Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

11 Nissan 5765 - April 20, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly







An Uplifting of the Soul in the Shadow of Maran, the Chazon Ish — "Immersion" in the Waters of Wisdom

Memoirs of Rabbi Shlomo Lorincz shlita

Chapter Eight

I do not presume to begin to encompass the greatness of the Chazon Ish, the godol hador, a veritable giant of spirit. He was beyond our grasp. And truly, those who were privileged to bask in his proximity, need no descriptions and concrete examples for reminders. They surely are incapable of forgetting him!

Still, in order to create an impression for those who were not thus privileged, I shall devote this final article to the personal impression gained by those who basked in his presence and how uplifted they felt when they were close to him.

Every person who was privileged to be near him, to hear his words, could not help but be influenced by him. That person inevitably felt himself upon a higher level. He was imbued with an aspiration and desire to draw closer, to progress spiritually, to become more exalted.

The Rambam concludes his Sefer Taharoh with the following words:

"In the same way that one who directs his heart to be purified becomes so when he immerses himself, even though nothing has changed in his body — similarly with one who directs his heart to purify his soul from its impurities, from evil and heretical thoughts: once he decides to distance himself from those thoughts, he has brought his soul to be immersed in the waters of pure wisdom" (Rambam, end of Hilchos Mikvo'os).

"He has brought his soul into the waters of wisdom." This, precisely, was the feeling that one got when being in the proximity of the Chazon Ish. One suddenly felt uplifted, exalted, and basked in a very special spiritual bliss. One felt as if he was being purified from the mud and refuse of this world's vanities, from the contamination of jealousy, lusts and the search for honor.

You immersed yourself and were coated with a lacquer of the sublime traits of your host, permeated by the knowing waters of humility, nobility of soul, goodness of aspect, love for one's fellow man and all those other munificent middos which the Chazon Ish possessed intrinsically and naturally.

Those who were privileged to bask in his shadow felt that something had changed within them, as the Rambam averred, "Just like one who focuses his heart to become purified — as soon as he has immersed himself, he becomes purified, even though nothing has actually changed within his body." Ostensibly, nothing physical has changed — and yet, the person has become transformed into another being and all the worldly considerations and shortcomings, such as honor, aggrandizement, jealousy, lust — have all vanished into nothingness, leaving no vestige in that spiritual atmosphere that permeated the small, narrow room of the Chazon Ish, which was so far removed from materialism.

The Intellect is a Wise Commander

In his work, Emunoh Uvitochon (91:150), the Chazon Ish describes the figure of man par excellence. "How distinguished is the man who, through his constant self- improvement, has succeeded in reining in his grosser traits. He does not anger, does not rage, bears no hatred or grudges, no antipathies nor desire for retribution; he does not pursue self-honor, and has no yen for inanities and vain pleasures."

How can one elevate oneself to such high levels? The answer is provided by Maran himself (ibid. 14): "And appointed over them [the usual evil dispositions] is a wise commander, the intellect, whose one head is involved in the goings-on of the person's brain, and the other head is aloft in the vaults of Heaven, to administer the whole battery of middos and to align them in their proper way."

If the intellect is the commander which conducts the person, and if that intellect — as Maran states — is high in the vaults of Heaven, then it is capable of "reining in all those gross inclinations," and bringing about a status of "no anger, no ire, no hatred, no animosity, no grudge-bearing and no vengeance, no aspiration for honor and no yen for inanities and vain pleasures."

Whoever was privy to be in his presence, saw most concretely how Maran was totally devoid of "anger, ire, hatred..." and so on. All these were completely removed from him and not even within the realm of possibility.

I will attempt to describe and reconstruct how Maran implemented all of the good characteristics of which he writes.

"No Anger and No Ire

In Volume II of his letters (Letter 220), the Chazon Ish writes: "Note: I don't understand why you mentioned resentment (kepeidoh). What does that have to do with this? I dearly regard all that you wrote here and in general, I consider the trait of resentment as very negative."

Whoever had frequent access to Maran would often hear how a person might begin by asking him not to be angry at him, but . . . And the Chazon Ish would kindly reply, "In my shop, there is no merchandise of that sort. I don't know what anger means."

I heard the following story from HaRav M. Shulsinger in the name of his uncle, HaRav Velvel Chechik zt'l, who heard it as a first-person account.

A man who was in need of financial aid asked Maran to write him a letter of recommendation to a certain wealthy man in Tel Aviv. Since Maran was in the habit of omitting the addressee at the head of his letters, sufficing with a general, "Greetings and good wishes," [as is customary in a Hebrew letter], he agreed to write the requested letter only upon the condition that the recipient not make added use of it for further solicitation.

The rich man was, indeed, very impressed and excited over the letter and immediately gave a handsome sum. In light of his great success, the poor man decided to try his luck further, and that very day he visited several other people, each time presenting the Chazon Ish's letter. He succeeded in garnering a very sizable amount.

When he arrived home, he was suddenly attacked by great feelings of remorse. He had deceived the Chazon Ish and made repeated use of his letter, against the latter's warning. That night he didn't sleep a wink. He was positive that he had to ask his forgiveness but he was far too embarrassed to face him with the confession of his sin.

Early the following morning, he presented himself at the Chazon Ish's home nonetheless, in order to participate in the daily sunrise vosikin minyan there. He trembled and quaked throughout the prayers, thinking of the great shame he would have when he faced the Chazon Ish and confessed his sin. How would the Chazon Ish react? To what extent would he be angry and chastise him?

After the prayers, the Chazon Ish spied him and called him over. The man's teeth chattered and his knees knocked when he tried to confess what he done, but could only stammer an apologetic introduction.

The Chazon Ish reassured him and said, "I imagined that that was what would happen . . . "

Precious Soul

We again quote from the Chazon Ish's work, Emunoh Uvitochon, (ibid., 11):

"There are people who yearn to help others. Meeting a friend causes such a person great joy and he greets him warmly and is continually concerned lest he did not intuit his feelings correctly. Perhaps he did not address him fittingly or sense the heartache that arises from an insult to one's honor. Perhaps he should have been more kindly towards him.

"He, however, never takes affront and never feels insulted since his heart is full of love for him, and this absorbs all hurt. He is prepared in advance to absorb all the slings and arrows and abuse which his friend will aim his way, knowing that most people are not overly noble of character. He will continue to hold him in esteem and to love him, and never harbor an evil thought against him."

Maran continues to write: "This noble soul does not demand from himself special self-control and reining in of impulses against natural anger and against the pain of being insulted, for his soul is already refined and purified and does not absorb any stains. He is replete with joy, happiness and eternal bliss."

In other words, our exalted person does not need to battle with his evil inclination against normal, natural anger. He has no need to overcome "the pain of being insulted," for his soul is so far beyond that, so purified already, that he does not even register slurs and abuse. He can continue being on fine terms and being good to the very person who abused him. On the contrary, his only concern is that his benevolence be complete and wholehearted, "For there is no heartache by him, like the pain felt when a friend verbally hurts his fellow." And who is this `friend'? The very one who insulted and abused him!

Who is this `exalted soul', the person who reached such an elevated level? There is no doubt about it. And here, the Chazon Ish becomes extremely emotional and we know for sure that it is none other than he, himself. Surely so, for how could anyone write about such a level without having reached it himself? To be sure, whoever writes about it must be well familiar with it and be exemplifying it in the flesh. We all surely felt this to be so with the Chazon Ish!

A Scolding — But Not Anger

Not infrequently did Maran have to direct harsh words at people, even to the point of scolding them. Famous is the letter he once wrote to a certain communal askan who refused to obey him concerning national army service for girls. He uses very strong language in it, as befits one who is the leader of the generation and demands compliance. He warns and threatens of the dire consequences that will result if the askan does not toe the line. And to make sure that there are no doubts as to who wrote the letter, he penned it all in his own handwriting.

But even when he found it necessary to use strong language, he never expressed any signs of anger or rage. Maran himself said once after such an incident that it might have appeared that he was in a rage, but "What could I do? I know that that man would not have accepted what I had to say had I not used such harsh language. I was forced to rebuke him in order that he do what he had to do. But G-d forbid to think that I was angry. I have no anger in my heart against him, whatsoever."

Whoever was familiar with Maran's character, understood that anger only took the form of what the Rambam describes in Hilchos Dei'os (Perek 2:3): "And he should train himself not to get angry, even over something deserving of anger. And if he wants to impose fear upon his family, or upon a certain community, or a communal treasurer whose congregation is deserving of rebuke in order to realign them, he should make a show of anger, while inwardly maintaining serenity."

No Aspiration for Honors

When a person came to see Maran, he would enter with awe and trepidation being aware that he was standing before the very supreme Torah leader of the generation.

And what would he find? A man who received him cordially and with love, a perennial smile always hovering about his face, one who conversed with him like a friend, a long-lost comrade from the past. He spoke gently, almost in a whisper, as if he were embarrassed that anyone thought to turn to him.

Maran was, indeed, the prime address for all to turn to in matters of halochoh, counsel and resourcefulness. But whoever entered his presence felt humility in such a measure that it is difficult to conceive it. It was a perfect concretization of what Chazal stated, "Where his greatness lies, therein lies his humility."

How sublime it was to see how Maran devoted time to teenage youths who came to him with their questions or to receive an explanation for difficulties in their studies. With utter patience and boundless humility he would reply, not sparing of his precious time and energies to satisfy them.

HaRav Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman zt'l, the Ponovezher Rov, said one time that if one wants to properly appreciate a godol beYisroel, one must be close to his spiritual stature. Let us, then, use the words which Maran wrote about himself:

"And I am always full of errors, sometimes in logic, sometimes in the gemora text, and I am not ashamed of it, for there is no reason for embarrassment except for the mitzva-requirement to be embarrassed [which is due to the fact that] since were I not to be ashamed, it would appear that I was not esteeming the halocho sufficiently. But as far as natural inclinations are concerned, there is no reason to be embarrassed, especially people of such small stature as myself."

And in another letter (Vol. II, Letter 1), he writes:

"I am truly prepared to receive, to learn, from any person, and I am quick to say that I have erred. And I am even happy to do so for the sake of Truth."

Elsewhere: "I wish to receive truth from every man, and I don't stand my ground, but listen, for I know that man is full of errors" (ibid. II:9).

R' Boruch Greineman testifies:

"My father and master, R' Shmaryohu zt'l, told me that Rabbenu once had regrets about an entire siman which he had written in his work, Chazon Ish (Keilim 12), and erased it. When the time came to print it, my father wanted to revise the numbering to eliminate the gap, changing the Thirteen to a Twelve, and Fourteen to Thirteen etc. But Rabbenu insisted that it remain as it was so that people would see that something had been erased. This was in order to teach that one should not have regrets about erasing even an entire siman if one saw that he had erred!

It is difficult to accept the statement: "I am full of errors," even though Maran writes it himself. HaRav Yaakov Yisroel Kanievsky ztvk'l told me many times, "Maran the Chazon Ish is decisive and has never made an error." And if the Steipler testifies of the Chazon Ish that he never made a mistake, and spoke of his decisions and his reasoning and premises, that everything was precise and well thought out — then it is most difficult to understand what Maran wrote of himself.

The [religious] Underground once planned to disrupt a Knesset session on Sheirut Leumi by placing a harmless but frightening noise bomb which would detonate in the middle of the discussion. When I asked Maran about the Underground, concerning that incident, and informed him that he had been said to approve it, he declared, "It cannot be that I said such a thing, for I am incapable of saying something that is contrary to the halochoh."

Maran, himself, testified that he was incapable of erring in halachic matters and yet, in his utter humility, he writes, "I am full of errors." Apparently, in my humble opinion and estimation, he wrote what he wrote purely through his great modesty, and also in order to show others that they must not be ashamed to admit their mistakes.

Diffident and Shying from the Limelight

Who is capable of hiding himself and studying for dozens of years in a beis medrash in Vilna without others knowing his identity or appreciating his greatness — including those in the Torah world? The only exception, who knew him for what he was truly, was Maran HaRav Chaim Ozer Grodzensky ztvk'l.

When the Chazon Ish published his works, they appeared without an author. The Torah world studied them without knowing who had written them. It was the letter that HaRav Chaim Ozer wrote that finally revealed him to the world. When the Chazon Ish immigrated to Eretz Yisroel, R' Chaim Ozer wrote: "The lion has come up from Bovel. Henceforth, the community in Eretz Yisroel need not continue to address their questions to me, since they now have an authority who is my equal." And had he not exposed him to the public, the Chazon Ish would have remained anonymous.

I will bring another illuminating example of his modesty:

One time, Maran informed me in advance that he was about to print one of his works. I asked him how many copies he intended to make and he said, "One hundred." Was that all? I asked. He explained, "I am really printing it for my own benefit, to make it easier for me to read my own chiddushim."

"If that's the case, you need not print more than one copy," I noted. He replied, "If I am already printing it, it is only right that I let others have the benefit, for they may want it, too. Were it not for the fact that I need to print it for myself, I would not do so at all..."

How much humility did Maran bequeath to us in his ways and conduct. How much modesty are we required to learn from him!

And His Heart Soared in the Ways of Hashem

When, however, it was necessary for him to stand in the breach, like in the matter of drafting women into the army or for Sheirut Leumi, Maran shook off his humility and stood upright and proud, for the sake of Hashem. He was instantaneously transformed from a humble, reticent, retiring person to a warrior: and he wrote in Emunah Uvitochon (Chapter I:11), "The weaknesses of the soul pamper their owners from utilizing their strengths to the utmost . . ."

He did not hesitate to say outright to the prime minister, Ben Gurion: "We are stronger than your police and your army." This attribute is one we learn from Hashem, as Chazal taught, "Where you find His greatness, there you find His humility." Greatness and humility are not contradictory. Greatness and assertiveness are part of "The ways of Hashem" when they are required for His service. As for humility and simplicity, they belong to the relationship of a man towards himself.

No Temptation for Foolish Pastimes

HaRav Simcha Wasserman zt'l told me that Maran the Chofetz Chaim ztvk'l stated the following on the Yom Kippur before his death, in the year 5693: "Chazal said, `Hashem's Name is not complete, nor is His throne complete, until the memory of Amolek is effaced.' And if Hashem's throne is not completely intact, how can we have whole chairs?" And truly, as is known, the Chofetz Chaim did not own chairs with backs.

Whoever was privileged to be by the Torah giants of our days, as I was privileged to be by the Chazon Ish, by Maran the Gavad of Brisk, by Maran the Steipler and by Maran, HaRav Shach, all ztvk'l, and all the other Torah leaders whom I was privileged to attend, saw with what simplicity they conducted their lives. One did not see any item of furniture that could be called luxurious. We saw broken chairs, even by the gedolei Torah in America, the land of prosperity — I visited there Maran R' Aharon Kotler, Maran R' Moshe Feinstein, Maran R' Yaakov Kamenetsky, all ztvk'l, and many others. All lived with the ultimate of simplicity.

When Maran heard that there are certain circles which believe that if the rabbi of a city does not maintain a high standard of living it is a chillul Hashem, Maran reacted by saying, "On the contrary, when a rov does have a luxurious home, that is a chillul Hashem!" (heard from HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman).

Whoever entered the home of the Chazon Ish was taken aback. Everything was of the utmost simplicity, modesty and minimal comfort. The bed was a metal cot, the chairs, more broken than not, the table — rickety, and it did not even boast a clothes closet. A very simple bookcase there was, but the few clothes he owned, a kapote and hat, dating back — so it was claimed — to his wedding, hung on a nail on the wall. This is how his apartment in Givat Rokach looked, and that is how his more spacious apartment looked on the street that now bears his name. Many people would have been honored if they could have been privileged to introduce some more accouterments of comfort, but he insisted on everything being extremely simple and starkly basic. The impression that this simplicity made was indescribable and unforgettable.

Maran HaRav Chaim Ozer wrote the following in his letter: "I was happy to hear that my most dear friend, yedid neffesh, Hagaon Moreinu HaRav R' Avrohom Yeshaya Karelitz, was feeling well, but was pained to hear that his material condition was so meager and that he lacked the funds for his sustenance and medical care" (Achiezer, Kovetz Igros II:422).

Maran owned no property and did not even have a full copy of Shas Vilna in his possession. Whenever he lacked a certain tractate, he would borrow it from HaRav Shmuel Wosner shlita. Still in all, he would say that he was richer than Rothschild, as I have already related.

"If They Bring Me Food, It Must Mean That I Haven't Eaten"

In order to give the readers a glimpse of the extent that Maran was removed from worldly, physical matters, I would like to tell a short story:

I once came to Maran early in the morning. I was afraid that he had not yet eaten breakfast, and asked him if he had, for if not, I did not want to disturb him; I could wait till afterwards. Maran said, "I really don't remember."

I then asked him, "How can it be that a person doesn't remember if he ate or not?" Maran replied that by him, it made no difference whether he was before a meal or after. I then asked him humorously why he ate altogether; one eats when one is hungry. But if he doesn't feel different before or after, why does he have to eat? Perhaps, indeed, he has already eaten . . .

He smiled and said, "I really don't know if I've eaten or not. But I rely on my household. If I am served food, let's say breakfast, I infer that I have not yet eaten. Were I not to trust or believe them, I would never know."

Nobility of Soul

We will quote here another excerpt from the description of the Yakir Nefesh, one possessing a precious soul, from his work, Emunah Uvitochon: "The comforts of the soul pamper, spoil and detract a person and thereby prevent him from being able to show, when it is necessary for the greatest good, two opposites in one subject. One will blame himself at every step for lacking perfection in positive traits, and impute to his fellow man absolute merit even though his sins be like thick ropes."

A concrete example of that nobility of character was exemplified in his conduct with Ben Gurion, as Maran told me himself. Ben Gurion came to visit him in his home and talked with him about national service for women (Sheirut Leumi). Maran told me that he gave him `slaps,' as it were, but that after every harsh exchange, he would give him a `caress.'

"He certainly received harsh slaps from me," explained Maran, "for everything that deserved one. But I gave him friendly gestures, as well, for after all, he was my guest, and a sense of honor and discretion obligates me to make my guest feel good."

The depth of his thought processes is mind-boggling. Maran weighed things very accurately on his personal scale to find the perfect balance: how many `slaps' to give and how many to counter with kindly `caresses.' People like us have no difficulty understanding the slaps, but are hard put to understand the caresses. We lack the refinement of spirit. We have no idea what nobility of character means, as it was embodied within Maran.

Along these lines, I am reminded of another example which I heard from HaRav Shroya Devlitzky shlita:

HaRav Shroya once visited Maran and asked him to annul a vow he had made. Another Jew was sitting there at the time and Maran asked him to go out and fetch a third person so that they could form a beis din to annul the vow. He went outside and brought in another person from the street. Then he sat the man down and asked R' Shroya for the details, seeking a way to enable him to nullify it. Finally, he declared, "Muttar Loch" three times.

After they had finished the hatoras nedorim, the Chazon Ish asked R' Shroya to remain a little while longer. When the third man who had been brought in from the street left, Maran turned to R' Shroya and said, "You vow is not really nullified. My nullification was not a valid one. That third man brought in from the street cannot annul a vow since he does not know what a pesach charotoh is. Nevertheless, I sat the man down and made a show of nullifying it for you so as not chas vesholom to hurt him by saying that he cannot participate in hatoras nedorim. But now, go out and find a Torah scholar and then, hopefully, we can annul your vow."

I believe that any commentary is superfluous.

I again wish to use the very words of the Chazon Ish (Vol. I, Letter 211): "One should be careful not to cause pain to a fellow Jew through any statement, even for a moment. This actually constitutes a prohibition from the Torah as is stated at the end of perek HaZohov." Similarly (Vol. I, Letter 33): "I take pleasure in gladdening the hearts of people, and I feel deeply obligated to avoid causing any unpleasantness to people for even a moment. But what can I do? Sometimes . . . " This is an unusual outpouring of his heart.

We must learn and review these sentences repeatedly — that the responsibility of a person is "to gladden the hearts of others" and that one's obligation is to "avoid causing unpleasantness to people for even a moment." We must join this with the reinforced warning "not to cause pain to one's fellow man even through a casual remark, even for a moment. And this constitutes a prohibition from the Torah." If we succeed in internalizing Maran's words, we will be privileged to uproot from within us the evil trait of callousness and lack of sensitivity in the feelings of others, which the evil inclination succeeds in injecting into people, especially in this generation.

The Middoh of Truth

The aristocracy of spirit of the Chazon Ish whereby Ben Gurion gained those `caresses' of his, were no contradiction to the slaps he administered. The attribute of truth that was so ingrained in him prevented any possibility of flattery (chanufoh). The following stories are brought in the name of Rabbenu in the book Rabboseinu (written by HaRav Yosef Avrohom Wolf zt"l). They speak for themselves.

We find in maseches Megilloh (16a) that when Esther said, "A wicked and hateful man, Homon, this evil one," she really pointed towards Achashverosh, but an angel came and deflected her pointing finger towards Homon. This seems strange. How could she have endangered all of Jewry by indicating the king, himself?

The answer is that the attribute of truth was deeply etched into the soul of Esther. It was so strong that she was incapable of restraining herself from stating it — that Achashverosh was the enemy of her people. It took an angel to restrain her and prevent calamity for her people.

R' Shmuel Greineman told an incident along the same lines: "The regular minyan which always gathered in his home for minchah was once long in forming and it was getting late. When the tenth man entered, I asked him, `I made an appointment with someone in my house. Must I remain here until we finish or can I go now?' Maran said to me, `One who adheres to the attribute of truth does not even consider this a question.' On that day, they did not daven minchah gedolah by the Chazon Ish" (heard from R' Moshe Sheinfeld).

The middoh of truth was also evident in the letter quoted above in which He writes, "I take pleasure in gladdening the hearts of people, and I am very cautious lest I cause any unpleasantness to people for even a fleeting moment. But what can I do?" He meant to say: The middoh of truth causes me to go against my own inclinations, even at times when it causes unpleasantness to another. "What can I do" that I love truth more than anything else . . .

Who Makes the Blind See

We recite the blessing of " . . . Who opens the eyes of the blind," every morning. There are two ways of helping the blind. One is to show him the way and to help him out of his plight. The second is the way of Hashem, Who opens the eyes of the blind. He enables them to see for themselves.

In this same manner, there are two kinds of leaders. One is the leader who holds the hand of the blind and leads him on the right path. There are, however, leaders who "enable the blind to see." Chazal say in Bovo Metzia 17b, "Had I not picked up the potsherd, you would not have discovered the pearl underneath." In other words: I did not innovate anything, and what I said is clearly explained in the mishnah. But had I not turned your attention to this idea, you would not have realized it. Thus, I am like the person who lifted a potsherd lying on the road, only to discover a precious gem underneath.

Such a leader was the Chazon Ish. He would remove the veil of the obscurity of Time so that we could discover, by ourselves, the light of the Torah and the truth hidden underneath it. He had the power to uplift a person and propel him forward until, in time, he would be able to discover the truth through his own powers.

When I asked him a question, he would say to me: "Explain the [different] sides of the question," and as I was analyzing it, he would throw in a remark here, an insight there, and lo: I would declare: "Why, there is no question here at all! Everything is so clear!" And he, with his famous smile, would reply: "Well, of course! That's how it has to be." This is an example of, "Opening up the eyes."

By Maran we were privileged to hear wisdom, but even more: We were privileged to become wiser, to leave his home with an acquisition, with the power to solve our own future questions by ourselves. Whoever was privileged to be near him can testify that whenever he left his presence, he not only left with the solution to his immediate problem, but with a concrete acquisition of wisdom. Whoever left his room felt that he had been raised to a higher degree of knowledge and understanding.

Those Special Few Which Hashem Planted in Each Generation

I think, and this is a feeling that accompanies me all the time, that had I come to this world only for the privilege of being with the Chazon Ish for fourteen years, dayeini, it would have sufficed me and would have been worth it.

How fitting are the words of the prayer-poet where he says, at the end of the Yom Kippur service, "And all these were when the Heichal was intact upon its foundations . . . and the Kohen Godol stood and served, whose generation beheld and rejoiced. Fortunate is the eye that beheld all that!"

It was unanimously held by the top echelon of Torah leaders of that epoch that the Chazon Ish was greater than his generation; he belonged to a greater era. He was one of those special, unique figures whom Hashem deposited into each generation because, "He saw that the righteous ones were few" (Yoma 38b). The generation was in need of an added boost, a reinforcement to elevate it, and He, therefore, planted a tzaddik of much greater stature to lift it up in a supernatural way.

Maran himself writes, "Hashem's Providence is extant in every generation upon those select few whom He planted in each generation to teach His statutes and to convey His laws to Israel. And when they delve in the Halochoh, they resemble angels, and a spirit from Above rests upon them" (Kovetz Igros, Vol. I, Letter 33).

Who are those `unique ones whom He planted in each generation'? Who are the ones who, when they delve into Torah, `resemble angels'?

Surely the Chazon Ish was such a one, a figure planted in his generation but much greater than it. Fortunate the eye which was privileged to see him, to be in his presence.

I will conclude with an excerpt from his letters (No. 36), which, in my opinion, reflects in succinct words the essence of his life: "The prime aspect of avodas Hashem is simchah, for truly there is no sadness in the world for the one who sees the brightness of the light of Truth."

I hereby conclude the series of my memoirs of the time I was by the Chazon Ish. It is finished, but not complete. I still hope to produce additional essays in a special book which will include also my memories of Maran the Gavad of Brisk, and Maran HaRav Shach ztvk'l, and the other Torah giants whom I was privileged to know and attend. May Hashem fulfill this hope in the future.

A Request to the Readers

It is my request to the readers that they not skim through this superficially, as one reads mere interesting stories. Please: Learn and review especially those sentences which were quoted here [from the Chazon Ish himself, in their original language], as one studies a work of mussar, as they do in mussar sessions in yeshivos, so that the words enter deep into your hearts.

Maran's words are reviving, as are the words of our conclusion, "The prime aspect of avodas Hashem is joy, for truly, there is no sadness in the world for the one who sees the brightness of the light of Truth."

When these words penetrate the heart, they have the power to transform a person into a superior being, the happiest person on earth.

Delve in them, and delve in them again, for everything is contained therein.


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.