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26 Iyar 5766 - May 24, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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HaRav Shteinman and Gerrer Rebbe Conduct Joint Tour of Los Angeles, Toronto and Montreal
HaRav Shteinman Continues to Lakewood, Monsey, Mexico City and Buenos Aires

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

Thousands of Los Angeles residents joined together for a his'orerus gathering surrounding the historic visit of HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman and the Admor of Gur, HaRav Yaakov Aryeh Alter.

Upon arrival at Los Angeles International Airport, HaRav Shteinman and the Gerrer Rebbe were picked up on the tarmac by private cars arranged by Police Chaplain R' Chaim Kolodny, himself a Gerrer chossid. HaRav Shteinman stayed at the home of R' Yaakov Krause, menahel ruchani of Yeshivas Toras Emes and rov of Young Israel of Hancock Park, while the Admor of Gur stayed at the home of R' Yossi Naiman.

The next day an assembly was held for all of the chareidi boys' high schools in the city, followed by another assembly for elementary school boys. The Gerrer Rebbe spent the afternoon meeting with several individuals and then both he and HaRav Shteinman held a meeting with all of the city's melamdim and mechanchim, followed by a meeting with all of the rabbonim of the Greater Los Angeles area.

The Hilton Hotel was packed as the event opened with the recital of Tehillim, followed by a brief talk by local chareidi leader R' Wellrock, who offered thanks to R' Shimon Glick of Monsey, NY for his dedicated assistance in arranging the extraordinary visit. Before HaRav Avrohom Greidan introduced the esteemed guests, HaRav Ginsburg spoke of the significance of the event for the city's various kehillos.

HaRav Shteinman spoke about the need to begin Shabbos early and to work hard every day at elevating oneself in emunoh and bitochon.

Noting it was the yahrtzeit of R' Shimon Bar Yochai, the Admor of Gur said according to the gemora the whole world should be exempt from din in his merit. Torah is a zchus for all Jews. R' Shimon Bar Yochai held on Shabbos one is not liable for a dovor she'eino miskaven. Jews want to do Hashem's Will whereas aveiros are a dovor she'eino miskaven, therefore the whole world is exempt. The Admor ended by expressing hopes he would be a meilitz yosher for all Jews and by offering his blessings for abundance in ruchniyus and gashmiyus.

Both of the gedolei Yisroel spoke about the value of unity in Am Yisroel, saying it was the key to receiving the Torah at Har Sinai. They also discussed the importance of fortifying the walls of halochoh and strengthening pure Jewish education.

HaRav Osher Weiss of Eretz Yisroel summarized the speeches in English, adding that the great efforts involved in arranging the special visit carry an obligation for all.

The next evening the hall of the Bais Yaakov Seminary in Toronto was packed when HaRav Moshe Yaakov Kenner announced the arrival of HaRav Shteinman and the Gerrer Rebbe.

The world must be molded to fit the Torah world view, said HaRav Shteinman, not the converse choliloh, for HaKodosh Boruch Hu "looked into the Torah and created the world" and without Torah there is nothing. Therefore Torah learning must be strengthened and our lives must be in accordance with Torah and mitzvas.

The Gerrer Rebbe spoke about humility as a precondition for receiving the Torah, just as the Jews displayed at Har Sinai.

The next morning, following tefillas Vosikin, HaRav Shteinman gave a talk to the avreichim of the local kollel on preparing for Kabbolas HaTorah.

After a last-minute consultation with Maran HaRav Eliashiv due to various uncertainties, the visit to Montreal went ahead as scheduled. A delegation of rabbonim and distinguished kehilloh leaders greeted HaRav Shteinman and the Admor of Gur enthusiastically at Montreal Airport upon their arrival from Toronto.

At Yeshivas Mercaz HaTorah, the city's yeshiva gedoloh, the two gedolei Torah were received by an eager crowd that burst into song upon their arrival. After tefillas Minchah berov om, a speech was given by HaRav Moshe Mendel Gluestein, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Mercaz HaTorah.

From Yeshivas Mercaz HaTorah the two illustrious guests continued toward the Young Israel shul with thousands lining the way. Following a brief address by HaRav Shteinman, the city's residents filed past the luminaries, exchanging greetings of sholom and brochoh.

In downtown Montreal they paid a visit to the Skverer beis medrash, where they were met by the heads of the kehilloh led by HaRav Yochonon Wosner, a dayan in the city, who thanked HaRav Shteinman and the Gerrer Rebbe for giving Montreal the opportunity to host them.

At the Belz beis medrash they were met by HaRav Yaakov Yitzchok Naiman, the elderly av beis din of Pupa, a talmid of the Vayaged Yaakov and the rov of Belz in Montreal. HaRav Shteinman then gave a brief talk about kabbolas haTorah, saying the great lights of Matan Torah descend every year and should be utilized to grow stronger in Torah. Their final stop was at Yeshivas Yavneh, where they were received by HaRav David Sabagh, the chief rabbi of Quebec.

The joint tour ended in Toronto with the Admor of Gur staying for Shabbos and HaRav Shteinman continued on to New York, where he took part in the Torah Umesorah conference.

Before the conference began HaRav Shteinman led an urgent meeting attended by the rabbonim of Torah Umesorah who are members of Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of the US. HaRav Chaim Stein, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Telz-Cleveland, and HaRav Mattisyohu Salomon, mashgiach of Yeshivas Lakewood, also arrived.

After HaRav Y. Levenstein presented the hard facts relating to the present state of the Torah world in Eretz Yisroel, HaRav Shteinman, speaking on behalf of himself and Maran HaRav Eliashiv shlita, called on the gedolei Torah of the US to make every effort to strengthen support for yeshivas and kollelim, as well as the Chinuch Atzmai busing system, which currently faces a crises that threatens the education of thousands of yaldei Yisroel.

At the Torah Umesorah conference some 1,000 educators were on hand to greet HaRav Shteinman. During a long question-and- answer session transmitted to chareidi population centers throughout the US and Canada, Rabbi Shlomo Gottesman read fundamental questions submitted by educators. Many of the questions were of such a weighty nature that the responses turned into fascinating discussions on hashkofoh. The proceedings were translated into English by HaRav Osher Weiss for listeners unable to understand Yiddish.

Despite the early hour, hundreds of educators took part in tefillas Vosikin the next morning. Students from Yeshivas Yesodei HaTorah, Yeshivas Ohr Yisroel and Yeshivas Toras Habayis came to the conference to bless HaRav Shteinman during Bircas Cohanim.

After the tefilloh he gave a special talk. Citing Chazal's dictum that man's yetzer overcomes him every day and were it not for HaKodosh Boruch Hu's help man would be unable to prevail, he noted according to the Gra man does not receive siyata deShmaya until he has made every effort of his own accord.

"What is the meaning of the words, `Va'anachnu lo neida, mah na'aseh?'" asked HaRav Shteinman. Answering based on the Tur he said that we pray sitting, standing and with our faces covered. Then we turn to HaKodosh Boruch Hu and tell Him, "Ribono Shel Olom, we have done everything in our power and we don't know what else to do. Now please do Your part and redeem us."

At that point the Rosh Yeshiva's voice suddenly became choked. Lifting his eyes upwards he called out, "Ribono Shel Olom! There are so many educators sitting here engaged in their holy task on behalf of Am Yisroel — education and outreach for Am Yisroel. They are trying so hard for the sake of Hashem's honor. We don't know what else we can do so that your children grow up to sanctify the Name of Heaven. Ribono Shel Olom, now You do Your part and redeem us!"

Later he gave a talk at Yeshivas Lakewood. "Our entire purpose is to increase Kvod Shomayim," he said, "and there is no greater Kvod Shomayim than Torah. Torah study and expanding the influence and rule of Torah . . . Preserve the Torah in its pure form, not allowing any foreign hands to touch it. Do not use schoolbooks written by non- Jews!"

He also spoke about the need to strengthen Shabbos observance, including learning the halochos pertaining to Shabbos and accepting Shabbos at least half-an-hour early.

After leaving Lakewood HaRav Shteinman paid a visit to the Admor of Skvera on his way to Monsey, where he spent Shabbos at the home of R' Shimon Glick.

A Day in Mexico City

Four thousand people filled one of the Centro Banamex conference halls in Mexico City for a chizuk gathering led by HaRav Shteinman following his visits to the US and Canada last week. After Minchah the speakers included HaRav Shlomo Tawil, rov of Kehilat Magen David, HaRav David Shweiki, head of Aram Tzova Institutions, and HaRav Avraham Shevut, head of Keter Torah Institutions.

When HaRav Shteinman took the podium he remained silent for a moment. Then he began to discuss the value of the days preceding Matan Torah, saying that preparation requires unity among all of the various kehillos. When he finished speaking HaRav Shlomo Tawil translated his remarks into Spanish. Then the entire gathering accepted the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven together, ke'ish echod beleiv echod.

The next morning hundreds of local residents joined the Rosh Yeshiva for Shacharis at Kollel Me'or Avraham, headed by HaRav Shevut. After the tefilloh HaRav Menachem Juni, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat Keter Torah. Some people wonder, he said, why such a great gaon, of such an advanced age, takes the trouble to travel to visit them. But if someone were able to point out that the Rosh Yeshiva's grandchildren live in Mexico City and Argentina, no one would have any questions. She'al ovicho veyageidchoGedolei Yisroel are called our fathers and our grandfathers. So it is just that the Rosh Yeshiva had taken the trouble to travel so far because he has 1,800 children and grandchildren in Mexico City — the talmidim studying at the city's Torah-true schools.

HaRav Shteinman expressed his deep concern over assimilation around the world, saying the reason was the lack of yeshivas. Suddenly he burst into tears, saying, "Please, continue founding more yeshivas, more kollelim, so that we can pull the wagon along despite the difficulties, until bi'as Moshiach Tzidkeinu."

Later a reception was held in the home of HaRav David Shweiki followed by a tour of the city's Torah halls and educational institutions, including a meeting of local educators. Monday night HaRav Shteinman flew to Buenos Aires.


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