebbe spoke at length about the efforts the
mashgichim and ramim of the yeshiva invest to
guarantee the elevation of their talmidim in Torah and
HaRav Avrohom Halpern, the oldest son of R' Nochum Yoel
z'l, said in the name of the family, that this yeshiva
was founded in the zchus of his father, whose idea it
was to found a yeshiva in the spirit of Chassidus following
the principles of the Baal Shem Tov zy'a. Overflowing
with emotion, he announced, "His offspring have materialized
his desire and we have `placed a yeshiva on his grave'
(Bovo Kammo 16b). It is the zchus of my
grandfather R' Chaim Yaakov Halpern z'l that this
building is being erected on a lot belonging to the Halpern
hekdesh in the center of the Zichron Meir neighborhood
that my grandfather founded when Bnei Brak was first being
HaRav Halpern emphasized that Zichron Meir was built al
taharas hakodesh and that his grandfather included a
clause in the sales contract of property in this neighborhood
specifying that every house or lot be sold only to those who
will never desecrate Shabbos.
He also related that when his father, R Nochum Yoel, took a
walk around the neighborhood some seventeen years ago, he
counted the botei midrash, yeshivos, and kollelim and
commented that more than fifty percent of the neighborhood's
area is occupied by places for Torah and tefillah.
"In the seventieth year from the petiroh of HaRav Meir
Shapira of Lublin zt'l, for whom the neighborhood is
named, I wish to mention what the Chortkover Rebbe
zt'l said at the inauguration of the building of the
Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva. The Rebbe called out the
posuk, "Surely Hashem is present in this place"
(Bereishis 28:16). That posuk can equally be
applied to this entire chareidi neighborhood that, "is none
other than the abode of G-d" (v. 17). The Chortkover Rebbe
also expressed his wish that `this kedushoh remain
forever and will even intensify.' How fitting is the
Chortkover Rebbe's zt'l statement, also to this
momentous event of the cornerstone laying for the Chazon
HaRav Shlomoh Kostelitz, the executive director of the
yeshiva and member of the Bnei Brak city council, read the
yeshiva's Foundation Scroll, signed by Maranan
verabonon gedolei Yisroel shlita, that was buried in the
soil of Zichron Meir. The yeshiva's management awarded
certificates of merit to all of the Halpern family, the sons,
sons-in-law and grandsons of R' Nochum Yoel z'l who
assist in the building of the yeshiva.