Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

7 Iyar 5764 - April 28, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
In the Tents of the Shepherds: A Verbal Opening

The Vishnitzer Rebbe zt'l, R' Chaim Meir, once noted that when a pot is bubbling on the stove top, one can usually guess what is cooking inside just by passing nearby and taking a good whiff.

The same can be said regarding a person's mouth. From what issues from one's mouth -- one can intuit what a person is thinking inside . . .


Old From New -- Progressive and Regressive

A Jew once came to the Admor R' Sholom of Vassely zt'l asking for a blessing that his son succeed in the entrance examination for an advanced secular education (gymnasium). The Rebbe naturally began talking earnestly to him to convince him to change his direction and send his son to study Torah instead.

The Jew brazenly held his ground. "Those are antiquated concepts from previous generations. My son and I belong to the new progressive generation where it is impossible to get anywhere without a secular education."

Replied R' Sholom, "So you relegate me to the antedated generation, as well? Well, you should know that you are the ones who are behind the times! Does it not state, `In the beginning, our ancestors were idolaters, but since then, Hashem brought us close to His service?' "

(Adir Bimlucho)

His Staff in Hand

There was a young man who constantly attended the Gaon R' Shmuel Rozovsky ztvk'l and lived in his home. One evening, he asked permission to leave to take care of a personal matter. When R' Shmuel asked him when he intended to return, he replied that he didn't know.

At that time, the yeshiva was studying Sanhedrin and involved in the subject of people with evil intentions: rodef and `thieves in the night.' R' Shmuel noted, with a smile on his face, "I will wait up for you until one o'clock, but if I hear someone at the door any later, I will assume that it is a burglar and go forth with a broom to defend myself . . . "

Shimmush Chachomim: Don't Be Late

Maran HaRav Yaakov Kamenetsky ztvk'l told that when Maran R' Yitzchok Elchonon ztvk'l was in the midst of preparing his writings for publication, he was approached by a rich man who wanted to share in the privilege of disseminating Torah and offered him a considerable sum to underwrite most of the expenses.

R' Elchonon rebuffed him sharply and said, "When I was a young student, I attended the yeshiva in your city. I was very poor and when my shoes reached a state beyond repair, I approached you for money to buy a new pair. You turned me down and, as a result, I caught cold and became very ill. I lost out several weeks of study because of my illness and I cannot help but conclude that had you helped me then, you would have shared in the reward of my Torah study for those lost few weeks.

"Now that my chiddushei Torah are ready for publication, it is too late. You forfeited your opportunity . . . "

R' Yaakov: Principles of Emunah

HaRav Yitzchok Hutner zt'l once said that he heard from a reliable witness that Maran the Brisker Rov ztvk'l would not always receive those who came to him with their questions or chiddushei Torah. And these people, you can assume, were very many and came from near and far. There were some visitors whom the Brisker Rov agreed to see and hear through, and others whom he put off.

When the subject was on matters of emunah, however, he was always willing to hear the visitors out. He listened to their questions with avid interest and would not let them leave until he was certain that they were satisfied with his clarifications and replies.

(R' Yitzchok Ulster -- Moriah 5742)

From Generation to Generation

When the Baal Hahaflo'oh, came to serve as av beis din of Frankfurt in 5532, the heads of the community requested from HaRav Nosson Adler ztvk'l to come to the main synagogue during the Sholosh Regolim to bless the congregation together with the other kohanim, since a blessing coming from such a saintly, revered man as he, was deemed a tremendous merit for the people.

Since the Baal Hahaflo'oh was, himself, a Levi, the trustees prepared a pitcher and basin made from pure gold for the libations before the bircas kohanim. The president would bring the filled pitcher and basin before the blessing of Retzei and place it before the Rov, who sat at his designated place. R' Nosson Adler would leave his seat and go to the Rov to have his hands washed.

How awesome and inspiring was the scene of the saintly Levi washing the hands of the saintly Kohen, both sanctifying and being purified by this act. People would look on, spellbound.

Morenu Zekel zt'l used to tell over the sichas chulin which he heard from Rabbenu the Chasam Sofer zy'o as he noted:

"Whoever saw the Kohen and the Levi in their greatness and humility, and saw, in contrast, this present generation, could not possibly understand how they could possibly be living now . . . "

(Derech Hanesher)

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