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7 Tammuz 5781 - June 17, 2021 | Mordecai Plaut, director | Bereishis- 5781 Published Weekly
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2 Young Polish Girls Murdered by Nazis will be Reburied

Salomia Korznik and Rochele Pecher, two Jewish eighteen-year-old girls who were murdered during the Holocaust, will be brought to reburial in separate graves at a new site.

The decision to exhume their remains and rebury them according to strict Halachic norms is the initiative of a Polish organization "People Don't Tell" which operates to restore and keep up Jewish cemeteries in Poland so as to preserve remembrance of the Holocaust.





The Beit Knesset in Izmir will be Rebuilt

Funded by the German government, the restoration of the ancient Botei Knesset in Izmir, Turkey, will soon be under way, at a cost of 67,000 Euro. The rebuilding plans have been in preparation for several years.

This project is an international initiative of the Kiriti Foundation to restore the unique synagogue in Izmir, coupled with a cultural monument as a living testimony to the rich Jewish heritage of the city.





HaRav Eliezer Kahan, eighth of Tammuz, 5728: Novardok in Gateshead

This hesped for HaRav Eliezer Kahan of Gateshead was originally published in 1993 (5753).

"He, Damesek Eliezer, drawing and watering [others] from the Torah of his mentor."

Subservience to and mesiras nefesh for Torah, were the secrets of the man, and the driving force of the movement. The man - the gaon and tzaddik, R' Eliezer Kahan, zt"l of Gateshead, who developed and cultivated a "Novardoker reserve" within stately England. Twenty-five years since his demise, on the eighth of Tammuz, 5728.

He arrived in Vilna, the "capital," and like many other good Jews, headed directly for the home of the gaon hador, R' Chaim Ozer Grodzensky. The yeshiva's desperate material situation—its empty coffer, and the problems of its students—weighed heavily on his heart. Without a doubt, only R' Chaim Ozer could help!

The Rosh Hayeshiva reached the threshold of R' Chaim Ozer's home, only to discover that the gaon wasn't in Vilna, but in a not-too-distant vacation spa. Seemingly, this bit of information should not have posed any particular problem for him. If he had come so far, what was so difficult about continuing a bit further? However, he had not a penny in his pocket. In those difficult times, he had barely managed to secure enough money for a one-way ticket to Vilna. Even if he had wanted to return home, then and there, he couldn't have done so.

Without hesitating, R' Eliezer began to walk to the spa. Rain fell in torrents, and the cold intensified. A storm raged. Winds howled. Yet he continued to trudge on, mile after mile. It took him an entire day to reach his destination.

He reached the village in which the spa was located, after midnight. He knocked on R' Chaim's door, only to be greeted by the gaon himself. R' Chaim Ozer was stunned by the sight of the man who was drenched from head to toe, and in amazement, gasped: "Surely you are a Novardoker. Only Novardokers are capable of such mesiras nefesh for Torah."





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From Our Archives

Torah for the Taking, Torah for the Giving: HaRav Zushe Waltner Zt'l

By Moshe Musman

Part Two

Introduction: A Gallery of Heroes

The establishment of major Torah centers throughout the world that perpetuate the great yeshivos of Eastern Europe, is one of the greatest contemporary miracles. This began over sixty years ago. It was wrought by a handful of great builders who single-mindedly, often alone and against the prevailing trend, created, from scratch, environments where spiritual growth could take place and Torah greatness could be worked for. The significance of their achievements lies not in the size of what they left behind them, for the most striking growth came later, but in its very existence. Because of their tremendous self-sacrifice, the foundations they laid have proven enduring and today support a larger-than-ever edifice. Whether they built, transmitted, inspired, or did all three, they all effected genuine change. They breathed life into a nation's dry bones and infused soul into its spiritually wasted frame.

HaRav Zushe Waltner zt'l, earned a place on this list by any reckoning. While his work as a Torah disseminator began early in life and continued into advanced age, he is principally associated with the great achievement of his middle years, the creation of a Torah center in Tangiers. Most Tangiers alumni are grandparents today. Many of them fill important communal positions around the world. Virtually all are sincere, genuine bnei Torah. Who was the man that achieved such results and how did he do it?

The first part discussed HaRav Waltner's youth in Hungary and his travels through Cracow and Switzerland until he eventually was admitted to England in 1937. There, Rav Waltner developed a very close relationship with Rav Eliahu Dessler, who took his meals with the Waltners for several years while his wife was stranded by the war in Australia. After the war, Rav Waltner and Rav Aryeh Grosnass traveled to Europe to help the shattered remnants of European Jewry, and founded the yeshiva in Sunderland to accommodate some of them. Traveling to Tangiers to recruit talmidim for Sunderland, he met R' Shmuel Toledano who soon built a yeshiva building and then invited Rav Waltner to come and found a yeshiva. He sent Rav Waltner a telegram: "It's all ready. Come." At the advice of Rav Dessler who consulted with the Chazon Ish on the matter, Rav Waltner accepted the challenge.

. . . And the Pursuit of Happiness

By Mordecai Plaut

America was built on the premise that all people have an "inalienable right" to pursue happiness, as well as the rights to life and liberty as recorded in the American Declaration of Independence whose anniversary is soon.

These latter two rights, as interpreted over the last 227 years, have served the Jewish people well, providing a refuge from persecution and the sanction to pursue our vision of avodas Hashem without interference. For this, the Jewish people must feel a deep gratitude to the American people in recognition of what they have provided and allowed us.

Moreover, the sense of morality evident in the Declaration of Independence has made America a champion of justice and enemy of evil throughout the world, coming directly or indirectly to the aid of oppressed Jews in Europe and seeing it as a duty to rid the world or evil tyrants from Hitler to Hussein. For this we are grateful both as those who suffered from their evil as well as our overall interest in tikkun ho'olom.

Notwithstanding all of this, and perhaps as part of our gratitude, it behooves us to warn that America has, in recent decades, pursued "happiness" in too many ways that are wrong and ultimately self-destructive. We can certainly not give a full catalog of how this has expressed itself -- in part because it would be too long and in part because it would be too ugly and disgusting -- but just mention a few examples.


Av, 5765 - Kislev 5766 (August-December 2005)