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The Making of a Godol by Rabbi Nathan Kamenetsky

The Making of a Godol by Rabbi Nathan Kamenetsky

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  • LEARN!!! In reality to just try to understand what it means to be one from the Chosen Nation you must listen at least 10 hours of lectures from Ravs that learn all day for many years. Here are some of the best resources: Rav Yosef Mizrachi youtu.be/n0_tgO5Drb8 AND Rav Daniel Cohen torah.fm, torahanytime.com/speakers/speaker-detail-listview/?id=106
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    The Making of a Godol The Making of a Godol Document Transcript

    • Nathan Kamenetsky MAKING GODOL A Study of Episodes in the Lives ofGreat Torah Personalities Volume I
    • TABLE OF CONTENTS * Foreword ............................................. xiii 0 Copyright 2002 Preface ..............................................xxxi by Rabbi Nathan Kamenetsky Acknowledgments ...................................... xli 91b Sorotzkin S m t Jemalem 94423, Israel (02)537-1966 THE TEXT ISBN 965-90379-0-2 Chapter 1: The Fmt Decade: Ancestry and Childhood Section 1 . . .......................................... 23 AII rights reserved Section2 ............................................ 26 Section3. ........................ : .................. 28 No original part of this publication may be Section4. ........................................... 3? ranslated reproduced. stored in a relrieval system or mmiued in any form or by any Chapter 2: The Second Decade - A: Minsk means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, Section 1 ............................................3E recording or othcmise. without prior Section2 ............................................ 41 permission from the author Section3 ............................................ 45 Chapter 3: The Second Decade - B: Slabodka Distributors i Section 1 . . ..........................................52 I Section2 ............................................ 5E - Israel U.S.A. - !Hamesorah Publishers - Im Hasefer Yaakov Levitz 1 Chapter 4: The Second Dmade - C: Slabodka YeshivaP.O. Box 5656 1188 E. 18th Street ! Secljon 1 ............................................ 6fJerusalem 91056 Brooklyn, NY 11230 i Section2 ............................................ 71(02)537-0588, 535-6413 (718)377-0047Fax: 535-6361 Fax: 3384068 Chapter 5: The Second Decade - D: Mallch Section I . . . . . . ...................................... 81 Section2 ............................................ 8 : Printed in Ismel
    • TABLE OF CONTENT5 4kiib NOTES AND EXCURSUSES Excursus E (n. 79): On the thirst for general knowledge displayed by young yeshiva ta1milim .................... 304Chapter 1.1 (Notes 1-12). ............................ 93-101 Excursus F (n. 99): On anendance of R Baruch-BersChapter 1.2 (Notes 13-34). .......................... 101-118 shaiurim by ralmidim of the other yeshiva in Slabcdka ...... 319 Excursus A (n. 26): On the pogmms following the assassination of Czar Alexander ll and the faulty aPEessment of the Chapter 3.1 (Notes 1-67). ........................... 331-583 maskilim.. ........................................ 106 Excursus A (n. 19): On the inception of the Kovno Kolel and the En Pn bulletin distributed to its supporters ............ 343 Excursus B (n. 27): On R ELiyahu Schick and the Schick Family ........................................... 109 Excursus B (n. 22): On R Yisrael Salantefs lhree primeChdpter 1.3 (Notes 35-78). .......................... 119-158 talmidim.. ........................................ 358 Excursus C (n. 53): On anending study sessions in Lithuanian Excursus C (n. 23): On two veritable angels. R Laizer-Yankev cities on Friday nighulearly Shabbm mornings.. ........... 128 Khavas and his son-in-law R Naphtali Trop. .............. 366 Excursus D (n. 54): On our protagonists adherence to Excursus D (n. 24): On the d i s a p m e n t of the Alter of customs .......................................... 132 Slabcdka with his mentor, the Alter of Kelem, and on the Excursus E (n. 65): On young pupils teacher-caused emon and guidance he received from R Yisrael Salanter ............. 370 rhe childrens fantastic ideas for justifying their teachers Excursus E (n. 25): On the =If-negation of baalei w a r , on mistakes - and on becoming better educators as a result.. .... 144 the appointment of fundrsisers for the Kovno Kolel; and on the opposition m the M u m movements e n m ~ h m e n therein .... 379 tChapter 1.4 (Notes 79-103). ......................... 159-175 Excursus F (n. 96): On the unusual title of Minsk rabbonim Excursus F (n. 27) On the i ~ e a s of students in the Kovno e and on some extraordinary nicknames for shtetl dwellen . . . . . 167 Kolels yeshiva section ...............................394 Excursus G (n. 28): On the Kovno Kolel members training toChapter 2.1 (Notes 1-20). ........................... 176-260 Excursus A (n. 15): On Minsk as a city that a p p ~ i a t e s become rashei yeshiva ...............................397 Torah study and R David-Tevil, who appreciates Minsk, and ! Excursus H (n. 30): On t k new methods of Talmud study and on the work of Dr. Max Lilienthal on behalf of the Russian w who the advisors of the Alter of Slabcdka were. ......... 407 Minisuy of Cullure, his visit m Volozhin and later unexpected 1 flight to America ................................... 188 Excursus I (n 32): On R lael Rabimwia in Gorrhd: on R Laivr Gordon reeking to smngmen the Telz Yeshiva; and onChapter 2.2 (Notes 2148). .......................... 260-281 I R$Barwch-BR Leibowitrs relationship to his f a h a and w his Excursus B (n. 25): On reading secular lilemturt and the I teakher ........................................... 423 danger facing bright young people a annuy and more ago. 263... ! Excursus I (n. 33): On the appoinlment of the twoChapter 2.3 (Notes 49-109). ......................... 281-330 I i bromers-in-law R Moshe-Mordlrhai Epstein and R Excursus C (n. 54): On R Yehoshualleh Horodners ... Isser-Zalman Melaer as m k i yeshiva in SlabodLa ......... 433 acbvrhes .......................................... 286 i Excursus K (n. 34): On h e l years of the original m Excursus D (n. 71): On the yeshiwrh R Aaron KoUer anended in his childhood .................................... 297 i Vololhin Yeshiva and on R Hayyim Berlins involvement in i b closing and mmptcd nopning ................... 442 1
    • TABLE OF CONTENTS .k 4& .,. Excursus L (n. 36): On the backgmund to the Musar ~ i & ! & i . Excursus X (n. 90): On the relationship between the Musarites and on the relations between R Yaaqov Halevi Lipschit2 and their opponents ................................. 608 and R Hayyim Soloveichik ........................... 456 Excursus Y (n. 107): On the trinal educational program in Excursus M (n. 37): On the activities and c h m t e r of R . . ,.? the original Kelem Talmud Torah and in Grubin. and the Zvi-Hbh Rabinowitz, son and sucees~or Rof ....... .... difficulties facing the xhools; on G e m Oahodoxys Yilzhaq-Elhanan Spector of Kovno ........................464 influence on Russian Jewry; and on R Ovadiah Lachmans last years and last will ............................... 620 Excursus N (n. 38): On the Musar Dispute in Kowio and the rabbinic signatories to the denunciatory and supportive Excunus Z (n. I I I): On how extraordinary conflagrations were publicdeclarations .................................. 468 explained by R Yisrael Salanter and R Laib. the hasid of Kelern; on how our pmtagonist viewed dixussions about the Excursus 0 (n. 41): On the backgmund to the establishment Golern and dibbuqim; and on superstitions ................ 641 of the Slut& Yeshiva by R Ism-Zalman Melaer .......... 487 Excursus AA (n. 116): On the functions and character of R Excursus P (n. 45): On the relationship between the names Bereh-Hinh HeUer ..................................692 given to the two pans of the splintered Slabodka Yeshiva a d n the names of Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary in Excunus BB (n. 117): On R Bereh-Hirsh Hellers persona New York and Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore .... 4% and on his wayward son.. ............................ 700 Encursus Q (n. 47): On R Noson-Zvi Finkels effons in Excursus CC (n. 122): On R Moshe-Mordkhais piety and on building yeshivoth and on his questionable attitude loward the the non-attendance of shniurim in Volozhin ............... 712 Grubinschool ...................................... 505 Excursus DD (n. 128): On how ralmidim viewed the Alter of Excursus R (n. 49): On R Baruch-Bers piety; on the Slabodka and on R Hayjrim Soloveichiks student guidance in Lubavitch article about the study of MasseWeth Bnbhn Q n m ; Volozhin ......................................... 19 7 and on the rabbinical conference in Petersbug in 5670 Excursus EE (n. 132): On R Hayyim Soloveichiks insistence (1910) ...........................................517 on exactitude in the oral and printed word . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 727 Excunus S (n. 58): On R Yisrael Salanters rdmidim who Excursus F (n. 136): On the categorization of gedolim in our F studied in universities and were lost, and on Doctor Binyamin pmtagonists youth and on R Hayyim Soloveichiks challenge Einhom, who stumbled back.. ......................... 553 I of R Yoseph Rozin. the Rogachover Gaon. ............... 739 Excursus T (n. 61): On how the Alter of Slabodka handled the Excursus GG (n. 142): On the attendance of the Alters anti-Musar insurrection in his yeshiva and on his ability to slunvessen by Kneseth Beth Yiahaq InImiiim.. ............ 756 foresee the hture careers of his students.. ................ 564 I I Excrirsus HH (n. 143): On R Baruch-Bers attitude toward Excursus U (n. 62): On the srmggles for Musar ............ 571 Musar.. .......................................... 760 Excursus V (n. 65): On how the Alter raised the respect for i Excumus Il (n. 144): On the relations between the two yeshiva bnhurim ....................................579 I Slabodka yeshivorh .................................. 764 IChapter 3.2 (Notes 68-148). ......................... 583-772 I Excursus JJ (n. 147): On R Zalman Dolinsky, who led vndim Excursus W (n. 78): On the home Life of the Aller of i under the Alter of Slabodka ........................... 769 Slabodka ......................................... 594 I iI
    • Qxl, Making of a God01 TABLE OP CONTENTS %xi% ** Excursus K (n. 90): On the death of the prominent R LaizerChapter 4.1 (Notes 1-56). ........................... 773-870 Gordon while raising funds in London ................... 953 Excursus A (n. 3): On the Alters knowledge of the halakhic Excursus L (n. 93): On the circumstances which brought about paas of Shns and on his instituting stringencies in the davenen the appoinunent of R Laizer Gordon to the rabbinical post of in he Slabodka Yeshiva that were emulated in other Telz ............................................. 966 yeshivoth ................ :. ....................... 777 I Excursus M (n. 109): On students involvement in Volozhin Excursus B (n. 15): On the Alters stage fright and on R Yeshiva administrative aff*, on R Soloveichiks early Hawel Libshitzs declining to become Rav in Kovno ....... 790 shortcomings as o leader. and on the attempt by R Excursus C (n. 24): On the paternal relationship of the Alter Yehoshna-Heshil Levin to become the Volozhin to his talmidim and their filial relationship to him.. ......... 804 Rosh Yeshiva.. ....................................981 Excursus D (n. 39): On the Alters guidance of R Excursus N (n. 122): On the relationship of he Slabodka and Yehiel-Yankev Weinberg and on how the latter was forbearing Telz yeshivoth before and after the election of R Yosheh-Laib of his tragic l i e .................................... 815 Bloch ........................................... 1004 Excursus E (n. 44): On how the Alter m l e d students and on Excursus 0 (n. 124): On R Shmuel Fundilers difficult task a method he once used in educating the r a h i d he expected of bringing Musar into rebellious Telz .................. 1010 would become the gedol hodor, R Yehiel-Yankev Excursus P (n. 137): On R Aaron Kotler and R Shlomo Weinberg ......................................... 824 Heiman and on R Baruch-Bers closeness to his talmidim ... 1024 Excursus F (n. 45): On the fasting vows taken on by the Alte~ Excursus Q (n. 141): On R David-Tevils rabbinical on behalf of tahidim and on the fast days of his son R candidacies and on R Dovidl Friedmans genius .......... 1030 Laizer-Yudel ...................................... 828 Excursus R (n. 148): On the royal game and on how R Yoseph- Excursus G (n. 50): On the Alters accomplishments in the Shlomo Kahanneman became Rav of Ponivezh and perpetuation of Torah scholarship and leadership, and on its R Moshe-Yomtov Wachtfogel. Rav of Kul .............. 1048 preeminent financial backers in his and in recent times.. ..... 839 Excursus S (n. 156): On the characterization of rebbitzerrr Excursus H (n. 54): On the Mnsarites self-suspicion and on Menuha Frank-Epstein and Basya-Miriam Epstein-Berlin. .... 1061 the joint visit of R Yisrael Salanter and Bamn Guenzburg to R Laizer Gordons yeshiva ........................... 850 Excursus T (n. 163): On the Zeldovich-Pinnes family of Minsk and the Ebins of Slut& and on the disagreementChapter 4.2 (Notes 57-166). ........................ 870-1085 between two prime talmidh of R Hayyim of Volozhin on Excursus I (n. 76): On the attempts to bring Musar into how his son R Iaeleh should be remembered ............ 1068 Volozhin and the confrontation belween R I k l Blazzer and R Hayyim Soloveichik on the problematic students (including Chapter 5.1 (Notes 1-59). ......................... 1086-1192 Hayyim-Nahman Bialik) in the yeshiva; and on R Hayyims Excursus A (n. 1): On the shaving of beards in the Volozhin characer, wisdom and focus of concern .................. 880 and Slabodka yeshivoth.. ............................ 1086 Excursus J (n. 80): On stories R Naphtali Amsterdam told our Excunus B (n. 2): On R Yisml Salanlers mental exertion, protagonist about himself and his friends. and some teachings his shocking m ling on saving his life and his aversion to how of their master, R Yisml Salanter ...................... 940 he eked out his living.. ............................. 1090
    • .4xii* Making of n Godol Excursus C (n. 11): On studying lhakh in secondary FOREWORD yeshivoth and on the genius of the Vishker nuy .......... 1158 (How lhis Book Was Written) Excmus D (n. 59): On a possible rearon for the Alters recall of our protagonist from Maltch and on how the master A. Idea and Rocess dispensed with truth for falmidims good ................ 1186Chapter 5.2 (Notes 60-85). ........................ 1193-1291 I began working on a biography of my father, zal, shortly after Excursus E (n. 6 ) On the draft of Jews into the czaria 0: his death. At fitst - novice that I was - I thought I could complete army ........................................... 1193 it in three years. As mote time passed and more information piled Excursus F (n. 63): On R Hayyim Soloveichiks unique up, I decided to hand over the collected material to ArtScroll, a re- cognitive faculty and superlative kindness.. .............. 1198 spected publishing company specializing in books of this nature. Excursus G (n. 64): On the genius of R Avrohm-Elya Kaplan which would engage a writer and publish the book. Our family and his untimely death .............................. 1258 was formoate that AttScmll selected R Yonason Rosenblum to do Excursus H (n. 66): On the Rakover nuy and the Maitcheter the work. His depiction of someone whom he had met only by Iluy ............................................ 1264 way of transcripts of interviews with people who had known him Excursus I (n. 77): On R Hayyim Soloveichiks health - which I supplied - was extraordinarily accurate. It resulted seven condition ........................................ 1273 years after our fathers demise, in 5753 (1993). in the inspiring Excursus J (n. 84): On the rabbinic attire of R Hayyim and educational volume Reb Yaakov~. then translated that book I Soloveichik and his attitude toward it ...................1283 into Hebrew, and 3 s nb 7- appeared on Zions horizon in 5756 (1996) to enjoy a warm reception by the Torah community in Is- rael. Not only was Rosenblums job done superbly, incomparablyCbmnology of Excursuses. .............................1293 better than I could have done or even dreamt myself capable ofGlossary ............................................ 1297 doing, but it spared me the uneasiness a son writing in praise of his father might experience. For this R Yonason deserves specialSources .............................................1319 personal gratitude.Index of Persons ..................................... 1347 In my years of interviews and research I assembled much more . . ....................................... 1387Index of C~ttes material worthy of dissemination in the Torah world than was p u b lished in Reb Y ~ k o v Much of it did not pertain ditcctly to my fa- . ther but to great people about whom he talked at length or in pass- ing reference. The book I began writing evolved into something bmader than a biography of my father. It diverged into stories about the great scholars of earlier generations, providing a deeper Meaaah hblications, Bmklyn. N.Y.. 1993 {published by .-urnan rnnon- pan rrwn ,m.u
    • understanding of persons whose place in the annals of the spiritual the sage why he spoke to him "on general matters ( n n h nmn)" hismty of our Pwple is - unlike that of our contemporaries - al- instead of "m YIT (Torah subjects)". R M e i r - S i a h replied, ready assured. The descriptions of these luminaries which appear "Listen carefully to my general matters because they will serve here are based mainly on pronouncements my father made about you in the future." My fathers narratives were, likewise. ideas them and on my research and extrapolations sparked by his state- about the wisdom and conduct of the world which can serve one ments. My father was famous for the stories he told about earlier well. I transmit them after having studied them thoroughly and generations. Not that he was a mere stotyteller; he would relate his leave it to the reader to apply them to his teality, to season his Life stories in support of ideas he was promulgating or advice he was and behavior with them. It is for this purpose that I have gatheredgiving. His grandson R Paysah Diskind told how he studied with stories my father told on different occasions for various purposeshis grandfather one summer after his rosh yeshiva. R Elya Svei. and have investigated them exhaustively. had told him to make sure to utilize the opportunity to pick up in- Some of the rabbanim I have written about are not well-known teresting stories from the elderly sage. "One time, when I was un- nowadays. R Zev Low r e p o d that after he had read $r!w 7 7 4successful in eliciting a story [mxn] h m my grandfather." R the pithy diary of R Eliyahu-David Rabiiowitz-Twmim (knownPaysah related, "I divulged to him what R Elya had said to me by the acronym Adereth [which means mantle^"]). he noticed thatand asked him directly to tell me a stoty. His reaction was. Akh. dispersed throughout its 95 pages are mentions of 86 rabbanimyou cannot just tell a story! A stoty comes to explain something - whom the diarist had met during three decades of service in thelike salt and pepper which give a taste to focd. Can you sit down Eu~opean rabbinate. R Low asked my father, "Who are all theseand eat just salt or pepper?!" (See Reb yaakovd, and J ~ F gF.1 A rabbanim whom the Adereth mentions. most of whom I hivestatement that R Itzeleh Volahiner, son and successor of R never heard of?" My father replied, "You think like a yeshivaHayyim as head of the Yeshiva of Volahin, made in 5591 (1831) bokher [who is familiar only with the names of a number of rarheiillustrates the point of my fathers stories. He once told one of his yeshiva whose novelhe are repeated in the study halls]. The rab-studentsf. "Know, my son, that all my stories contain comprehen- banim mentioned by the Adereth - they were the really greatsive rules of wise living and proper behavior which will help you scholars, the lions.8 The volume presented to the reader herebyin days to come.9" According to p v r 790 - 7 9 ~ 0 ~ 7 ~similar state a . mentions 779 rabbanim and rashei yeshiva, most of whom werement was made by R Meu-Simhah Cohen almost a century later. Pebruary 4, 1988 / 1-om .o+vn, .pp n a ioia (Also see r?lr3 ,n lrm5o. seein an era much closer to our protagonists. R Meu-Simhah was Ch 4, the fmt p g m p h of B c . L, where arr pmcagmist is lepoRed saying thatvisited by the last Rav of pre-Communist Moscow. the vety tal- "in t h e days, a msh yeshim enjoyed a low- stam than a mv". An attempt wented and wise Slabodka talmid R Yaakov Klemmes, who asked briog "lions" lo public cognizance hw been made lately with the publication of thc IWO volumes ( n - m .rrvn ,&m. .5n5m nnna) a h n mvy which render - - c a m e biographier of 57 grcal Lithuanian mbhim who lived since 5600 (1840)..November 20. 1987 d ~ 29 . 31 f R Modkbai miasberg, who was sfudying . P In the innduction w the Ti1 volume. the editors wile. The great geonln who are in Volozbin w a newly d e d 1 4 y e a r ~ l d 9Bicgtaphic inhoduction by the very famous have bctn included in the series kcwe its purpore is w fill a uuthors son. R YehonaLhan Eliasberg, w a m h n b y iwmn5r m a ,np n l n ! n void, nM to q a l or la serve as an myclopdia." Tiis auuthor has adopted the idea (I-nn ,xmmi), p. vii Published on the f i s t yolrrreir of R Meir olodosh by of pltring maps on thc inride of thc hardcover edition of h i s book from rmm(1" 9 - ,a.5m~? : n pa m a nmnS mn. a-n, p. a m..~hr
    • 4xviB. Making o a Godol f FOREWORD aXvii%active a 100 years ago and earlier. Some of their names are cur- had perceived of R Yisrael - "even trivial things, such as smallrently known. but there are many whom this book is privileged to talk (phn nwn.) "It seems to me that even h m such things, itintroduce to todays average reader. never happened that I did not gain sublime lessons," R Ziv wrote. Technically, my work consisted of interviewing people in many At the same time, R Simhah-Zissel cautioned his correspondentsparts of the world, listening to tapes. researching in libraries, com- not to think that they knew what R Yisrael was actually like, formitting information to computer, processing the infotmation and "they do not know that they do not know him".publishing it in book form. In addition to the physical labor in- Since my father functioned most of his life, including a l l of itsvolved, there was the emotional strain of listening to cassettes of second half, on the North American continent (except for one briefmy father speaking - virtually " 1 2 ~ 2nix11 mmov (his lips talking visit to Russia and six relatively short visits to Israel), I had tofrom the grave)m3. Working on the subject of ones fathers life leave my home in Israel md travel abroad for most of my inter-posthumously puts one under a burden of sadness. And one should views. Traveling is in itself su£licient to interfere with Torah stud-not think that the sadness is lessened when the father had lived to ies, as Rashi in Massekhefh EruvinP comments, and the arduousthe age of 95, as did my father. On the contrary: When R Yankel work that followed the trips was an even greater obstacle to TorahLeshinsky was sitting Shivah for his own aged father, he relatedn study. I was constantly concerned that I was living in a state of thethat in the spring of 5708 (1948). when R Awohm Kalmanowitz sin of bimtl Torah by squandering time ftom Torah study for longsat Shivah in Erefz Yisrael for his father, who died at the age of periods. In fact, when interviewing R Levi Ktupenias. I was cas-80, he said. "People who think that the passing of an old father is tigated by him by way of the story about his grandfather-in-law Rless somwfd than of a young one are wrong. because a son Baruch-Ber Leibowitz, which is recorded in this book, that in-knows his old father much longer and better, and becomes mote stead of writing a sepher of Torah novellae (mm m ~ n ) ,I amattached to him." My burden of sadness when doing the research spending my time on relatively unimpomt things. I cannot saywas lightened, however, by the enthusiastic and sensitive interest with confidence that I made the right decision in not acquiescingand cordial cooperation offered by those to whom I tumed for in- to his criticism. The only person I could think to ask if what I wasformation about my father which they had for sharing. Though this doing was right or not was the one impossible to ask, my father,brief notation cannot discharge my debt to these fme people, it can zatzol. One story told by R Hayyim Brand to my son R Yosephsrecord my gmtitude for their thoughtfuhess. alleviated my feelings of guilt somewhat. R Hayyim together with I came across some recently published letters by R Simhah- his brother-in-law were present when R Yedael Meltzer came toZissel Ziv. the Alter of Kelemo, which are relevant to the stories interview my father about R Yedaels grandfather in whose ye-conveyed to me about my father. As soon as the news of the death shiva in Slutzk my father studied for a year and a halft, the fa-of R Zivs master, R Yisrael Salanter, reached him, R Simhah- mous Torah scholar R Isser-Zalman Melaer. At fitst, my fatherZissel wrote to some acquaintances (which the publication does told his guest that he was coming down with a grippe, and sug-not name) and asked them to report anything and everything they gested he renun at another time. But as R Yedael was about to I~.Y 1 "n ~ m ~"March23. 1993 2-n ,(>-mn ,pis ,n) 9 4 7 4 n mOr7 w 07 v 9 l P pnno n l ra n-2 TDecember 16. 1987 See p. 522. Cima November 15.pp. rwn-uown 1993 See my upcoming Vol. 2.
    • .alxviiib Making of a Godol leave, my father changed his mind and said, "Nu, since youre nmm miiwnn 135 ~ D X ?n D ~ D - TL. n5m nnia miv mwx5 m iiii~]." I here already, sit down and well t l . They conversed for about ak" I was definitely enthused by the importance of what I was doing two hours" and then my father remarked. " feel better already be- I and was self-driven to persist in this work for years on end. I felt cause n ~ no m r ~ S n 5 lBlessing follows in the wake of a myself involved in a matter of historic significance - shedding sage]"." My father obviously considered the conversolion and dis- light on earlier generations of rabbanim and rarhei yeshiva. cussion about R Isser-Zalman as hosting a sagew. Likewise. when Pursuant to the worthiness of this type of pmject. I heard from my I was researching the actions and ideas of p t Torah scholars of son R yoseph&in the name of R Meir Zlotowitz about a meeting previous generations, I felt myself in their pmximity, engaged in between my father and a Jewish philanthropist. He had come tothe litaral man T D S ~m w (service of sages), the epitome of To- my father to ask where to lend his support. to yeshivoth or to arah study=, and felt myself purged somewhat of the feared bifful certain ArtScmll publication project. My father, who was an avidTorah. (There was another problem which plagued my conscience. moral suppoaer of AnScroll and had once called that publishingwhich without much discussion I shall mention in passing. The house "a yeshiva without walls", told the philanthropist to lookM e i r i ~proves that a pious b i t [ m n n i ~ l . generally non- through the introduction of the 07.nr7 nx conmenmy on H u m hobligatory, that had been adopted by a father becomes a duty upon "till its end" and there he will find the answer. The philanthropisthis son, and the son is punished for not maintaining it. Thus, dis- laIer returned to my father and said that he was unable to fmd thatcovering splendid haits in ones father leads to new obligations - the onnn 7rx addressed the issue. My father then showed him thatwhich I admit I have not taken on. But a closer reading of the at the very end of his introduction. ~ D Xp o w n 7 thanked fourMeiris ruling leaves room to apply it only to a son who fdls his wealthy Jews for providing him with the funds to print his sepkr.fathers official position, which this son did not. And my soul was My father explained. These four Jews probably supportedsoothed.) yeshivoth too, but who knows what became of that? Due to their AU in all. after undertaking the diff~culttask, I became so in- support for the publication of the o-n,7 7 7 4 the world is privilegedtensely involved in it that I may best describe my state of mind to have this holy tome till this very day.0"with the words the Rambum used in DVW ,n7a=to define the term I was motivated furthermore by the words of Midrash ~ a b b a h d,n n i l milr nen5 (the Spirit of G-d clothed him). and similar Bibli- and Rashiz which make astounding declarations as to whichcal expressions, to wit. "A holy spirit amuses h to a certain act i m mitzvoth are worthwhile doing! The Midmsh sets a highly resttiowhich has great value Fa p 1 w MTDD nhll~5 i 5 urm?wnpn m]," tive standard when it says, "Whoever longs for and is agitatedand "Divine assistance accompanies the person, which amuses and about b ~ n n~in] mitzvoth without establishing any for future ~iimpels him to do a great and valuable goodly act, and he finds generations [mni5 npra?] has no pleosure [nm7].l" But who canstimulation and attraction for it on his own pn5-x im oixn M n i i h"The interviewer. R Yedael, law aurhored the book o m p p n which conrains " 7 k m b e r 19. 1994 See Rrb Ynukov, pp. 371-372. and yp.-1 pp. 457458.mmy of my falhrrs reminiscings in that i n h e w . . a"D m -Cf. Ruhis 1x 2 1 p m n nSn? /1n Ule inhuduclion Io p P #>D p n m n n.p.,comnenmry, ibidrrtt, on Ihe meaning of o m r D k 5 lan. Io w i imxnl r*n u-pnn ~ n.d). Ihe author. IDID wk m cites Lhis Midmsh and declare$ "mi .mtn p 5 . x a%? n mma ITi~errkxe have setsfted this mitzvah (of writing this srphrr nx ma5 IY PP 1 ~ NW 1 ."32 (one who receives [the sage] and hmts him in his home). See YP 1-0 nun. 2-DD m " n m 75:r D ~ D W which will be appmated for gcnemionr lo mme) to bencfit the public]:
    • -ulxx). Making o a Godd f FOREWORD .+xi&truly know if the effect of a mitzvah he performs will be of lasting Let the reader not be surprised that in my research for a book ofduration? Rmhi, however, in paraphrasing the Midrash broadens this kind I have also used and quoted the works of irreligious writ-the scope of commendable mitzvoth when he writes. "Doing good ers - even non-~ewsh.I have abided by the rule of the Rambarn,deeds even insatiably is of no value unless one of them is specified " m ~ m mm YDV [Listen to the truth from whoever says it]./ I .DDand distinctive [ m m ~DTUD]." Rashi makes it easier for us to attain m s t the reader will also bear with me when I quote an intervieweethe "mitzvah of value" because, unlike the Midrash, he sets no s t i p citing another individual without my having gotten back to that in-ulation as to the good deeds durability; it is enough that the mitz- dividual for conlinnation. This, too, is prut and parcel of my trust-vah be specified and distinctive at the time of its performance. I ing nature;hope and pray that if it so happens that this book does not meet the There may be some stories in this book that are known to somestalldad of the Midrash and will not be "established for genera- readers - and family members of the principals - of which thistions", it will at least be "specified and dislinctive" in our day and author may have a different understanding than they. For example.age. and will provide as much spirihlal "pleasu~e" to its contempo- I was told by my son R yosephL that R Shlomo Fisher told himrnry reading public as it does to its author. how R Yitzhaq Kulitz, Rav of Jerusalem, was incensed with the reaction of a presentday rosh yeshiva" to a story he was toldB. Contents about how R Isser-Zalman Melaer was going up the steps to his - lpcomposing this book. I have generally accepted as authentic house and overheard the cleaning lady singing to herself while washing the floor. R Isser-Zalman went back down to the street stories a b h e a r l i e r generations even when they were not conveyedby my father or some other unusually reliable individual. I was re- and paced the ground for a long while until she had finished her luctant, of course. to rely on reports that emanated from people work. and then he returned home. The rosh yeshiva understood Rwho>frensidered unable to judge events properly, but I did not Isser-ZaJmans action as indicative of how careful he was in avoid-suspect anyone of prevaricating intentionally. Similarly, unless the ing the sound of a singing woman (,mna hp) for the time it wouldwriter was blatantly tendentious, I assumed that printed facts were have taken him to walk from mid-staircase until entering his homecredible. (I have this faith in pwpIe despite a report by R Velvel -when the woman would cenainly have stopped singing. "In actu-KercerY that Rebbitzen Feigel Zaks, the Chafetz-Chaims youngestdaughter, told him, "Eighty percent of what they tell about [my fa-ther] is not true." I cannot help hut assume that in order to bringout bluntly the idea that nor everything told about R Yisrael-MeirKagan, author of Chafet Chaim, is m e . his daughter exaggeratedthe percentage of untruths.) The reason I have consistently cited - ality," said R Kulitz. a Isser-Zalman was concerned that when he would walk into the house, the woman, who enjoyed singing while on the job, wouId be inconvenienced by having to stop .aan lnpj 9-mra "nr naan ui vxxn 53 tun, ? m .xes r u n h . ,m The o in15 n a r m a~ .70m s n-IW 5m .DDW W ? , n beginning of b i inhoducrion t m u mu. Irnr a.55~ ~ 5 mwa .sn -mp.m m lmir I . h x w isx 5w m w .i.othe origin of reports of events and episodes is to give the reader the p m i ) . m r a m ,M x h amnr, mn nps r3n7 n-iwa r r n w m a i r r ,n m w r !: i onin n-m N ~ ,ow 1.m 3.3 nnsnm an,-ID, as .liwln ~a WID,^ mum * P m Wprerogative of questioning my judgment and deciding for himself h m " r nup5 anun] p5pnl p u n i m n " 9 i n r m nimn pjm5 iw 1 ~ x impn 5~whether a story is credibIe or not. wm aw ooin xu+ nnomn nu- ; m nr,+ ?ma as maw m W D ~aixqgapn> oY M m h 19. 1994 .. .: . (.l.mmwa xpm58 -ram m n w n Wr xninxa Circa November 18. 1 9 93 . .
    • itlging for the rest of her working time." Also cf. the definitive authors, but I feel that having been raised in the home of a distin- biography of R Isser-Zalman Meltzer. onn, 1 7 a where that 9 7 c guished Torah scholar and leader (bmm hlr). my credentials forrzaddiqs grandson records the story as it occurred - and that his proposing extrapolations of stories of gedolim are at least as goodgrandfather himself explained his action without any reference to as anyone elses. I have not only devoted much thought to a lucidm n a h; even has R Isser-Zalman pacing on the porch just out- it understanding of the episodes I have set down, but whenever Iside the door to his house - where he could likely still hear the considered my interpretations moot and open to the readers ownsinging (if he chose to listen)m! R Yitzhaq Kulia was fuming explication, I sprinkled my conclusions bedy with various fomujabout @at rosh yeshivas misinterpretation of R Isser-Zalmans of such verbs as "suggest", "offer". "propose", and "conjecture".motive because through his wrong interpretation, he had missed In his introduction to p 7 v ~ R Barukh Epstein dxlares, .out on R Isser-Zalmans extraordinary consideration for peopIe. In "My thought has always been that not everything which comes tothis case, one mans understanding of an event clashed with anoth- mind should be spoken; and not everything spoken should be writ-ers significantly. In other instances varying ihterpretations may be ten; and not everything written should be printed" R Epsteinof negligible importance. but nonetheless present. Narurally, a claims that he abided by t i dictum in compiling his book. This hsreader. too. mav have an alternate assessment of events to this aphorism is also listed among the sayings of R Yisrael Salantero.c , v ~ w n:inn m - nann m - p. 272 Cf. The Rov: The World of Rabbi Joseph 8. I have found an earlier source for this maxim. in onn p n z m >h S~,b~.rircl!ik, Aaron UefTet-RoIhkoK (KTAV Publishiig Hww. New York. by o > d , the son of the Chafea-Chaim introduces the biography of 1999). Vol. I. pp. 178-179. for a similar story regarding R Yoshch-Lkr of Brisk. his father by quoting him as repeating this aphorism "seemingly in ~.elalrdby R Levi-Yiuhaq Horowie. The same point war brmgbt out by R the name of R RephaeI of Hamburg". the talmid of the m x me. Y;I:~~oY-Yitzchok Ruderrnan in an interview with some Torah educaton. gndualu ul Yrshivath Rabbenu Yisrael Meir Haohen. He n d the speeial s m r Slabodka The Chafea-Chaims son, too. claims to havc been guided hy this Yeshiva put on inlerpemnel relations and told the following story. (It wns apparenl principle when omitting "some of the few stories about (his) fa- il, his tone that he was unsure whaher to tell lhe story to his inlerviewen -bur he thers youth which occasionally slipped out of (his) fathers mouth.did.) In the 56Ws (1930s). he war once invited to spend a Shabbarh at the home al of which are impossible (emphasis added) to cany out into the lof llle Rav of Eliznbeth. New Irrsey. Before the arrival of L e Sabbath. the mv tookhim a i d e for a conlidcntial exchange of words. He lold his guest that he hsd several public domain". I suppose that the reason for being selective indauphlers wting uc the Snbbnth lnble who enjoyed Shobbos by ringing the rrmimrh what to publish stems from the concern lest someones feelings bealong with him. (A! this point in the narrative. R Rudermao intejecled that thRe hurt by uncensored revelations. The Chafetz-Chaims son likely al-were no Buis Ynnkokov vehmls in America at Ibe t i m - indicating that Bnis Y&ov luded to this concern when he wrote that c& stories are impos-prdduutes would know knu thm t do Ibis.) l e mv told him lhst R Bmch-Ber o % sible to &blisb. With regard to my book, however, I must say thatLeibowiU had been n g u m a1 his home sometime earlier, and when h gtls b e g ~ eringing, hc stood up nnd mn out of the room - pemubing lhc S h a b k h f a the girls insofar as this first volume. which deals in matters that muspiredand humiliating their fathw. The host then asked whuher R Rvdaman would do a century ago, I did not give much consideration to concealingthe sane. The guen replied thnt with his Slabodka baekgmund, he wwld not desmythe familys Sabbath spirit or emb- his host; he would remsin silfing and not r m *in, r q .+n nmmn - p. 14 70M3 ~ u(The Mwor mowmenl). pn Fa nlisten lo the girls. My fmmhir docs not have t hun o h m " he concluded A h o (anwn . w b nm m )pp. 3W-310. n.21. A h ree ibid. p. 346. where an ~ i m.se Ch. 1, end of Erc. F; Ch. 3. Ibe saond paragraph of Exc. Z: and fn w on p. example of how R Yirracl followed Otis rule in his writings is,su down. P rn -650. P. 2
    • FOREWORD riXmI. then-sensitive matters for the reason that when my father talked R Mordkhai Schwab, however, had a negative view of "storytell- about these long-past episodes he specifically applied the verses m ing" when he told me? m e S a W r Rav. R Yoiljsh man iaa nnKlp oi M K ~ W (Both their [the principals] enmity and their Teitelbaum, never told stories [nrwua] because he said. You can- envy are already bygone). - see p. 792 in this volume. In fact, my not educate through lies [ipw]." R Mordkhai agreed with R father considered the passage of only 50 years - a h -(which the r Yoilish in reference to stories intended to glorify their principals Torah labels "ohu5 [forever]") - to have enough of a cumulative while dehumanizing them. R Yoilish echoed a statement by R effect to erase one world and bring a new society in its stead. In Yehoshuaa-YosephRed. Rav of the Lithuanian town of Kmk. In a that vein. I saw no need to repress my thoughts; and rather than 5656 (1896) review of pp 2x1s r n 5 x 1 n r r h published a year ~ allowing R Rephael Hamburgers slogan to block my path. I uti- earlier in Warsaw. R Preil set down the following ethic: "To c r e lized the Biblical verse to clear the way for interesting, learned ate stories that never happened and present them as facts for the and educational disclosures about a world goneby. Undoubtedly sake of teaching morals - woe is to the musar precept built on as the readership of this book includes some descendants of those brittle a foundation as a lie!"^ Even h i d i m , the celebrated story- greats of yore, of blessed memory, mentioned herein. I pray that tellers who are more suspect than others in creating legends about they are intelligent enough to appreciate their progenitors human their leaders (from whom the Satmarer Rav was evidently trying to frailty along with their greatness: stemming from great ancestors, distance himself by his statement), are careful in separating fact they should bet. from fiction. I was told by R Shimon DeutchY that he had asked I came across a striking disagreement between two famous the Lubavitcher Rebbe. R Menahem-Mendel Schneerson, whether brothers on the subject of stories about great men of previous gen- when writing about the arrest and release of his father-in-law, Rerations. R Shimon Schwab in his Selected Writingsu defmes the Yoseph-Yitzhaq Schneerson. he should mention or omit the factdifference between history and "storytelling" in that the first must that R Yoseph-Yitzhaqs secretary. R Hayyim Liebeman, wasbe "truthful, and unsparing of even the failings of the righteous". arrested and released with him. (R Lieberman was opposed to RR Schwab asserts eloquently that "a realistic historic picture" will Menahem-Mendels ascendancy to the Lubavitch throne and didreveal "inadequacies" which will "rightfully make a lot of people not recognize him as Rebbe after he assumed the position.) Rangry" and that "no ethical purpose is served by preserving" such Menahem-Mendel responded. "History must be written mvaa5 o xa picture; he contends that we must "put a veil over the human [ m e to its truth]" - and explained his redundancy: "Chis includesfailings of our forebears and glorify all the rest which is great and not polishing up any word [mim r?l m ~ i x ~ 1 . Also cf. oioh~ ~ "beautiful (emphasis added)". In other words, he favors "storytell- history as it3redlyhappned. u n b i i and wihcut pjudice"; he (husrerrommodaing" over "history". He coins an adage: "We do not need realism: thar w mu-pmphetic writing of "history"be biascd and prejudiced. January 14.we need inrpiration from our forefathers."" That authors brother, 1988 He refulcd h m b y (he hypothesis of some Jewish histmiam that the a Talmudic Sages inveoled the-story of failed revolt by the uibe of Ephraim duringr ? o n h p .iw- n n p.n e n. 1 on p. 20 in this volume. ni Se * F 3p m.IY mil i w x>w w p 3 IraK a p m (I= m m l a a l (ozln) mmm " Mewood, ~ ;; ) -.. - - the EwDtian u i l e in ordrr m d k m m z e rebellion anaina (he R o m of their awn day. See p-nm .p?v1 7 r ) h . , D r y m , r n m~mm o m p. 248. Y Novembcr , 7 - 1988 pp. 233-234 He is consislem wkn swing in an earlier para~raph hisof 76 1997 R &lch off& .: n exsmpk of how the i& l himaelf followedessay, "Only a pmphet mandaled by his Divine calling has the ability lo repon this guideline when he funded h e publication of the &rial tcah for the cily of
    • FOREWORD 4 bx i x r vD 7omm (The Mzwr Controversy)a, a book about the dispute in the ordination: "Without mascara and without rouge and without late 5650s (1890s) in which most of the great Tomh figures came hairdo, yet a graceful gazelle [ ~ n 5 ~ o r a m x h p>w x h 5na 1151." If i out publicly against the Musar movement. The author, Musar ad- a minor blemish - and on a truly great man it is never more than herent R Dov Katz, tells how many opinions were heard" by him minor - also exists, it does not ruin the grace of the outstanding "that we should avoid the entire affair ( m o Y , but "several Musar personality; he remains a gazelle with a distinctive beauty mark.personalities" including R Yehiel-Yankev weinbergb and R In an article in y ~ ~ byda5 a n ,,nil. I came across a report on ,Hatzqel Sama insisted not only that he should write about the con- my fathers attitude toward misrepresenting historical events whichtroversy, but - as R Sama put it - that "he set down in writing the validates my approach. It imparts that my father approved thefull affair without omitling any detail, be what it may." snubbing of "a book on the Gaon of Vilna by an outstanding I concede humbly that I have followed not R Shimon Schwabs author" because "the author had purposely omitted chapters deal-prescription but R Samas, and have pomayed events and peopIe ing with the Caons opposition to Hasidurh", and that he said.fully and honestly. I cannot subscribe to R Schwabs assignation "It is prohibited to conceal substantive and important issues suchto anyone of a "right" to become "angry" with my revelations. be- as these. Such distortion is tantamount to falsehood." Onthe ques-cause in no way do I consider the stature of the great rabbanim tion of how our protagonist regarded that specific book - it is ob-and rashei yeshiva of yore diminished by describing them as they viously xrhrt run3 px&7 - I submit firstly that its author did notwere. If. due to my untinted description. some reader views some simply ignore the issue of the Caons stance toward the Hasidicgreat man or another as having a slight failing or imperfection - movement. In the introduction to the third editionj, he declares ex-did not the wisest of men declare with Divine guidance ( m p a m3: pressly that he has written chapters dealing with the controversyxun. n h aru a w r ~ w xnm p?? px m n v (For there is no saintly man "which convulsed the House of Israel in those days" and they "areon eanh who does good and never fails)~, pronouncement upon a retained" in his archives. I was also present when the venerablewhich the Cemara bases the halakhah that m a 3m .p.n (saints- author. R Bezalel Landau, held a discussion about this matter[too] require atonemenOd? I personally see a l l the great Torah fig- with my father during the latters 5742 (1982) visit to Israel andures as the Amoro m~ a1 was described when he received his related that a distinguished rosh yeshiva in Jerusalem had accusedYeliaterinoslav-DnepropcMvsk w h m his famcr bad been rnv - in spite of the bmk h m (as did a5 * m a ) of "falsifying (I-) the image of the Gaon" id~wlging one of Ule Rcbbcs bmhus Ulc y0unge.U. Yimcl-Aryeh-Laib, a lluy. Ulal by omitting the issue of the Caons hithnagduth. R Landauwas caught up in lhe H~kaIah Manim and Tmukyim and then mned lo Palestine pleaded with my father. "How can I publicize the Caons prohibi-while far from Tmah and H a h i . and lhc other, Dober. war cmmd in an iosanc f tion on m t e d g e with haridim and possibly cause families to -q l m "and. unmsnied, died in hia dcpmion in Kadhmd ye aktn~rp. wo b d father agreed that the five chapters he had pre-crV5vn ,a,~+n dmw . 5 n m poatmmna5mmwrp. mnm;r) pnwmq p. 119, in an anicle by the d l o r . m a - 1.1 ma, callEd -Pa1 m*. 1 Publbhcd pared be leR unpublished but not destroyed, saying, "Have themr b n ,.rrhml, - pp 19-20 and n. 5 R Weinbag w u e lo him. It is pmpr fa -1-8 1- pn;uo f r m n nun Y (n-bn , o - h , ) "pvo ; u 5a.o n r IOn tbisa historian-auh oor lo c o d ihc opposing sick. it8 opinions and outlmlrs." spcsific argumnt. my fathu remarked - saiously. it yemed - that even among"xurr x5 mr mr p r .ro:n ,r r n b m 5 w r 21 h p d r r 1 pzm. Abo n . n fabiddco maniaga Lhwc an soor lhaL ex post facto, an no1 required lo becf. m n h p nd Lx.. which disnpm mith that gemara. and cf. m r mm m i dissolved (m n5 F o x ) ; and h u e is lherefm no f u r of brrating up Iamiliea,-a il?. a ad , t of ihc,publicutioa of ihc Gmns prohibition.
    • .@uviiiD. Making o a Godol f prepared for publication but desist from [publishing them] until groom had once been institutionalized in an asylum. A fierce dis- such time as may come when events will necessitate their publica- pute ensued within the community as to whether the tattler was a tion." He explained in veiled terns. They must be ready in case a tzoddiq or a rashu. R Pert asked his father how to view this act. certain someone [vm] should do an ugly thing [lm s,mr*n K]." He and the latter replied. "Fmm this episode, you cannot tell. If his was referring to messianic fantasies simmering i a hasidic circle n - other actions are kindly, he did this out of piety [ n i p ] , and if his in Israel, the adherents of that group had fomented a political feud other actions are vicious, he did this out of malice [ n m ] . " along hosidic-rnithnagdic lines - and my father felt that the even- R Hayyim Sbmulevilz brings out the same motif masterfully6 tual publication of these chapters would help the general hasidic with "definite proof (a3171 nm)" from Mmekheth ~ o m C Tke public shake off the messianics should their fantasy get out of gemara relates that a kohen once stabbed a young man to death hand. As it turned out, my fathers concerns were well founded: a with a Temple knife, and the father of the murdered youth, finding large segment of that hasidic cult did declare irs leader to be the his son in the throes of death, remarked. "My son is yet gasping. Messiah. (The perverse possibility that a decade after his meeting so the knife remains undefded [nm] [not having touched a with R Bezalel, many of the sects members would formulate the corpse]." A penelmling discussion regarding the fathers comment phantasm that its dead rebbe would make a "second coming - follows: Did it reflect a laxity in that generations concern with this is what they believe and are propagating in our day likely - murder while its concern with purity was normal. or was it an ex- never even entered the realm of our protagonists normal, healthy pression of how meticulous that generation was with the purity of imagination. We may therefore conjecture that my father would Temple utensils while its concem with bloodshed was at the nor-have enthusiastically approved the recent publication of ~ ~ 1by ai 7 , mative level? R Hayyim points out that we have an example here[a-own ,o"rpm. ;niaw, nmia- p a ] 1r5x, wherein the Vilna Gaons of how a single act or statement can reveal two diamehcally op-battle against Hasidism is bared.) SO much for the specific issue of posed characteristics. That father might have personified the epit-R Landaus book which, as that conversation disclosed. pertained ome of evil, callous even with regard to the life of his own child.to a situation with cunent consequences. But my fathers statement or he might have been so saintly that in his moment of extremeas repotted by a5 .olio that concealment of issues is "tantamount to anguish he still had the sanctity of the Beth hahiiqdnsh in mind.falsehood" is certainIy valid when passing on information about Likewise, when we speak about Yailings" of great Tomh figures,historical issues that have no bearing on contemporary affairs, as can we state definitely that their actions indicate characterdefi-does this book1. ciencies rather than manifestations of other Wits, uncommon yet There is a more recondite understanding of what seems to be positive? h e n facts about great Tomh personalities.criticism of great Torah figures. R Yehiel Perr told me/of a ques- unusual as they may be, we never can determine unequivocallytion he once asked his father. R Menahem, a peer of my fathers that they demonstrate weaknesses and faults; being that they mayin the Slabodka Yeshiva. A young lady was about to become en- be an expression either of unusual positive qualities or of commongaged when someone divulged to her parents that her intended human weaknesses, we opt for the former when representing great personalities."Also c t n. 5 in the Prologue of mis bmk, pp. 21-22, which q&es o m n n h/November 29, 1988
    • In summary. we cannot judge and evaluate the individual acts of PREFACETorah personages of former generations - nor for the same reason (How lo Read This Book)cl we resolve our problems in the particular ways they resolved altllzio. To paraphrase the words of the Prophetn: ovniawno x5 *J A. The text of this book is comprised of chapters. each divided::.:mn on.>n inm p p ~ a 7 w i a n ... i r n ~ m n ~h wnuwna o into a number of sections; the book as a whole is divided into two;sr.lawnan avnuwnai (For their thoughts are not our thoughts, nor parts: The Text, and Notes and Excursuses. In the f i t part of the [heir ways our ways; for as the heavens are higher than the earth, book, called The Text, the entire text is printed without the anno-so are their ways higher than our ways, and their thoughts than our tation m r s which may disrupt the flow. In the second pan of the akthoughts). Yet there is much for us to learn from them: not perfec- book. called Notes and Excursuses, the full text is repeated intion - which needs no model and which everyone must try to small type together with note numbers, with the lines of the textachieve in accordance with his own personality - but their motives that are relevant to each of the notedexcursuses printed atop theand ideals, their truthfulness and wholesomeness, their charity and beginning of the respective note and excursus. The repetition oflove of Torah. These serve as beacons on the paths of our lives. the text is made in the exact line-by-line form as it initially a p peared in The Text This has caused some of the lines in The Text to appear sparse, but it enables the reader of Notes and Excursuses to turn back and find easily the particular line of text with which the notdexcursus connects and see it in its greater context Unlike the repetition of the text which is in small type atop the page, the notes and excursuses are printed in the same full-size lettering as is the text in The Text This was done because the notes and the excursuses are at least as important a component of the book as is the text - see the Introduction which deems the notes even more important than the text. The long notes, i.e., the exciususes, are given titles and are listed by their titles in the table of contents. The individually numbered paragmphs in the excursuses are often subdivided for easier readability. I must explain why the format of this book is so unusual that the book requires instructions on how it is to be read. When 1 planned the structuring of my book, I envisioned having the text on the upper pan of each page with footnotes on the bottom. When the notes pmlifented, I thought of putting them at the end of each chapter. or at the end of each section of a chapter. Then. as the notes mushroomed to even greater size. I planned to put all
    • .wxxii@. Making of a Godol PREFACE .cbouiiib the footnotes at the end of the book. But when they finally bur- sus with one. definite year, I had to decide to which p a ~ of the t geoned to the vast dimensions the reader will kind, I had to come excursus to assign the year, and common sense dictated that it be up with some unconventional format - which also affects the print to its beginning. In some cases, the title of an excursus will indi- size of the notes in relation to the text. I pray that the book is now cate that several (interlocked) themes are included within it; for - to use the modem clichd - reader-friendly. these excursuses, the year assigned is that of the major theme. The book has been structured to be read in the following man- Within the notes and excursuses are Lettered annotations for r t e ~ :f i t , The Text, then the repeated text again, h e by line, to- gether with the Notes and Excursuses.~(It may be advisable to fwmotes in exm-small type a1 the bottom of the page which, if lead The Text chapter by chapter, or, better yet, section by section. skipped, will not interfere with the reading of the main material. It and immediately go on to the N o w and Excursuses on that panic- is advisable, however. to reread the notes and excursuses together with the footnotes for the full appreciation of this book.? ular chaptedsection.) In most cases, the excursuses may be read as separate units, but this is inadvisable because they, like the regular Together with the pmlikration of extended notes, a constant en- notes, were germinated as amplifications of the text and only by a richment of thoughts incidental and exrnaneous to the main flow of linking process grew more elaborate and larger until they bloomed the notes intruded themseIves. In those cases. I have used parenthe- into independent essays; the beginning of each excursus is invaria- ses and brackets freely to mark off the i s r s - but not in accord. net bly connected lo the text. My criterjon for tuning a note into an ance with the sWict grammatical ~ l e of punctuation. What 1 have sexcursus was simply its page length. Although in most cases the done is to enclose ancillary material, first in parentheses, and if lengthening of a note was caused by a divergence into non-textual within that material other incidental remarks evolved, enclose them topics, there were instances in which this was not the case. The in brackets. And if within this bracketed material yet other inciden- latter type of excursus can. therefore, not be understood at all tal matters crop up, those are marked off with parentheses again. In withour a c o n c m n t reading of the text. summary, 1 have used parentheses and brackets in alternation, be- Because the creation of the excursuses came about in this off- ginning with parentheses, going on with brackets. and back to pa-hand manner, they have no internal order. To assist the reader who rentheses, and yet again to brackets, and so fonh. Clarifying wordswants to peruse the valuable historical material within lhem in a inserted into direct quotations are always put within brackets.more organized fashion, especially when reviewing the bookP. I I have not included in this book an element which arouses inter-have made. beginning on p. 1293, a chmnological listing of the est for the common reader, pictures, since I do not anticipate thisexcursuses and marked down the approximate y e . with which book being agpreciated by the general public because of both itseach excursus relates. In most cases, an excursus encompasses e p content and iti fonnat. It will be read, 1 believe, only by the so-isodes that occmed over a period of several years - it may even phisticated students of the suhjecis it explores. This exclusivitycoalesce events from different eras. In order to connect the excur- of readership will not. I daresay, disappoint me because 1 have r Bcfausc rhere is an abundance of cms8-rsfersnces - whieh, in lum, have their own" i 7 n n n ~ o u w xiprrn nn35 n>am 5-n i x n nt anaw an ps, n m m . m p a a t -f n- - I dam suggal that the &have p c i l aod paper hsndy so thatlnrl n7pn o w k p n orpa mom p iwoi ..nms7 ~ P ~ , ? D n * m . m nx5 L,FW J be may j down the spot whcnfmrn he w m l on his Rsding j o w e y through the a.wBnu .mlul P see ~ h 2.. the second parapph of EXC. 6,and h. 1 od loc. highways and byway8 of n o w and fwmow. m that he be able to find his way back lo his s w i n g point.
    • PREFACE rbaxvp. .sbaxivp. hhiing o a Godol f Hebrew wnsonants use the following respective English counter-followed the prescription of the Rambarn in the section of the parts:Opening (2n.n~)to o?m ,n?a entitled, m i a n n nmW. to wit: "If I no, 2 = vY; i = v; n = h ~ :mu1 * = yy; n ~ 7 = kh, ahave no method to teach the proven truth but in a way which will m a = k 9 = ; am D = ph; x = tz; p = q (except when l :befit one superior individual [ i n n n*gl and not befit a myriad of it is the first letter of a commonly used word which isdolts. I prefer to say it for him and not be concerned with denun- generally written with a " " such as Kaddish); n ~ nl = th. k,ciation by the masses [pa]." The sophisticam bave all seen pic- Yiddish consonants use the following respective English counter-tures of the popular great Torah leaders anyway, and of the other, pm:lesser-known.scholars there are no pictures available. huthermore. ri=v;n=kh;nma=kh;amo=f;x=ts;p=k;in order to appreciate this book, it will have to be read with the am n = s.full concentration (p9) which pictures disrupt. First names of people are generally also transliterated in the same manner. I have not stuck t the rule consistently for people whose o B. When using the Names of G-d (a-ya maw). I use ,n for "the names are commonly spelled otherwise: for example. -x has beenName" of G-d, in Names relating to m+x. a dash is inserted to written Zvi, nM Tzvi; npm, as Rivka, not Rivqa Some peoplesbreak up the Holy 1etters.l names have been given in their Yiddish form, such as Avrohm or Following neither the general custom nor the scientific rules set Avrohom (instead of the Hebrew. Avraham), and Yaakov ordown in the Encyclopedia Judaica*, Hebrew and Yiddish have Yankev (instead of Yaaqov). For names of persons who have hadbeen transliterated to English in the following manner: well-known English books entitled for them, I have used the spell-Hebrew vowel sounds ( m m ) are transliterated according to the ing in the book titles. An "h" has been appended to transliteratedSephardic pronunciationu. The m m has been disregarded. except Hebrew words that end with an unenunciated -8- - except inthat when the juxtaposed English consonants are open to mispro- words like yeshiva and Kabala that are commonly written withoutnunciation, it has been transliterated to the letter "e" (as in the extra letter and in some common names of people. such asMenahem, Nekiv and yeshiva). Malka. Moshe. Rivka. Shlomo and Shoshana. At tirhes, an apos- P. r in Kappah Edition lk wnvasion of lhe r n to a q l p is maccepcabls mphe has been inserted in the transliterated word to avoid d i n g -beaux mirvodrrslandings m y ruulr as I have seen n b 5-r mnvated with good two juxtaposed vowels as a diphthong, such as "gabbairn (pluralinrention a 8hs 5p, which is b l q k - - (7mr ~ 8 d &s 32 1in m w n ) of gabbary. Sometim&s a letter is doubled in order to avoid3-n 2-3. (I have seen similar blasphemy in rrgard to a quowho of x k flp pms, 5p 5v u ~ from a-n .po a w n hn r r m r ) Thc bmk yr pn by R 1 n siddw he edi& ( n m nKn7j 9mtn nrr mrr. I have used bh" for kucrYaaqov HBJevi Liphim (KomSlabo* 1924-1927) m v a u Ule 7-85 ia a n in words in which this l e m is g d y mirpmmunud as a m a ( w h as l - -y l p and scpanm lhe on, leima wilh a qumlioo nmk thus: p n which wps ^lurbhwnh" ant "Bo6ho IQmm]". "V" has been used lor Heh-ew words lhalpmbably lhe m l h d uoed in earlia limcs when Iw uoed f u "tte Ne". But I appar i thc Fnglish diaionsry wilh a b" ant ue p m n o u d wilh a v" muod .believe ihc m o b mder will be mrrs cDmIoMble wilh my muhod Vol. 1. p. (such w ShavuMh" and Tevuh": h s e wads hsve MI ilalieid becaw90 This was dons mt becauoc it is ihc m mmcI syslem ihc Ymstlia l - hey sppear in thc dictiway, but ue vnirtcn wilh vs m h than bs). In hesystem w m - aowo bur h s c it d l c d &wnq ant is popular. The G l q . a da has been placed M o w @ s l a m l indicare lo U e rrader lhal lhe i o nword m p has been m l i - Qahrhim. a l h g h f~ an &fin reacon. mmrt Hcbm pmnuneiation is nwre gurmnl than h e english h". (A dm has also -Sephardim ponouocs it w h i m see p. 6 in thc inhoduaion of k n a b a thc
    • PREFACE **uuiW mispronunciation, such as in Masse&tk" (and even where the colon or semicolon) punctuates the close of the sources own matching Hebrew letter is without a w ~ i ,as "havver/ havverim"). words, the quotation marks appear afrer the period (or colon1 Generally speaking, non-English words and names are written with semicolon). an eye to correct pronunciation; the author wants to enable the When citing a publication or article. I refer to its author in the reader who is unfamiliar with the foreign words to speak about language with which he is named on the title page of the publica- this book correctlys. tion or at the head of the article, and with the same title (or lack Ilace names which are not well known are also written with an of title) as the printed material designates for him. eye to their proper pronunciation even if this conflicts with the of- When quoting a Hebrew text, in cases where I felt it important ficial (unfamiliar) spelling. Thus the reader will be able to speak for the reader who is able t read Hebrew weU to see the citation o about these places correctly. Occasionally, an apostrophe has been in its original, I have written out the Hebrew, and followed it by - inserted to avoid mispronunciation as in "Khatayevich", for ex- an English manslation in brackets or parentheses (depending on ample. which of the two is in tum, as explained in the middle of p. m i i , Hebrew words that have been naturalized into the English lan- above), for the less knowledgeable reader. When citing in English guage through several decades of usage - I used my 1961 edition a text originally written in Hebrew or Yiddish, I have often of Wcbsrcrs New Collegiate Diciiomry to look up such words - bracketedlparenthesizeda HebrewNiddish word.phrase for which I are sometimes changed From their dictionary spelling to follow the felt my banslation to be inadequate or imperfect ~nwanm 7 1 2S5> above rules of transliterationY. Hebrew words that the English lan- .xSa im a m 3 h u . p nom;l co D?~#B% >N> na XSD guage has adopted a e not listed in the Glossary and are not itali- r Because it is beyond my capability to estimate the caliber of thecized. great scholars and rabbanim and other persons I have met, not toDouble (and triple) names of people, when written in English. say those of earlier generations, and assign them appropriate titleshave been joined together by hyphens=, including names based on - nor did I know which of my inte~ieweeswere ordained dndbooks authored about or by them, such as "Chafe=-Chain". which were poshuteh Jews - I have used "R" uniformly to grace 1 have not followed the rules of English grammat but the dic- the names of all the geonim, rabbis and undistinguished observanttate of logic in the placement of closing quotation m a d s by put- Jews. The reader is requestedto read the "R" abbreviation asting them before the period at the end of the sentence (or the co- haRav-haGaon. Rav. Rabbi, or simply Reb, appmp~iately.~lon or semicolon at the end of the clause) when the quotationmarks are there to focus on a literary form or citation. When quot- C. Halakhir! wnclusions cannot be drawn From what this booking a speakers or writers statement per se, wherein the period (or repons my father to have said or done because, although 1 maybeen ndded in lhe banslilcrarion of TOW.) It is F u Ihiu l h i s n ha an "h" has : have found an interviewees report sufficiently reliable for quotingoRen teen in& aiier an "e" - lo indicate h the "e" is pmnouncd. and, so in in the biography. I cannot give it the full credence that a halakhic I.."gel" - lor example, in W r e h . Faigeh. 1-leh, Yaoeveh and S h n e b Esmi. m erender is invilsd w figurs oul how an English-& would w q l the pmnunciatioo ma&. I have Followed lhe uample of the Vilna S h whue. on & back sideof these mher wmmon words had fhe b" MI been appnded. Y A h see h W. : : 01lhe blirpiar, all the fammcntamrs appelldcd i thal e i i n are titled u n i h n l y n dto i. pabove. .Cf. In. on pp. 425426 in (his volume in R Velvalleh Soloveichiks aa vm (& I pus). i !.
    • ~. I i l l , ! i 5xxxviiiB. Making of a God01 . * PREFACT conclusion mandates. I have even come across an interviewee mis- quoting my father on a halakhic sourcee. Furthermore, my Hazon-Ish is also recorded in a-n 7777 7m6 in the name of "his fathers actions or statements, even if accurately reported, were not talmid i u ~ o h - 9 uiw n n " - and the author of - a x pn-17 nyrnua v always understood clearly enough to become halakhic rulings (yp? may have taken it fmm there. L i the Hazon-lsh, with whom he za>n). This qualification applies to reports about other great Torah s h a d many ttaits, my father said "various tbings to various peo- scholars as well. In . x prnnn7 n y r m 9 , R Avraham-Yeshayabu a ple", and if he did not state explicitly that he was setting a univer- Karelitz, the Hazon-lshd, is quoted as having answered when sal halakhic d i n g , one cannot deduce any such tbing fmm what asked why he stands during the reciting of n r o i a m p (the Sancti- he said or did.fication Prayer at the end of the Morning Service) since in Ri- After a kzlmid of my fathers objected that 1 spelled names ofshnim it says otherwise, "D.I yi D F ~ OP [One is unable to sit cities in a non-halakhic manner in ~ F P m- a matter in which my(when expressing Gds Holiness)]." I could not accept this as the father was careful/ - I added the following disclaimer at the begin-true reason because, with personal sentiments determining halakhic ning of the fouah edition: "One should not rely on books of thisaction, nwp 1vsa i ~ i WK (each man will do what is right in his l kind in mauers of halakhab." The book at hand is also of the kindeyes)f and all Tomb norms will be uprooted, G d forbid; there to which the caveat applies.must have been another reason why the Hazon-Ish acted as he did.I discussed this with R Hayyim Kaniyevsky who rejoined. TheHazon-lsh said various things to various people." It may have pos- I may add that my father did I r dinim fmm the stories told about leading Tomb personalities An example of chis is that he once brought proof for hi ruling that the prohibition against se-sibly been an adolescent frumkeif, as my father had with gebrokrs clusion with a forbidden woman (nn- n w is considered %mmr o $- see pp. 946-948 in this volume - which turned into a vow ( 1 ) 11 n r w (a comllary to forbidden carnal relations), a sin that must bebecause it is after all a holy sentiment to stand during m p , as the avoided at the expense of ones life( from a story he had heardHazon-lsh is reported to have said.9 The exchange with the about R Yisrael Salanter. R Yisrael had said that if there would be a question of nnn on a train, he would jump out the window"The render is direcled lo > I ?% p. 349, where I have set down in thc s r t ?" to avoid it. My father reasoned (hat since jumping out of a mov- the repon of 8 holaWlah thnl my father mntioned, as was done in Reb Y h v . 4in n footnote I pointed out thnt h intemiewee must have misundersrmd w h s my ing ttain is We-threatening, the pmhibition must be in the categoryfather snid. c ~ - ~ w n nn m?n- n m n by p h >xni - p. 209 d m s book ,-a?s-refers lo R Karelitr in the manner he is u n i v e d y d l e d - by ihc book he authored as r ,x)u> n m =.TI (Ihe rabbi who is Wlened In an Angel of ihc G d of Horrp nanonymously. Hvwn bh. The two words of the tide are hypknarrd as is date wilh [per rs 7- p p P ) snd who. like the Aogeh Above (TO rryl *n n-rr 1-9 I.names consi6tiag of mom than a single wad. R Shbmo P i s k told mc that the ah m m r l ;ir~m), y vwy well haw stood whm rsdtiog m p . But h i s ; mHnzon-Ish stcod fareciting ~ n - .-(the SanctifiearjonRayer before the h n e g c r am urss pmvzn mg by pnrring the K a b -m% mix.) m nx nro o ~ ~of ~ h m ? )too. f PSI ilzrai , : wm s ~t tmt, I ~bougbrmst the h c b h . . ir r w n , w h m w b P d . it is bmught w p, m (fmm m m ~ m nlhat ore is required ) -who obemed fnmily Nstoms d c u l o w l y - soe p. 136 in this volumc may have m . s i I f a r ~ m m p . K ~ , p ~ . m n m n - p . mAfOMoO(sinwrrceivcd thc vadition from his illwrioup arresror, one of the gMlest lrabalirk of m.7 ibid. repnu lhst sometime lam R Steinbus found a sour= which repars I, =his generation. Ure o m ~ 7 R Aryzb-Laib mtesio. whom the Gtm. of Viloa ha w m p omn I likewise stood for nnoi ;rc?lp %I in m t b rr s in c ci l a redescribed in a (second) appdmion to his s p h u h @aR Epsteine b i m h y . mw G-ds service". h g h .mar I pdmitledly bad M beard lhat anyone else did m". I7n. aulhored by his dcsseldant v w n n ?M rmnr I [plbliskd m h 18701. p. I) I & mtcd ii. p. 221 Cf. r a "o 1 p m. [Ske CV r p "O 1"1 m bd. m m j w r h m 3 p x wnn pm n-sx r ~ m h i ~ n a .
    • .;lxlL. Making of a Godol ACKNOWLEDGMENTS of sins for which one must let himself be killed rather than trans- gress (1139, 510 i i ; ~ . ) .However, unlike my sources for what my fa- F i t and foremost, I express my personal gratitude to the Holy ther said or did, my father likely heard the story from the unim- One, blessed be He, for giving me the health and ambition to write peachable R Naphtali Amsterdamm - and therefore was able to this book. Throughout the task of interviewing people about my rely on it even for a halakhic decisionn. father, zul. 1 carried in my heart the words of R Simhah- Zissel Ziv, the Alter of Kelem, regarding his master. R Yisrael 1 .Because this book is based on interviews stretching over 15 ) SalanterP, to wit: brm DDD WXI > ... 31.~3 m q n i3n 4.1 1-1nln 1 1 1 , 1.n years, some of the interviewees have been called to their Eternal 3urr n~nm~ v 1.n ml h ,135~nrnln? irra avn .ulrrm mn3m m m n r Reward by the time this book is being published. I did not use the m e ways of my Master, Teacher and Insmctor were very pre- term " m h n 1 (May he rest in Peace)" or the like for designating . k cious in my eyes... for I recognized somewhat the breadth of his interviewees who are no longer here, as I have not used these understanding, his wisdom and his Feat (of Gd), and I very much terms regarding the principals. wanted to emulate him; all his ways were fine and pleasant to me]." It was not only the reports of my fathers character and in- E. The reader is informed unequivocally that this book was writ- tegrity in dealing with people which "were very precious" to my -ten on its authors sole responsibility not that of his siblings and ears. but I was veritably enthralled by how my father spoke to hisbrothers-in-law who may disagree with some of its conclusions. If students with astute word and wit, with parable and story, withthe reader finds mistakes of whatever kind - and mistakes there sound counsel for every problem and felicitous guidance throughmust be - I pray they be few so that the Kuzuris dictum, 7~ b m every strait R Zelig Berkowitz told meb "Your father - regard- owop ivtonm (The great one is whose mistakes are few)--, may a p less of whether he was or w@ not among the movers of our era -ply to this book. was unique in pi.> [talent, brightness]; original in idea and de- lightful in demeanor. If you were to collect his born mors, your book would be a classic." R Yaaqov Hirschmann suggested9 that I compile a book of his ever-brilliant retorts which may be &- scribed as were those of his rebbi, the Alter of Slabodka, "ii*nn 5x1vpa [His lightning flashes lit up the world]." If at the begnning of my expedition in pursuit of tales about my" S e pp. 14 and 876 in this volume Also cf. rn .mn+m O+JD m , 7 father I was humbled by a sense. of awe and trepidation, the longer pp.1~vn-ism - this book wm published six years after my fnlhers dearh - where the I worked - and it did not take long for me to become engulfed bysrury is published from the nowbmk of stories told by R Napblali which R the literally hundreds of fascinating and moving stories that scoresGershon Miadnik wmpiled Tvvo dads which my falher did nm repem .we revealedtherein. namely. R Yiuael had an actual pmblcm with n " duriog a eain ride, and n r lolemew Lkember 19. 1987 See P Cf.1 -ma of rwn wwl , w 3 ~ a?. - p.he slated explicitly L he was ready to endanger h s life by jumping out ihc window h u i 73 , w w n m by (mrh. n n ; m i nmn) r a? a (n.d.), p. 212. .l a m-had he nci found a leniency (mTI), in lhat Lhe situation wm nm ore of halakhically Per ,n o%ul ;defined leclusion. O l - r ma r lana
    • of interviewees communicated - the more I brimmed with joy. The tales of earlier scholars that people repeated from my father or that programs had to be devised to execute the typesetting to this au- I recalled - and will find their way to the publics store of b o w l - thors satisfaction. My bearty appreciation goes out to the person edge via this book - were an added bonus to a cherished mission. responsible for doing a difficult job so weU; he toiled unremit- My father was wont to mention the Rambarns explanationt of a tingly to perfect the technical facet of this publication and turn it Mishnaic term: he says that Torah scholars (rrn~n b n ) are called m into something exceptional, almost a work of art. He is my col- "havverim (awn)" because - as the word u n (companion) implies league and fiiend R Moshe Kaplan, son-in-law of a distinguished - they are good company. I enjoyed immensely the "company" of neighbor, the late R Meir Kahane, ,-?a. R Moshes perseverance my deceased father and the great scholars whose stories I re- in issuing from his hand a lpw ui (flawless object)" made this searched. AU said and done. -hi1nvr am vpbn nr, an (How goodly book as unique in form as it is - I pray - in content. Another fine is my share and how pleasant is my lot), thanks to G-d. may He individual to whom I am grateful is R Yoseph Mendelson, of be blessed. Bayith Vagan, a multifaceted scholar who taught in various Ameri- The research for this book was funded - as publicly ac- can universities and was a talmid of the gaon R Hayyim knowledged in the introductions to Reb Yaakov - by the famous Zimmerman in Jerusalem. He kindly meted out his advice unstin- Canadian philanthropists Joseph T e ~ e n b a u m ,?-J, and Moshe tingly on various aspects of this book. The faults that the reader Reichmann and his brothers, n-h,. A large part of the publishing finds with the finished product likely resulted from those pieces of costs of this book were covered by a European gentleman who advice which I did not heed. oTon .rsow instructs: "Before you complete the writing of a wishes to remain anonymous. His contribution has enabled the author to market the book to the public for a fraction of its pro- sepher you should pray that no hann befall you as long as you are duction costs. While it is impossible to express gratitude to an occupied with that sepher." I uner that prayer as this, the fmt ofanonymous individual, the reader is not free from the realization four envisioned volumes, reaches the public. It is a prayer that can that we are children of patriarchs who instilled in us the compas be f u W e d only if the coming three volumes will take much lesssion and benevolence that fmd expression in such alrmistic acts as h e to produce than this one. And I end with the prayer of David,that otthe European gentleman. As a result of his act, we will per- our righteous king: 3mr Ton 1mn Ton mo yon, nhn xb ,? mrhaps have better kavanuh when we recite the words, 9rp in2 iwlc (Thou, 0 G-d, do not withhold Thy compassion from me; may -o.ng;I h o (Who has chosen us hum a l l nations)" blessed are we Thy kindness and troth always safeguard me).that our souls stood at Mount Sinai and rubbed shoulders with thisman when we heard in unison. " O ~ X Dnrr, ynrnn iwn -p5-n n -2r(I am G 4 your Lord, Who has taken you out of the land of 6. : I:Egypt)." ?. P The reader will surely take note that this books page design, s.? Isnd even its fonts, are not commonplace. In fact, special computer 3.YD 3 . 0 .ID1 n3OD .p -Set lc-r w w n a ~ lhar lhis is lhe mark of a wlmiJ hakhwn. a m m K wkm f 3: .0 g;., $..~
    • aht btginning of utishn i s Btar of 6-a.a d knoutlthge of tht 4olp ants i s unBtrstan3ing Wrnvrrbs 9:10)
    • i Before the reader begins to peruse a biography of a great man. a discussion is in order as to whether the genre of biographies of 4 f gehlirn is altogether worthy of publication and reading. This 5 question was more germane to the earlier Reb Y&v and ~ p m ~7 i; books, which are true biographies of my father. It is not as rele- p i vant to the present book, which, although having started out as a biography, evolved into something else - as the Foreword, and the paragraph beginoing on p. 11 in this Introduction, explain. I did i not however, delete the imponant discussion below because, as $ : - Hazal say regarding Mishnayotha which I dare apply to any P $.~ - worthy exercise "mipaa ; KS nma [A Mishah is not removed m r h m i s place (despite having become anachronistic)]". : . The MidrashL declares. > D ~ D S np-ts 5 ,,urn PDJM il-apnw 0 v 3 . !: I o h 1aomS o m 5v ~ m n a poma P o h m [Just as G d is occupied 6 with publicizing the praise of the righteous in the world, so is He ! r 5 occupied with publicizing the disgrace of the evildoers]." The 5 2. $ Midrash commentator SWD T explains that n m ~ axS n">pn mma ! onaJ 5mn a r n n n h i o h in na nm m w h m .~DDI . 5 m m ovtunn i 07p.rrn mhr m n 5 va pi Inu ooi~ni.owunn nn DD~DS va x5v L : . (verily. G-d does not publicize the sinners in Israel ... [the author c. : .. cites proof for this], but publicizes their disgrace only in order to L reveal the greatness of the righteous).@ This Midrash is undoubt- .. 7 : 5 edly the source for the statement in nrr~,? (of unknown author- 7,ra ! : ship) regarding praising naddiqirn. which the Rambun quotes in $ his commentary on the Mishoahd. That sepher s e s down five cat- i egories of s@h according to Torah standards ( . m n a m 3 ~ 5 nm), i viz., "mandated. forbidden. despicable, favored and permined", f. -. : 2;. 1.9 3 nw-, rf 01. h u a nina n Since Ulia pmves Ulat Gd does things which He would otberwihe not do in order to bring wt q m l m 1 . m praise of I h e righlsws must have a rpeeial stplus; it may bs conjaured that lhis is what[.:,; induoes nn a-m wj -0 a-m ,rrip+ .L,WWJD m m m w call the praise of?:~r. ~ ~ M i m s ",7hu mxn (grut miQvah)". d r n x-D nrx
    • -42.57.b. Mnking of a Godol NCJTE!j AND FXIJPSUSES 2 1 (15) / EXCURSUS A . *253B We shall never know if Lilienthal ever actually tried to direct able to study Bible in it. Thus there is no option but to wait forUvarovs efforts to improve the general welfare of the Jews be- the corning generation. In the meantime. undersmdably, theycause there is no proof for such, save the story he told R should continue studying Bible in Yiddish, the mother tongue ofEliasberg and his own unreliable diary, in which he claims/ to Russianlewry for the past several hundred years. To confirm thehave suggested to Uvarov that Jews be emancipated. It is more authenticity of rheir words, rhey cited the Sepher haKwan" -Wtely that he was a faithful servant of Uvarov in matters f d l h g which Uvamv, who was somewhat knowledgeable in Jewish texts.under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture, and never be- - may have known about "which saysm that there is no more re-came involved in Ministry of the Interior issues - an apportion- pulsive a thing than for a nation to cease speaking a language itment of functions which Uvamv himself had delineated to has spoken for generations. The minister agreed with rhem (em-Rosenthal, and Lilienthal had put into the czars mouth. He con- phases added) and the edict was relegated to the archives."cocted a conversation between himself and Uvarov on the general The emphases point out that Jacob Mark switches from a sug-situation of Russian Jewry in order to make a favorable impression gestion made singularly by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, with which heon R Modkhai Eliasberg and, later, on the readers of his diary, began the story. to a plural opinion of R Schneerson and Reven as he conjured up the tale that he was utterly devastated by Itzeleh. It is possible that the Rebbe conceived the rationalizationthe 5C-viorsr edict, as above in the twenty-first paragraph. for the rejection and R Itzeleh added the learned source cited * D -*fW pmpnpll Rabbinical Forum rejects the suggestion that Humash with Ihe from Sepher h a K w . Furthermore. R Menahem-Mendel may have been more fm, to begin with,-on repudiating the study of Humash with the 7?rr than was R Irzcleh. This suggestion is Moses Mendelssohns commentary be taught in primary xhwls - Mendelssohns commentary is not spumed in Volozhin based on the repon in Philipson" that R Irzcleh told Lilienthal - the Russian govemment p ~ t Humashim with a during his Volozhin visit. "After Morning Services, I teach patts Mendelssohns German translation of the sedra with Rashi and add some free explanations of my A report by Jacob t ark^ in regard to the Humashim translated own, into which I interweave some remarks from the commentaryinto Russian is noteworthy. It writes: "Lilienthal demanded at the of Moses Mendelswhn." Although Lilienthals diary is unreliable.,Rabbinical Forum anended by R Itzeleh and R Menahem-Mendel -arm lp NP k 7m b ,nsD - p h + also rccordsq, "In order to .[Schneerson] that the government require the heder teachers to draw W i m to himself" - in his contest with the Nerziv in 5610teach Humash with the irmf and the German translation of Mo- (1850) - "R Yehoshua-Heshil Levin began to teach in his homeses Mendelssohn. The minister of course agreedwith Wienthal. every day... between Minhah and Arvirh a chapter in T& withbut rhe Lubavircher Rebbe came up with a creative response Mendelssohds ?in*." The study of that commentary was obvi-[nnr~n], suggesting to the minister. If Humash is to be taught in a ously not outlawed in Lithuanian circles,in those times.. Also cf,language foreign to Jews, it would be more worthwhile rather - qp p r that under Uvarovs su&essq the government spon- .than teaching it in a language that neither the teachers nor the chil- sored the publication of TnaW with Mendelssohns -nrn., but thedren know - to teach it in ,the counays vernacular, Russian. The mnrkil in charge. Leon Mandelstam. "supplemented the originalminister understands, however, that this is impossible because the text with his heretical skepticism about revelation and his openpresent generation of Jews does not know enough Russian to be Ulc lhbd p.mgnpb, a v c . /On pp. 196197 . 202 b c-my P T on T dby pmtege of ihc Mmdd&o whml
    • NWES AND EXCURSUSES 2.1(15)/ EXCURSUS Adenial of the miracles and prophecies of the Prophets. The minis- demonstrated the most opposition to Lilienthal at the outset. De- -uy itself, seeing this" - as clashing with its Christian dogma "or- spite the opposition of mast of the community members, the lead-dered him to remove those things and many like them fmm the ership cooperated with the authorities in opening a slate schoolpublication and consigaed his w m p t words to the fire. They with both secular and religious studies in a Jewish orphanage inmade him change his additions to more acceptable themes." 5606 (1846). The heads of the community thought that they were Jacob Mark is not entirely accurate in r e p o h g that the govem- fulfilling their civic duty by sacdicing several scores of parentlessment project of ordering the teaching of Humash in a foreiga lan- children to the "Saran" that the edict (m)of "schools" was per-guage was "relegated to the archives" as a result of the argument ceived to be. By 5607 (1847). however, Minsk Jews had acqui-of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and R Itzeleh at the Rabbinical Forum, e s d to pmviding secular studies to children in geneml. and bywhich took place in the summer of 5603 (1843). According to my 5625 (1865) there were so many Jewish high school graduates thatfathers slatemeat that Lilienthals paper fiasco, which occurred in the biased government had to limit the number of these graduates5605 (beginning of 1845). involved the printing of Humhim accepted into universities. "Verily in only one generation after thet~anslated into Russian, Lilienthal must have begun working on the time of Lilienthals visit in Minsk, ideas about education changedforeign language Humashim project soon enough after the Rabbiin- so radically that only government intervention could hold back theical Forum that it reached the point where paper for printing had wave of Jewish youth thirsting for knowledge and modemto be ordered a year and a half later. It is possible that the rabbis education.u" It seems that the poison Dr. Lilienthal had adminiis-argument against the Lilienthal-Uvarov suggestion was apocryphal tered took full effect in less than a quarter of a cenhuy. The cab-altogether and contrived as a cover-up for the m e reason the proj- bioical seminaries advocated by him were also established in Vilnaect was aborted, namely, Lilienthals chicanery - which evexyone and Zhitomir, but they were short-livedw.My fathers depiction ofwanted to hush up, as above in the previous paragraph. Further- the faithful "gening rid" of Lilienthal by his disappearance fmmmore. Jocob Marks reported argument by the Lubavitcher Rebbe Russia is qualified, for although he was gone, the damage heagainst the German traoslation, if factual, may also not have been wrought directly - and indirectly. by opening the portals of theentirely embraced by Uvarov because the Russian govenunent Russian government to the maskilim, as described in the sixth par-sponsored the printing of the Humash with the German translation agraph, above, per E t k s Am.cle - was unfortnnately long-lasting.and "nm- 5612 (1852) under the auspices of Lienthals suc- in Perhaps R Yisrael Salanter foresaw the results of the govem-cessor in Petemburg. Leon Mandelstam (although it was aftex ments campaign because Tzino-Ea= repom from an eyewitnessUvarovs tenwe had ended in 5609 [18491). account that when R ltzeleh returned from the Rabbinical Forum in St. Peteisburg in 5603 (1843). he stopped off in Vilna (after O * - W w V spending a Shabbath in Viomir, as above at the end of the eight- Lilienthal s u d in bringing secular stu&es into Jewish schools - R Yisrecl Salantct wwamo R Iecleh eenth paragraph) and met with R Yisrael. his junior by 30 years, of the graviry of the govcmmats deene - who taught in the Zarrecheh suburb at that time: "R Itzeleh stood U v m v entices R Yisrael with riches on his feet respectfully u t l R Yisrael had finished delivering his ni It is ironic th* per MIE It, in a l l of Russia, the first shaiur and we [the students] all stood up. Then they greeted eachgovernment-sponsored Jewish school was opened by the Ministry other with Shalom aleikhem and went into a private room andof Relieions and Culture ( h w m mm) in Minsk the city that had "!bid..p126 * I b c y ~ i d r d q W o f a o c o ~ , a r i n ( b 5 . U u s s o n d p . n p f i o f b . B. Pp. 193.194, fmm ( n m n p u m ) xu- m ~ m m w = n r r h b y n r n nm n ~ u n
    • 4256% Making o a cod01 f NOTES AND BXCURSUSES 2.1 (16) 4257% closed the d w r behind them. My soul palpitated and longed to hear The expression of the religious laitys appreciation of Torah was not confined lo suppocting Torah study; the inhabitants of the words of the wise, but they spoke quietly and I could not catch Jewish Minsk were themselves involved in learning Torah. In anything that R Yisrael said except the following words, which he addition w the numemus men who were supported by their uttered with a loud voice and anger: R Yitzhaq. do not go on this spouscs while they studied in ihe beth mi&mh all day, it was the road. It is a time of religious persecution [mw], and we must let norm for observant business and workiag people throughout ourselves be killed rather than hansgress, whether a small matter or Belorussia w spend many hours of Torah smdy in the berh a large one. The idea of the imperial government is to mingle our m i h u h after the workday was overi6. ~ M b X g B X g ~ ~ ~ M ~ W C g W O B W new generation among [the Russians]..." the post himself when R Yisrael leti Vilna for Kovno 13 months The discussion between the two Torah giants may be comencd, after the seminary opened.) though, not with the governments infringement on Jewish schools In closing chis excursus, it is relevant to set down the words of in general, but with the rabbinical seminary planned for Vilna in 2 p pf about R Itzeleh: "In the generation following R ~ particular=. According to Karz 13, Minister Uvamv had personally Hayyim Volozhinas, the Leader of the Nation [XM~K-I n a m was ~ ] visited R Yisrael in the Zarrecher Kloiz (together with Zvi-Hirsh his son, the gmn. the lma2iq. the comprehensive sage [5han ~ > n n ] Katzenellenbogen) and offered him the post of rector of the semi- R Itzeleh, who was Wre a smaller version of the visage [ma7 nary, for which he "(would) support him with riches" - cf. Ch. 4, n. 75, regarding what exactly an offer of wealth meant in R Yis- ltrpnl of his father, the gaan R Hayyim. He too was referred to in the entire Vilna Gubernia simply as the ~av. AU his thoughtsmels m y of values - and R Yisrael "avoided giving him an and ruminations were always only for the public good." Also cf. answer, not speaking to him either good or bad (m 7~ aiua)"a. Katz Ch. 4, the second paragraph of Exc. T, for how others praiseddoes not give the date of Uvamvs visit but reports that afterwards, him, but that even among his fathers students R Itzeleh was nothe asked R Itzeleh to influence the Salanter to accept the appoint-ment. Since we do not have a record of Uvamvs meeting with RItzeleh at any time afrer the laners visit to St. Petersburg as a - universally endorsed. l6 The following description by M outsider is of interest. Dr.member of the Rabbinical Fomm, it should be assumed that al- Alexander Goldstein was a publicist in several languages who ad-though the seminary was only in the planning stage at that time mittedly had never learned in a heder and had never been inside aand would not open till three and a half years lalerd, the minister yeshiva. He was a law graduate of Pelersburg Universiry~.In hisand Lilienthal were already at this time seeking the right person to . memoirsf he writes. "Almost every street had its synagogue, buthead the seminary, and the Salanlers name had been bmught up.It may well be that on the way back from Petersburg. R Iaeleb : the main synagogues were centered on the shul h i . o f They were mostly not only houses of prayer bui also houses of study. Dayuied to convince R Yisrael to rake on the post and the latter re- : and night, young and old would sit beside thick and heavy vol-joined angrily, as above. (Uvamvs escort. KatzeneUenbogen, took . uines, immersed in learning Talmud. Whenever I could, I hied to - . 5. Ur a n d porslyaph of h. J N. 4. above pp 16%1€4 *Aim 0Ch B. in Cb. : pass through the shul hog By day the shul hoifwas never empty; ,,. .5. the ninth p m p p b o Elc. F,baw r m ibm MI y m lucr. M ovcaanding lo* misjudged fsdiRucnlTonblcrMsriewafrich~~ f f . L h . J , h e ~ d d h c ~ p a p p b d h . a : before and after prayer, it served as a sort of club there -B. thrA R Y b d gave lo vuiovs p p k vuiow muin m n . l rumin#do- Ihc o c of a ar (cod d 1847). VoL IU, p. 148 Hnyrlim of V d d hsd .Irrady hco dl4 hh v " R p~~tinihswiny:bullohe~Wkav~gi*iogmy.ywvhsuoncr $ . IbrmWt he gulrmlo, and hi6 h d a o u w e how u hw r f d y (nam . See - b ):&use w ~ e hermight b v s wid could tmr m m d inlo rn a of inrm-ming ( m o ) . 6 k . Lh. I, d of ihc fm.pmgrqh d Elc. B. % k&d Kenn AaY.rad fmm Ihc lim ofh. t bcgiMing L p 1121 of hb wtvmc lhsl he Mnilmq qed u Ur bc@ing of 5608 W his m i d in Fx!edm in M95 (19U) lilt b. dcslh in 5709 (1949). / Q u d in MIE I, 223 p. y
    • NIXES AND EXCURSUSES 2.1 (1820) .a* One learning instih~tion.known as R kxrs Hedet, was unique study groups, R Lpsers fahidim were required to prepare the to Minsk. R Yehoshua Heller founded it in 5618 (1858)17 for Isw material and be tested on it &war&. R kser sat on a the purpose of increasing Torah knowledge among untutored high chair on the bimah in the center of the synagogue and men workers. It was established in the "Mud" Shul. in the poorest of all ages sat crowded all around with boob in hand Abmlule neighborhood in the city. Ihe shul was siblatcd in a low-lying. quiet reigoed ao R Lpser enunciated loudly and cleariy the passage swampy parr of the city the su&u of which were stoepd in mud he was teaching. He banged his hand down on the leclem to and almost impassable during rainy puiods: hence the shuls signal the audience to repeat the Mishnah the g e m or the m e . Ihcre, the rav, R Isser Hakhlovicb, dclivcred shniurim to psragrapb of Shulhan An*h in unison; only then did he continue hundreds of working men till midnight in summer and b d o ~ on to the next A siyum was celeb& year after year, daybreak in winter. Unlike participants in the ordinary laymens and many of the " k d e r students eventually becam outstandine ~ € 3 L g w e 3 ~ ~ a x mhidei~hdkmiml9. ?he g ~ ~ prcnure of the multitudes of yeshivawere always groups of Jews discussing politics or ever-present &rim in Minsk was the catalyst which turned the en& citytroubles. But in the evening after Arvith after the last of the club into a vibrant Torah e& n. UnrYaGYggXgwe3Rxs€vca-~~members went home, the courtyard became quiet and empty, and m e special teaching system in the Heder was introduced byonly from out of the dimness of the candlelit shuls emanated song- the iostrucCor R Hakhlovich of Minsk, not by R Heller. thelike sounds full of enthusiasm for Talmud study. Deep within me, founding visitor from Grodno. The wmmuniry named the Mud1 longed to share in their enthusiasm, to become acquainted with Shul "R Issers Heder (Schoolmom)" because it functioned as antheir strange world whose fire pulled me to its holiness and mys- *-work school rather than a simple befh midrash, and sometery - but I never found the courage to enter." called it "the Heder Shul". l7 It is likely that my father observed R Hakhlovichs pedagogic Born in 5574 (1814), he was one of four brothers who were methodology during his slay in Minsk because he applied the veryTorah giants9. He had come to Minsk from Gmdno for a letter of same methods when teaching in the yeshiva he headed in Toronto,recommendation from his mentor, R avid-~evilA, for one of the during the Second World War years. Yeshivath Maharil Grauhattcrnusar volumes he had authored. Chapter 30 of a-n ,ww,7 ~ l m . by Its student body paralleled that of R Issers Heder in the allotmentya a1 aini, is dedicated to R Hella. Consistent with his concernfor the education of working people. R HeUer organized classes - of daily leaming time if not in the age category - since the tahkfim came to study at the yeshiva after a full day in thefor workers and ordered Jewish factory owners to f e their em- re ! Toronto public high school system. The daily study hours in bothployees for a daily hour of Torah lectures in the Lithuanian Baltic- Yeshivath Mahad Grauhatt and R Issers Heder were three.shore town of Palongen, where he served as rav from 5624 (1864) R Isser died in 5672 (1912). but his work and pedagogictill 5634 (1874)l. R HeUer became Rav of Telz in 5634 (1873) : example were continued by his son-in-law. R Aryeh-Laib Dardak.and fmally took the post of city maggid in Vilna in 5640 (1880).He never served in that post because when he came to Telz to cake ; R Issers Heder functioned until 5688 (1928). a decade into the Bolshevik erahis wife to Viha with him, he died.~Cr.a.4.tkdoftk~psnysphorh.QC i . t k . r o m d ~ 0 r h . h . l9s b v c ; ( h l . t k m p s r s s n p h o l 6 r e P ; ~ C b . 5 . t k A R b ~ d E r s . P .U . t k MIE I" aod MIE II".brid p l u c k to tk lclvr k occivrd. piold a9 n pdcQ 0 m pyr (Jcnuslem 5725 7[I%]). i~ublirhsd m 5n .mm r m m (.) by .a: ffie 11. I& p. 353. : Remarkably, Minsk remaiued a clandestine Torah center ford J m b Morf pp. 6066. Tbc a u k , Jrob & wm h i d m W i v e of Fatmga~ k k, t mdd l r lhsr tk rub* tk v o h rrud*d w m DII "naod nxa,mw Wid.. p 63). h 4.5Q4. l a . 557 " 4. I49 aod 161 V o l 3.
    • 862R Making o a Godof f NOT!3 AND EXCVIlSUSES 23(25) / EXCURSUS B the other young boys at the Capmakers Shul Yeshiva and began to to pass thmugh the corridor whch was his sleeping nook to m c h study with his usual Bligence. He did nothing to show off his their mom. M father, a guest m their home. could noc object, but y superior ablldes. he made a "deal" with them. Laivr and Aamn would compensnte During this time. he received his board from his relatives in h by letting him read their Russian books in his span limez. i m addition D the "reg" that the rav had set up for him in homes I P m P a x g of Gd-f&ng Jews As h ~ s parents had e x p a Hayyim-Zwah supplementcdhis brothers nee& w t g f s of small change. My ih it fathers mom ananpemcnts werc. however. though bearable, n a -~~ ~ satisfactmy. His &sins, who by Ulis tim h a d ~ d ~ p p e d t of w yeshiva to attend a secular school? disturbed him when they had ON CaEzxSlUUlEzxSlUUlEzxSlUUl~lUUllUUlayg~lUUllUUls) READING SECULARMinsker Shul in Tomnto to h i their M ~to M shai- deliver LITERATURE AND THEurim for themu. DANGER FACING BRIGET YOUNG PEOPLE A CENTURY AND MORE AGO24 Because of the numerus clausus for accepmce of Jewishstudents not only in universities but in high schools too, tqe Jew- %*flmIPan#nPkish community had established several high schools in Minsk that conjecturing on how our pmlagonist might have turned out - the spiritual dangers faclogwere supervised by the government." a young yeshiva bokher in Minsk Had my father received personal guidance instead of being cast" R M o r h Yudtov&x, Novcmbrr 14. 1987 M I E I , p. % 66 xe ! e d of W. o b o e k h~ppa.cOdoffa.0.p. ISI.mmarimwhc.q~IYhrlad~prs*m-m into the Minsk yeshiva world on his own, he might have been de-~nnkims-iorgadmocrul~-brmphmLigNm!kvdhgof~M*.~ terred from readiig such matter, since the rashei yeshiva forbadeco&g a P lhrmgh a M d 16. m? m lhia numa: m R Yo& by w their ralmidim to wander even casually into the dangernus territorypmmgooulr gmd-+ilsw R Shlom. W&lm. ar h.rd Imn 8 hlcaim Tomb V -r o I n U d . ~ ~ t h . d s m m p . o i e d m y f d u o o h i r w & m ~ y c ~ h W ~ m of secular smdies. On the other hand, given my fathers intellec-s dny in Uu mmLh d Sivm On I i way. ~ k y ki mC W Rnv, R Yoilirb blal curiosity, there is room for conjecture that had he been forcedTeiwlbDum alpD c s o d by mc a lwo pople. R Yo1lL.h vbar w 4 Y to shut his eyes to the interesting secular books which his cousinsu~bhi&1tIh.1kdidmimkvcllmsl&~,~kmnnM?bs+d.~lnrraprrill*diRruhfame."Hevu~~mlhc~of~.rsmc.badrmoyd~ read, he might have rebeUedw and rejected Torah education - per-mn-tsDbravdlhc~iuoflbdr~~mcmbcn~h.dbrrnhpmad ish the thought Indeed, he told R Laibel Perlstein that since he~olhc~~im.Huogsr)rin57WIIWjWhmmyhmsrUL2Q"~hwe1~~r a d R Ttiwibsum k p &g lhc s l q of lk bum mi3 wt& Pmt t a h was a boy, he had a prodigious drive to know every matter of wis-s ~ i ~ ~ u r ~ i n w l o s c l ~ o r ~ o p p d b h i b m d I . i b ~ I m ~ ~ ~ dom (mm . =-I) l m ~ ~ i that came his way.whunvril(m31)wcrrpuuvdTWhmlk~Rsvbcrlll*bmyblbsr~him It is pertinent to note that he told his ralnid R Yisroel Berger,IO ~ p t y sddios. 1,s h m ull mc te=we. .flrr . i~ win -dn buwen m I I mvIhaP.id-IbrlPreitwmdu.tomy~cver&gm8hp."Hcvu~mhir~~ "It is diilicult to conceive nowadays of the intensity of the c o d a -d i ~ g e m c i o l h c r w d y o r ~ r m h v b s r r b y k ~ o ~ m r e r m i a u ~ ~ v n i l k ~ o R gration of the Haskalolr in the milieu in which I grew up. It is in-~ h a m n ~ i n u e h w b a . k h d W M u r m n u k n w b R ~ I h a m u D s r d credible how it sucked people in. I was the only one of my"And wha! abavl yw? In wh.l mcdl W a c you rsdT (My blbsr h d cmmc 1 AJmeYb . .5 ~ [7 1 9 ) 7 ] . M ~ U u ~ o l ~ b Y I 0 0 ~ d b m . j a ~ h h v i D g siblings who remained fnun.YW (Also cf. what King Menasheh&rope w hir view m w r WPI i & - ~e p 674 66 Volvmc 3.) Whq b M . u [3216-3283 (544477 B C E ) told Rav Ashi [4098-41872 (338- ...]our -0oi. vu mb, ",at m rejd! * k Rnv obimei myink "Lark. I mcikdmy lboughu to you [ad I upa d p m i t y l r vbsaya. my fslba isid -1 lbinL il w n &e See t b parsgnpb in Ch I, o. 66. Ch 1. n. 7 J lnMinr b k r 6, 1987lo m m u bvbg urtcrrd a l ivr b yrol m." y i e Armdioe a ~ n w mSYI nnhn by o->m . h u m .araa w n m a ) pan pax.
    • ,4264P Making o a Godol f NOIES AND MCUR5USF.9 2 2 (25)/ EXCURSUS B ,865,427)) in a dream, when the latter could not understand how the Another intemewee. R Avmhm Rshmane, related that when helearned king was able to worship idols, viz.. "Had you been them asked my father how to regard a child who is a prodigious reader.[in our era], you would have Lifted the edge of your garment U p he replied that he generally considered monitored outside readingabove your feet to make it easier for you to run and participate with healthy Yor many reasons" and listed the following: once a childme in the idol worshipa." This Talmudic passage was cited by R gets into reading, he can be channeied into "kosher subjects, espe-Dovid Povarsky, Rosh Yeshiva in Ponivezh Yeshiva of Bnei Braq, cially nowadays [when there is a lot of religious reading matter]" -when he told some students, "One cannot.imagine nowadays what a without diligence in reading, holy books, lehavdil, would also besense of accomplishment a bahur felt in those [pre-World War I] neglected, through reading, a childs horizons are bmadened; read-days if he was able to write a sentence in the Hebrew language.") ing develops the childs mind - "What is wmng with Agatha Christie?" he asked rhetorically. He mentioned his own youthful Btbrurenb~mpnpll ow protagonist pennits reading secular literature - he posiu - reading. but added "I read a whole lot which 1 do not know if that reading develops a childsmind - the mnskilim try one is allowed." to - snare him they are out to !mp the Regarding his reading, he once told R Mordkhai Shain in Chafelz-Chaim as a youth, ~ o n s e ~ f , maskilim were afer me in Minsk. rm *xi -Ron nn The It is noteworthy that when asked as an octogenarian whether mi poday. I recall my sins]): Afier reading the material once. 1young students at a Monsey yeshiva may be permined to read light read it a second time - that is when you know who is who andEnglish literature (which would pass faculty censorship), my father relish it, and that is when it stays in your head."l This author be-- with the caveat that he would be "considered a leftist" for the lieves that "the moskilim" who were "after" him were not outsidersruling - referred to this experience of his own to pmve that such but his relatives, both his uncle and cousins with whom hereading is not harmful. He mentioned that he read Russian transla- boarded at this time, and his Aunt Rasheh (see Sec. 3, be1ow)i.tions of such classics as the science fanlasics of Jules Verne and The reader will find interesting the repon by R Asherthe Shedock Holmes stories of Sir Aahur Conan Doylec. He Ravinsky, a Radin tolmid of the middle 5680s (1920s), in 730added that the licentiousness of presentday society and literatun ; 5ma 9r.9 vxd on the moskilic threat faced by the Chafetz-Chaimmandates that contemporary secular books be carefully screened half a century earlier! Ravinsky tells how, after studying under Rbefore being put onto a permitted-reading list. The p ~ c i @ the of : Baruch-Ber Leibowitz in Vilna after World War I. he arrived insecular department in Mesivta Torah Vodanth. R Moshe Lomer, : Rudin for Elul and heard a talk by the Chafetz-Chaim in which hereported that my father suggested studentr, study certain plays by i mentioned someone named "Berkeh Mikhailishker" and added theShakespeare "because in olden times there was Less reference totopics to which yeshiva bohurim should not be exposed", and m j curse mn >ad nav (May his name and memory be blotted out). In astonishment that the Chafetz-Chaim would speak thus of a Jew. ,f e d to his own reading of these classics in the Russian lan- he looked at the other students and realized that none of themguage. (He added at the time that we should not think that peopleof the Elizabethan and Victorian ages were better than those of lat-ter times - "there was simply more ;nm> [shame] then".)pp. 24311. ALW cf. nnnz iiu. by ( r m.nmm) p ~ 5rrr. p. 166. r r p r m m h now - ~ 1 See a. n. 1. A m h of R P m k y r n u d i w m + d rd * A h d I. ,; el- a d time - Rolopub D. 4 f l o w i c w J m w 17. 1988 *O!Oo mm vlld LbL a u h m d~ s l v n &Y. h t my f PYPD~~ - y m earner. In CJ & . lo * R Shbmo-~uon (mln), k mid. m ram rn -#on m: In my youth I d unvnaionrd litmum onor. Ura mly lhcll did ercr)nhiog fall inlo p k . " Ah ct Ur d of Ur liim pmp@of C h 23 h R Aamn Kalas d l i c nemcais wsl a i d d y a 1-ly l Wcimr udlimi lhir negsrive expieme lor a poilive dvM8 a tall lo his s b h m i Mews Tonh V d w h 5 n Si&h BnA &IhWalvoh the impMana of kviwiq L c rady mlmial d r .n. 45. below. dlnlrniew Mmb 13. 1988 iRinUd iu r r m . p m (mnl v r r m - p. (15
    • (1266k Making o a Gad01 f NOTES AND EXCURSUSES 22(P) -7, ~ayyim-Zorahtook his younger bmtber t tour some of the o sickn. One S h a b h h morning, he took my father to Wle Cheap various charitable institutions in the city, including two in which Kiwhen" on Rakovskaya Stmet, where during the weekdays. the his b o w were heavily involvedz6. He showed him the 2.50-bed down-andat m i v e d a chunk of black bread and a place of soup Jewish hospital, which the firm for which he w d e d supplied with for two knprks and a piece of meat in the soup for an additional medications for a nominal charge. and he told him how his kopek. On the Sabbalb. they rurived special Shabbos food. company set aside pharmaceutical products gratis for tbe destitute HayyimZorahs boss. h v d e r Goldberg, one of the major bene- cCBss%- sK)wg-m IgccK- factors of this charity, would drop by together with his bejeweledwas shocked as he was. After the shmuess was over, he a p wife on their way home a h the oooclusion of dovenen in theproached one of the yungeleit and asked who the mentioned, ac- ORat Shul. l k muon stepped up witb a ladle to the cauldmn with the c h o b for a dainty mte. Her dangling eaniogs spsrldedcursed individual was, and received the reply, "Dont you know? as sbe nodded her head appmvingly to indicate m her husbacdHe was the maskilic writer p n n ~ [Avrohm-Dovber (Lebemn) n c s a K g a K g ~ l + W ~ ~ ~ ~ p u c % Q 3of Miailishok] and the Chafetz-Chaim curses him anew every tionalized For example, inslead of o.hn - 1 1 p aid at the homes of theyear at this time." The reason behind this conduct was that sick, a 250-bed Jewish hospital was constructed. and instead of theLebenson had gotten to know the Chafetz-Chaim when, as a bright ; n m h fund paying the fees of the teachers of children from myoung orphan. he was studying on his own in a kloiz in V i and indigent homs, a spezial school for needy children, where theyspent hours in conversation with him w i n g to get the young received besides an education, w a m meals, and clothing and shcesYisrael-Meir to join the muskilic rabbinical seminary in vilnaL, of for the winter, was established in the y e . of my fathers arrival inwhich Lebenson was headmaster. W r it not for the warning by a ee the city and it was named ?he Talmud Torah". (Si@~cantly. thewater can%%that his interlocutor was an evil man and chat he Talmud Torah received community-wide support, including fromshould not have any discourse with him, the youth might have the most Orthodox. despite having incorporated secular shldies inbeen ensnared. As a consequence of the close call he experienced the curriculumo.) An offshoot of the erstwhile m w VDin Vilna. the Chafetz-Chaim fled the city altogether< Credemption of captives") fund was the S g ~ s p ~ a (kosher26 cauldron)" fund, which supplied Jewish soldiers with permissible In the era when the Jewish communiry was autonomous, fo0d.Peach member of the community was assessed according to hisincome for his share of dues for "the seven charities" ( m p 1 or, in response to my written question to Aunt DvorahP whetherin acronymic form, zruz [rv]), namely, m h .mhn npa .on- m v l ~ Hayyim-Zorah was religious, she replied in a lemr dated Marchm na5n . l norm , n m w FD . m n and m * n nwn (support for the n ;b 2 t . 1989. "No Jew [ n our circles1 worked on Shabbos in those 6h ipoor, hospitality for the sick, free loans, redemption of captivesm. years. and certainly not in our family. Hayyim-Zorah auended shuldoweries for brides. tuition for poor students, money for wheat on Shabbos very irregularly but, instead. used the t m ro package ie[food for Pesah])n. At this time, when both the contributors and mdications for the poor on behalf of the m N 5 (righfeous .the gabbaim (administrators [literally, coUeEtors]) were volunteers.cettain of the names of the charities were changed and most ofthe wealthy contributors had their pet charities. With the changing M E L pp. 471, SIR d ace tte brfimbg of tte meaty-drtb p q m p a pp. m1 i tte vq . hc l 2 . i pp i o- s wnr, (OP cir. h. rm M % A, sborr. p. , I ~ A ~ ~ r r t t e ~ o f ~ ~ i n v v i D l a c i b s v h c r r 1 m B l s l d i c n - ~ S i @ ~ . ~ m t t e ~ Y ~ d u r i y w h i f h u r d m m I * h w h u . Y i W b - .of the times, some of the welfare disbursement became iustitu- I ~ m s ) l b s ~ ~ i n o m m n I . ~ & e h u i ~ w h E c h r c r b s d ~ w t t e ~ ~ -~ach5.Ib.wdp.ngrsphofk.B ~ ~ d . ~ r C C ( w . c i r . . b l m p . 2 1 l . p p . ~wumll-~ini*brrs-fa~hrh.~~tte~ko~dniy~au~o468, rod ,mur in, .?man(L 10, stavel. pp. *?a*. - A mpbcmirm fa bnbp b rrluE ~ ~ t t e ~ ~ ~ g ~ i r m D l b a ~ Y i d d i . 4 i t ~ t o l b r m m ~ msonwnpu born ibc army " MlE I. p. 28 M hwilh lw by rdDg p h i b i d imd. P m. I. a I).
    • .1268b Making of a Godal NOTES ANP EXCURSUSES 22 (29-30) ,11269, that she was pleased that the fowl the unf0INnateS were getting begged him w renun to his homez9, and b e boy did. ye~hiw. was wholesome and delicious. Aher almost a full year in the Tatarsheh Shul, the young boy It did not take my father long to realize chat he was ahead of moved on lo yet another yeshiw, in the Maskil-IeAithan ~hul". his peen in the Capmakers Shul Yeshiva, and he decided to aBKaBKawawabKgwawaBX7iBKawOBwaBKaBKawww trunsfer to another yeshiva. in the Tamheh Shul on Tatarsheh sueeta. No one m o n i d his educational pmg1e58 i his new n " Told by my father to his long-time Shabbos bokher. R Laibel Perlsteinq as reported by my nephew R Monlkhai Kamen- yeshiva of choice or provided developmental guidance, but he liked his indepcndenoe and he stayed there for a longer time than etzkyY. in his previous yeshiva and in his two sucfeeding ones. His uncle Avmhm-Maishe tried w convince him chat at 12 years of age. it M There is a seeming conhadiction between two sources in was time for him to w e leruning Torah and W turn W something MIE 1 as to where R Shlomo Golovenchitzs Yeshiva was 10- more practical, as his sons had. When his uncle dropped a hint cated. It is placed in the Small Beth Midrash in the shul hoif on that he would no longer be welcome W slay in his house unless p. 99, in a 16-page adcle, " m m ;mn>ioia,n7ninn i i m (Religious he followed the hosts advioe, my father moved w t and began sleeping on the floor of the Talarsheh Shul. A v m b M a i s k , now Judaism, Its Institutions and Personalities)", compiled from many convinced that his nephew was firmly resolved w remain in the sources by -nwu p 3 r p (who was especially gmteful for the assis- a E x = 3 B K g a X g a X g B K g r n n a X g v - tance of D O " ~ D X i i 1 0 n n n Ifor recalling the forgotten matters").lodging)" organization, of which he was a member. O r father u He was born in 5670 (1910) and raised in Minsk in the clandes-said that as long as he was doing it for the sake of a mitzvah and tine yeshivorh operated under Communist rule, before escaping tonot for profit or compensation, he may do so." My wrrespondent Ererz Yisrael at the age of 22. It is, however, placed in the Maskil-probably misunderstood her fathers self-consolation that his sons leAithan Shul on p. 635 by pml IX, who claims to have studieddesecration of the Sabbath was extenuated by its altruism. It is im- there "in the years 1902-1903" - at the time our protagonist wasplausible that he actually believed the lifesaving factor involved - there! together with the (later non-religious) writers pinh .D ofwould override his sons Sabbath duties to that extent. and he cer- New York and lxm m of Eretz Yisrael. Gordon tells how, during atainly would not have issued a ruling in so vital a matter without visit by W e c k to Palestine in 5704 (1943-1944). Zakkai andrabbinic approval, as my correspondent indicates he did. My father Vladeck called on tbeir erstwhile Minsk rush yeshiva, R Shlomodeclared on more that one occasion that he was the only one Golovenchiu. When Gordon asked R Golovenchitz afterwardsamong his siblings who remained observant. what impression his two now-famous ralmidim made on him, he replied with the opening words of the chastisement of the Prophet28 "It was on the main sneet of the neighborhood where the Yeshayahu. !m r w n om .man1 11579 m (Sons have I nourished oT a m lived. Many of them were wealthy and had private homes and raise and they have bewyed me)." The latter source for thewith vegetable gardens and orchards. They. would .supply the locatioh of the yeshiva should not be discounted despite the au-choice fruits and vegetables to the city. Mady of their children thors error in dating the visit - R Shlomo died five years earlier,were officers in the army and senior government officials. m e y - and Vladeck. six years because Gordon had personally studiedhad a magnificent mosque. there and was not relying on hearsay. as ?nwuwas. Since accordingThis auociltioo w u an o m d lh bo@ 0 . h npa ( h & r ) r hr lb b.sir*)M W , to the Shurin Articlem my father studied in the Small Beth Midrasho o s o f l k m ~ r m p obovqdlb"lodgi&inlh ~ after leaving the Tatarsheh Shul, this author believes that RRsdrl Hdarh i MIE I,p. 5a6 n . .
    • N O E j AND EXCURSUSES 2 2 (32-35) .Wlb He studied there under R Shlomo ~olovenchitz~~, a brother-in- Blumkehs ~ l o i r ~ ~ . law of his first rebbi in Minsk. R Ruven Yudkovslry, and when Blumkeh VilenLin was a wealthy Minsk residenl who suppned the yeshiva together with its rebbi moved to the Small Beth R Laib Rosb yeshiva3 after the community had suspended his Midmh located in the shul hoif. he moved along with ip.lo his dlr because of his dispute with the Rav. She was blessed by aya natural inquisitiveness, he looked through all the books in the rbe sage before he left the city for good that she be rewarded with libmy of the Maskil-IeAithan Shul before moving on. and he two graces: lhst her narive Minsk attain a proper rav, and that she came across a volume with h mitzvah speeches. He figured that reside in Eretr Yismel someday. Many years later when the m m n he would need a spezch for his bar mitzvah coming up in seven was considering making the move to Erefz Yismel, the then-Rav months, so he cammined one of the printed dmshoth to memory. fold her that she ewld have "Ere& Ykmel" within ~ i n s were ~ k ~ He studied under R Shlomo for the summer term before deciding she to build a shd there35. She took up his suggestion and built UIaKgaKgsYgaUIaKg~aKgaKgaKgWUIaKga,UIa,UIaKga, to shift to yet another yeshiva in the shul hog the famed ~ a K g a , U I a , W B X g a K g a K g ~ a K g S x 9 ~ a K g a K g k l " Told to my son R Yoseph by my father during a visit toShlomo transferred his yeshiva from one location to another, i.e., Israel at a Sabbath meal on 23 Teveth 5740 (~anu& 11, 1980)b.from Maskil-leAithan to the Small Beth Midrash, during the timemy father was a student there "in the years 1902-1903". Also cf. n. 33 This must have taken place during the m a nutws second so-103, below, for more about R Golovenchitz. joum in Minsk. and the rav he was Feuding with at that time was R Moshec, because during his fust stay, Blumkeh is said to have3 His grandsons R Aaron and R Aryeh Golovenchitz relatedr been a poor woman who peddled halloth and candles forthat when my father met them. respectively, on two consecutive Shabbath. The story has it that when the ,ma mrw was put on anights during his visit to Jerusalem in 5741 (1981), he repeated, cart and driven out of the city on a Friday aftemwnd at the temi-on the first night, the exact question their grandfather had tested nation of the gaons first stay in Minsk. circa 5502 (1742), shehim on for enlry into the yeshiva and his response, and on the sec- ran up to him and presented him with her wares. He blessed herond night, the exact question their grandfather had asked his friend then that she become wealthy. By the time he returned to M i s kAaron PmesY on some occasion and remained unanswered. for his second and shorter mund there, his blessing had borne After serving in Minsk. R Shlomo became Rav of the small h i t . The Vilenkin family had a lradition that when she gave h itown of Mahilneh and later of the city of Mohilov. He was known the hallofh and candles the grateful gaon invoked the traditionalas "the wise rav". His daughter. Fyeh Pinnes, disclosedz that he Yiddish blessing i9x oSar 11095 u r S (May you have long life), andleft teaching because the doctors said he was "shaining his heart" as a result, she, her daughter, and her granddaughter who died inin delivering shaiurim. A grandson-in-law, R Zev Getzil, related" Tel Aviv, all tived to be centenarians. Also cf. n. 35, below.that R Golovenchitz remained an enthusiastic teacher after comingto Jerusalem. He delivered shaiurim for yeshiva qetanah students . h nm n n.7 X"P .n nrna m , w ,sin Yeshivath Meah Sharim in such a spirited manner that noneof the young talmidim wanted to lend him his gemara from which 3 She was also toldby a rav that them was no need for her toto read In excited animation, he would bang his hands down on huny to abandon Minsk because the blessing of the m a nwwthe shtender and the b w k was in danger of tearing. R Goloven- would surely be realized and she wouldreach Ererz Yismel duringchitz died in Jerusalem in 5699 (end of 1938). her lifetime. This rav was R Hayyim of Volozhin according to RI n w i c w Msy 5. 19% Y Scs k.of this rhnplu. 3 lourvinr July 23. 1993 Pcbrusy10. 1988
    • NolZs AND EXCURSUSES 2 2 ( 6 3) ,4273. L 4 s x g w U I ~ w ~ m m m s x g s x g ~ m m w the klog6 which eventually became a household word in theSholom Schwadronz. But according to m35n mnnk this advice was world of Torah, arid fmm which issued hundreds of brrpi Torah UIlULgaXgsXgm--mmm-=w=given by the "Rav of M i k " 9 . Eventually Blumkeh moved toEretz Yisrael after setting up a perpetual solirce of income for the member of her own generation, namely, her husbands brother.Blumkehs Kloiz Yeshiva in hIinskK.She then also built a syna- into her business. and R Eiger manied his grandniece. Blumkehsgogue in Jerusalem granddaughter. Even more likely is that R Shmuel married One of Blumkehs offspring manied R Shmuel son of R Blumkehs great-granddaughter and the "gevir" R Yitzhaq Aqiva Eigeri It seems that this wedding took place in Minsk Vilenkin was one of Blumkehhs children. It may also becirca 5574 (1814). about six years after the kloiz had been conjectured that the "wealthy and distinctive widow from Minsk"estahlished. In a letter written to his brother at about this time to mentioned in WPllurmas having been courted by the wonderexplain why he saw no purpose in taking on the rabbinical post of worker (nmn 5x1)). Bairakh of Galicia - who was exposed by R RPosen, R Aqiva Eiger exhibited his pride in this shiddukh. Hayyim Volozhiner to be a swindler - "circa 5570 (1810)" waswriting, "If [you think] regarding shiddukhim it is better that they none other than Blumkeh Vilenkin. already 80 at the time. Thebe known as the children of the Rav of Posen, I praise G d that story of R Bairakh is recounted at length as one of the chapters ineven with my present post in Friedland people feel honored to axn. with an introductory note. "lhis chapter is the firstenter into shiddukhim with me. Last week I received letters with publication of the story in full." The book lists the sources minedproposals from Vilna and Minrk.1" It also seems that the bride was by the author for reconstituting the tale, but makes no attempt toa granddaughter or great-granddaughter - certainly not a daughte~ identify the unnamed M i s k widow.- of Blumkeh; since Blumkeh w8s already a street peddler in 5502(1742)L. she could not have had a daughter getting manied in Anicle by Minsk native, Rachel Hadasho. Another story of5574 (1814). In a letter by R Shmuel ~ i ~ e he<refers to "the r the events leading to the foundingof Blumkehs Kloiz is recordedgevir. .. Yitzhaq Vilenkin" as his granduncle ([vpr -ml 1-3. Sin= in p n h ann a n17h-8, which quotes a letter written in 5625 raccording to all reports. Blumkeh is the one who established the (1865) by the Rav of Krinik appealing for funds for the recon-Vilenkin formne, there would be no reason for her father-in-laws struction of his alma mater, the Volozhin Yeshiva, which had beenbrother to be temed a gevir; Blumkeh must have brought a destroyed in a fue that had engulfed the town. Inter alia the letterHe in quoled on p. 187 of l MaggU S A , by R.bbi hy=b J. Kmh. (Mcronb k teUs about R Mordkhai of Misk, a talmid of the- Volozhin Ye-P u b M m q 1987). l k m y aa lold is inrrvsle m rii pinu: (I) btr lvmr w mt shiva who had returned to his native city, who suggested toChawrle". bul Blumtcb; (2) t rhul sbc bill war bmvn m u Chwakr w . . b u u k Blumkehs Wo sons while learning with them that they bid their-Lllumkcb~Kbk"; (3) rhe did m deliver w him % for Slvbba ncy w& bur ,ar -"led in o. 33, above; (4) h m K rndid m &h irr lo brmmc K a l b y sow m . mother to establish a kloiz. This story does not contradict the t a i rd-build rwo nymgogur, ( min M i d d ibc @hmin J e w * m A sod hi# b l c a i for d m tion conveyed by Rachel Hadnsh because it may well be thatmoriomi no - ; (5) dr m a ND did m m d m irr Wulldiag m q .in E m a u Blumkeh discussed with the rav the matter of undertaking the YirruJ, hu d y ha residing here; (6) h e m a ND b.d nvcr - - 6 btr h i b g arynapguc-in Mirulr erd ibc i aqd t m o a mampmq inithire. Iny p h p s wn b , project suggested by her sons and told him that her mind was set -p.38 Y I r l m c m i i n r c p a t i n g l h s r ( I ) ( u i n I h r M ~ ~ U ~ l i b c i r u n u p ~ on settling in Eretz Yisroel. whereupon he rejoined that she could (2) b ;m m blolod btr mu qhi blurillg fa btr w d h wimom) R R q b z l H-m b u i wok Ehildrsn b m gw TaDh r t b o l n sod (3) (a blsaot -. PI OID d B l w d & s c h i l b pmWb hrd a im m HoRLhm ( m I m p. 169). n f , : :., have "Eretz Ykmel within Minsk". In the letter we frnd the ap- proximate date of the establishment of the kbiz - "several years1% on p. BZ * v n n ~ n w a - n m m r w -00 n i l p-o k man lyht o " f i N.4.Ibov.-VolI,arthdofp.24 "N.lO,.bova-pp.W DMlEl.p501Ismel (Ch. 2. n 12). VoL I, p. ISca n 33. h v e . lbld. Vol. 2 p. w , - P By M d e - S h m v l ShmueUc. (Shqrim). V h l . 5670 (1910) pp. 13-24
    • NOTES AND EXCURSUSES 22 (37-39) 427s and scores of great talmidei hokhnmim. During the heyday of the been ic preparatory xhwl". Its premier reputation amsfted my g r e ~ tVolozhin Yeshiva. " E z Hayyim." Blumkchs Kloiz had r fathu when he sought again to change his place of s ~ d y . at.we3wkxgwrzlkxgwkXgaKg~aygwrzlBX8~a, He twk his entrance examination for BlumLehs Kloiz in theafter the establishment of the Volozhin Yeshiva" circa 5567- summer of 5663 (1903). With flying wlors. he answered all the(1807), a date which refutes the assumption by lnml r inp ~ MIE questions p e d by the msh yeshiva. R Biiyamin ~himonevich~~. 14 that Blumkeh built the kloiz to accommodate the m mms ye- m but the lattcr suddenly became uneasy about m fathers short y height and asked how old he was. When the lad answered, "Goingshiva. The mx mxs had been absent from the scene for several de- on 13," the msh yeshiva rejoined. "You did very well on yourcades, having finally left Minsk sometime belween 5523 (1763) l a 6 but you are un&r bar mitzvah." His smng desire lo advanceand 5525 (1765). and having died in Metz in 5545 (1785). If in Torah drove my father to reply with uncharacteristic audacity.Blumkeh was only 12 years old when peddling her haIIoth and 4 am nor needed to complete a minyn here; why then must Icandles, she was already 77 when she established ihe klou - too be bar m i ~ v a h ? ! The msh yerhiva liked the firm respowand ~advanced an age for someone to move to Erelz Yisrael but for the the young nmt W s ~m11e.d a(erstwhile) assurance cited at the beginning of n. 35, above. that lke h i 2 was a 4 tweswrey brick building with a dozen , step leading up to the entrance. In the basement there was athere was no reason for her to msh to leave the city. Per the litle minyan for cigmne m l ~ e r s ~ ~ , it had an upper story for a andpage of .n5m.n m5nn la 0 % ~runs printed in Minsk in 5572 womens gallery. The bimh was not raised. It was a typical(1812). as quoted in MIE 1. Blumkeh and her two sons, Zev-Wolf yerhiva mdy hall, though many laymeo. mostly Lundnnim wouldand Elazar, extended a loan for the books publication. This puts come to daven there and stand around the binurh afterwards to L-kgxkg-L-.ea g-yaex-wgtw3,off her trip to Ererz Yisrael to the even later age of 82 or more! ln the Krinik Ravs letter, he also writes that his master. R surmised that the K h i k Rav stressed the crucial tole that theHayyim of Volozhin, took full credit for the founding of the Volozhin Yeshiva played in generating Torah in Minsk because heyeshivoth in Minsk - first of which was Blumkehs Kloiz - when wanted the Minsk community of wealthy Jewsu to take on a largehe stated, 1 have greater satisfaction from the yeshivoth in Minsk share of the reconstruction costs out of gratitude for what thethan from my own yeshivo, because the latter preoccupies my time yeshivo of Volozhin did to enhance Torah study in their city. Alsowith its detailed needs while the former do not burden me at all - cf. Ch. 4, the beginning of Exc. T, on how the wealthy of Minskthough they are all mine (emphasis added)." According to a v x supported the Volozhii Yeshiva in a later period.nr9,7,r, by p w s m n n t , R Hayyim of Volozhin sent 10 of hisbest students to help establish the Blumkehs KIou Yeshiva. It is 37 HoRishonY.1 Pp. 92 uod 99 P. l 4 % M o o by Rev. Alurodu Ziskhd HomviQ. Ik w h o r of W j8Auo G~~~rmrionr abord. !ha Ihc BlumLchs (n. 13, Yeshiva w b m be r d c d a t n~ b Born 5621 (1861). died 5681 (1921).uf I4 in 5634 (1874) w u o p l r d by Blu&sin 5601 ( ~ ~ 4 4n~umllrh ). bcrru w u m dnughrcr. Rirh. sod ! u ycan pior, is.. J )O g mc y w . ii m o m . a1~rms4 r a u d s ih~ f ~ ~ ~ k . h B d a k d y1 m 0 m 0 l d i n E m c h d I 4 ~ ~ & ~ 5 6 W ( 1 8 4 4 ) 0 e d "This description is fmm Two Genemtions, cited in MIE I-,-men if sh, was only I2 vhn Une ,ma maw w,as rm npM horn M i s t , in 5502 (1742). i, with the following clarification by Rachel Hadash=: ManufacturersP s h p s dwmdmr of Ihr original BlvmLrb Md w n r d f o r k r kd bscll Ihr B M who i would supply their workers withsmall, hand-operatcd machines ,:hodbeeniochageddeI~Ir)O~pd~u,~6mew~R~.HDmwia~lbnrBulifronrdcvrodsot~msd~hsr-aRrrrbohsddirdUmal00mold(plMIhreod ; for stuffing tobacco into cigatette paper in their own homes. Rof n. 33, obore) - wrr old m g b 10 bs muinn m. k l d z in %04 (1844). BlumLch m have l I Asher Kerstein~recalled that a talmud Torah for small children ,;r& ihs a n d m age by 5582 (1622). d vna M a c at kasl 20 )mn old w k o shpnsvn~IhcmxNmwihhaw~udshhs~~~ymoldwvbro~bcmbrrdu, > operated on the basement level.E r i m ! I-mn m n h ,unon nmba run3 (fulbs.m l s h ) p. 476 - ; "p.82 - n . m c w ~ g ~ f ~ . ~ a b w c . p.141 x n . ~ . ~ . n .Y~Mm E I I . ~ I S ~ I C
    • NoTEs AND EXCURSUSES 2.2 (42-44) discuss world eventsa. At night the belh midrash Nmed into a to his cousins and their books was liable to endanger his future. dormitory for many of the students. They would move benches He remained in Blumkehs Kloiz and maintained this arrangement together and cover them with smw mamessa. The older the for half a year. till Pesah of 5764 (1904), having turned bar student the more choice a spot he would have within the hall4. milzvah in his parents absence thne weeks earlier. After he had My father was spared the dixomfons he would normally have had received an aliyah on a lbursday morning, he had recited in the w suffer as a neophyte - and especially an underage one - presence of t few relatives he had in the city, who had gathered k in his pndfathers house, the speech he had looked up while because he had kept his "mmmm his uncles houw. He wes too in young and inexperienced to w i v e that the continued exposue studying in the Maskil-IeAithan ~ h u 1 ~ ~ . LggKga)UJgXga)OJBXga)UJgXgaxg~kXggXgaxg%J My fathers mind was acutely receptive and in a constantlyM MZE 11. The synagogue had an outstanding baal qoreh. R functioning slate during those formative years; he did not idleAvraham Lishitz, who, although observant, was rumored to be away a single momenr His powers of retention were exmordi-sympathetic to the maskilim. On these gmunds, a zealot, R nay, bul he did not perceive himself a genius43. He simply considered it s m g e that his peers sometimes forgot somethingShmuel Luria, uied to have him dismissed shortly before Purim they had learned or come across, a phenomenon completelybut failed because Lifshitzs excellence in Hebrew grammar was foreign to him". His den mind also picked up snippets of themuch appreciated in the Woiz. With the imbroglio still fresh in the ~ k X g k = 3 a ) U J g X g ~ ~ O J ~ a ) C R a x a ~ a ) C R a )congregations minds, the baal qoreh boosted its Purim glee by With his bar mitzvah, he commenced a lifetime habit ofpointing to his antagonist when he declaimed the words of the Me- completing annually (without commentaries) the 24 hooks ofgillah (75). I> niwr5 125 i n 5 ~ n nn nrm ; m ,Q (Who is it and w n ~&f.which is it who dared do this?)". That the textual reference is toHaman made amply clear to the listeners that Lifshik h& been " It came as a total surprise t him several yean later when his odeeply hurt by the attempt to unseat him". brother Aaron, learning in the Slahodka Yeshiva for a shon term at the time, revealed to him that he was being referred to in the ye-" The "right" to the specific place for leaming or sleeping was shiva as "the Dolhinover nuy (Prodigy)". Aaron then hmughtreferred to by the Talmudic term "hazaqah (nptn)"b. Not only these pleasant tidings to their parents.would other students not infringe on their peers -ah, but thelay congregants also respected theu rights". In some places there "Until my middle age, the concept of forgetting was as in-were different p u p s , both laymen and students. spacing theu comprehensible to me as color is to a blind man." my father de-learning hours so that people studied Torah in the beth midrmh clared. In his early years, he did not understand why his peersaround the clock (which was also the custom instituted by R would some+nes ask him for the location of gemara text whichHayyim in the Volozhin yeshiva$. But "even wealthy Laymen, in they had learned as well as he. Nor did he comprehend the situa-the knowledge that the yeshiva people studied till midaight - and tional reality in the ruling of the Shulhan A U 9 regarding some-among the Students there were some assiduous ones who studied one in douhl as to whether he had used the correct seasonal for- -even later would not dare wake up a yeshiva student to maLe mula in the recital of the Amidah: how could one be in doubt asmom for themselves. They were amenable to letting the yeshiva to what he himself had said? He also related how annoyed hestudent alone and not dishubiing his rest" would be by being asked the spelling of a Russian word which he . Pp. 141 end 143 a Ibld.. p. 255 lbld, p. 149. n 1, a VP*p r ( n 4, mbo*~).VOL L lillc dp. I%. 1 Ihc T h u d il m s s ~ s Uvougb wSWion Cf. fbld.. pp196197. ~ e . X I IRu u y h ~c m m ( ~ I.h11 %I. ALIO cf. m I. n I. p n M mhnn inn mm .;r5~;1nxmhir?z,~n;+mmv~u~m~nmo~nunmnrm~~~3. #khid pmgnph of Bxc. Z SIC q P * P I . Vol U p. 151. - . Y n-D 7-7 *D mn min ~
    • NoTEs AND mcuRsuSES 2 2 (45) *7 2w mund-the-bimah post&venen news "sessions" and bmadened the scope of his dry goods m e ~ h a n tfrom Brisk. was exiled to Stoibtz during awaBXgwawawawam===wa===wknew the inquirer had once seen as he had - "Am I the goy that I World War I, as was the Hazon-Ish. R Zvi-Hih helped themust be held more knowledgeable of the word than you?" he fur- Hazon-Ishs rebbitzen. Batya, in purchasing goods for her store,thermore protested. My father recollected one Yom Tov in Monsey and even received permission from the Hazon-Ish to open athat a fellow talmid in Slabodka who Lived in an out-of-the-way competing dry goods business. He became the Hazon-Ishs talmid-village received instructions as to how to have1 home for Pesah - hawer [pupil-peer]. One summer night, the Hazon-Ish invited Rwhere to make the numerous changes to get to his hometown. The Zvi-Hirsh to join him the foUowing morning in a 4 W A M swim : ..following year when he asked for instructions again, my father re- in the Neman ~ i v e r When they were in the water. the Hazon-Ish rmonstrated, "But you traveled home last year! Why are you st& to splash his companion playfully. and R Zvi-Hirsh askedasking?kv This author recalls how our protagonist, already in his him. "Rebbi, what is going on?" The master replied, 7 lrn m a~middle fities, would indulge a lonesome, frequent guest at his pl wtnn ~ P UIP? .lr~-uw[If YOU can frolic, you can create noveUaehome in Brooklyn. R Peretz Yogel, by vying with h i in pin- (in Torah)]."" [Another frolicsome episode about the Hazon-Ish ispointing the exact location in Shm of obscure Talmudic passages comected with R Yankel Radiihkovimr, a popular, old-and-or by reciting at his guests pleasure folios of Gemara by heart. unmanied yeshiva student in Eretz Yismel in the 5700s and 5710s (1940s and 1950s) who enjoyed "speaking in learning"45 The beth midrash was, generally, the place "whereto one with the great sage. The Radishkovitzer once told the Hazon-Ish. would turn to hear news of historic import and current events "If you were healthier and stronger, I would come and speak towhich concern the Jewish nation". you more often." The Hazon-Ish came back with the response. "I€ In his exua-seder time, our protagonist had p m e d e d h m I were healthier and stronger, I a u l d seize you by the nape andlight literature (cf. Exc. B, above) to serious books. He glanced throw you out altogether!"n])rhrough his cousins mathematics and physics books and got an My father also looked at his cousins Russian novels by suchinkling of these subjects. R Laibel Perlsteinl reported that one of authors as Pushkin. Lermontov, Dostoevski, and the contemporarythe cousins was studying engineering and my father read through Tolstoi, but because grasping such heavy material requires sus- tained study and concentration, his knowledge of Russian literature -his technical books on the subject, too. m e interviewee reportedthat as a young Slabodka ralmid, my father did not believe that was cursory at besto. An anecdote is told in Mesivta TorahR Avrohm-Elya ICaplanb would grow to be a goon because he (m rim beginr .i winding. ~ m ~ m ru w m a a spot SwibQ via G & ~ n dwas weak in mathematics! "But," he concluded. "I was proven Kovm lo h Wtk Sea m.lbY 64 v m ~ m y c y e dw th2 a u k on b y 20.1999. by R N W K l d q wb. had heard it fmm t daughlcr d ihc H--Us b swimming mslc Armhrwrong." Our protagonist had assumed that the logic one needs for stmy of a gllar Pnd Torah kcmaor (pmn) who . Whis swimming mprer L rreadrd lo pmathematics is the very same faculty required for solving m h w (.ec in i m p 854). ~ p lml, lo wil: Some l e d e m y o u n g B a lvuv dwn lor s . dipinhSihwsnPmlnihcfmdhMountdOliv~rmd*tmihcym&ihcwsrcr,aTalmudic problems. Lest the reader be surprised that my father spraying h d e bpvrcn b people a k d y lhrc rmd ihc novcomaa - d As b "wmimMrelated the study of Torah to ancillary and profane subjects, this ~slldibc~~subd~ibcbyrwerclswdrhedto~&~o~ofdrirfoahldbsslauthor will share a story about the Hazon-Ish which demonstrates R Meir U k b (5575-5638 [181S18781), lama Rav d Kdhh md author of ,m WR, who had moved w fin Y i r i r l (in 5620 [1860)). m p w d l y pllqsd mcir hvildrmM by wllio(l Hethe same approach. R Zvi-Hirsh Appelbaum, a Torah scholar and t b m "My cbildrm 1-q1,oo m u h w how w pby n pby, Pnd od to lam n isuniog! JBCO~S. inravrved6 R- s b i m ~ o 21. 1988 y~ p r ( w 4. abo* VOL U. p. 152 R c W by R Shmuel-Wvid MovabmrirS A u g u 3. 1999 f a ID lam *D 71, mw, f. nI ~ k g i m i n g o f n . ~ ~ , s b f~ v ei ~ . ~ 5 . ~ . ~ ~ ~ m d h m d o f a M.hlm*.
    • .U280@ Making o a Godol f NOTES AND EXCURSUSES 23(4750) ,@281@ In the course of his one-term stay in the bz as the class i , hear a talk by a major adherent to the Musar movement when the studied Massekherh Kefhuborh, m father asked a question which y disciple of R Yisrael Salanter (Lipkin). R lael Peterbuger left the instructor stumped, and the rebbi said pmphetically. "Zeh (Blauc~)~~. a famed & r s h @reacher), delivered a musing talk haqafan gad01 yihyeh [mis small (one) will be big in Minsk when he passed through the city on his way to Erea (someday)].& At this time, he also had his fmt oppomily to ~isrnel~. ~ ~ 6 3 W m m B 3 m a x g w a x g m a x g m m a x g wVodaath, where my father served as Rosh Yeshivak my fathersmention of the book Anna Karenina in a conversation with agroup of rnlmidim was met with blank looks, and he said, "What, By the time of his bar mitzvah. m father had surpassed his y year-or-two-older m t s in the bz and was ready to advance to ae i .this too you dont know [rn T.~K on]?!" implying that he expected a higher-level yeshiw called a "kibbua," in which students weresuch a tidbit of information to be elementary. Also cf. the second more on their om. He joined the kibbutz at the Zivhay T d e qparagraph of Exc. B, above, that he read Shakespeare and Verne (Rightews Slaughtering). or Kamvisheh (Butchers). Shul afterin Russian translation and that he read some of this literature more Pesah of 5664 (1904) and studied there for two years. Minskthan one time. mbbanim would volunteer to deliver shaihrirn in this prestigious According to R Perlstein, my father also read the philosophical yeshiw as would important rabbis visiting the tie. R Yaaqov-works of Aristotle. Plato and Kant at some time in his life?. R Noah Oxenkrug. a wealthy butcher and landlord, was in charge of raising the budget for the yeshivaSo of 200 students. m ePerlstein added that he had once mentioned the English L g a X g a K B ~ m a , m w m a , ~ m m ~ wphilosophers. Hobbes and Locke, and my father was unfamiliar 47 Cf. Ch. 3. Exc. B.with their names. Not long thereafter, when R Perlstein wasplanning to spend a two-week vacation as a guest in my fathers .8 Pmm a talk at Beth Israel Synagogue in Miami Beach whichhome in Monsey, he was asked to bring along books expounding was recorded on a cassette provided to this author by the shulthe ideas of the two. At a table in the backyard. R Perlstein read rabbi. R Mordecai Shapirot. By hearing R Itzel Blazer this one to our protagonist from the books and received a tuning and only time. my father had been privileged to see in his lifetimecommentary, "In this he is right;" and "In that he is wmng." two of the three major disciples of the Salanter. The other whom he saw was R Naphtali Amsterdam - see Ch. 4.2.46 When my father related this to his grandson R YitzhaqShurin in 5733 (1973). he added that "until recently (he) still r e 49 Article by Rachel Hadash in MIE Iu. She writes: "Any stu-membered what (his) question had been". dent in the Katzovisheh Shul Yeshiva was presumed to eventually The formula ,in p p n m is used at the close of the brith become a &at Torah scholar. Attendance at this yeshiva was aus-ceremony as a blessing for the circumcised infant. When my father :: picious for acquiring a fmt-rate shiddukh. Many of the graduatesrepeated this episode, he took his rebbis description of him as p p I matried daughters of wealthy families. and were taken into their(small) to refer to his slight stature, not to his age as a minor. ; in-laws businesses, became rabbanirn or continued learning To-During my early 5751 (December 1990) visit to Minsk, my aunt rah for its own sake ( m ;nu# while beiig supported by their in- ;&told me that the three older Kamenecki children were shon like :: laws."their mother, and the three younger. tall like their father. " 50 His Jerusalem grandson. R Moshe-Dov O x e n h g (son ofP Cf.Vol. 3. q It x m ! lhi8 a u h lhsl lhir DENmd wkib w i g in S h b h or& m a hswas alrendy Rav of hitmian, 0 . a. 59 I. a. I. n. 8. 0. ? F-BET& "P.505
    • NOTES AND FXCURSUSES 23(51) .4283% C?Jwcz3wCaQ)C?Jwcz3BK?Iww~~wwwwww-w charitable R Yaaqov-Noah, affectiooauly called R Yankel the ~utche$, set aside all the rent he collected From his houses forR Yehudah. who was the tenth of 11 siblings)". R MosheDovs the yeshivas behalf. Butin order to provide each Idmid with thewife, Hannah. also related that her grandmother-in-law told her awcz3wcz3wcz3wcz3wcz3wcz3wcz3aKgwcz3wcz3wcz3axgwcz3wC?Jwthat for every meat meal they invariably had several poor guests at R Yaaqov-Yehudah Pollak, who resided in Tel Aviv until histheir table. because R Yaaqov-Noah said that he and his large marriage in 5713 (1953). recalleda R Yaaqov-Noah from thefamily were unable to ingest the choice cuts he had put aside for years 5702-5704 (1942-1944) (before the interviewee left home tohimself while a poor man would eat only black bread and herring. reside in a yeshiva dormitory). "He &vent in the Gra Shul nearDuring World War 1, when Minsk was flooded with refugeesw, R the Yarkon River. and was a Slurs-Yid [person versed in all of theYaaqov-Noah quartered the families of R Rephael Shapim and Talmud] - always sitting at an open geman," R Pollak said. Rhis son R Yaaqov in his home. R Yaaqov-Noah stood at the Moshe-Dov brought to lightb an example of his grandfathers lovematerial helm of the yeshiva for 17 years. until the Bolsheviks for Torah study. He related, "When my grandfather would visit myclosed it down shortly after the Communist revolution. He got out fathers home and see someone reading a newspaper, he wouldof Russia in 5693 (1933) and settled in Tel Aviv. where he died in comment. What is it your business to find out what is happening5721 (1961) at the age of 96. in America? - in his eyes that was the only matter of interest that A chance meeting R Mordecai Shapiro of Miami had with R a newspaper could possibly hold - Bener open a sepher!" (RYaaqov-Noah in Tel Aviv in 5712 (1952) is worth describing in Moshe-Dov also disclosed at this interview that his grandfatherR Shapiros words^ in order to fill in our picture of this Minsk criticized him for shaving his beanie)butcher: "One Friday at noontime. I was walking down AllenbyStreet in Tel Aviv when I saw a tiny kiosk across the street where 51 Besides the first time R Mordeca Shapiro recounted to myan old Jew with a whitish bead was sitting behind a counter with father the story of his serendipitous meeting with the oldhis head down. swaying back and forth over a sepher. When people Oxenkrug - upon his return from Israel in 5713 ~ 1 9 5 3- ~ re- ) hewould buy something, he would give them change without taking peated it to him three decades later during the winter of 5743his eyes from the book. I crossed the street to get a closer look (1982-1983). R Shapims aged father. visiting Florida then, waswhen someone came up to the kiosk and asked to buy cigarettes. present on the occasion and this prompted our protagonist to rem-The old man replied, Tell me what time it is, and hearing. Ten inisce and talk at length about the Minsker butcher and other re-after twelve. he said, I do not sell cigarettes after noon on Erev lated matters. At that time, my father referred to R Yaaqov-Shabbath. When 1 came up to the counter. 1 saw that the man was Noah by this appellative: R Yankel the Butcher.learning Mishnayoth .IW , u 1 introduced myself to this unusual m. tim d R M& S 9 - v Y t w. 1-rod k Me& Sharim Hir povidcdindividual as an American from the yeshiva in Lakewood, and he mrchsldiae faihe R Y a i q a - N a r kimk in Tcl Aviv. Inrmicw Mnrch 2). 1997asked who my rosh yeshiva was. When 1 replied. R Aaron l r m v k w lnounry 28. 19% An r+ri. lalc R Moshc-Dou impaMd ol l d m io m n n d k with R Ysaqov-Noahs daUL ihc interviewe wsr having his en@-1 psny .hia W I rKotler. the old m n said that he was responsible for R Aarons a bom~ Hsdsrab nn4 on ihe w q k r e fmm J d m hc sroppcd off- his p n d f m k s home inand another boys going to Slabodka together." lo~himi.joinhim~pdd~~.ihc6MOgc~1paucPlrbr~ccindw~"~rm" Inlcrview Jonuory 4.1991 See VoL 2. At R Rephaels &Ib in 5681 (1921). R Y s a p v ilbi~oLllc-.oda.o&gmmcrup~mydirovbyarrd~&nololbwilta."R Honbc-Dor did mc bmw whsl i & d me womb of ihe Pbycu-old and wcru oo his way .succeeded hlm in the p r s of mv and rorh ~ h l w Vobzhb. See Ibc Lhirrl p q m p h in (a. of 1.3; Ch I. ihe a d of n. 95: snd p. 451. klow. J w u lo bii s v k Oclobcr 2. 1594 d 4 wilharthinrWbcllkandhisparsnu~bm.i.J~smlarc~oigKIbcy-ird a d from Tel Aviv Ibu I Ysqov-Noah had d i d . C o. 1% b&w. Ihc I& wp.See ihe eod of lhir chsprer. b r d i o a lo R Mwhc-Dor Olmhg his fwhm had m m loIsm1 bsfors his gmndfuhsr. m h d h o p d a rodr fartory in 57(R (1W21, vhicb 5 me d
    • NOTES AND EXCURSUSES 23 (53) 48, 25 milumum monthly slipend of two ~bles", he also needed w n h - butions h m the general community. He rallied his colleagues to awawLBbXgk)LB6KBbXggX1(wLBk)UI~~kKBk) follow his lead and contribute a kopek from every pound of meal52 Cf. the beginning of Exc. E, below. It seems that it was in they solds3. R Yehoshua Zimbalist, better known as Rthe Katzovisheh Shul that my father met R Yitzhaq-Yehiel CglULBk)UI6KBBKgbXgwLBm~LBwLBgX1(k)LgmmwSonenzon, whom my father mentioned to R Sonenwns grandson 3 From Shapiro Talk. We are able to reckon that the butchersas being m h g i a h in one of the yeshivoth where he studied in set aside 5% and more of their earnings for their yeshiva from an-Minsk. According to a great-grandson, R Moshe Sonenzon, his other talk by my father recorded circa Elul 5733 (Septembergrandfather was brought to Minsk from Mir by R Yirzhaq-Yehiel 1973). when he was delivering a T ~ k shaiur on Il.av:r *a 0,5a hat the age of two, in 5664 (1904) - which is when our protagonist which tells that the money collected in the Temple was used tostudied in the Katzovisheh Shul. On the duties of a " m h g i a h " purchase materials and pay the workmen for "repairing thein non-Musar yeshivoth, cf. Ch. 3, the second paragraph of Exc. breaches of the House of G-6. At the time, he also spoke aboutP: accordingly, it was R Yitzhaq-Yehiels job to report to R the "pnnq i n a (treasury of the House of G-d)" (mentioned in m wYaaqov-Noah Oxenkrug if the talmidim receiving stipends were a;? mua a 3.m). and about two chambers in the TempleJ. the andin attendance and studying diligently. shekel-chamber wherein monies were deposited for the purchase My father told R Moshes father the amazing story of how the of public offerings, with whatever remained there (n~v5n I ~used U )latters grandparents met and were married. Hs grandmother, a i for many public needs (hpn .air), and a special chamber "of thehomely 26-year-old spinster, was working as a librarian in the secretives (warn N W ~ ) " into which "the devout put their donationstown of Mir. Seeing that her "basherter ([fatefully] intended)" in secret and wherefrom the poor of good families received s u pmate was not making his appearance, she wrote a lener to G-d port in secrel - the best type of rzedaqah - with its monies useddeclaring that she wanted to marry a bahur who was "sitting and only to aid the indigent. He then related the following: There wasleruning" and signed, "Your daughter Khieneh-Mirim" She put a tax of a kopek on every pound of meat in Lithuania calledh e letter into an envelope addtessed ~ w a w 7~3x5 our Father (To koropkehi. and the expression used when putting out the kopekin Heaven)" and threw it into the wind blowing outside the library was ~ponuppu unn 02 (It is going into the pushkh). The com-window. R Yitzhaq-Yehiel Sonenzon, only 20 and learning in the munity, not knowing what the means of each family were, madeMirrer Yeshiva at the time, was strolling in the city park when he the assessment that anyone having enough money to buy a poundfound the curiously addressed envelope in the grass and decided to of meat can afford a kopek for the charity which went for all cityopen it. He saw that he fit the girls specifications for her spouse- needs (-ma my), including support of the poor (PW). A kopekto-be, so he checked out who the signatory. Khieneh-Miriam, was was h l a cent, and a pound of meat cost around 18 to 20 ko- afand decided he would like to marry her. He discussed the matter peks," my father said.with R Hayyim-Laib T i s k y . the Rosh Yeshiva and was told togo ahead with the Heaven-made shiddukhf.f R M o r k S o n e m wbo rrpaDcd dE sbm.on March 1. 1999. added thu e x d o g lo v l husdon. his - ~ & acnuOy mg o a k dm@ Lh? IcW i iba psrL hcncll. He ah aid lhpl nsomfPmilyprpcnindicslcddEmupk-dylavywa~higl~ibapqaw~comcl. tither LhE bidC ws. only 24 01 Lh? p m was M y 22.) R Modm ah rrtaDd thu : Y ~ o rn r m r o 7-0 o + p . { ~ w d . . purhW" My fukr w a ol mlo tell a b l c faR Yi-Y&ls f a h wss m vhcmauiy qpd to Lh? muriqe thu hc & au of mwn : a evmi in W d wnr I svbrn tbc M g c i h d Dvimk mpryed wins tbc kmpteh lorm thc wedding day lo avoa -ding it. h wlgon u m d over d be w a b!kd ik I ~ d h w L h ? R o p s c h a e r ( l a o ~ R ~ Y ~ R m i o - s o s C b 3 , L c . ~ - ~ I .intervkwccs p d f l s t k r was born 10 y m .Aer tbc 5652 (1892) m i M w : w bsrugscaim. Soc V0L 2 10, dE dclsill.
    • 428@ Making o a Godol f NOTES AND EXCURSUSES 23 (54) / EXCURSUS C 4287D s Yehoshualleh ~ o r o d n e p who had his own yeshiva in Shoavei , singing a tune. If anyone suspect of being in the Soviet secret CIIwLskXBBYIIBxBBX8BX8kYakYakYa~kYa- service approached, R Yehoshuallehs change of tune would sig- nal the students to flee via the back windows and disperse." (R Kathriel-David Kaplin recountedn that he heard R Zimbalist stud- ied .mnh pna7, a volume elaborating on the sources of the ~m m ON R x-7.~7, whitle standing on guard outside the yeshiva.) "One day in YEHOSHUALLEH 5693 [19331. R Zimbalist received an order to come to the main HORODNERS ACTIYITES NKVD oftices in MOSCOW. n o m y boded a passport to Sibe- This ria if not a death sentence. When R Yehoshualleh arrived there. R Yehoshualleh k p s his yeshiva going under he Communisl he was told to wait in an anteroom for several hours it was rou- - regime - he is saved because he once helpd the line to let a suspect sweat it out and work up his terror - before police chiefs mother - he sp& Torah in he city - Minsk is a To& center no more the chief officer called h i in and said. I am a Jew. I have known about your activities for a long time, and we have a file on you R Yehoshualleh Zimbalist was born in Grodno (Homdna) in - this big. He spread his hands far. apart and took out a bulging ftle5634 (1874) according to R Hatqel Sarna, a distant relative. or to prove it. Do you remember Khykeh the widow from the Briskin 5637 (1877) according to R YehoshuaUehs son R Shlomol- railmad-station area? R Yehoshualleh honestly said he did not;and was active in all the Torah institutions of Minsk. He remained he had done favors for so many people that it was too ditftcult forin Russia under the Communists and operated the yeshiva in him to keep hack of their names. No matter, said the ofticer.Shoavei Mayim Shul clandestinely. In the late 5680s (1920s). but I am her son. You would bring us clothing, shoes and foodwhen there were still 100 students in the yeshiva aod classes were from time to time. I recall that one Erev Pesah we did not haveheld upstain in the ladies gallery, guards were posted downstairs enough food to eat and she came to your house after you had al-to warn the students to put away their books if a police mid was ready distributed all that you had collected for the poor. You tookimminentL. When conditions for learning Torah turned from difti-cult to impossible, R Zimbalist became the major activist in help a utensil of pure silver out of your closet and gave it to her to selling smuggle yeshiva &rim across the nearby border to ~ o l a n d ~ . for buying holiday provisions. Out of respect and gratitude, I will destroy this fileo, but you must cease your activities of propagatingThe Chafetz-Chaim. who had met R YehoshuaUeh during WorldWar I when he spent some lime in Minsk, characterized him in religion because in half a year I will be promoted and will not besubsequent m s a r t l s as "a servant of Gd". He forbade R Zim- ak in a position to protect you from my successor. The best advice I can give yoll is to try to leave the country before I leave my post.balist to leave Russia until the beacon of Torah was totally extin- By six months time. R Zimbalist was in Palestine, having gottenguished therem. his exit papers through another officer whose needy family he had After introducing the story he was about to tell with the words"Living in the United States, you cannot picture what teaching To- sustained before the revo1ution.P"rah under the Communist regime was like." my father related the ) Enn%rn sar rn llunbrr: .w> i% pubBshd by " Y D ~ U and soncia-law: n p, b J c m d m , 57W " W i s w Oclrhr 2 . 1991 " Alro d ,nM fm , m w (0. 10. abow). p. 9following: The falmidim studied in secrecy while R Yeho- m-mw. which -1ihm R M m k k i i w i n wm fmd Imm Irirom WLW .U &c viUlshuaSUehstood outside washing the windows or sweeping up, and mcmbcrs d Ur c o m n i l y k w e 4 L b , bssluc hu f&-hhw, um R Yslqov-Molhc K w v b d f i offi lm & o m exceptional LiDdnar O Ur brother of I Ccmmuois~ a mi u i I hI Repond by s granddaughler. Euil SolovrichiL Avlpra 9 1981 O I K of I - . h4 R DOv commiunr 30 c h g e of Ur Cvcatigation" lbsm P Fmm two Mmh 1. 1988.G i r u t q of Td AAv, iokmirmd Apil 24. 1987 (MIE I p. 662 h o ) nxf rn . 3
    • .18b r28. h4nking of a God01 NOTES AM) FXcUIsUSES 23 (55) ,42891, Mayim (Water Drawers) ~ h u l ~ ~ , as acted treasurer of the ,rnng I~P. 7 1 1 n x mnq, reports that the NKVD officer was PO- by L g s K g a X g a X g a K B B ) C g ~ g X g ~ l U C g W W % X s Wlice Chief Kroll of Minsk (not Moscow) and also reveals that an Voice of Tomb was silenced in Greater Minsk. the holy commu-assistant rebbi in Shoavei Mayim Shul was R Yisrael- nity where yeshiva [study] had not lapsed for many generationsYehoshua haKohen Leibowitz, a top Slabodka ralmid, a refugee [PD m-n ilm. n5 wnnn %Q ~n~,n]Ls" Yehoshualleb died in Je- Rfrom Ragoleh. Lithuania, who had remained on in Minsk after the rusalem at the beginning of 5708 (1947).First World War. He was eventually exiled to Siberia "where histracks were lost". The author also writes. "R Yehoshualleb 35 Slurring the official name of the synagogue, people calledfeared greatly that his yeshiva would close. I could feel hs con- i it "Shevehmayim Shul" or, distortedly. "Shamayim (Heaven)cern every morning when I stood near him for Morning Services; Shul"~.It was located on Zamkeveh S@eet and had been in ex-when he recited the verse im 5n *-1 m a 3 im 5n [Do not touch istence since 5594 (1834). Engaged in the occupation Lhat ratedmy anoinred ones, and do no harm to my prophers], he would in- .: lowest on the economic scale, the water carriers had founded asen with a trembling the Talmudic definition of the emphasized . private society five yean earlier. At the beginning. they held Ser- 15x ,mterns, to wit, rrnm ~ a 5 n . ~ y , nn %Q m p n i+n vrwa [my . vices in a rented house and collected weekly dues from the mem-anointed ones are the schoolchildren, and my pmphers ate the : baship for building their own shi~l. They were able to realize theirscholars]." ,rnm =up records, The fact that they were not harming plans only when they were joined by Hemah Hayyei Adam, athe yeshiva infused R Yehoshualleh with the courage to set up a group which specialized in the study of OTX wY. They fmt con- branch for 30 to 40 students ages 14 and 15 in the ladies gallery smcred a wooden hut with their own hands, then a brick edifice.of another shul, R Issers Heder*, and in 5688-5690 [1928-19301, : They received the required permit from the community leadershiphe braved operating ah excellent kibbutz of bahurim 17 to 20 (ilhp) to build their synagogue out of bricks on condition thatyears old in the Maskil-IeAithao Shul for whom the ourstanding they not change the religious aim of their society and conven itlamdanint R Shimon Yarkhi and R Avraham-Eliyahu Maizes de- into a union whose goal might be to raise the price for deliveringlivered shaiurim klaliim [comprehensive lectures (covering entire watera. There was a tradition in Minsk that when the society wastopics)]." The author of .mnr, YP was one of the students there. originally established and plans for building a shul were formu-and he left for Palestine in 5690 (1930). : lated, the rabbis permined them to defray the cost by charging half "But the troubles got worse," my father concluded his story. : a kopek more for the two pails of water they carried in eacb"and the Annihilator [mnnr, which the Communist regime was, : deliveryg.mse up against all these places of study [mm mnipn]. And the The sociey, whose pinkas (ledger) is now stored in the NationalKemwih a graodron of R Y s k h u l k h ItXohq bcnrd my fahm dau hi8 mriog =I-, -hlmiovr: vib R Y i w l Bqa (the bqinning of Brc. 8 , lbovel md v i b R Y i a h qlhrl hir falhcr b d it duriog me or hia uip I 1- at I wedding rrcepGoo d hia sm lhsl R k II m nod hia g v s n ibis . u h bclicva .k .1 r n wkn k a ~ lo R Z i W a i l ; : Library in ierusalema. kept excellent records of its first 38 years of activities. The p i n h records the original bylaws - which, inter alia. set fines for members who did not attend public davenen ( i n m n5m) - as well as the text of the above-mentioned permit.sou-in-luv(und h I k r of lk i n m i e w e ) . a rrllw of rhe Shkdka Yeshiva (cr. I end k :of lhir chap- md Ch. 3.2). R Aakr KmleiD R Karlcin flrd M i I Pshrinc in 5 B 6 . : In it. the city elders laud the lofty ideals of the society and,(1936). tbm ycan dm hb f~k&-l.-lnw. md w e d ss nrv of Ur city of Aphullsb H dlad c i. rationalizing their allowing the poor folk to build a proper, bricki 5735 (1575). by which r my Illha w rbilrd b l wisc. q .mm. n n m a n imr m n - p . 18 lbid.. p. I 8 m m m . I r a r r p rn .Ssarhe l a y p h : synagogue, the leaders end with the Talmudic prescriptiond to "act !ins=. I.abore V S c s I k f a u t h ~ p h i . I k ~ a a r i m . d n . ) O . a b m r .Rr -Ssa r 9 n-a m. M I E 1. p. 542 Y CT. Ch 1.1 nod I end of n. 7 &. MIE I, p.n:7 m :. 57 lbid.. p. 652 lbld. 11. p. 161 k Hcb. 40 574 d x-a a-D 011)
    • NOTES AND EXCURSUSFS 23 (59-59) 4291, Kmovisheh Shul Yeshiva and also helped wllect funds for it intricafc Hcbtcw grammar book by Hayyim-Zvi Lemer ( H ~ I U I ) ~ ~ , when necessarys. an well as thc same authors difficult book on uopeS9.But as the Besides continuing with his diligent Torah studies in his new Dolhinover matured. he came ro d that keeping his cousins i envimnment, my father found the time to read some of the wmpany. even if only at night, wan fraught with spiritual danger. modem Hebmw literalwe making i t s clandestine munds among oBkX8WLgkX8kX8kX8W~bXgWLg~WWBK*IW the older yeshiva students, such as Avraham Mapus Ahavah Zion zndaches (exercises) in the margins of his gemara. (In the words and ~ h o m r i d He also wntinued reading his cousins b o on ~. ob of R Yisrael Shurin: "RAmhm-Shimon was somewhat modern geometry and trigonomenyn. and trudged h u g h an extremely W B K g W L g W M B K * I B K * I W W P W and did not wear a beard. After failing in the flax business in Eu-carefilly with poor folk because most Torah (adherents) issue[s] rope, he became a traveling fundraiser [~fnwal for the Slahodkafmm them (mm urn maw o w . u n;n;l)". r Yeshiva in America According to his son, R Shalom Oeffen, he The water drawers inhoduced a yeshiva into theit shul and were was born in 5642 [I8821 and. after Telz. had studied in Slahodkapmud of its many graduates who went on to become great for many years beginning in 5661 (1901):)scholars, including a rav of theit own city. R Laizer Rabinowitz. 58 R Yisrael ~ h u r i n R Shutin had the book - x u : p h ,M ~.56 MIE I/. This fact is not mentioned specifically in .r?fr . pp w pw5 p.r~n n - in his n library. When my father noticed theThe authors evidently included it within their general statement volume on the booirshelf, he picked it up and was curious to seethat "he was an officer and a trustee in several welfare (mn) what he thought of it a)years after he had studied it thoroughly.institutionsV9.As reported by a principalK,my father stayed a few He expressed amazement at the patience he had mustered in hisextra minutes at the end of a visit to R Yosheh-Berl Soloveichik youth to make his way through its l a b y ~ t h i n e details.in Jerusalem in 5716 (1956). explaining, "Now I am paying a visit O r protagonist whose interest in gmmma~ evident in all his u isto your rebbilzen because I had leamed under her grandfather writings. once conveyed to his grandson R Yiuhaq s hut in^ thatR Yehoshualleh in Minsk." Since my father never learned in Hebrew grammar is not a secular discipIine because it isShoavei Mayim Shul, he was obviously expressing his gratitude impossible to attain a clear understanding of the Scriptures withoutto R Yehoshualleh for the assistance he had pmvided to the ye- knowltdge of the d e s of grammar.Also cf. this authors letters ofshiva in the Katzovisheh Shul. approbation for two books authored by Yitzhak Frank. G r m r for Gemaram and m u p n , which quote our protagonist as saying a57 R Osher KatunaoL.R Yisrael Shutin told1 something which that grammar is included in the mitzvah of studying Torahif m e will remain incredible to those who knew our protagonist "because i q knowledge. is crucial for reaching correct halakhicgenerally in his adult years - and particularly to those aware of the wnclusi011~ My father cited an example of how a gmmmaticalhonor he accorded holy books; he would not even lean his elbow error caused someone to reach a seriously wrong pscul.on a sepherl R Avrohm-Shimon Geffen (the mss q h [super- 59 According to R Katunao, my father remarked, "Even p r pgenius] son of a Rav of [R Shutins native] Ritteveh and a t h i dof Telz under R Laizer Gordon") related that it was said in the fessors wodd find this book diEcult." R Yiuhaq Shurin reportedSlabodka Yeshiva that our protagonist would jot algebraic that his p d f a t h e r , our protagonist stated. Today. there areff.Ch.1.Ere.P. f p . I M YP.4 l ~ u @ 9 . L 9 8 7 ff.di+wrnry-faulhparagrapbpph surely better books on this subject." (R Yiuhaq naively asked ifof Ere. A above, w k r c my faUu mcnlimrd m l y ar of di+ (vo oowlq and d Cb. 1.11.71.l August 12, 1996 loPcninv n521%7 "W i m .- 21. 1990 IN. % above Pubtirbm, r w n Ark1 Unilrd Inarl Inniurep, lmmdeo5
    • NOTES AND EXCURSUSES 23 (61-63) W93b and he decided 10 move out of the alcove in his uncles housea the Kamvisheh Shul Yeshiva to secure a first-rate "hawqnh and into the Katzovisheh Shul. By the time the spring term of 5664 (slake)" on the ledge beside the furnace, a preferred spot in the (19M) coming to an end. he had gained enough respect in was cold Belonrssian autumn. One nippy night when the b e was ~ a , ~ k X 4 g K g % x E a , U I ~ U I a , U I a x g a x g ~ ~ a , stoked, his bedding caught fire,but formMtely, he escaped injury. the author was observant. and my father chuckled and replied. He obtained Borne discarded sackcloth lo replace his desuoyed "Probably not; he was among the mnskilim.") The following infor- sheet and blankefi2. During the leapyear winter that followed, the mation about Hayyim-Zvi Lerner is found in Encyclopaedia Ju+ yeshiva learned thmngh the entire Mussekherh ~ e v m r h ~ ~ . At the beginning of the winter an important development ica and The Jewish Encyclopedia: This Hebrew grammarian and occurred ia m fathers lie. Eleven months after R Shmuel-Hirsh ypedagogue was horn in 1815 in Dubno and died in 1889. He re- hsd moved to Minsk R Binyomin and Ettil. wimout jobs to holdceived his education in Bible and Talmud from his father and was them down in Dolhinov and realizing that they would evenhlallymarried at the age of 13. In 1833 when the noted scholar Zev-Wolf be compelled to send all their children away to the big city,Edelsohn came to Dubno and gathered about him a circle of decided to move there, too. They notified Havyim-Zorah of theirmnskilim to whom he taught Hebrew grammar and philosophy, decision and he found a house for them to re; on Bogaddclnaya , C B P a x g - - L 8 8 )Lerner became his disciple, studying both Hebrew and secular sub- my father still continued visiting his cousins home occasionallyjects under him. Lerner worked as a private Hebrew tutor and be- until be exhausted their library.came a teacher in the Jewish government school in Berdichev in Aunt Dvorah did not know exactly when his decision to move 1849. and two years later, in Hebrew language and grammar in the into the Katzovisheh Shul was reached. If it occurred after Aaronrabbinical seminary in Zhitomir until the closing of the school by Pinnes had arrived for his visiting period in the Katlovisheh Shul.governmental decree in 1873. He spent the rest of his life in pov- as mentioned in the paragraph following the next two, we are safeeny, supponed by former pupils. His most important work was ,mu in conjeeNring that my fathers encounter with R Aaron was aI~w>,T,based on principles laid down by his teacher S. Pinsker. Fmtpublished in 1859. this book appeared in seven editions in his life factor in his decision; the lad may have told h i how his relativestime, which, from the fourth edition onwards, he annotated An look him to Krinik, away from his irreligious siblings after hiseighth edition was printed after his death, in 1893, with a supple- - father had died see the 6 h paragraph in this section, below - Rmen& "5.m mpr-, which includes explanations of difficult Biblical and our protagonist resolved that he, too, must keep a distancepassages and commentaries on them. A total of 13 editions were from his strayed relatives.published, the latest in 1909. (Lierner also wmre a book on The 61 Cf. n. 41. above.Berythah of the 32 Measures [m~uir-)lo.) My father probably usedthe posthumous edition, the latest of that time. t a of 5653 (1893). ht 62 Per Aunt Dvorah. 1 surmise my f&er was referring to this My father also read through Moses Mendelssohns T & with period in his life when he once remarked, We are pamperedthe *.?ilrr- he told this to R Laibel PeristeinP. But it is believed [m?n~o]sleeping in pyjamas. Io earlier times people just threw offthat it was at a later time, probably during his tenure as Rav of rheu shoes and slept in their clothing."Tzitevian. " My son R YosephL. My son was astonished when my fathera My corresponden&Aunt Dvorahs. According to R Perlstein, , told him this, and he asked, Was that with all the Tospltoth?""This 7- sours. *vrr h r u b for dairiog the && horn B i b W v . - . P lbcbeginning of BE. a b v r 1 B. a. (h t. n 8. .
    • NOTES AND EXCURSUSES 2 3 (6667) 49, 25 StreeL During the almost two and a half years my father had been more affluent relatives; disobedience to the parents was i the big city. they had not seen him Ihey wuld not afford the n unrhinkable, and even arguments between the children were ex- cost of transportation betwan Minsk and Dolhinov to bring him tremely rate. Ihe worlring children did not complain when their home for a visit They were happy to see how he had developed mother would leave a bowl of apples or the tare grapes and from a child i w a budding youth. He moved his few belongings n oranges for my father to enjoy when he sat in the KaQovisheh from his "hm,qah" in the btmvisheh Shul to his parento horn. Shul lnte at night and returned home tw late for supper. They Ihe h t question his mother asked was where his bedding was. wwld not help thenuelves to any of the expensive fruit, though it When he revealed that it had been wnsumed by fire, his molher was their toil which provided most of the income for the house- burst into tears and sobbed bitterly. Why, you wuld have gotten hold. A warm relationship was manifest beween my father and his hurt!" In order W eke out a few rubles of income. his mother siblings despite the growing d in their r e s m v e outlooks. l began cwking meals for m b e r s of the large. secular student In the Kamvisheh Sbul, my father had W e n d e d a very bright community in the city. She never turned down a student even if boy visiting there at the beginnin of 5665 (September 1904). He he was able to pay for the food only by giving a hee lesson to was the orphaned Aaron Pinnesg 10 months younger than he67. one of her younger children. Hayyim-Zolah also moved hom and and our p&tagonist would bring him to his hour-for a routine LB~-kYBBXg----ByBBY8BY8kKgkKg~ contributed his entire wages to the family pool, as did ihc older of the girls. Dvorah. who had begun working as an embmidmr at chy. "One day, we may find ourselves fighting on opposite sides this t m 6 . ie" of the barricade.%) Even the younger Kamenecki childten knew instinctively that they were considerably poorer than their Minsk relatives and that This was the famed R Aaron Kotler. His family name was they were lwked down upon for taking on mnial w o r e . Yet the amosphere that prevailed in Lheir home was envied by the much changed later through the efforts of bis brides father, R Isser- e 3 R X S k K g - P Zalmm Meleer.: in order to elude conscription into the czaristOur protagonist laughed and said. "Of course not. At the age of 14 -Y.we learned just the tare one sporadically." Changing identity by acquiring the name and passport of a draft-exempt individual was a common ploy for evading con- Aunt Dvorah. scription in the pre-World War 1 era. In a recorded diversion from the daph yomi which my father was learning with some talmidim65 Aunt Dvorah wroteu, "When I would visit out rich aunt, on 7 Shvat 5736 (January 9. 1 7 ) he mentioned that a Russian 96.Dvorah [Bamdasl, at the same time as my cousin who was the minister once asked R Zvi-Hirsh Rabiiowitz, son and successorsame age as 1, the other guest would be ueated much better; so I of R Yitzhaq-Elhanan Spectorx. why he was not called Spectorstopped visiting there." It was not totally surprising to her that her like his father, "Not being able to say, as was the truth, that it wasyounger brother. Yude.1. became an impassioned Communist at the because of the draft" my farher said. "he replied that since hisage of 18, and believed naively that he was fighting to build a just father was the greatest rabbi of the generation, he was calledworld on the ruins of the old order. (At my meeting with Aunt Rabinowitz, son of [a] rabbi in Russian."Dvorab. she told me that she. faithful to whatever governmentwas in powerd, warned Yudel before the overthrow of the mortar- 67 This exact age difference was mentioned by my father ontCh.I.n8;kltsd.lsdApi118.1988 Lar..~Oaob.r10,1988 "Sk-lhia many occasions.poialioordaropwnUrl&socd~~~WSI.lioia~lsainnbsandbsh~- lor which k wea auld a d sh. w m crilrd m A.i. io 5697 (19373. Sh. wea Ehrrd d h - .trhnbilimud- wh i ~ m r u ~ h ~ m ~ ~ ~ h c lm. ~ o a I. II.
    • 4296W Making of n God01 / NUES AND EXCUISUSFS 23W) MCUR!%JS D a 7 8 meal and an occasional game of chess68. Aaron was a full eleven7. As soon as he became orphaned, his fathers relatives orphan69:his mother had died when he was thme and his hther. decided to send him away h r n home in order to shield him from R Shnayer-Zalman Pinnes. Rnv of ~islovich~f when he was the corruptive influence of his two older brothen and sister who c3 c3 x B g K - K - K - , w , B g x S gS gg g P e s a F J c s - m m -68 R Yisrael BergerY reported that my father remarked after R 1 Shchislovich per ~hoshkesd. the Lithuanian Yiddishs mutation butAarons passing, We played together as children." Another 5 of the "sh" sound to "s" w e d it into Stsislovitz and, thence,talmid. R Zvi Tress, related that when he asked our protagonistwhether, as a child, he had l h e d in huvruthu with R AaronKotler, he replied, "No. I only played chess with him." My father EWQlfl%%fl% Elwas referring only to the Minsk period, when they were still nN -*."children"". THE YESHIVOTH In my fathers eulogy for R Aaron, he told about the fmt time R AARON KOTLERhis mother saw the pre-bar mitzvah lad at her home. She was soenthralled with his friends looks that she took my father aside to AlTENDED IN HIS CHILDHOODask, "Son, who is this little boy? ~n 1 . u;m ; & 7 m e 1 I R Aarons published childhood biography is inaccurate - he SN&eS Shekhinah rests on himll" R Lipa Geldwerth impartedb that my under R Bwch-BETin Slabodka - he sojourns in Minsk forfather pinpointed the time this happened: When I was already bar some t m before golng beck to Slabodka - the exact places iemitzvah and R Aaron wasnt yet" This was not long after my where he studied - his conoections with Rfathers parenu moved to Minsk and during R Aarons brief stay Yeh~el-Yankev Weinbergin Minsk before going off to Slabodka, as below in Exc. D. After Details endorsed by his grandchildren of when R Aaron Kotlernot having seen each other in over 28 years, my father and R was orphaned and where he studied in his early years are set downAaron met in an elevator going up to the E ~ d Torah offices on s in ~5mp rrrr7 p ~ bu wim ~ D W . However, several of the points , r nNassau Street in New York in 5701 (1941). and my father there are incorrect, namely, (1) that he was 9 years old when or-recognized R Aaron before the latter reco&z.ed him. My father phaned from his father. (2) that he studied under R Zalman-said later that R Aarons unique look gave him away4. Seuder Kahana-Shapiro in Krinik from "approximately the age of 10. after he had been orphaned for about two years"; and (3) that69 Becoming orphaned from both parenu was not too rare a "he entered the Kneseth Yisrael Yeshiva in Slabodka [emphasiiphenomenon in Jewish Russia a century ago to merit its own id- added] wheq he was only about 12 years old!F (I) Since he wasiom: such an unfomate child was called not a W orphan" but defhtely only 10 months younger than my father, as attested by"om*wms+-p n (a rowrded orphan)" - and my father referred to the latter on many occasions, and R Aarons fathers date ofthe young Aaron Pinnes in this way . death was 24 Av 56639 (August 17. 1903). he was over eleven and a half years old when orphaned. (2) He could not have been70 The official m i e of the city was Svisloch, but Jews re- only 10 when he was sent off to study in KrKi because not onlyfemd t it as Sislovich - its Yiddish name was actually o was his father still alive when he was that age but R 2alk- Y C t &c. 8. above. lnVrriew Norsmba 7. 1B7 . A h d C h 4. e 61. h w i c w N. 13. .bow - p 166 .PuMirhid by --x-. Jmwekm. 5743 (m q - p. ") .p .nh b c r 21. 1987 W w ~ n w a r r v l s d o u t ~ r h y h a d ~ ~ n c ~ " / did- .w in pumsmei in ,OH with an uc~mwim h ar d r hch 9 kc& py sd ingns w sf. (h5. 6 1 ~A. md r s 1 9 m . . r m p. a>. . I % r
    • . . NOTES AND EXCURSUSES 23 (7l)l EXCURSUS D 4299PSender only came to (from Mdtch) at the end of the winter R Aamn when he arrivedm - saw that he was not bar mitzvahof 5663 (1903)~, after the boy had already turned 11. (3) He first i yet, the yeshiva did not waht to accept himn and referred him to ajoined Kneseth Yisrael in Slabodka when he was already 14 years yeshiva getanah Slabodka. He was quickly returned to Knesethold. traveling there on the same train as my father1. Another enor Beth Yitzhaq when the yeshiva q e t d staff realized that he wasin )ors biographical details is the omission of R Aarons sojourn a prodigy.. Because there had been a plan that Aamn Pinnes in the Katzovisheh Shul in Minsk (together with our pmtagonist). would remaio in Minsk, his stay there was not merely for the brief Despite these ermrs, the young age at which he changed his inte&siond break between the end of the summer semester (in venue of study from IGinik does reflect a correct family tiadition. Krinik) and the winter semester (in Slabodka), hut of long enough But. it was not to Kneseth Yisrael in Slabodka that he transferred, dmtion to encompass t r e important events in my fathers life: he but to Kneseth Beth YinhnqI. In describing his hip to Slabodka tc- : a) his move out of his uncles house and into a hazaqa in thegether with R AamnL. my father stated, "Prior to his year with me - Kamvisheh ShulP presumably because of what R Aaron told in Minsk, R Aaron learned in Slabodka - not in the Alters ye- : him about his own situation, as conjectured in n. 60, above; b) his shiva, whereto we were now traveling, but in the other yeshiva, un- narrow escape from the fire which m y e d his bedding after he der R Baruch-Ber. Thew he had become bar mitzvah before com- had moved into the Katzovisheh Shul; and c) the move of his par- ing to Minsk." My father was referring to R Aamns coming to the ents fmm Dolhinov to Minsk. Thus. R Aamn may have stayed in city as a full-fledged talmid there. He had been in Minsk earlier, be- Minsk for as lodg as two months before going off to Slabodka to fore his bar mitzvah, too, and even met my father and grandmother. soldy under R Baruch-Ber. as our protagonist is quoted in n. 68, above, as saying. According to the above revelation, the 32-month period from R Aarons prehar mitzvah sojourn in Minsk was brief. It is i the time R Aaron became an orphan at the age of I I years and 8 conjectured that his relatives brought him to the cily with the in- months until he joined Kneseth Yisrael at the age of 14 years and tention of keeping him there and arranging for him to study in one 4 months should be divided in the fouowing manner: he stayed of the many yeshivoth in the cily. But when they heard that R : home for the first two months aher his fathers death in the sum- Baruch-Ber of Hlusk had been engaged in Yeshivath Knesth Beth ; mer of 5663 (1903). and left for Krinik after the Yomim Tovim at Yitzhaq. they decided to send the boy to Slabodka instead, in or- . the beginning of the winter semester of 5664 (end of 1903). after der to place him under the pious influence of that &iqr How- , R Zalman-Senders yeshiva had been operating in Krinik for a se- ever, according to the report in p u n nrmii mentioned below, it mester already: he spent the last 12 months (of the 32-month pe- would seem that he was sent not directly to R Bamch-Bet but to riod) in the Katzovisheh Shul in Minsk; the intermediate 18 a yeshiva getam in Slabodka. It may he, though, that R Aaron months. m n s h t i n g three yeshiva semesters, were divided between was verily sent to Kneseth Beth Yihhaq to study under R ; W and Kneseth Beih Yilzhaq. The family tradition in 7mx al- Bamch-Ber, but when he anived there and the administration - it locates to R Aarons stay in Krinik "approximately two years" - was Iiiely R Moshe Pekemvich, the mashgiah, who h t e ~ e w e d :,which, as proven, is an exaggeration. But it is likely that R Aimnr C f . ~ h s , t h c m d o f n 2 8 . S c o l h C h c ~ g o f ~ 3I .l b M b u h c w u & s p e n t more of the three semesters. i.e., two semesters, in Krinik,to Kms& Bdh Yirrhsp whm ooly I2 is, of coune. n las dcrcning d sn a W o n pc4m s . Sea I p o u l t i r m pp k in Ch 4.2 md & 1 9 d l o c . Sea th. folmh-blea -hh hi$ j h i x ~nwlb- YI r lhs~ e.gc ~t Ch 3. L 138. and h r on p. 751 f am ~.ik2dmi~~h~-bappcadtomyhlhrwhcnbc~~lojolnBlumtrb.~suggestion why R ~ a m n ~ s m y did n~ b w a w t his ruy in this y r ~ ~brpiro w pg . Kkdzint4h.t D A l a o ~ C h 5 . k v o o o d ~ a f ~ . H , ~ l o h n * m o l l y m s(n. 51. abwd iTibs ww bli k rnedemlioo bchid R Shrcm4.W Svds joinlug K.snb ?Wit&&= ky vsl -vd vhm he m i d in Val- ru a I Z - p t & P At t tim+ his hBuh Yi-. m m t i o p d i (b 3. Ihe rsd p m # n of k. n. ;~bMmyadDC~ih.ltb*.~ouldbmming~o~
    • Q30OP Mnking o a God01 f NUE.5 AND EXCLIRSUSES 23V1)/ EXCURSUS D U01&and the remaining one semester under R Baruch-BerS. The story bodka yeshiva, Kneseth Yisrael. Young though be was, Aaronin 7 ~ 0 nrnw, that R Aaron had come to a yeshiva qeranah in n Pinaes already roved from one major Torab institution in the citySlnbodka "at bar mitzvah age" and was quickly recognized to be to the other in quest of Torab challenges, as he was wont to do infitting for a yeshiva gedolah and promoted, is certainly not lrue in the later period in his life, when attending Kneseth Yisrael to-regard to his trip to Slabodka together with my father. At that time gether with our protagonist R Aaron unwittingly utilized Rthere was no doubt that he would be going to a yeshiva gedolnh. Weinbergs last semester in Slabodka - the winter of 5665 (1904-It occurred on his first, pre-bar mitzvah sojourn in the city of 1905), when R Aaron became bar mitzvah - prior.to R Yehiel-Slabodka, and the "yeshiva gedolah" to which he was promoted Yankevs going off to MirY. to shike up an acquaintance with himwas none other than Kneseth Beth Yitzhaq. From the intermedi- which lasted a lifetime. With regard to his meeting and "speakingate 18 months, we must deduct the time he spent in Minsk in be- in learning" with R Aaron, seven years his junior, nt this time. Rhveen his stays in Krinik and Kneseth Beth Yitzhaq, as above - Weinberg would enjoy sayingc. "R Aaron Kotler was one of myprobably about two months. There is no direct evidence as to why bahurim." According to R Gershon KreuserY, who studied underR Aaron returned to Minsk from Kneseth Beth Yitzhaq. In Ch. 3, R Weinberg in Montrwx. Switzerland, between the summers ofn. 138. a reason which may be combined with what R Yaaqov- 5715 (1955) and 5717 (1957). his mentor. after surviving the War-Eliezer Schwartzman reported from a family tradition, as below in saw gheno and subsequent concentration-camp captivity near Nu-n. 85. is proposed. remberg, was discovered lost in Germany after the war by U.S. R Aaron stay in Kneseth Beth Yitzhaq was not of long enough Army chaplain R Alexander Rosenberg (administrator of theduration to satisfy R Baruch-Ber. According to R Hayyim American Union of Orthodox Congregations [Ow Kashruth Divi-Zimbalistu. R Bamch-Ber was mildly critical of R Aarons sion). R Rosenberg notified R Aaron Kotler as to whom he hadmethod of study when he remarked. "He learned little [ r m ] un- found. and R Kotler made sure the sick and lonely Torah scholarder me." During the time he studied in Kneseth Beth Yitzhaq. R received medical treament. It m k three years for R Weinberg toAaron met the famous talmid of the Alter, the renowned genius R return to health. He then settled in Switzerland for his last 18Yehiel-Yankev Weinberg", who was leaning in the other Sla- years. A talmid of R Aaron who spent two days with R Weinberg in Monmux said that R Aaron owed a special debt ofY Alao sf a. Ihs m d of the fvsl p g n p h of Ere. U. Tk nhlh m Exc. A 3. of .u h v c - p. 283 The ~ sof te r t q . IbM.. p. 283, sboul ih r u m i mu yr& l h n #doh4 gratitude to R Weinberg because the ianer would help him raiseof m a u r i m g s nwrP ( m n ) by h a g down rn s Aw&r, nlso mmds mas lik funds for his Kletzk Yeshiva in pre-World War I1 Berlin. Rr&g iwtilulcd ml by KnMh Yirrsrl bul by tbc lrmr of the two S!dxdka ydiw.rhKo-h B u h Yiubq. k lcnnionbb. of the s u s m brssug of the d m of olu yo- l p Weinberg had lived in Berlin since the outbreak of the First Worldor porbbu m i ~ v s h audcnl, u 1bld.m m ciled h Q 3, n 138, ir nlso mn. fining fw d War and was bppointed to a post in the rabbinical seminary there~ B u h Y i o b q : h ~ Y i p u l , t h e ~ u r m l d s ~ l y h s v . h a d s l a l l ~ ~ m C ~ a r U l in the winter of 5685 (1924-1925).m d s a h i m s m i g h t o n w ~ h c m y d m y n * d o ~ l b m n ~ t h e ~ o f ~ a.end* yuhivo (a 3, the mi* or a 91). n the bha-an lnmvkw (Cb I, b m m Ip. 1 7 2 ) . R R u d e r r m 0 d o L r r d ~ . L m o u g b R ~ w ~ m ~ r o r m C A I l c r o f S l s b D d bhisouddurarrmfullylharo~mCSlabDmaYahiv~bsauv"kw~~hahrycrhirorh m: N o v k m h k m R.din". He urar d m i n g m mC F n Warld W a y m aRs bc d uhdakndymarried.kVol2. "InwicwApdlZ3,Pm.~~nofbIimkrta&YqR Yebolhusllcb & H (Ex. C above) rcp~md B m & B b a mkmrd h mC m of R mMinsk n s l i ~ N a Shimonsvish, m of mC hm r yshiw of BLumWs Kloir (sos mC R D h m hf d - l ~ - l n n p m m in a. who hd k d the masfa 221, il srbm - 8 uxk~ : -Sot Cb. I . Lhs ttkd p& 01 me. F. rmn m n m D pw a s lmo .pu m: p. aR. LibowiQ in KMlcniP " Sso Cb 4, lk md of Par. E 7 Y loPcrvirw N m k XI. 1992
    • -U02& Making of a God01 NOTES AND EXCURSUSES 23 (76-7B) . 3 m4 had abandoned religion. As in many Jewish homes, even rabbinic Y~srael~~. less than half a year in .Slabodka7. the young After ones, the Haskalah had claimed its m n g the Pinneses. A m was W e d to Minsk, the crty where his grandfathers At first Aamn was sent to study in Krinik, in the yeshiva founded mdfather had once been a respected mvn, to be enrolled after half a year earlier by the towns new Rav. a hawer of R Hayyim Pesah of 5665 (1905) in the Kamvisheh .Shu17 kibbu~. bril- The Soloveichik of Brisk. R Zalman-Sender ~ a h a n a ~ h a p i m ~ . a AfIer -c w -a year the~e~, cam$ to Minsk where some of his relatives then he 76 For the story of how two yeshivoth came to coexist m the lived, and met our pmtagonisl and his pareno. But Aamn was same town, cf. Ch. 3, the sixth paragraph of Ch. 3.1. again sent away, this time to ~labalka~.suburb of the large cily a of Kovno, to the Kneseth Beth YiQhaq yeshiva", where a man of 77 renowned piety, the devoted talmid of R Hayyim Soloveichik, R According to the porn? an> (genealogical mord) penned by Baruch-Ber ~eibowitz~~,just been appoiuted head. Aaron be- had R Aarons father, as recorded in .]olxO. R Aarons grandfather came her mitzvah them and his fame as a prodigy spread lhmugh- - was R Mosbe Pinnes, and his ancestor R Yitzhaq P i ~ e s had out the town. includrng in the other yeshiA in ~labodka, ~nc&th been " ? - ~ n nZR 27 [the Rav and head Dayyanl) (the title for (p, e 3 w L g a K g ~ w ~ a x g ~ ~ ~ S K g - w chief rabbi of a city) of Minsk" for 17 years. h m 5579 (1819)72 Cf. the ethical will of R Yitzhaq-Isaac Hirshowitzx, in rill 5596 (1836). This seemingly authentic claim is, however, con-which he describes his youth in Libau in the following poignant tradicted in MIE l6 which states that the last Rav of Minsk wasmanner: "I, too, l i e a l my friends and contemporaries, stood in l R YisraeI W s , who died i 5573 (1813). and that after him nmy childhood and youth at the edges of the mouth of the pii and the spiritual head of the city was called by the lesser title maramany times the net was spread for my feet and I was almost dathra Furthemtore, it gives R Yimel Heilprin as the Maraturned to evil. But every time, G-d in His compassion and great dAthra of the city in the years between 5579 (1819) and 5596gmce saved me with many wonders h m being caught in the trap (1836)e. MIE idmentions R Yitzhaq Pinness name only in a listand drawn into heresy (ma) in its various forms and h m being of 70 rabbis servlng in the city at various (unspecified) periods ofenticed by its many illusions. My father, my master and teacher. its history "not as elected rabbanim or marei dathra" but merelyof blessed memory, who, after all my brothers and sisters were al- as rabbanrm serving in the c~ty.ready washed away by the tide of those days with me, the -youngest in my parents home, close to beiig pulled in after them 78 The opinion of R Chaim &zovskyz that the two had be-- understood how to confront the evil. and he labored and t i e old come friends in Blumkehs Kloiz (where my father had studiedwith much wisdom and scheming to Nm me from the ways of earlier) is rejected because my father stated c l e a r ~ that this took ~fheresy and license to the way of Torah." place in the Ftzovisheh Shul.73 Cf. Ch. 5. nn. 22. 23 and 24.74 See Ch. 3.1, the third- and fourth-to-last paragraphs, for thestory of its founding and who its rashei yeshiva were.75 Cf. Ch. 3, Exc. R. : -- - "kc. 0. &eve p. +n (ye i nin). P. M ~s v a the ; .. s or R. ~b d c/lo~ e - ~ e U r l & ~ d E r c . & & e v e . d ~ . % *mwinr-7,1987Sot Ch. 4. Ule cnd of k c . N as to wh= il w publirhcd . w m i nk (a 51. &eve)
    • N T S AND EXCURSUSES 23 (79) / EXCLlRWS E UE liant new s ~ d e n hit~it~off well in his studies with +e veteran. t h e that R Aaron had been even younger, only seven, when ~ L B B X g B K g B Y g ~ B Y g ~completing it. fXQIPBBPB f O*lSlr3pltlpnpb79 :: Aamn Pima is versed in Pushkin - R Aamn Kotler . . ON THE THIRST utilizes his knowledge of history to enthuse ralmidim FOR GENERAL KNOWLEDGE Also Like my father. R Aaron KoUer dabbled in secular studies DISPLAYED BY YOUNG YESEWA TALMZDZM : !. . at this time. He was more interested in literame than in the sci- % q fb.t polpr.pb t : ences which amacted my fathers interest My father stated to bis son-in-law R Yisrael Shurin that R Aaron was pmficient in all of R Aaron gets a stipend Recognized as a prodigy (iluy) - and orphaned too - R Aaron I classical Russian literature". This was comboiated when, during : a visit with a young, intellectual prot6g€ of the Hazon-lsh whowas provided by the Katzovisheh Shul with a monthly stipend of $1five rubles instead of the common two rubles, or the ire given to he 5. headed a yeshiva in Ramlah. R Aaron blurted OUI, This was expounded by Aleksander Pushkid - as reported to this author bysuperior youths9. ohu nrm 7m, by p p v !ah h * a mil{, states in the 1:; the yeshiva headn. Graineman Yeshiva Kopycznitzer R Aaron Ko11m. R ShmuelThe Ramlah and the was visited byRebbe. Rname of R Shmuel Vilenslq (Kharkover) that, at the age of 14.R Aaron had written a booklet on Massekhefh Miqvofh "which Anohm-Yehosbua Heschel, in the summer of 5714 (1954). Atdazed (vmn) the Torah world". If this report is not apocryphal, thebooklet was written when R Aaron and my fatha were studying the same time. Moshe Bar-Sela, director of the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry and a Pushkin buff, dropped by for a glass of ta ein the Katzovisheh Shul together. Also cf. Ch. 5, the beginniig ofExc. B, that my father considered his own mind b m r than R : and a chat - people were wont to stop off in RamJah on the thenAarons at this stage. But our protagonist was not as widely : long drive from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. When Bat-Sela quoted aknown as a prodigy because he was more withdrawn and did not : h e h m the poem Yevgeni Onyegin without naming the author. .flaunt his talents. See Ch. 3, the second paragraph of Exc. E. that : R Aamn reacted as reported. (Pushkin was a Russian author fa- . vored in Jewish intellectual circles. Ibis author came across an in-R Aaron himself told one of our protagonists sons that his fathex terview of French Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas by"always thought he knew less than he actually did". Fmqois Poiri€ in Emmawel Levinas, Qui etes-vorrs??"~ which %*bpolpmb i b s the thinker relating. "A few years ago an Israeli born in East- a two pmligiw learn Nakh L i my father, R Aaron knew Tnakh as a young boy. A resi- : ern Europe paib me a visit. Upon entering my home, he noticed hat I had the complete works of Pushkin on the bookshelves. ., You can see right away, he said, that this is a Jewish home."dent of Sislovich is recorded in a7m m# d as reminiscing. % oSislovich, they would marvel at (he ravs little boy who remem- . Also cf. an inset in an article by .nrm . entitled - p m nu5n5. in Ibered all of Tnakh by heart." My father told R Laibel ~erlsteini w 7 V. . which relates in the name of R Yoseph Buxbaum that R n IP ).. Ruven Bengis recounted that when a Russian government inspectorthat he had completed Tnakh at the age of nine< adding at the , : above) P h h k d i w m ,O*Y Hsnnnh O x d r u g (n 50, n - (furbn: M q ( 1 4 p. 78 i q m e to Volahio to check whether the students knew sezularMtaatd, &Id, dro rrponr 6om h e um? s v thu R CbkdJm Omdmab alM R cm ; f;;:I- R=mk 21. 1990 "Inw- Mmh 20. 15% OLyon: LI&P - 1987A m "a young R &in Eiga". ALao uc a. Bu. P 4. t e l mf k m () ~on p. MI. below. /NO. m. n-urn p. 58 i b e . B, -0 - la.a~I, n. 59. -p65 P r m n h P ~ ~ w - p . 7 ;~,:
    • 430W Making o a Godo1 f ~~ AND EXCURSUSES 2 3 (79) / EXCURSUS E @?om He went through the historical sequence of major Torah transmit-subjects, the Nerziv called in "a typical student", Ruven himself. to ters beginning with Rabbm Yohanan ben Zakye, thmugh the Ri-declaim a poem by Pushkin. m e overplayed his hand, however, shonim, and to the last Euiopean generation. He concluded thatwhen he unwisely showed that he could declaim the poem back- the responsibility for forging another link in the chain fell no lesswards, and the inspector realized that Bengis was not the typical slu- upon us than it did upon our predecessors. He inspired every mandent he was claimed to be.] R Berel KreuserV related that RRuven Bengis, to whom he was very close, told him person& in the audience to devote himself to the study of Torah. That talk kicked off the establishment of Beth Medrash Govoha in Lake-what seems to be an addendum to this story. R Ruven did notknow Russian and, in preparation for the rest, had asked another wood."student who knew the language to read him a page in a Russian 8(IpfDMll~.npnpobook. He remembered the page word for word and later pretended d i n g of secular subjects may not interferehe was reading it from the book when tested by theinspeetor:) with becoming great in Torah R Aaron also had expert knowledge of Jewish history, as re- The subject of our protagonists - and R Aarons - dabbling inported by the long-time director of Torah Umesorah. Dr. Joseph secular studies is incomplete if the reader is unaware of the wordsKaminetzky, who recalled that on many occasions when he es- of the Nerziv in .I-a lam ,K-n ,urPOD n-~n. After setting guidelinescorted R Kotler, Jewish history was their topic of conversation. for secular studies where required by governmental orders (em-According to R Yankel Weissbergt R Aaron utilized this knowl- phasis added) (nnrmn I I la oa .hn 11095 naS5 n?j5a,?*-DP13105- o w ~edge in "a fiery address he delivered to a convocation of all the O?PD m mi .inma i l i a mo? 11501 1 n ~0. m a n 9-99 ,ui 5 n a w m i n l a 1older American Torah students, totaling about 150 then, in a shul - o m F ? n 3 m m .nnmn PO* mmna n m ) . he attaches the followingon Clinton Sweet on the Lower Esst Side of New York in the win- caveat: "ma n13;15 x - n mi nmn5 n5ma n l m wna.5~x m nnpr p Inn mter of 5703 (1942-1943). R Aaron described the chain of Torah .hn w a h oman na n a m m . h a 5-n . a n x orlam poim r n , n mtransmittance fromSinai till the End of Days as composed of links rfrm in0 rlnK is , u nnxr wpww nn? hn vaph Y D J xrx i r r nu ~of various quality. some of precious material and others of base. na+n n3an5 pan5 7 0 9 ~ lm h x .inm LUAnd all the great Torah ,x scholars who are also wise in secular studies did this only because9 Inlerisw June 18. m Aha sfc Ch 4. Ur tegeginning of Ur recoo4 pansnph of Ers. R. they were occupied in secular studies before they immersed theirregording R Wvidl Wlinsr. lo m udht arriclc on p. B of n m ~ pw M ~ D W .{am uFx-mn 71, the author p m n .a a p n m g g l s wilh Ur pmblem d Ur Hsrarlrhs w e n mind. in Torah (emphasis added), or after they had already be-of a lilcw neuclure & r i d by Hayyir~NahmenB i i a u b r g c e ro all lm@ t a d o come great in Torah. With both together, it is impossible to reachr u g g d g iha! Ur Hnwa-lsh c 0 ~ c i o w I y w d the idiom horn B i l k H ~ w c v a .if Ur bH w a . l $ h did not m*e urc of Bialikr Lpogvbc in Ur vein d V u m m 5% ovlr p ;R*? m) h e goal of study (of Torah)]." In the case of our protagonist and2.m (tho k l k ua nwny and me Ur inride)- l - lhir rdrn m !he al~.hmt of Tomh :, R Aaron, aside fium the fact that this indulgence in secular sub-~ I r d ~ r h o r n ~ ~ d a a u m -Mk mbya v c d o ~ . a i n l r s o r d a n c c w i l h U r ~ y ., h t s was o d y supeficial - it could not distically be termedo f m S a g c . i n 1 ~ ~ ~ m n m U u u ~ m . w n ~ . m ~ m ~ h n o T o r s b s m a n g nn .na3 (secular studies) - they abided by the first of the two al- -g m l i k Wll [busir m+dm amoog geotikr: lnngungs wage m y k conaidcrrd jut s o x mofw~omAlu,db.hoap.rrfi.~PolswordAlrod.(b4.~earUrmddlhihoW ::. urnatives in the Netzivs prescription (in the quoted sentence as -pmgnph i b e . I. Uuu my fh n pW out Uul BLLit.s Lmwkdgc of Hebrrw vim b ;, tmphasized). which enabled them to become "great Torah schol-comUaries U ~ -CM y Wed 00 h #mligi~uiupbriogbg. % lkw armeDlrra i Jlo.urn. d 00 his -tivily for ihc - t or mc LW- *lie abisb lu ~ r o UP. m nm-lsb v i:us."and reach "the goal of study".~~yhaYDIhUCdLh-pISCCPimdHCb.Vi~dc~mcupmkltmmvimhramcliurmrmum ap sda. n o ~ c b r r w faMi in mc ~ a m n - 1 s . ~,m a w e a s i n l y hsprnl a ,m# : . -fuu-mxd iolimq wilh ibc h p g s wbisb, hb5dsnWIy. mstu ibc & diRuul1 f Ue a i i l mnabion h of h e lsond v n l r m ow. kg c o d public m 4 I n M i c W h f d 5. 15% h w w h f d 13, 15% . : .
    • -@OM. Making of a Godol NOTES AM)EXCURSUSES 2.3187.44) m and they developed an intimate friendshipg0. The two were looked and that a lusmus future awaited the young boy as an up to with respect by the Kamenecki family for their unrelenting academician in a Russian university - if only he wonld drop his punuit of wisdom. religious beliefs. The lessons went on for several months and the The physical comfort my father gained by his parents move to teacher was enthusiastic about wining what he saw as a nascent Minsk was more than oKset by the psychic pains that resulted. profesoP. When Aunt Rasheh began coaxing my father to drop when, in their wncem for their sons future in a rapidly changing his Torah studies altogether and he came to the realization that world, his parents tacitly endorsed the eKons of R Binyomins Ashkenazy was leading him in the same direction. he refused to sister, Rasheh, t "educate" her nephew. The hedonistic ~ a s h e h ~ l . o wntinuem with the l w o ~ A1 ~ . same time. Aaron of ~ the hired a teacher. Ashkenuy, to give our protagonist private Sislovich was bickering with his gmwn sister. Malka, a Communist lessons. Ashkenazy was astounded by his pupils superior mind O J a y g E x = 3 E x = 3 k X g a , L g ~ ~ m a y g k X g ~ a , L g a , and reported back to Rasheh that his charge would be ready to 8 Aunt Dvorahw. My aunt wuld not recall the first name of take !he tests for a high school diploma in half a year. He said.the teacher. Ashkenazy. My father never happened to tell his chil- furthermore, that he had never come a m such an astute mind, dren about these private lessons, but there is no reason to doubt r a ~ a , c a w ~ a , c g a y g ~ m ~ m a , the m t h in the reports that our protagonist had formal lessons in80 The friendship between the two Miosk Katzovisheh Shul h n ~ 7 (secular studies?. R Laibel Perlsteiny contimed this fact ~ 3 graduates was to continue unbroken till 5672 (end of 1911). when when he reportedz that our protagonist told him he had privateR Aaron Kotler left Slabodka for Slutzk, where he married and secular lessons as a youngstera.settled. It was renewed in the United States 30 years later, untilthe death of R Aaron at the beginning of 5723 (fall of 1962). Ac- For the reason why he discharged his teacher, the versioncording to R Nisson Wolpin", my father defined his feelings to- provided by R perlstein6 has been set down. Aunt Dvorah re-ward R Aaron when he spoke to the talmidim in Mesivta Torah counted at our personal meeting that when her brother "saw that hisVodaath in the middle 5710s (1950s). criticizing the personal at- tor was covertly trying to alienate him from religion", he left him.tacks attending the ideological disputes raging at the time betweenSatmar and Belz and Lubavitch. He cited his own disagreement At the meeting with Aunt Dvorah, she recounted that afterwith R Aaron regarding ,IIDXS p-n (Torah Schools for Israel), on he broke off with Ashkenazy, my father continued studying on hiswhich "(they) were at each other with knives (msoxo T I M ) - but own. took external examinations and was awarded a Russian highonly on policy questions, while in their personal relationship they school diploma She was astonished when I told her my father"loved each other like brothers". The love my father felt toward never informed his children that he had received a diploma IfR Aaron during those decades of fraternity carried over to the lat-ters children and grandchildren. Our protagonist was hextbmkenwhen he declared in a eulogy for R Aarons grandson R MeirKotler in 5739 (1979) that he never imagined he would live tosuffer the pain of having to eulogize the four successive genaa-tions: R Isser-Zalman Meltzer (R Aarons father-in-law). R - Aunt Dvorah was right, my fathers deliberate secrecy regarding this matter isinshuctive. (Cf. Ch. 4 Exc. B, where our protagonist Laws of April 18. 1988 Re of the cllqhaized cd Miberm d.d Ihc or E c E, h e . Y 0.(b I. n 55. Te*pbmc inmin March 9.1993 *Cf. . m .. rnnu~b.rRmmvbcbKldqa~~UUrddIh.remnlsoh~),~bacd. . m W ~ a a r m r r ~ a u ~ m c s g ~ h s d r n - l v m i o i o ~ . ~ ~ b p v l m o nrvmplira m an spmhtirn my hba vrac fm rn bmt which *!king m b g yAaron. R Shnayur, and R Meir. 0 inlqmmal in vmicb hc dw t hve M hmuledgc of tbL diaeipk." s ~ ~ R ~ l U ~ d i o ~ , ~ y f ~ ~ r d m r m g h h i ~ ~ o ~ d & k W01 in Iact h m kMwlrdpt Of ~ l k W p l l o c r I1 juQ W d W vbm my hlber pnurd r Cf. Ch. 1.4, the third paragraph. - abl. brmcbcs d howlLdgr - in hi, yrub M g y war nn s sub@^ for wdy. SccL m datrd b r n t m . c 7. IW8 + = m g M l l
    • NO?ES AND MCURSUSES 23 (85) 4311b- - U I a x g a X g a y g s X g ~ ~ W U I ~ a X g ~ W sympathizer. who had also begun pressuring her brilliant brother to leave the kibbutz for a xcular-studies programw. is quoted as saying about someone who had obtained a high U I ~ ~ W U I W U I a x g a x g a x g a x g ~ U I W U I W school diploma that this was "something which Slabodka did not and summed up for R Zilber, "In America you must, and in Eretz approve of". Perhaps this disapproval had erased his own exploiL Yisrael you must not." if not from his consciousness, at least fmm his parlance.) In answer to a subsequent query, Aunt Dvorah wrotec that her 85 R Yaaqov-Eliezer Schwaruman, a grandson of R Aaron. parents respected their sons decision to drop Ashkenazy and made disclosed9 that the Kotler family maintains a tradition that after his no attempt to dissuade him from taking that action. She also wrote grandfather was in Slabodka he returned to Minsk at the behest of that she believes they assisted their son in acquiring the books he his older sister who lived there. and that R Noson-Zvi Finkel, the needed to prepare himself for the matriculation exams. Aunt Alter, sent R Ruven Gtozovsky to bring him back. Consistent Dvorahs report does not contradict what R Perlstein saidd he had with what was printed in 7olo,xb, R Yaaqov-Eliezer presumed that heard directly from our protagonist, namely, that his teacher this muspired when R Aaron was younger than when it actually (Ashkenazy) told him be could personally get him enrolled at the happened, and that it was from the Alters Kneseth Yisrael yeshiva university and furthermore wrote up a document addressed to same that he returned to Minsk (because the interviewee was under the attesting to his pupils scholarly achievements. In terms of h o w - mistaken impression that the only yeshiva in Slabodka where his ledge. he may have been W y to enter university before he grandfather studied was Kneseth Yisrael). The Slabodka yeshiva actually completed his matriculation. and Ashkenazy was ready to he actually left was Kneseth Beth Yitzhaq, after studying there forsign him in at the earlier time. less than half a year - as discussed in Exc. D. above - and yet R During my visit with Aunt Dvorah, she remarked how beautiful Finkel, the m h g i a h of the other Slabodka yeshiva, sent R Ruvenmy fathers Russian script was in their correspondence following after him. as in n. 94, below.their discovery of each other at the beginning of the 5620s R Zorah VamaftigL saidi that R Aarons acerbic battled(1960s). She declared that, despite his not having used the against the irreligious factions in prewar Poland were rumored atlanguage for many decades. his grammatical errors were rare and the time to have been motivated by "his having been somewhatminor. It is worth noting that our protagonists Hebrew penman- TIN ~ ~ 1 3 (caught up in) the Haskalah as a youth, and therefore 91ship was likewise endowed with grace and beauty (and his more aware of its dangers". The basis for these rumors may begrammar was flawless, of course). reasonably assigned to the influence his sister had on him at this After a visit with our protagonist in 5732 (1972), R Mikhel lime and later - cf. n. 106, below - but to say that "he was caughtZilber repotted that my father considered a high schwl education up in the ~ d k d a h "seems exaggerated.an imperative for Jews residing in America in his day. My father R Chaim Growvsky told[ about the saintly wmpassion whichtold him that when a well-known m h g i a h had asked him R A m displayed toward his sister despite theobstacles she hadwhether to send his son to school, he replied aftkuuively, citing put in his spiritual path in his early years. She survived the Secondan evaluation that "aU those who did not attend school were not World War in Paris. where she had been a professor of mathe-successful ( d m ) in learning (Torah) either"/. For Jews residing in 9 hkrrinr Innwry L 1991 ~ x e .D h. . s - f uelifi(yu-?ionia mivie wasEreiz Yisrael, however, he considered secular education anathema. .,~ingp~io~~oftkMinaYahi*~loshso~b.i"griqihc~worMwer.Fcbrusy 23. 1991 *see I. 2 rm lbe p n e pge. Cf. m D ~ Q m .wk ? .dww .m T) .7mn o m mr?D$E / / h w i e w Apil 25. .bich k dcBils i hia ~ - D w n nc m . n mDm) rprr p. 21. ~n how hifly b W peDmwhip wa9 e a e m d in p W d n n n C W 1993 J ~ l s o f v oi p. m. t/hlaie* ~slata . see a S 1-1Wor I Ubwnia. I C f Ch. I. o. 68. which seemingly &lo tk sarrr h l k a 80.. d
    • U3121r. Mnking o a Coddl f NOTES AND EXCURSUSES 23 (W) 4313B wmmmmBxgmkYgm--mm The following winter, of the year 5666 (1905-1906), anothermatics. Later R ~ a b brought her over to the United States, n fateful meting took place when m fatha and his new friend ywhere she served on the faculty of Columbia University in New were introduced m Ruven, the son of the rav of the Viloa railroad-station hection of Minsk. R Shamshon ~ m m v s l r y ~ ~ .York. He subsequently arranged her lonesome confinement - she Ruven. 18 yean 014 had an a m of holiness about him Unlikehad never married - i an old-age home, and ordered his son, R n other yeshiva mrdenm of the day. he did not shave his beardn nwShnayur. to pay her visits. According to R Growvsky, she was did he indulge in any type of pmfm i - n even pefincmrilys8.unaware of the position her brother occupied in the Jewish world His extraordinary zeal for Torah won him famc in Minsk Like hir.when she told a rabbinic chaplain in the old-age home that she --Ewcmxak)mar?~a,had a brother with a mind far superior to hers who would have candidates (hmugh their dissertations, f i ~ in tthe University of ~become one of the worlds greatest mathematicians "were it not Berlin and later in the Sorbome, in Paris.for someone named Gmwvsky who commandeered him over to ffi Cf. RBB Storyo that he "d e his roots through geneitionsreligious subjects". Further research has revealed, however, thatthe highly intelligent woman knew R Aaron was a great leader of of Torah scholars and rabbinical leaders aU the way back to Ra-Jewry, but was nevertheless unhappy that he did not become a shi". Dvorah Epstein. his granddaughter (through his oldest daugh-scientist. As reported by a frequent visitor at the old-age home, R ter. Baileh-Tzirl. who manied R Elya Halperin, "a rav. aizrshnn,Fabian Schonfeldm. when he and a young friend once visited her, dayyan, and maggid shaiur in ReMylehs Yeshiva, in Vilna").she asked the younger man what career he was planning to embark mldP about her ancestry and showed this author a copy of her un-on, and when he replied. "Rabbinical," she said that her brother cle R Ruvens notations which reveal that his father was a 22nd"was silly (DW-INXU 1r D N ~ ) " in becoming a rabbi rather than a . generation of rabbanim. R Ruven was the seventh of eight chil-mathematician. R Sholom Shapiro, chaplain of Kings County dren. and the second son. As in most rabbinic families of the day,Hospital. in Bmoklyn (whom R Aaron called to notify that his not all the Gmwvsky children followed in their progenitors path.sister had been ordered confied there), addedn to R Chaim According to this granddaughter, even in this illustrious family, theGmwvskys report that she also mentioned a friend "Yankev" - older son. Shmuel-Avrohm. "was not carefully observant ( m ~obviously our protagonist - who had influenced her brother not to nnm)".go off onto the l i e course of secular studies. R Shapiro related 87 Cf. Ch. 5. Exc. A.also. "R Aaron a well as his rebbiken would come to feed the sold lady. Speaking tenderly to her, he would say. Malkalleh, youneed to eat. He weated her with utmost respect, saying. She is. in his eulogy for R Ruven Orowvsky. in 5718 (1958). my after all. my older sister." R Sholom recollected that he did not father contrasted the deceaseds invariable earnestness with hisbring her her daily New York Times on the day R Aarons death own and R Aaron Kotlers youthful flippancy. R Malkiel Kotlerwas reported, so she should not see the obi-. But she , related? that his grandfather, R Aaron, was unable to attend R suspected something was wrong. When he visited her the Ruvens funeral because of illness but asked our protagonist tofollowing day, she began to weep, saying. "Aaron is no longer state in his name, "R Ruven was greater than we."here! When did it happen?" According to what she told RShapiro, her work in Europe had consisted of guiding doctoral - i O p ci~. k C I. 5 s ad of o. 93 - p. 91 P hDnin. November t& 1 9 91 9 lnlcniew" lnlcmisw April 2 . 1995 " Inlervic*. Much 22. 1% 1 5 I Normta 1 . 1987 6 s
    • NoTEs AND EXCURSUSES 2.3 (92-93) 4315P fa~he?~, fought against the s p d of political Zionism and tried he but in the competing Kneseth ~ i s r a e l ~ . headed by R Moshe to divert the energy of the youth of rhe city to Torah study Mordkhai ~~slein".When Ruven left for home. the older insteadg0. Ruven had been smdying in sl&dh9 during the rrrnSh8iahm of Kneseth Yisrael, R Noson-Zvi finkel-, had previous winter, when Aaron Pinnes was there. though not in R insrmcted him to keep a lookout on the young Aaron Pinnes while Baruch-Bers yeshiva where the Sislovicher lad had been enrolled. . in his home city and to try to get him to wme to his yeshiva in Lgmmmmmmm---w UB g X aL - a gL wa g x - ( K g g ) gm x - g - x a g89 Cf. RBB Storyq, which records several stories demonstrating Ruven came to Slabodka ajier he and R Aaron arrived there inboth R Shamshons dauntless leadership and his broad erudition. the spring of 5666 (1906). In order to reconcile this with the un- impeachable sources which indicate that R Ruven had been in 90 Interview with his son R Chaim. He said that. young Slabodka at an earlier time", we must conclude that after havingthough he was, his father once challenged a Zionist public speaker ; studied in Slabodka in the winter of 5665 (1904-1905). when heto a debate and made a good showing for the religious point of was 18, and possibly the following summer, too, he returned toview. . Minsk for reasons unknown, and later rehrrned to Slabodka ajier In an undated letter in the winter of 5754 (1993-1994). this his two young friends had already gotten there - presumably not interviewee recounted that a Minsk native and coeval of our long after their arrival (cf. n. 106, below). What with the Altersprotagonist, Eliezer Kaplan, later fust minister of finance in the ; inscrutabilityw,R Ruvens return t~ Minsk may have been orches- nascent State of Israel, "attempted to organize the Minsk youth trated for the specific purpose of bringing R Aaron back tointo Zionist youth clubs. When he discovered that [R Ruven] was . Slabodka, as according to n. 94, below; and once the mission hadtrying to persuade the young people to m a t e Torah learning ... been accomplished, the Alter had his reliable talmid. Ruven, returngroups instead, Kaplan gave him a slap for interfering with his to Slabodka.w o r k R Chaim did not know when this event took place. Thisauthor is disposed to believe that it occurred later than the time See Ch. 3.1.being described here, i.e., while my father and R Aaron studied inthe Katzovisheh Kloiz, but circa 5668 (1908). when the two were 93 My father saidz that when he arrived in Slabodka. R already in Slabodka. At that time, according to MIE It, Kaplan , Noson-Zvi F i e 1 was already called "the Alter (the Elder)" withorganized "p~s 1 7 1 ~ 1 (Zion Youth) on the shambles of the - the epithet clearly taken to mean k e old mashgiah". The adjec-disbanded Zionist organization .rm7 (The Revival)". The latter : tive was employed to distinguish between R Noson-Zvi and the organization, "which called itself a popular association, consisted Heller - whose daughter. Ettil. younger mashgiah. R ~ e r e h - ~ i r s h of teachers, students, clerks, bookkeepers. skilled and unskilled j later married my father and is my sainted mother. R Meir workers and general (mo) youth - la# (of the masses)". A ; Liebeman relatedY that his brother. Slabodka talmid R Shaul*. popular group comprised of such young people would likely have 5 told him that this distinction had to be made because both mashgi- included many members who could be persuaded to turn their him w r named "Hih". R Nota-Hirsh and R Bereh-Hirsh. An ee energies to Torah study instead. R Ruven was already 21 years i article serialized over several issues in (a-awn) 7x77~7, anti-Musar by old at the time and older than Eliezer Kaplan. :91 R Mordkhai Shainu said in our protagonists name that R 1 r ihc A l e 0 S 1 - journalist lmrl 3.5 mv~.entitled "lo-~rnr h n m n k (On the Banks "a W. above. and 6.c. F WOW. ~t a. 4. n. I I I. .~n a r e c o d .laview about n. . W vllb my bmbcn R Binyomin d R Avrohm. Mach 1 . 1 7 (furthr: 6 97 N. 86. above - pp. 91-93 N. IS. above P. 19 " lk s o d pmp@ d 6.c. B, above ihc Alts lawicw) I lnwiiv Seplcmk 18. 1996 e Cb. 5. Ibc end of Ur h psrslpaqh of h. d (b 4. h e cod of 6rs. D. D. S. n $ ?.
    • .>i : 1 I . i.. ) ; : i i . . . I . ! i NOTES AND EXCURSUSES 23 (94) 4317B ~ ~ C g ~ ~ c = 3 W ~ a x g a x g W ~ W C g ~labodlia? Upon his rehm to Minsk, Ruveo shuck up a close W of the Vilaya and Neman [Rivers]"a), states;: "R Noson-Zvi €tiendship wim h e Sislovicher and his friend the Dolhinover. ~ E ~ = . ~ ~ B K B ~ U C ~ ~ B K .. .B ~ U C ~ ~ Finkel. who in my time was not called the Alter yet, would term because they felt they were not imbued enough with his stroll in the yeshiva with outward modesty, but everyone knew teachings to call him simply (their) "rebbl - and to consider that n k n n m nrrn [the power and the dorninionlc werc his." Al- themselves, talmidim - even as their mentor declined calling though Gordon, who arrived in Slab& in 5665 (1905). ended himself a talmid of R Yisrael Salanter.1 his stay in 5667 (1907). a year after our protagonists arrival. he was obviously not updated on R Finkels appellation, because 91 Cf. the beginning of n. 85, above. R Elazar-Mann Shakh that author was enrolled not in the Alters yeshiva but in R relatedL that "the Alter of Slabodka had heard there was a good Baruch-Bers. Another talmid of R Baruch-Ber, R Koppel Pinnes boy in Minsk, and sent emissaries to bring him to Slabodka Wolpert, who came to Slabodka at the exact time as ord don^, did (emphasis added)". It is more than likely that R Aarons fame as recall the "Alter" appellative (together with another one) from the a young genius reached the Alters eers while the fonner was stud- time he arrived. a year earlier than my father. In fact, R Koppel ying in Kneseth Beth Yitzhaq - and especially since R Aaron first heard that R Finkel was termed the Alter" on a visit to the would come to the Alters yeshiva, Kneseth Yisrael, to speak m Alters yeshiva<. In a fit-yahrzeit memorial issue for R Noson- learning (with at least R Yehel-Yankev Weinberg, as above in Zvi f ink elf, the editor, R Yisrael-Zissel Dvoretz, states in a bio- the third paragraph of Exc. D). His move to M i k only enabled graphical article9 that "at various periods" F i e 1 was known by - different titles 5nin ,p759 mlwn . m w n (supervisor. upper sup& the Alter to go after him for his own yeshiva, as per Ch. 3. Exc, n. A more precise wording for the Alters charge to his "emis- sor. adrninistralor). R Dvoretz. secretary of the yeshiva at the saries" (n lieu of emphasized phrases in the earlier sentence) i time of my fathers arrival, must be referring to "various periods" would then be. "the good P i ~ e boy is in Minsk and "to bring s of an earlier time than described by our pmtagonist, and the title p5r n,awn (upper supervisor) - denoting the presence in the ye- . him back to ~labodka"c R Shakh told this author that he cele- brated his bar mitzvah in 5671 (191 1) while still in the Ponivezh shiva of another mashgiah, a "lower" one - is likely the precursor to "the Alter" title, which stuck. It is suggested that in keeping - yeshiva qetanah. i.e.. before coming to Slabodkam which means that R Shakh head the story of the anival in Slabodka yeshiva with his characterX, the Alter himself had the students switch ad- Kneseth Yisrael of the "Pinnes boy" at least five years after it had jectives from the hierarchal "p"n (upper)" to the incidental "VDSR taken place: the wording which he picked up was therefore im- (old)", thereby suggesting a difference in age between one mash- precise. Thq Alters miswies were unnamed by R Shakh, but giah and the other, not in status. Also cf. Ch. 3, n. 102. For yet one was ceaainly the activist R Ruven GmLovskyn, and another, another title for the Alter. used by an outsider, cf. the first para- R Asher Kemtein. as below. graph of Ch. 3. Exc. GG. With regard to the title "Alter" given to R Simhah-Zisel Ziv . ~sl.Cb3,~.8,mUr~olRSimh.b-Zirul,d~.4.1hchnr~of - Eu.J.mRYbrrl~ulf-L 110wicv.4d24.1981 f R ~ m s y h . w of Kelem, a repon in , m l claims that his disciples used that :: b ~ . x u r d R A s m a l ~ a - B & Y ~ i . S ~ p i a m j ~ *Rmaa:(7>Wn)m,7ArtlcIe 6~.72a X m n ~ ~ m k t s h o . I m m U . Y o m ~ - ImaaYMaslk- . . ~ ~ - r a c i b c ~ g d ~ D . I TlrD " ~ b prnya .ilmrm mlnr and th.amibutm src suipei m Gd d kmrcrsd R BwskBdn -rrlYDdth.1kI1.~inS-~ymLilW~dW~1I.andLbm~mbh - yhim dght away on uriral t h e uli Oordoo, vb. smkd a d in Rcb HimblkWn Yrshiv4 llk : ~~VlbDlalLhmDd.rh.dadcrrdhimo&ml&wbLS~~mMin~ a school f ympstcn. .(Y. 3. ~ l cGQ. 11,vu rcpinad in m ,,-W a a . m,7 ( L.Dmnrham~wusomrmrd*nhcbcsdvavlyi~inmn(bigd r a m nr . p w (- ~rom C I M ~ D . 9 P M 6 a a. EXC. E . 3. . m o l u t i w city. He Lbm W c n s d m th.S l u e ,dim. a Allo d n. 98. klw. lrrveafn.m.phnm.inihcnvncdRH.nqclirW
    • NOES AND EXCURSUSES 2 3 (99) / EXCURSUS F e19B Ruvens concern for kamn became evident at this point in t m . ie Seeing the danger. besetting Aaron Pinnes and our protagonist R Simhah Soloveichik, youngest son of the late Rav of Brisk, and aware lhat pmximity to their families only exacehated the R Yosheh-Bergs. had recently &ed a daughter of R Yiahaq peril, Ruven decided he had to get on with R Noson-Zvi Finkels Lifshitz, a wealthy rolmid hakluvn in IGucheh, outside M n k and is, mission and get kamn, together with his friend, to leave Minsk had set up an intersession study pmgram with Ruven Gtuwvsky. for a spiritually safer domain. Appaling to them on intellectual eight years his junior. When Ruven decided he no longer wanted grounds. k pointed out the opportunities for advancement in to stay in the lonely village. R Simhah asked him to arrange the Torah that were available in Slabodka and repeated to them an young Aaron Sislovicher as a replacement havnrrha for him The incisive Torah concept he had heard therew. He found an ally for boy had just tumed 14, hut his renown as a prodigy had already C g - I U C g l U C g l U C g l U C g ~ s X a ~ l U C g l U C g I U C g spread to all Minsk Torah circles%. Ruven pciously lurned In a eulogy on R Ruven Growvskys fmt yahneit, my father down this request, explaining that while he. Growvaky, was able to hold his ground in the polemics with the Socialist-minded characterized Minsk as "a revolutionary, not religious, city" when siblings of the young bride, he could not be sure thnt the ywug he declared that the reason why Minsk, despite the prevailing at- Aaron would not be won ovep to their anti-Torah sideM. mosphere. boasted the largest group of students in Slabodka from L g m r n G Y I I r n & x 5 3 m L g ~ a x g ~ ~ ~ m aoy single city was "because R Ruven Gmwvsky worked on95 R Simhah Soloveichik was born in 5640 (1879) (when his bringing b r i m to the yeshiva."father was age 59). and was 7 years older than R Ruven. RSimhah became Rav of Mohilov in 5671 (1911). moved to the Y) EXQllt1PBBB %U.S. in 5683 (1923) to become rav of the Brisker Shul in Brook-lyn, and died in 5702 (1941)o. O r pmtagonisf is buried in Mount u ON A r n N D A N C EJudah Cemetery in Brooklyn. in close pmximity to R Simhah. OF R BARUCH-BERS SHAIURIM BY TALMIDIM OF% My father told his grandson R Yitzhaq Shurine that he rs THE OTHER YESHIVA IN SLABODKAcalls fmm learning with R Aaron Kotler in Minsk that the latterhad "an iron memory". When R Yitzhak asked him if he meant a R Ruven Growvsky repeas a shniur of R Baruch-Ber to thephotographic memory, he said "No. just an iron one. R David Slabodka Yeshiva candidates - Kneseth Yisrael changes i sRapaports memory was photographic?." policy regarding amnding shniurim in the competing yeshiva - R Ruven turns down a suggestion97 Cf. Ch. 4. n. 42, and n. 106, below. to transfer out of Kneseth Yisml : R 9Grozovsky relatedu in his fathers name that one of9% Interview with R Chaim Grozovsky. In 1905. the Jewish j h e arguments he used to persuade our protagonist and R Aaronstreets were rife with Socialist agitators. On October 18th. half a j to go to Slabodka was that they would be able to enjoy the beneyear after the described events, the czarist army and gendarmerie . fib of its two yeshivoth simultaneouslyY To demoosmte this. hecarried out a bloodbath on a nowd leaving a public meeting that 1: repeated to them a shaiur on "rna 771 u r (The Fetus as P r of Its ~ athad been officially sanctiond, wounding hundreds and killing 42 i Mother)" that he. a student at Kneseth Yisrael, heard fmm R Baruch-Ber in Kneseth Beth Yitzhaq. (This is likely the shaiur onJews and 15 non-Jews. "some with red banners in their handsns. ; h i s subject published in D-n po.1 m u n SY ,m . h v n r y a book , . ! ~ w c f . L b c W ~ g u f & c . A . a b o v e "mlhCbcginniogoftkUlirdpngnphofn.w, : v C f . Lbc mulhrc prngnpb of Cb 32 .. I. ~.
    • 320B Making of a Godol NOTES AND EXCURSUSES 23(99) 1 EXCURSUS F .&321B . lenure jn Kneseth Beth Yitzhaq. the time when R Aaron was aprepared for print from R Baruch-Bers manuscripts in 5717 student there, only an insignificant number of Kneseth Yisrael[1957], according to the inhuduction by his nephew R Hayyim- bahurim attended R Baruch-Bers shaiurim. At first thought, ts h iShalom Leibowitz. Although the shaiur was written up by itsauthor later then 5677 (19171 [as indicated by the mention of R may be attributed to R Baruch-Bas being new at the post andWya-Bad& Kamai as already deceased1 it was compiled much not as popular as he was a year later when R Aaron and my fa-earlier. as the words ".911n .n~n [from my early days]" in the ther got to Slabodka. But this is incorrect because some of Rshaiurs epigraph indicate. How much earlier than 5677 is indi- Baruch-Bers talmidim from his earlier posting as rav in the towncated when it quotes a challenge which "a g m n , m y he live for a of Hlusk and rosh yeshiva of its kibbua were already studying inlength of good days and years, posed to its thesis" when its author, Kneseth Yisrael when he got to Slabodka, and they surely spreadborn in 5626 [1866], was a "wn* Sur @ad]". Accordingly, the the praise of their rebbis shaiurim as soon as he anived inshaiur must have been composed when R Baruch-Ber f m t came Slabaka (f not earlier, as noted in Ch. 3, at the beginning of n. ito study in Volozhin or earlier. Interestingly, according to 7 134). Funhermore, the fact that the Telz Yeshiva wanted to en- u,by ~ v h ,vnp nay, R Baruch-Ber "always said novellae r gage R Baruch-Ber before he got t Slabodka to fdl the void left o[;nu1 +wrrn] on the topic of UIK - u w [although] after his master by R Shimon Shkops resignation - see Ch. 3, Exc. I - attests to R Hayyim Soloveichiks sepher. 757 n*n w7 m n , was published his earlier universal popularity. What in fact deterred Kneseth Yis- [in 5696 (1936)). he would repeat what R Hayyim mote on the racl dmidirn from attending R Baruch-Bers shaiurim wassubject therein, rather than his own novellae". [Also cf. Ch. 3. the brought to this autliors knowledge by a daughter of R Ruven. Es- second paragraph of Exc. P on R Baruch-Bers adulation of the ther Ungarisherc, who discussed her fathers attendance at the volume that R Hayyim authored.] Also cf. EdStn, that in the rare shaiurim of his future father-in-law, her future grandfather. Aftercase when R Baruch-Ber e x p d e d a pshar which differed from scating that he was once barred "by the Kneseth Beth Y i t h q peo-his masters, he would say, The rebbi said thus, but I held other- pleWdshe added that "it was not healthy" for her father to return wise; and I g r my loins and said not like my rebbi.") it w the Alters yeshiva after attending a shaiur in the competing Since R Ruven was the one who revealed t the two lads that o jeshiva. She meant that he faced smng criticism in his own ye- they would be able to listen in on the shaiurim in Kneseth Beth shiva for attending R Baruch-Bers shaiur in the other one. She Yitzhaq while attending Kneseth Yisrael, it would seem that, Like did not lmow exactly when this transpired, but inasmuch as by the my father. who had never been to Slab- R Aaron, in attend- lime my father got to Slabodka a ycar and a half after R Baruch- ance of R Baruch-Bers shaiurim during his half-year in Kneseth . . Ber was enpged by Kneseth Beth Yitzhaq. Kneseth Yisrael Beth ~ i t z h a ~ was unaware that Kneseth Yisrael students were in d. I. bhurim werenot only permitted to attend his shaiurim but even the audience with him. But it is unlikely that Aaron Piones would eocwraged to do s by the Alter (as pointed &t in Cb. 3, n. 133). o be incognizant of the presence of Kneseth Yisfael talmidim if they t she described must have occurred at some earlier time. It - were actually there especialty since he had contact with them at e been at the beginning of R Baruch-Bers tenure that the time, as mentioned at the end of Exc. D, above. We are wm- approve of his talmidim pdcipatiog in R pelled to posit that during the first semester of R Baruch-Bers ers shaiurirn - in spite of the fact that %at the Alter - ~nn , > m n 2. mq it is n-9 v of M ( Y I ~ U UGith. C l . GI 3. I md of m. D . ~ h O elf) had a hidden hand in the appointment of R Baruch- . duriog the s m s e R Aaron was sh~dying eetr in - )I Publirhsd P. IP by m 9 m a.- 6 see EZE. D. b v e n m 1 9 8 (furkc GS,) - p. D .4. 101-102. r m ~ k l " . * b i n ~ ~ l o b c IDJI , r~ IS io Cb. 3. n. 1s. 271 ,rmm MM by
    • NOTES AND EXCURSUSES 23(1W101) -U23B. his cam gn in a native Minsket one y W his senior, AshwKneseth Beth Yitzhaq, there actually were no Kneseth Yisrael Kmtein, who had by this time leamed in the same yeshiva asbahurim in attendance at shaiurim in the competing yeshiva - ex- he, Kneseth Yisrael. for nvo years, and was in Minsk for a shortcept such as R Ruven, who, with his characteristic zeal for visit Asher volunteered his help to the younger boys wheneverTO&, braced for muble from the administrations of both they should decide to join him in Slabcdka. Another Minsk stu- dent even older than Ruven aod Asher. Zalman-Yoqhyeshivoth in order to hear R Baruch-Bets Torah novellae. The Baininson, also became involved in persuading the bright lads thatchange in the Alters policy. which allowed my father and R they should leave MinsklO. With characteristic zeal, RunenAaron to go and listen untestrained to R Baruch-Ber a year later, ,. C g a K a m a K g a ) - - w a ,must have occurred during the year R Aaron was sudying in the that Kneseth Yisrael people made the proposal during the earlierKawvisheh Shul kibbutz with my father. Thus, when R Ruven . period when the Alter did not appmve of his studenm attendingtold the two lads that in Slabodka they would be able "to enjoy shaiurim in the other yeshiva. If the suggestion was indeed madethe benefits of its two yeshivoth simultaneously", it was news to ; by Kneseth Yisrael people, it stemmed in all likelihood h m theR Aaron, too. It should be added that even after Kneseth Yis- 1 . Alter himself, because the Alter supemised his yeshiva so closelyraels policy changed, Kneseth Beth Yitzhaq was still unhappy that no student on his own would dare advance an idea of thiswith Kneseth Yisrael bahurim coming to listen in on their rosh ye-shiva, as in Cb. 3. n. 138, but R Ruven was sure that the youths : - kind to one of the yeshivas top students as R Ruven Grozov- sky was. Sometime later5 R Hayyim S m a verily contimed that could get around that problem - as they verily did by the means . the challenge to R Ruven was made by Kneseth Yisrael students.described in Ch. 3. n. 138. In summary. it appears lhat during the beginning of R Baruch- R Ruven himself attended all of R Baruch-Bers shaiurim as ;. Bers tenure in Slabodka, not only did the Alter not encourage hiswell as his post-sudah shlishith sessions9 despite all the difficul- students to go hear R Leibowitz (as he did later), and not onlyties he had to overcome. R Ha im Sama, a gtandson of R H : did be criticize them if they did go to hear him. he even threatenedMoshe-Mordkhai Epstein. related that when it was suggested to - - Yia his stalwarts to expel those who went!R Ruven, that since he attended R Baruch-Bets shaiurim so r eligiously, he transfer altogether from Kneseth Yisrael to the sister Irn Per Hayyah-Miriam Shulmaal.yeshiva, he replied that he would never leave the Alter. R S m adid not say at first who made the suggestion to R Ruven. It could lo Fmm Shapiro ~ a l k A .Baininwn family is mentioned in ~have been made by Kneseth Beth Yitzhaq people who did not : MIE as residing in Minsk This author believes, furthermote, thatlike visitors fmm their competitors taking advantage of their rash Zalman-Yosefi was a brother of the famous Zionist leaderyeshiva to "enjoy the benefits of (both) yeshivoth simultaneously". Yehoshua ahi ins on, who was a Volozhin &[mid and is citedConsidering the report by Esther Ungatisher, it also seems possible several t m s in MIE I for his "Love of Zion (prum) activities. ie D -n u m . rrrun ~ B nmnn .px rn (nd.) (funhr.K Ill), p. 15. lcpom ihpl haoc m mmy this. It .mibum Uu Allss favoring or R M B s w bb being b o w w bc mn i. He was a somewhat errant son-in-law of R Munyeh L e v h rosh : jeshiva at BIumkehs Kloiz, and moved to Eretz Yisroel to be- -(inn-c in U wap) w b would m give s h a d lo d W s Y " such hd n ! Uu A l l d l n,wzhiu. vvm y- edkr. (Cf.Cb 3, Uu Ud prslPsPh or h. Urn1 Uu lVlcr GO. i blariow Aail29.2mO I l m h J m w 19. 19SI L(N.51. h v c Whahr my w u poven r in his aaarmml of R M k . ) III slro Yara. iba..Uut "mm aay i a Korr ; d ~ a B . i o i n r m d i d m m m c l h m u p h c l a r l y m ~ m ~ ~ ~ ~ U u u m o ~ . h c Alrsr (ah) hsd s hiddm W in Ibe appoiomaL of R H.yyim Rabinawin. R : ~in~rnadcbyROshc.K.Dmso(dChI,n.71Lil~l~yB.iaioaw(~~h BdBa. w r in B a h Y L W(re.h ailbbka w g n p h in Cb 3.0. . W ~ ~ l y v m c U u u B ~ p l i d l a l h i r h . . r w s h ~ - u c e b c a d w rocUu r m -n. i f f Uu lbird-bmpagraph of Ch 23. 9 ff. Cb 3.2. Luvr h m . ,:iru Ozdma). R. olnim G m v s k y r m n r502,re, (Nmcmk 20. 1991) l n w i r v Augw IS. 1991
    • NOTES AND EXCURSUSES 23 (la) a725B Gmzovsky covered all the bases. Nor only did he speak directly r * J ~ k X ? I w a X g ~ w w w w ~ W ~ w to the principals, bur also described the pmbblms resulting from nephew. Nahum-Meir, who studied under and lived with him, was their continued stay in M n k la one of my fathers - and Ash- is also sent to Slabodka at the same time. R Avrohm-Yeshayah erslm - erstwhile rashei yeshiva. R ~hlomo-Golovenchit~~~~. In Nm. R Shlomo m g d that me Torah-loving R Yaaqov- Karelitz., R Nahum-Meirs grandsonb, reported that his grandfather r * J k X g a X g k ) C g a X g ~ k X g ~ W r * J a X g ~ W traveled wgether with my father, and only on the Irain did they come secretary of the winery at Rishon IeZion in the same year as meet R Aaron Kotler. It seems, accordingly, that R Shlomoour protagonist left for Slabodka. The fact that Yehoshua had Golovenchitz, after obtaining the funding for my father (and possi-brothers is indicated in MIE l f , which records that "after the death - bly for his own nephew and others see n. 105, below) from Rof his parents in a typhus epidemic in their native Borisov, Yaaqov-Noah Oxenkmg. dispatched him himself. while the ar-Yehoshua together with his own family and his two brothers and rangements for Aaron Pinnes were handled by R Yaaqov-Noahsister, Hasya, moved to Minsk". In Shapiro Talk, my father stated, on his own. Only en route did the hvo traveling p u p s realize that"I dont know what eventually happened W R Zalman-Yoseph un- they were both on the same Wain. Furthermore, it is likely that,der the Bolsheviks. I read in the Fonvard or in the Morning since A w n Pinnes bad never studied under him, R Shlomo didJoumlm about a rav in the Ukraine who 1 suspected was he. That not know him at all or only cursorily9, and it was Oxenkrug on hisrav is referred to by another family name in that article, hut in own volition who decided to send R Aaron off. R Yaaqov-NoahRussia that does not preclude that it was actually Baininson." In may have come up with this idea after R Shlomo approached himaccordance with the above conjecture, he might have changed the and asked him to fund the trip of a different rolmid of butcherBaininson family name out of fear of the Bolsheviks who might Oxenkmgs Kamvisheh Shul, Pinness friend, my father. (Becauseidentify him with his emigrant brothers "criminal" Zionism. even according to Ulis presumed scenario R Yaaqov-Noahs ac- tion came about as a result of a move,by R Golovenchitz., creditlm Autobiographical article in MIE 11". There he reports that should be given to the latter as well for R Aarons transfer tobefore coming to Slabodka - a year prior to my father - he studied Slabodka - as our protagonist indeed credited him, as emphasizedin Radin for two years, where, from the age of 17, he was "a a the beginning of this note.) R Yaaqov-Noah then checked with tscribe for the novellae (awvn) of the Chafe&-Chaim (R Yisrael- R Shlomo as to which train my father (and R Shlomos nephew) Meu Kagan) which were later set down in ,nru . m .7# would be taking, and put Aaron Pinnes on it, too. Because the ar- mgements for the trip were made during the Pesah intemssion,Io3 When my father eulogized R Ruven Gmwvsky for saving R Aamn and my father were out of touch and did not know ofhim and R Aaron Kotler from the fangs of the Haskahh by wn- each others e m travel plans until they met up on the train. Hav-vincing them to go to Slabodka, he also mentioned R Shlomo ing m t there, the nvo friends stuck together throughout the trip eGolovenchitz. as having dispatched rhem (emphasis added for dis- and shared an adventure in Vilna, on their way to Kovno as men- -cussion ahead) there. He also expressed his gratitude to R Shlomo tioned at the beginning of Ch. 3.when he was introduced to his grandson R Aaron Golovenchitz. R Golovenchitz. understood the importance of leaving home forduring a visit to Boys Town in Jerusalem in the winter of 5741 a yeshiva in another city from his own youthful experience.(1980-1981)o. Also cf. Ch. 3, n. I, that R Shlomos orphaned According to his son-in-law R Meir Pinnes. R Shlomos father. 644P. T k % vm Yiddish ncwsppa plblinbrd daily i NW Y a L ondl ibs 57Wr n PhCb3.n.I. ~SQ~~.II.~b~wrShlm&dmaibsPionrWildvLcdhim(19Mls). "P. 152 D R e p o n d by ibs m h m J m v y 11. 1987 puatim h l a k w July 23.1993
    • .4326@ Making of o God01 NOTES AND EXCURSUSES 23 1106) ec!7B Noah ~ x e o k r u provide the wain far.and initial expenseslMfor g~~ frontal assault by pdding the two teenagers not to put off leav- the twolo3promising young falnidei hakhamim should they agree ing Minsk any longeriw. ?heu appetite whened by the d&ption to leave Minsk. With this hurdle cleared, Ruven came back for a of the remote yeshiva as dram by the older and respected ~ ~ & y g a y g & y g a X g ~ a X g & w g a X g ~ - bdurim, the lads avowed t e sreadiness to m v e on to Slabodku. ha Torah scholar, wanted him to stay home where he would My father sought out fhe assistance of Ruvens father, the distin-personally teach him, but at the age of 12 Shlomo ran away to the C B B X B B X 1 B B K B B K B B V g a X g W ~ ~ a X g WVolozhin Yeshiva It was an especially bold undertaking bec- were other w-travelers to Slabodka. but since they were nothe was hunchbacked, as reported by Minsk native R Laizer ralmidim in his Kaaovisheh Shul. Oxedmg did not recall "send-Buezin. a1 whose marriage in EreR Yisrael R Golovenchitz ing" more tban one "other boy". What with R Yaaqov-Noahsofficiated not long before his demiset. Another grandson of R love of Torah and charitableness, he may well have paid for theShlomo, R Aryeh Golovenchitz, related* that a prime ralmid of others too. at R Shlomo Golovenchitzs recommendation.Slabodka. R Hatzqel Sama, stated at a family Sheva BraWlorhthat R Shlomos yeshiva was a feeder for the Slabodka Yeshiva, 106 R Yisroel Belskyz recounted that R Aaron Kotler mse t9and its alumni excelled there. eulogize R Ruven at a memorial convocation, but was so choked up with tears that he could aot say a word He just stood there1 My father related": "Yankel the karzav had a tutor [rill in crying for 10 minutes and sat down. Then my father came up andthe Kaaovisheh Shul and he would pester the visiting rabbanim to began his eulogy by saying. "I will explain why the Kletzk Roshexplain the concepts [ m o ] in the g e m It was not nnpS [to Yeshiva feels the way he does." and told about the crucial part Rtaunt]; he just wanted KW K ~PDIUW [to palpate (examine and am- Ruven played in bringing them both from Minsk to Slabodka, andlyze) an idea]. He badgered one of the mbbonim so much - I into the Torah world.cannot recall who it was - to explain the dispute [mnk] behueen R Sholom Shapiroa also reported that R Aaron once stated,Abayeh and Rava in the subject of -eurm .FD!Y= that the exaspcr- "R Ruven pulled me out of many ~ m [min%l." It is believed ~ hated rav exclaimed. And if I do not know the sugya of .FDV that R Aamn was iefeming to R Gmwvskys success in-;raw I cannot be a mv?!" My fathers repolt is consistent with countering the evil influences preying on him as a youth - bothwhat R Yaaqov-Noahs grandson stated at his intemiewy, (hat if while in Minsk and later in Slabodka. According to R Chaimhis grandfather did not understand something in the gemara, he Grozovsky6, his father. R Ruven. began censoring the young would not move on to another section for days on end. Aaron Pinness maile on Ule Alters orders as soon as R Ruven10s See n. 50, above. When R Mordecai Shapiro returned fromhis visit to Israel, he repeated the story he heard from R Yaaqov-Noah Onenkrug to my father, who confumed not only that it wasR Yaaqov-Noah who had gotten R Aaron to Slabodka but thatthe "other boy" whose name Oxenlrrug did not remember was noneother than himself. See Ch. 3, n. 1 (and n. 103, above), that there - : h : ~aUmedto Slabodka from Minsk (pmbably not later than Elul of 5666 [1906]3. The Alter had arranged this in order to prevent i funher subversion on the part of R Aarons sister (see the end of r the sixth pa&graph of this smtion). (Censoring of mail was a practice the Alter may have adopted from his years in Grubin. - il although that school was dealins with much younger pupils. In j; Grubii according to the reminiscences of Yisrael ~ l ~ a s h i v"the f. lnvlvicw Peb- 17. 1997 e t d o f n 31. rbovc. "Lwkw Jmurj 13. 1988 S. kshrpi Talk (n. 51.&me) " rs r-s p .m m m u rxm r 1-8 7 p -m 9 N. s50, above
    • 4328, Making of a God01 f . .. NUES AND EXCURSUSES 23 (1m 42 3W 0 3 ~ V J B X B B X B B X B ~ a K g a x g a x g ~ ~ 6 3 guished R Shamshon Grozovsky. in purting his new plans before letters that the children received from their parents homes, his p a ~ n e ~ . R Binyomin Kamenecki consulted hir father. and especially those wrirren by their brothers or sisters [emphasis U Ll -- I> g- U * .- - - --- destroyed. He was incensed and packed his belongings to leaveadded], were fmt read by the marhgihim, and those letiers whichthey felt could be harmful were not delivered to the children at all. Slabodka. The bahurim who h e w what had transoired desoaired of changing his mind, but the Alter ran to the r&ad ~rationin .Instead. the father of the child would promptly receive a letter Kovno and found his falmid sitting aboard a train preparing tofrom Gmbin suggesting that he make sure his children at home pull out. R Noson-Zvi spoke to him "with appeasing words" anddid not confuse their siblings mind with nonsense.9") After persuaded him to return to the yeshiva*. R hlikhaelSukkoth of 5667 (1906). two months after his presumed return to Bodenheimer impartedo that a fellow Slabodka talmid, IsaacSlabodka. R Ruven was sent off to the M h r Yeshiva as part ofa group headed by R Zalman hlinskyX to fonify the study of Rabinowitz, was involved in getting R Aaron to stay in Sla-musar in that yeshiva. which had been mitionally opposed to itL. bodka after he had discovered that his mail had been tampered with. Perhaps Isaac Rabiiowitz was the one who notified theOur protagonist stated in a talk with the Role1 members ofYeshivath Rabbenu Yismel Meir Hakoheni in the auhlmo of 1980 Alter in the nick of time that R Aaron had packed out. R Isaac(with regard to the Alters involvement with yeshivoth other than eventually settled in Eretz Yisrael, and in later years, wheneverSlabodka), The M k r Yeshiva experienced big hopkehs [jigs. R A w n Kotler would visit Israel. R Isaac would be the fmt hemutinies] with breaking of windows and the l i e , and in my time, would call on. (R Velvalleh Soloveichik would send his childrenthe Alter sent good bahurim (emphasis added) there." We may to be blessed by R. Isaac every Erev Yom Kippur, too. but thatconjecture that our protagonist was alluding to R Ruven was probably due not to his part in saving R Aaron for JewryGrozovsky among others who were sent to Mu. During R but to some other saintly act or acts.)Ruvens absence from Slabodka, some other mstwonhy student It should be added that despite his role in "pulliog R Aaron outwas assigned to intercept R Aarons mail. A year later, at the of many m r s , R Ruven was reported by a very close talmidP to ie"beginning of 5668 (end of 1907)~.R Ruven returned to Slabodka have "honored R Aaron to no end; it was just overwhelming to(as did R ~ o l i n s k and ) ~ ~ renewed censoring the mail for another see to what extent R Ruven respected him."half a year, by which time R Aaron was going on 17 and in the l oAlters assessment, p t the danger. The total duration of At the bar mitzvah of a grandson of R Ruven. Shamshon Ungarisher. in Adar 5727 (1967). my father declared that Rcensorship was thus two yeas, a figure mentioned by R Chaim Shamshon Gromvsky. R Ruvens father, for whom the bar mitzrGrowvsky when he disclosed both his fathers mail assignment vah bahur was named, deserved credit for his going to Slabodkav.and his year of study in Mir. Along with the danger that his This author surmises that R Ruven felt that he, just a youth, mightsisters deleterious letters might drive R Aaron away from Torah, not be able to persuade my fathers parents to let their son go offthere was the risk that he might find out his mail was beingcensored, a matter he ceaainly would not appreciate. According to O aj 0 ~ e y n which they knew could result in his renunciation of - Ra report in Brisk Anecdotes~. Aaron did indeed discover w h a ~ -. ~ M y h m c r m u ~ ~ ~ s r p ~ b r u ~ ~ h s v s s m i n S l a b o d t . w h r . i t ~ b u ~ i n ~~ubsamfp~sborc~sf.014.n.4Lsbovt&mario~wlr.tbe~utiLordwas happening with his mail and that some of his letters had been : .(pari %&" l morivus R Aum, o = pr w p t q m h *lalpv*w April 10. 20009.r ~ a . 112 L a a 3 c . 11. ~ ~ 1 t ~ ~ . ~ . s b m c IF"& . 6m .c ~ . k , ) , p 9 r" R Y . n W ~ . h ~ k e d A p d 4 . U m 7bismrcpmrdcm)rrm~Yarph ~session My fat& war prrparine u, !+an Sl- - fm Wc at tbu cimc d Ch 5. RI lh . . . m luoo 9. 1991, b s lrruvlrm pndmn of R Shanuhoo. R Avrahm Dinin. h amndcd -K.4. Ibld. " N. I. above rn.p. 797.in the nsmcof R Wmc!Ab M e l l u (U*auwf 8 faha) e .R.ir.
    • 1133W Making of a Godof R ~ h m u e l - ~ i r s h on ~what to do. The latter was all in favortm ~ , of allowing his eager grandson to proceed to a yeshiva in the Kovno area. He even gave him a letter of mmmcndation to Iake along to R Banich-Ber Leibowitz, to whom he was dislady n- lated. The dsision was made: my father would go off to Kovm THE SECOND DECADE - B: C immediately afvr Pesah. g a ) m C g a Y g a Y g ~ W u I V g X g ~ SLABODKAthe profane life, and enlisted the help of his father. the highly k-spected rav and community leader. in getting the job done.108 Cf. Ch. I, n. 92. ?be Wo yeshiva M u r t n , the Ddhinover and tbe Sislovicher, amampanied by a third candidate1 f a the Slabodkn Yeshiva. setlm Cf. the beginning of Ch. 1.2. out from Minsk in the spring of 5666 (1906) on a ZWO-Mometer wain nip. lhei mute followed m e general northwesterly d i i t i o n of the Vilaya River. familiar to my father from his native u a )gX-) a B- g IK Lg b 1 The third yeshiva boWer had learned in Kneseth Beth Yitzhaq in Slabodka until this time and was planning to transfer to Kneseth Yisrael. as my father related to his grandson R Yoseph during his last visit to Israel. The third traveler was unidentified by my father beyond his first name, also Yaaqov, and was described as "a simple (wmws) bnhw". Unlike my father and R Aaron, who needed assistance when they arrived at their destinationq the rhird bahur was able to fend for himself because he had made the necessary sliraogements before leaving S l a b o h See R-n ,m,7 7 # d about yet another Minsk student two years older than my father, Nahum-Meir TziboInik, a nephew of R Shlomo Golovenchitz. who left for Slabodka at the same time as . R Aaron ICotler. R Tzibolnik Inter manied the sister of the : Hazon-Ish and is the father of the Bnei Braq dayyun R Nissim i Karelitz. Nahum-Meirs father had died when he was "a few c months old". and his moth^ evenlually sent him to her brothers : yeshiva. Because he was unmentioned by my father, it had at first 6. ;.; seemed to this author that m 7 ~ was in e m - that hibolnik 9 ;.. was not aboard the train. It also seemed logical that since my father and Aaron Pinnes studied in the Katzovisheh Shul (and had =. -a. 2 orthis s w . $ram . p u n .-nu nrrrr - pp. r m p sre.
    • 4332P Making of a God01 NOTES AND EXCURSUSES 3.1 (34) ,4333 Kaliskovkeh. There was a stopover for chaoging trains at Vilna, selves. while Jews, lehmdil, had w remove their has3. A kind twwthirds of the way w their destination. The inquisitive Vilna Jew who saw the two youngsters studying street s i p Dolhinover and his Sislovicher friendZdecided to spend lheir few realized they were lost and led them back w the station4. Glad w free hours getting a glimpse of the cily. On their walk they got be back on the train. they fioally anived at Kovno. a large city lost when they had lo detour throngh the neighborhood of L g g X g g X g ~ U I w U J ~ a x g a x g m m a , ~ w Osmbrama Street. Itis s w passed via archway through a In p7px nmd, the author reminisces about an episode that church. Catholics entering the arch kneeled and crossed them- occurred when he was 14 years old while visiting his father, who U B g X B B K m-a J X B g X B g -- , had taken leave of his family for a seasonal summer job ( " b mtheir trip funded by the charitable R Yaaqov-Noah Oxenhug3 - after Shavuoth till before Rush Hashanah") guarding an orchardwhile Nahum-Meir studied in his uncles yeshiva, they would not in V i .He tells: "My father would go every Shabbath afternoonhave coordinated their respective travel lans. But R Avrohm- BYeshayah Karelitz assured this author that there is a family to listen to the maggid in the kloiz on Zavalneh Street The or- chard was located at the end of Osaabrama Street, and to go heartradition that his grandfather R Nahum-Meir traveled together h e muggid one had to pass [through the arch ofl the Ostrabramawith my father, and only on the train did they meet R Aaron Church, where there were holy Christian relics of vanous kinds.Kotler. Accordingly, the 7nn report is accurate; in Ch. 2. n. Whoever passed by there had to remove his cap. Being in Vilna 103. it is explained how the traveling arrangements md out this e for the first time. I nablrally did not know about tlus custom Thatway. Because our protagonists acquaintanceship with Nahum- Shabbruh my father took me along to hear the maggid. When heMeir dated fmm earlier places of swdy under R Shlomo Goloven- passed through the arch, he &d not doff his cap - whether he didchitz. Maskil-leAithan Shul and the Small Beth Midrash (as in the that because the Jew in him did not allow it or he just forgot, Isixth paragraph in Ch. 2.2). and Aamn P i e s was his more recent do not know. I only remember how two big Polish youths gaveand, as it turned out, lifelong friend, my father overlooked him such blows to his head that his cap fell off and a bumpTzibolniks presence and did not mention him as traveling swelled on h forehead. My father did not even react to the at- stogether with R Aaron and himself. The fowth traveler, the lack. He only picked up his cap, covered the wound with the vi-abovementioned Yaaqov whose surname is mknown, must have sor, took me by the hand and walked off to the kloiz to bear thebeen an acquaintance of R Aaron from hi half-year in Kneaseth nuggid - as if nothing had happened. I do not know if he heardBeth Yitzhaq, and my father linked him to his friend and. h e muggids drashuh or not, but I do know that not a single wordresultingly, to himself. crept into my head I stifled within me the deep pain that my fa- ther had been*so abused. On the way back, my father led me2 Their "simple" companion, Yaaqov. did not go along be through byways which avoided the Omabrama arch."cause he may have been to that city on one of his earlier jauntsto Kovno - or he was not close enough to the other Wo to be This misadventure was recounted in Shapim Talks. My fa-invited to join them. Neither was (the unmentioned) Nahum-Meir her related that they did not ask the Jew how to get to the station:Tzibolnik taken along. from their behavior, he realized they were lost On the way to the* ~ m . & D c b c g h d g m d ( h d o f S s c 3 d l n ~ w l v u v r y 1 3 . 1 ) 9 9 fl.Ch.Z . wation he asked them where they were from, and when he was&c. D. rn Y C ~ O may also have gone UI d y in in t b . K M Shvl in M& V i M wld. We are traveling from Minsk," he remarked, "Is it actuallyR Aamn. fa Dc him-~hiw hraL m d u q la molknhg fmm m S - m ~hs&.u~in~gdfic.U,bclw-a,ubmol.My(forinm~ Lrue then that in Minsk when you ask people where to go, theysbo~e,~inendof(h~plragnpb),hc-i*rd~m~~hronp.7@. i ~ c B 1,u46-w.47-48 Y a Z u S I . ~
    • NOTES AND MCURSUSES 3.1 (7-9) 4335b Kovno had been rnablished as an undistinguished settlement situated ar the wedge formed by the confluence of the by Lithuanian p a w s in 4790 (1030). For many centuries the southwestedy-wed Vilaya and the broader Neman Kverss. It town seesawed between occupation by invading Teuton warriors was on the 29th of Nisan (April 24th) that the Wvelers beheld and recap& by the Lithuanian tribesmen. In 5170 (14101, after the city of 75.000 inhabitano. over half of whom were Jews. I Kovno was impressive in the beauty of iU buildings and the glory the Lithuanian hero, Vylautas, finally defeated the G e m knights in Tannenberg7, the city set out on a languid course of develop- of its natural sunoundings. with hills still seasonably bare bound- IllenL At this slage, Jews were welcomed into the Kovno area ing io edges. Bridges over the Vilaya and the Nemao Rivers D r n the following 370 years, the number of Jews tolerated by uig ioined the suburbs of Vilyampoleh and Alleksot, respectively6, to ~ - the Kovno Christian burghers8 was small in the best of times, and the city most of the year round. for some suetches even the few were expelled However, in W W L g W W ~ W W k X g W ~ W W W W ~ W W W W ~ Vilyampoleh, just across the Vilaya but belonging to the Polishdont show you?!" The Vilna Jew was conveying in a roundabout noble family Radziwil, no Rstrictions were imposed, andway that had they come from a city where people help lost s m g - Vilyampoleh tumed inm a slable Jewish community whereto theers, they would surely have asked someone for directions. My fa- Kovno Jews would flee from their intermittent exilesg. Becausether chuckled when he related the Vilna Jews comment. He knew j W - ~ - ~ - ~ L g - s I K g Wwell how kind and hospitable Minsk Jews were; the boys motive i. ered Suvalk Gubernia, and -the European spirit blows there." Thefor not asking directions was plain shyness. ; context of this depiction is the authors ~ationalization choosing for i to conscript "the Rav of (enlightened) AUeksot. R Maishel" for his5 See the mnp on p. 330. As Jews were wont to do, they 1 fight against the Musarites in 5639 (1879). It should be stressedfound connections between proper names and Jewish sources. For i that the prejudiced author overlooked the fact that at the time heexample, in the early years when America was considered "norlrr , was describing, a prime "nest" of Musar adherents existed in(non-kasher)"J, it was termed " x p xxo ( a m raiqa)", meaning (n i AUekrot in the home of R Shraga-Feivel Frankm.Aramaic). a vacuous people. In Shoshkes! the author relates thathis great-uncle lived in G d n o on the edge of the Neman River The gruesome German temperament would not allow thisand described his house with the versei "Bekhol baysi neeman hu defeat to be Forgotten. When the Germans surprisingly beat a(n~n~ K nn 532 [in all My House he is trusted])", in a sense J much larger Russian force in the opening bade of World War Imeaning. "(The river) Neman (flows) all around my house." (August 27th to 30th. 1914 [5th to 8th Elul 56741) in the same general area of East Prussia they named the engagement the Battle In (tq,m-nnm, n u n m 79d authored by Kelem native and of Tamenberg; and the Geman generals vied with each other foranti-Musar advocate l a n o in-5n n h , Vilyampoleh (Slabodka) and credit in coming up with a name that redeemed their manial prideAlleksot are described as being of different characters. pn?r after their rout there half a millennium earlier..writes: "Kovno is built on a delta between the Vilaya and the Ne-man, which join together at the western siderof the city. Across The Lithuanians were the last of the Europeans to drop pa-the Vilaya stands the Lithumian Slabodka, which has the Lithu- ganism in favor of Christianity. That occurred in 5146 (1386)o.anian spirit, its darkness and poverty poured on it. The nest (em-phasis added) of the frozen religiosity [nimn], a religiosity which The only span during which all restrictions on Jewish resi-reaches fanaticism, is there. Across the Neman is AUeksot. consid- CI ~ l H ( ~ me be-g c d w of EW. 8). below. d MCIW~ (OP. cu. a.I, 7), pp 6+€6 % G m o/Au#wr. by Barbam W IbRrhrm. (M.crmUm. N w Y o h 1%2),p. M.4i~eem. 1.n.81.mdvo~z. 0 p . c~ ~ . . 1f n . - p z 4 8 i n r u i n a i m m . .i7 rDm (funher: m N W - p. 132 Tky adually mnvags a thc rouhwcrom lip of KO-. .mnp m h n m r f u r k by p 3 mma m (KG&. 1%) ( f m k ~rplnon). 21 m p.
    • NOTES AND EXCURSUSES 3.1 (11) 63378 Kovnos development as a Jewish communiry wa9 stifled. its The condition of Kovaos Jewish community stabilized when relieinus o h were left in the hands of only a ma& while the independenUy wealby Rav of V~lynmpaleh. R Moshe .---r--- Vilyampoleh was served by a full ravt0. SoloveichikLL, his older businessm~obrother. R Anohom end ~ = b X B ~ a , U I = a x g ~ b X B w- - - 3z r married there. R Eiger was very impressed with R Elinkeh and dence in KOMOwere litled was in the half-century beginning in would henceforth send regards thmugh Lithuanian visitors to Po- 531 1 (1551) under the reign of King Zigmund Augustb. Almost sen to the excellent yungemn fmm Slabomca." There is a mi- 400 years later, in the final three years of Jewish association with nor error in this report: the only child of R Aqiva Eiger who the city of KOMO.when the Lithuanians and Germans were carry- married in Lomzha was his son Yitzhaq-Laib, not a daughtert The ing out the annihilation of Lithuanian Jews. Vdyampoleh was wedding took place in 5596 [I 8361, when R Eiger was alresdy 75 made into a ghetto. Ironically, history was being repeated. but with years old. It is little wonder that he referred to R E W h , 42 incomparably ghastly fury, when all h e Jews of Kovno were again then, as a yungennan.) driven acmss the bridge into Vilyampoleh. The ghelto was set up Berl Koganu relates that R E W h "great in poveay and on most of the suburbs area and cordoned off on 20 Tammuz great in hospitality ( m m noon)", once had his rebbifzens little 5701 (July 15th. 1941). and mwded with 30.000 Jews. Aftcr diamond ring" stolen by a guest. She chased after the thief and throes of decimations both in area and in population, it was razed had him arrested. When R W h found this out, he asked the W e years later to the day. 20 Tammuz 5704 (July 1lth. 1944). police chief to h the aceused, explaining that every night he 10 One of the most famous rabbanim of Vilyampoleh made everything in his house "hephqer (freefor all)" so as not to (Slabodka) in the late 56th century (early 19th century CE.) was R d p up anyone on the sin of the% the man must have heard Elinkeh Ragoler, a saintly goon said to have learned through Shas about this custom of his and picked the ring up from hephqer. 400 times?. He served there for 16 years (5584-5600 [1824-18401). He also told his rebbifzen to ask the Jew to forgive her for after being rav in Shat and Ragoleh, and before going on to the city suspecting he was a thief. Also cf. T!WP u . m ~ about his of Kalish, where he succeeded R Shlmo Eiger when the latter astounding diligence "despite his weak constitution and severe transferred to Posen to take over the rabbiical post of his father. ailmenf. It tells. "AU his life he would wrap his temples with a R Aqiva Eiger. R Elinkeh died in Kalish at the age of 56. During bandage of Spanish flies because of severe headaches about his tenure in Slabodka, he operated a yeshiva - it was the first ye- which he said, If lightheaded people would suffer such aches, - shiva in Slabodka for ralnidim who flocked to study under him they would commit suicide." Also cf. ibid. regardi~~g dis- qualifying a Torah SCPOU that had been revwed in W since his &om many towns in Lithuania. Many of them later served as pmm- inent rabbi in various communities. Among the tohridh were R the days of tlie om^ 1 . andz that a later rav of Kalish reversed m Nahumkeh Homdner (Kaplan), saintly mentor of the Chafetz- the ruling, and when me scroll was tom t pieces during a o Chaim, and R Eliyahu-Ber Zarkhi, the earliest known Rav of p o p m sometime later. in 5638 (1878). the rav asked forgiveness Tzitevian (the town where my father served as rav a century IaterP. on R Elinkehs grave. (Lipman states: "R E l i h is reported to have walked a l l the way : R Moshes son Yoseph manied ReIkeh, a daughter of R to Lomzha to meet R Aqiva Eiger, whose daughter was getting !: Hayyim of Volozhin, and begot R Yitzhaq-Zev, who begot R : Li8h of 1 ml(w. N . a Z D I Z A Val 1. p. r . Op. N , Cb. I , mc ~ r a of I: &.B-P.U V ~ l . p . 4 Pp.% voL&p.fil
    • ,433Bk Making o a Gohl f NQES AND EXCURSUSES 31 (14-15) . e339B initiated in 5521 (1761) a coun action against the arbitrary curb conversant in Talmud and Codes, not to sp& of TnnWI a d n on Jewish residency. Litigation lasted for 21 years and cost a Midrashim. Such a large learned community was unknown in all fortune, but the case was won12. As a MUIL the wealthier Jews of of ~ i t h t i a u i a and Poland. The first Rev of Kovno was R ~ Vilyampoleh wen able to move - or return - across the bridge : Laiballeh Shapiro. He served for five years beginning in 5608 to Kovno to help it develop into a municig center. Even- :: (I&~B)~. over half a century after Lithuania had become a tually, Kovno eclipsed Vilyampoleh and l w n d the latter into ils pmvince in the vast Russian empire. After R Shapims death, R suburb; Vilyampoleh became known as Slabodka. We suburb" in UIBXgsXgkXgaKBWLg~~sXgbX8WWWLglrXgW ~lavic~. . " This author relied for the information in the preceding two From that time until the oulbrrak of the First Wodd War. Torah , sentences on an article. " ~ r n m m ~ ~ n n ~ DD .~1n-5(Read, It -p-x Dm knowledge reigned supreme in the Jewish community of Kovno- ; Will Interest You)" by: l n o m n .v (nom de plume of R Shmuel Slabodka. AU studid Torah and all, even businessmn and work- -- ine men. were versed in i t Carpenters, lailorn, shoemakern, and . even members of the underclass,~blacksrmlbsand Wamtcrs, were 1. Chanis), in the Yiddish weekly r x .xd. states that despite It Vilnas reputation as the Jelusalem of Lithuania (nu351 m h r ) , LBBK88K8toe3kK8aKgWOB€=%=3~gxStoe3gxS~~W r there was more Torah study extant in Kovno. It recounts a charm-Yosheh-Ber, Rav of Brisk and father of R Hayyim Soloveicbik. ; ing tittle story about riders on a tram in Kovno who were admit-Thereby, the Soloveichik family is the progeny of the zm ma (the : ing the non-Jewish conductors efficiency at the many things hisRavs family)", a title of pedigree for R Hayyim Volozhiners off- . job r e q u i d him to do all at once: sell the tickets. drive the ve-spring in Lithuanian Torah circles. - hicle, tell the passengers where their stops are. A rider called out. m;~lu5a mn .ma w ma ,pm mn [(The one entity) is the Angel12 Cf. Lipmany and Mishonz. The latter s o w quotes a of Death. Satan, and the Evil Inclination]!" and aU the Jews burst"Kovno Scroll (nnip n5.m)" which the community scribe of Kovno out laughing because they were all knowledgeable of this Talmu-authored and wrote on parchment to commemorate the event and dic statementz and appreciated the analogy.credit the two Soloveichik brotbers who, "as Levites, undenwk tofulfill the prescription of rxw 703a nPSP wnpn nnxs (the holy task Is R Laiballeh was born in 5547 (1787), and his service in -which was their duty, they bore with money)" this is a play on the Kovno rabbinate was cut short by his demise in 5613 (1853).the Biblical words "im yr32 oiFSP wnp" nnxsa (the holy task [of He was ordained by R Hayyim of Volozhin. nuv,7 m reports ftransporting the Ark] which was their duty, they bore on their hat R Hayyim Soloveichik related that R Hayyim Volozhinershoulders)". This scroll (n5.m) was read in the Old Beth Midrash urote in his smikhuh that R Laiballeh "was able to rule (puin) inof Kovno every year on Shushan Purim for many years. all of Shas without consulting the Shulhm A d and arrive at .+. in. Smargon for 12He had before as rav in four towns, including r the true halakhah". years, served being engaged by the Kovno .<13 ~ i ~ m u n In. the Lithuanian language the suburb kept its eoriginal name, Vilyampoleh, but, as with many cities throughout p LL community, yet he is k o w n as "R Laiballeh Kovner" because :,. . Kovno was by far his largest rabbanuth. As an orphaned youth, fthe counhy, Jews had their own name for the city. An example ofthis phenomenon is the town in Lithuania where my father served g. be was working as a milkman when R Menasheh Uyer, one ofas rav. It was called Tituvenai in Lithuanian, and Tzitevian in !i Gaon of Vilnas prime disciples, recognized the boys extraor--YiddishC : . dinary capacity and convinced him to become a teacher, a pmfes- ~ -YP. 141 Op. c i r . ; ( b I. k c . P-pp. 4 M I O:t m 2 Pp. u 141-144 Ilk& ,:ram J * m n (May 5. 1989) - p. I2 .n-9 r 2 s fop. ~ 0 ch. I. ,. . .. hJewish nanw 01 h e rhrnloW ~ b ~ q b m l bwk. lhir < 1 - pp. 5s-526 ; j.
    • NOES AND EXCURSUSES 3.1 (17) .W& Moshe-Yitzhaq Avigdor served as Rav for seven years and waf difticult halakhic questions and communal pmblems wherever they succeeded by R Yehoshua-Laib ~ i s k i n lR. Diskins brief stint ~ cropped up. Although this came to a end with R Yitzhaq- n LgB)Cg~uIBxBBXgBKgB)Cg~-axea)(gausa)(ga)(gBXga, was followed in 5624 (1864) by rhe long reign of the universally beloved and respected R Yitzhaq-Elhanan ~ ~ t o rDuring R l ~ . !. agumth" because of his expertise in finding halakhic solutions Spectors lifetime Kovno rose to prominence as the address for .;. for freeing destitute women from bondage to their lost spouses. Cga)LgkXgaKsB)LgaXga)(gkKg-w- According to the article in r x m,mentioned in n. 14, above, Rsion which lefi him the spare time in which to study under R Spector found solutions to all but 3 out of 158 cases of agunoth .MenashehY. . brought for his adjudication. R Chaim Karlinsky, in his p o v n3-3 f 7 ~ # 7 , 7 ~develops an , Intemstingly, the last Rav of Kovno. R Avraham-Doberinteresting theory as to why robbanim were not engaged officially Kahana-Shapiro, who served for 30 years, h m 5673 (1913) tillby Kovno until more than 60 years after Jews won permission to his death in the ghetto in Slabodka on 22 A d a I 5703 (Februaryreside there. He suggests that the Soloveichiks restrained the citys : 27. 1943). tried to follow in his famous predecessors stepsright to appoint a rav as security for the large debt the city owed : according to a repon by l l amn, secretary of the Judenrat, in his uthem for their expenditures in winning the case to obtain the legal j ghetto diary. 07. OF rt.vm.Tori notes: "In one of my visits with Rright of residence for Jews in that city< An alternative and simpler :: Kahana-Shapiro in his ghetto flat, I found him sitting up in bedsolution to the question raised by R Karlinsky may be found in wearing woolen gloves with their fingers knitted in a way thatLipmani, which states (sans rationalization). "Most of the wealthy enabled him to write. I asked him. May I ask Rebbi what he isKovners remained in Viyampoleh until about 5602 [1842]." Tbus, : writing? and the mv answered me (emphasis added for discussionthe poor Kovno residents saved the expense of engaging a r m for - in fn. 7, below). My son, thousands of women in the ghetto arethemselves when they had one across the bridge. agunoth [already] and thousands more will be by the time the war is over. According to the existing dinim of agunoth, myriads of6 Born 5577 (end of 1816). died 5658 (1898). He was forced women will be sentenced to spend the rest of their lives into flee Kovno because he dated to face up to a powerful family destitution because there has never been as horrendous a tragedywhich sought control of the communitys income. He returned to of annihilation in our history. The rav. then, was writing ahs post of Rav of L.omzhaL i halakhnh volume on freeing the agunoth of this war, and it had amassed 300 pages already. I did not muster the courage to ask17 Born in 5577 (1817), he was adulated by the masses of pamission to make a copy of his voluminous work, and it is veryLithuanian Jews. who referred to him simply as "the saint of sad [hn h n l J I I ~ trace of it remains."" Toris repon is, noKovno ( p x vmmp PI). My father, who was one day aiter his 1 however, contradicted by ghetto survivor R Mordkhai Zukerman.6fth birlbday at the time of R Spectors demise on 21 Adar 5656 who relatedo. "For the year and a half the Kovner Rav was in the(18%). remembered how people mourned when the news of his ghetto, he was busy dictating to me a book of memoirs, a book ofdeath reached faraway ~olhinovc Yitzhaq ELhanans 32 years R sermons [em7 ~ o o l ,and glosses on his sepher [of divrei Torahin the post makes him the longest-serving mv in the citys rela- which made him famous], OTUX w7. I recall writing the mvstively shon 94-year rabbinic history. He was h w n as "father of dictation in the winter while he was bundled up in a fur coatP" H&hoo (n. 12, ebore). W. 51-57 Ah s. (b 1.J t i p m . p. 225 d p. 224. rr 5 f WDWI - a u W r o h * b a lmmots on p. 233 -1.. a IcCcpbow (w5vm) UUF. 7m ,P# # I & . w. m-m. Y & WESC. I P . 181 {N. F. (%) R c c w m a l k a &Y 256% 1 % l l D ; m r dsclaraj k cama l e r s h l till Ulu dry for u i f mSskhW (a.n. 56) 1, m qeakkg up wbco be had m y . hB*iov Augun 5, I997 P R. Morrllhai
    • a34211 Mking o a Godol f NOTE AND EXCURSUSES 3.1 (19) 1 EXCURSUS A % ? M+ Elhanans demise in 5656 (1896) - exactly 10 years before my llere was only a blel in Kovno at first. It had k n fathers anival - the city regained its distinction a year law when iDaugursted in 5637 (1877) and gained fame four years later it bsame host to renowned yeshivoth in its suburb. lhrough the publication of En Pri, a booklet extolling the blel LgWc73WLgtrX=3WLgtrX=3axstrX=3WUIExa~ExaWUI~ con~cpt~. of the early administrators of thcKovno ~ o l e l ~ , OneHad R Kahana-Shapiro been writing a volume on the release of ~ - ~ m ( s ~ ~ x s w w ~ ueunoth. as Tori thouf!ht. R Mordkhai -not a mere scribe, but at a k i d h u h - would certainly have been aware of it. (Of the 19 E..- B..I.I-.- A .. B . . . . 6 --three works that R Zukerman recalled the Kovner Rav workingon in the ghetto, one. the book of memoirs, is mentioned in m. a v ON l INCEPTION m0134 - but in a prewar context. It states: "R [Kahana-1Shapb-o had OF THE KOVNO KOLEL.been sick for many years, and did not attend to the communitys AND THE Em PRI BULLETINneeds any longer - he left that to others. Before moving to the DISTRIBUTED TO ITS SUPPORTERSghetto, he had been busy in his mom. in his bed, noting down thememoirs of his rich life."?) OiOIfi~pmpntp4 ; the Alter publishes the EnPri pamphlet - R b r - Y a n k c v Khvas EdSt- quotes R Baruch-Ber Leibowitz as having said. , is praised by the ChaTetz-Chaim - the contents of the pamphlet - Khavrw walks to Berlin to lalk to the wealthy Ovadiah Lnchman"They say that Slabodka is privileged to host two yeshivoth b e - Yozef-Hayyim Khavas inrroduces his employer to the beautycause it is close to Germany. where, in its capital. Berlin, the Ha- - of Judaism - Lachman becomes observant he is inspired byskalah broke out - and Providence took care to set up a fomess of his later visit to Slabodlra - R Yiehaq-Yaakov ReinesTorah in a border cityA. But the truth is that Slabodka merited inrroduces the idea of a blel - R Alexander-Moshetwo yeshivoth because it has no church bui1dings.t" Lapidus is remembed - Maisheleh, the Rassein shoemaker, collects information for hisrrlncd lhnr in lhc mvr k n a n h his $ria w marmlly psling - pmbably as a mull of tmlnuuirion -and k Ur vrik wmld pcel ihe dead rldo off him Ex mr grs&Uy rrmarM books - R Lapidus fails to have"Iwish I hnd o urn l i b - . PP. 203. It b obvious lhn w h Tori a r b d Ur mv what the blcl set up in Volozhin -hc war b u g writing. the lnmr did ool -pond lo his queaim but w l y made n m c i l our pmtagonjw is gratefulwas Tori on hr own who mocludd lliar lhc rav w m witiog a h&khic D= oa Ur diieull i to R Yaaqov Halevisb u* of Ur --1 ONux m). hcq a c- d u g of Toris m n of i of o g u ~ l h h l k i Lipschitzvisit to t b mvs ghcllo nr elcarly iodiau it was r ~ a o who td rrrhrd (hir k r VD p was a one-time bulletin under anonymous publication. Ac-rmrlusion. I f he mrr failure D wnvcr TMr qvery war inltntiooal. w M I& to s p u h ewhy. Siors i t i dilcull. if nm impmdbk. m fslbora ihc ~ b i of ghrro midcnrs i g m m d s q o :: cording to the Alter Interviewu, R Noson-Zvi Finkel made theuM lhci emrpkr rrluioadtihip wL officinlr ol Ur Judmnt (even of arh a bcnigo one as w i revelation to iby father "years later" that he was the publisher byin chvgc of ihc Slabodb gkno) in p d m k . we me kfi in r)r d u t as D w b RK n h . - S h p h bd io mind w h bring &re abut lk 3l!!.pgc m p t m hi. hd A remarking that his explanation of a Talmudic statement in a p u bsuggulion: l rclumiow p u ihc Judcnrsl k g b t k U uaa l inmogleced bmk of k I lishers commentwwas written under the influence of a flirt with-n i m which ihc mr 6sd bcguo worLing in p c & l limcq md R KdmmS+mp d d not to loform hi. ririlor dm l war td ml dose4 his p h to plblkh mc w a t k : the Hmkalah to which he was subject at the t m " He wrote (hes- ie. O p . r i t . C h 2 . h c . P - p . m ? A h e t C b 4 . i h c d o f & c . G . Aemdingtoalape . , i@gly rr5a.5 mi *x (perhaps we may propose)?) that theon Ute Muss. l m n n r n t by R Bed Wcin my hmcr aubhcribed to ~ oa @ He m y have I Hazalz p p ~ n no* hm 52 rx m m 5 PPS nlm a m 351 ma .1WitfmmRBnnrbBuinpnm~lnhisrumm~n~~(q..cril..(h2.lk~lhpwgnph of h. p. I ~ D ,qu*ra R Bm&k lbst "it ia told h u t R Fhk& w k A), o " - : (Were the eye permined to see the harmful spirits [around it], no , .s e n . 1 0 , ~ ~ w - V l s ~ b ~ d ~ w ~ m ~ a u c r e u f u l i n h i l T o n h r o r d i c l i o K s l i r b u.b ~ Q. 2. IL 93 "Pp. 21-22 of ihc lbird &g wilh the h r y by R Y-Iban io SLakdu h w e lbc fo- bd cburdrr". S h u r - ~ e p 3 4 6 ( b ) . A b c f . C b I . d u d o f h P o m n d ~ o f ~ . e m N
    • NOTES AND EXCLJRSUSES 3.1 (19) / U(CURSUS A .1385Bcreature could bear up) alludes to the numerous ailments and mis- of Wodd War I - when R Laizer-Yankev was no longer alive is -haps which strike at one spot or another around the globe at evely related here.9. When R Naphtali Trop, R Laizer-Yankev Khavassmoment of the day and night. ( m e Alter described his r e d i g as son-in-law, asked the ChafetzChaim to pray for his son, Rmarkilic in that it arifnlly avoids an obvious reference to demons Avrohm Trop. deathly ill with typhus, the Chafetz-Chaim articu-and like spiritual creatures.] R F - 1 may have been exha-hard lated, "R Laizer-Yankev, you have mefits [wnnt] in the entireon himself in seeing a hace of Hosknloh in his interpretation. be- wodd of Torah, beseech the Almighty for your grandsons recov-cause it was [possibly] a passing mode to rationalize esoteric mat- eql" It is ~ 0 1 t hnoting that before the Chafetz-Chaim a@ toters at the time of the publication of ?9 r . For example, see how p utter this plea, he asked that R Avrohm promise to devote his lifethe Chafetz-Chaim - ceaainly immune to any Harkalah intluence co the propagation of Torah. When told that R Avrohm was com-- in -m p5n of p v h nm&. rationalizes the custom of mentioning atose, the Chafetz-Chaim insisted lhat the family make sure the illthe initial and closing Ietters of ones name at the end of the Ami- man made the commibnent as soon as he gained consciousness. It&h. which had until then been cloaked in the esoteric "reason" is conjechlred that the Chafetz-Chaim was unable to petition Rthat one may otherwise forget ones name when brought w his E - i Laizer-Yankev unless the ailing grandson would abide by hisnal Judgment.3 Also cf. Katz 1. which makes mention of R grandfathers sole purpose in life, as funher in this excursus andFinkels disclosure that he was the publisher of .r9 p. This refutes in Exc. C, below.the claim by R Yaaqov Halevi Lipschitz in his Z ~ Fp t 6 that the The m p pamphlet was distributed to Kovno Kolel contributorspublisher was R Yitzhaq-Elhanan Spectors son and successor, R by the volunteer. or minimally paid, fundraiscrrfi. (Also cf. p>rZvi-Hirsh Rabinowitzc. Likewise it proves wrong the assertion of tbat R Laizer-Yankev Khavas voluntarily accompanied sev-, ,.xa m a a in Vol. I of nun p n p, l m ~ v I & 0 ~ 7 4 wit, p > to eral of the fundraisers [wnha] to assist them in setting up perma-The incognito publisher was none other than the ~ d i R q nent support groups in larger communities.) The pamphlet beginsLaizer-Yankev Khavas [a hidden saint, one of the creative and in- ; with a prefatory appeal for funds by the anonymous publisher (Rspiring forces of his generation whose name the Chafeu-Chaim I F i e l ) , which consists of a "mp h p (proclamation)" and a Pub-would mention with special love when saying, For 40 years he ; lishers Preface. This n i p hp is probably the one referred to in p r :maintained Torah in (the nation of) Israel]." It is altogether doubt- i: ?PI as having been provided to first collector ( n h ~ for) the kolel ~ful whether Khavas. "an average laymad", was capable of author- i before w p> was published. Ihe bulletin then comprises the fol-ing the highly likrary Publishers ~ e f a c e f . $ lowing: To demonstrate how exalted the ChafetzChaims esteem for R (a) AD introduction by an up-and-coming Jewish leader. the To-Laizer-Yankev Khavas was, a story that occumd toward the end :, rah activist R Yisrael-Meu Kagan (5599-5693 11839-19331). later ! known by the book he had authored eight earlier, k 5 6 3 3a 7 Y Poamc on p I1 pv>,7mmrwu mmplcad by 5635 (In51 ro l?dcc(~.d..~1.n.7),pI5.~~)RUIbCfOID~MtimofwpAls~u.Cb4,hc (1873). as the Chafek-Chaim It is not surprising that R Finkel-ndp~grppho(Fw.l,fmmorrah~~aaom~itrrlplermaup~miP -q. iucluded an article by the Chafe=-Chaim because the formerc i t . . C h I , b C f O I D m d ~ d h B - p . 2 I Z n . 2 1 60p.dr..Cb.I.n.I-VdIILC h a F ED ( d L W ? Z D W l l O ; r m h d l p ? RIlB?YI h e m 1 of K k fa OI lhought very highly of him: cf. n. 29. below. The Chafetz-ChaimAb-w Murid Sshokn in K m l ) It L difficunto m m p b d hos, R t% i@ was also highly esteemed by R Yisrael Salanter, R F d e l swsa tali- w i ~ b hbiiowiu. d R d have mede lufh a n i m t e Abbllbrd in pm-n -vwn (runbrr. 0-n inn,* - bmoe on p. 159 e wr kcdbsd in l l mauvr in n ! = H hl m d p . 347, ,MIOW, RgsrdiDg R W - Y w k s v s mdilim. 9 IOQricw lYilh R Y 6 . M Smw.sent by R Y i w h q - Y d o v R - ro om of hi. % ar q u d in . I F F ) ,m mAll , k II k - Y d w 8 5udaanl u r e h r . June 13. 1991 h n n M m & l (op. rlr.. or 2.I-) (funhcr mmr). p. 2 . f ~anfcr.hDvcvs. hc K . u M y mdilim dM m Ibc lop 7 hv r 93) &idld p. 2U 1 lbldun
    • Making o a God01 f NOTES AND EXCURSUSES 3.1 (19) / EXCURSUS A 4W7%mentors master. Cf. n*n>~c a follower of R Yisrael Salanter that had gone there by foot, and together with his brother. R Yozef-reported that when his master saw the sepher a-n rsn, he re- Hayyim, Lachmaos accountant, he sold the Berlin Jew on the proj-marked. "I see that the ;m.h nnwn pivine Providence] has already ect. According to R Yeshayah Singer, his family has a traditionprepared a leader for the coming generation to stmighten peoples that R Laizer-Yankev reviewed half of Shus on the walk to Berlinhearts and return them to their Father in Heaven." Also cf. 7~ 7 w and the other halt on the walk back. Also cf. Ch. 4, the second par-I m mCthat the Chafetz-Chaim had come to R Yisrael Salanter agraph of Exc. G. that after R Laizer-Yankevs groundwork, Rto ask his advice as to whether to publish the repher he had h t - Ovadiah was further drawn into supporting Torah by hearing Rten, and that R Yisrael gave his approval. It tells, "Despite [R Yisrael Salanter speak in Memel. Perhaps R Laizer-Yankev hadYismels] being aged, he escorted the Chafetz-Chaim to the door. suggested to Lachman that he mvel to Memel to meet R Yisrael.and when R Yisraels surprised talmidim asked h who the i m In a recorded talk on the yahneit of R David Leibowih- circaguest was and why he deserved a l l that honor, he replied, This 5735 (1975)l. our protagonist. "unsure of what the roots ofyoung man is a "believer: and he not only "believes", he (Lachmans) devoutness were", conjectured that it was R Yozef-.seesv.!m- Hayyim who had made his employerfrurn just prior to R Laizer- (b) Essays by the Kovner Rav. R Yiahaq-Elhanan Spector, and Yankevs journey to Berlin. (The introductory 3 ,nx3x7 nnhn 3by R Yisrael Lipkin (Salanter) (5570-5643 [1810-1883]), founder ppDno, by rh? np5a, to R Aryeh-Leib Fmmkins . n nnhn mof the Musar movement. o+w777t states, "[Lachman] was drawn to Russian Jewry through (c) A prologue and epilogue by R Alexander-Moshe Lapidus, the influence of one of the Russian Jews, an observant [nn] andRav of the city of Rassein and a tolmid-hawer of R Yisrae.1 great Torah scholar [ o n raIn emphasis added], R Yankev-Salanter in his youth under the tutelage of R Zvi-Hirsh Broida, in Laizer Khavas, in whose house Rabbi [emphasis added] LachmanSalantn. was hosted." The rabbinical title for Emil Lachman is certainly a The t h e listed Torah giants, R Yitzhaq-manan, R Yisrael slip of yhqs pen. Besides phis erroneous transposition of Rand R Alexander-Moshe, were c o ~ e c t e d with the Kovno Kolel Laizer-Yankevs double name throughout the essay, he confusedin the following manner: The fmt was appointed the spiritual head R Laizer-Yankev with his brother R Yozef-Hayyim; R Laizer-of the kolel. The second had conceived the concept of the kolel Yankev did not own a house in Berlin and was just hosted in hisand had advised its funder, Emil (Ovadiah) Lachman, a wealthy brothers home, as Lachman wasu. p h v may be as wrong in as-Bedin Jew", that establishing a kale1 offered the best charity in- signing the title of "great oan rnvn" to Khavas [be he the residentvestment available. (Tbe Salanter had also been suggested to head .Rcr % had dd dwbg lk ( F i i Wald) Wnr i Viba: and Ere. C, bclow. which quolu a i .the kolel but deferred to R Lapidus, who in nun deferred to R r d pan of ihc -y. b lh Yvmb h i m (Ch 2, n. 106). my f&r anid Bat k ..low R L42-2.Ymk b v s l p w o d y " . a d aaoding w k iolmirtr with R Yerh.ph Siow (In, nYitzhaq-ElhananP.) The third was the mentor of R Laizer-YankevKhavas?. Unable to afford hain fare to Berlin, R Laizer-Yankev dS k d hm~ b w ~r yuhiw bh. k VOL PYbUlbed TMWm - p. U u ~ . " F w k m - e . tbh .uhx t i z . 9. b v 6 . my Wher rs.l*d m him how R Lmircr-Y&v wmld c o l l m brcod horn UT p p l s F - hibowim T * dw ihu not m$ in pinpiatingo p . c i t . . a .1, m . r m p . n ~ 0 f e x ~ . ~ - ~ . [1 O ~ . N . . C ~ Z P ~ ~ . B - P . ~ I ( ~ . 6 Luhwrrshmd~did~smhuckwrobmlbm,butkdid~mo,onpp.R Meir Knrrlim. - ) This rcpnt co:~wdin. R YiDbaq H u e d r s1nrmrr.r d vnh ibidem nr be QL a h : Ur mivioo on which L&hman m b v m m m an m rr l ei cI ~ end of the m o d a g r a p h of~ r c7. blow. d R Y d did nor rsnmbn UT plblidm S . w h.l mlh R FrumLio, vbo had ha1 so a r c lor Lsrhrmn i whsl i now R h Tqvah and n mof lhc mn p n b m k m d UT -n fm Lh.l Kml. p 141. a # ~ R I I Cb. Z D d (OF ciL. vu n m q h g h m ila o m d s diautidsctim. R Ymel-lbWim war cspsblc of hsoPling W c u mms. m R L i z r z - Y m k . ~ o s e cotire bring war d&W X ~ I S to UT ~ kc. W W ; D ~ J W I by (13m W. .+1 n . p . 136 - - n m t i r m 5 m ( ~ e 4 o ) P M P . 195 .~m.mc~oddlhsaoodparagrapb nv- :am= m) n q p 5 ~ n -b y r, t i w ">nm w (Hash I d ) " . writtro h M d . m of R Lizrz-YwkY m o r n? dimminuion of Tmah Su.priringly K m I. h a rime on p. 214. dm nol U e i s m with p h v s cpM Lhsl " W - Y W I(bs"sl mvckd m E m m z ao t d d f of Lsrhmm. ml
    • f< r NOTES AND EXCURSUSES 31 (19)/ EXCURSUS A . W49bR Yozef-Hayyim or the visitiog R Laizer-Yankev] as he is in the Hamburg2 who dedicated his support for the -.a 5np (commu-title "rabbi" to Lachman, but he is probably right in asserting that nity of the prushirna) Kolel Kovno". and was successful in solicit-Lachman became inclined toward "Russian Jewry [read: Judaisml" ing a loan of a thousand rubles against promissory notes providedby being hosted in, and observing the beauty of, the traditional by a named Kelem resident (who had also paid for the cost of Rhome of [Yozef-Hayyim] Khavas - much as the present-day newly Finkels trip). The letters dating has no year, and reads only.religious are drawn to Judaism by such present-day counterparts. "ruw5 [the day before Shabbafh of the week of (the Torah ,In any case, p5aqs report on the roots of Lachmansfncmkeil af- portion)] *p in#." It is probable that the letter was written in 5640firms my fathers conjecture.) (1880) - three years after Lachman had "dedicated his support" An anti-Musar article. in the December 21. 1910. issue of the - for the Kovno Kolel when the two sedrar ma vnm and m pVilna daily p m w entitled "-7 ,smw (A Jewish Philanthropist)" were combinedb and the high-budget boarding school of Grubiiand bylined. "a1 1 (Someone)". claims that Lachman had been a . was opened and needed financial support. The editors introduc-provided with Orthodox Lraining by his observant parenrs. But tion to the lenerc makes no mention of Grubin and assumes thatthis, along with many other declarations in the anicle, is emne- the "situation of the mlmud Torah in Kelem was especially hard-ous guesswork. It is clear from my fathers comment that pressed". However, there is no evidence that funds were everLachmans religiosity grew not h m his natural habitat, his paren- raised for the upkeep of the falrnud Torah while ir was still intl home, but from foreign ground. Similarly. own pnnf records, a Kelern. As was customary in all of Lithuania, the shfefl itself ar-"[Lachmans] b i and education were in a non-religious environ- ranged "room" for the young students on Ule benches of its baleiment, and at the beginning he was completely estranged from &ahd and "board" (kg") at laymens homes. When thethe spirit of Torah and Judaism. Verily thanks to R Y i m l Kelem Talmud Torah closed down and mpened in an alteredSalanters influence, the spark of Judaism was ignited in him until form in Grubin, R Finkel raught hokh therez and R S i a h - he became Gd-fearing and observant (nm m)" Although pm a. Zissel involved his young -her in some fuodraising activities asD-n is wrong in attributing Lachmans becoming an observant Jew well; in that way R F~nkel to nieet Ovadiah Lachman. It may gotto the Salanter, it is right that the philanthropist was not raised in be mnjecwed that if not for the pessonal meeting between them,an observant home - as my father claimed and phv r e p o d . (Maorah F U b M o o r . &mUya. 1999). pp. l a p 9 Sa also h n on p. 3€4 of rhk rolunu.This author believes that our protagonists informatlon about d ( L b 4 . t t r d o f ~ O . l a a b s v u r a r v h i m - ~ v l b ~ ( ~ ibc6ncfihuwovurarinply~UmkamcmhrmBal.b.h~~i.~mLachman derived directly fmm the Alter of Slabodka, who not - h y . and ttr nsad vlme Worn MU) 11880) uc Marl c l d y i d a m ikonly received R Ovadiahs monies for distribution but met him ~ b r w i b l b c tydlhmh-@. SccCnmp.lllofthisvohrmr l b f ~ ~ i o gpersonally in the early years of his innoduction to religious soci- pr9-d&dY. ~ ~ b o r d d m r n 7 ~ i l b a h d ~ R ~ F h Mslyump&d i tbc56WeWs (1870rlSWs) W m m d b g . -ety, when the genesis of his religiosity was a matter of interest ibcdaimbyYPlRnradoum~ibcb~gofibcm~pvlyspbprm~rvuisLin&The fact of the personal meeting between R Finkel and Lachman ~i.h~i.ibc%10r(IgYYl).~rualsotb.~mY)-hnin~vlrrc m y ~ ~ l o r t u d y u i b c ~ o f I I ( u r r l l D d i o l b c - L a a ~ i . ~ LAcame to light through a recently published IenerY of R Simhsh- d M t k ~ 8 d C h . ~ ) . l a d (b i s r df) i~ k~ k w h r r r m y o l d c r b m k m o~ .l dZissel Ziv to his brother R Laib Broida, which mentions that old*dMYewWcr(urclarsdi.Vol.2hlbrdimm~h~ThudTonhuil vslbfaeOrubi.-1cch~golerc.Y,M.w-witbibcron.~hsti011~kR Nason-Zvi F i e 1 traveled to visit "the renowned Lacbman of &rRSimbtb.~~I.ICe*mh~WhlbLapinsb~TslmudTaah. FC & rmm d c l c was pvblilhd I I moruhl bdae ibc philnnUuopinr dew ~ k ue i , e o ~m+lbcddmlharq&mmM&nID.abDlslucdlingbn, ICS, blow, a w mm of ibc d c b . r d m . -For 8ws.l y - it wu & jam m b,laddrait*rrilyduddcwr.dtbcMsl~ppmdlbc@prblis. SabCEIlus of -hip @I- vitb ttr M a n psmmmr Ibidnn Y In nn m m w (Lb4.IhcxmDdp.g.pldLkcB.
    • .. . NOTES AND EXCURSUSES 31 (19)/ EXCURSUS A .Lachman would not have entrusted the Alter of Slabodka with the i his volume nvm ~ l n(Complete in Outlitje)/, which was published many thousands of rubles he contributed for promoting Torah in i 10 years before the publication of the sons nrJoav. Therein RRussia years later. Z Yitzhaq-Yaakov Reines relates that "more than three years earlier" 1 he had contacted "a respected mv" (meaning R Lapidus) "who The gist of the m a article is that Lachman was hoodwinked bythe murarnikehs. But this charge was summarily debunked by R i: had assured him by post that he would be of help" in implement-Yehiel-Yankev Weinberg in a footnote to his article inmducing a : ing the kolel idea "and would also take upon himself the burden ofpamphlet of statistics of the 5672 (1912) roster of students and ;: the project"k. It was either R Laizer-Yaakev, responsible for get-rabbinical alumni of Yeshivath Kneseth ~israelf,at which rime 1. ting the project funded, or R Noson-Zvi Finkel, the publisherLachman was already deceased. R Weinberg writes, "It is well .; of .w P (who also knew and appreciated R Alexander-Mosheknown that the late [R Ovadiah Lxbman] visited the yeshiva : Lapidus, as in Exc. D, below), who had suggested that R Lapiduspersonauy, and when he saw the wonderful sight of the hundreds ; - conhibute an article to the pamphlet though by the time it wasof youths studying diligently, his eyes turned wet with tears of : : published, the Rassein Rav was no longer involved with the kolel.love for Torah [mN~u]." Since tbis visit took place in the mid- Born in 5579 (1819). R Alexander-Moshe was a gaon anddecade preceding the publication of Slobodka Slniisfics; as per the ,!. mddiq who, seven years before his death in 5666 (1906). wroteinformation in Exc. Y, below, rnos claim of hoodwinking. factu- ; an anonymous ethical will entitled MN mr (True Words), whichally false, may actually have been an accusation that hadreached was later published with the appmbation of three Minskers, RLachmans ears. This may have sparked his xisit to see for himself Laizer Rabinowitz. R Avraham-Dober ~ahana-~hapiroq R andhow his decades-long support had been put to use. His tears, then, Binyamin Sbukovitzky, the citys Maggid. It became a classicwere an expression not only of -;nm mm-, but of guilt for having I musar book Also cf. my fathers approbation for . ~ ?pm, in ususpected the "musarnikehs". which he indicates that R Alexander-Moshe Lapidus was a R Moshe Reines, author of nrvu3~.claims9 that his father. R greater Torah leader than R Itzel Ponivezhern. R Yaaqov L i pYitzhaq-Yaakov Reines, had, as early as 5632 (1872). made other schitz, father of the publisher of mrr gpz statedo that when ourrabbanim aware of the vital importance of establishing an institu- protagonist saw therein the responsa of R Lapidus just off thetion for supporting yungeleit who were not sustained by their in- press, he kissed the pages and with tears in his eyes said. "It is alaws, and he bad t~aveled Rassein to discuss the idea with R to mitzvah to publicize what a rraddiq he was. That generation hasLapidus. Finding that R Lapidus was visiting Yanishok, over 100 been forgotten." It is wonh noting that in his letter approving thekilometers away, at the time. R Reines followed him there. R publication of m up,R! Ellazar-Mam-Sh&h mentions only the uLaiuer-Yankev ~havasfi, who lived in ~anishbkand, along with . tesponsa of I Itzel of Ponivezh t h e r e i ~ while in my fathers im-"additional respected people", was present at the meeting of the : primatur R Itzels responsa sre mentioned only in passing. Thetwo mbbonim, became fired with the idea and eventually followed Ps5k-5npri-7Gti&2 in m JWI (1880) 1;n .io a m q j ~ & m o e (b~ginninp . ;.? -it through. The essence of R Moshe Reiness report, but without : P7 u Urn y o v q ~ s Reinss hs of 5632 (1811) for his hlMs msrdc.8 vilh , Rnames, is found in the introduction that R Reines. Sr.. penned to : R Lapi* hc i n W m lo n u n m v s pcoacd dmcs~five p n brfac tk bmts e .. plbWm. S i l ~ h bmk m i l b h a oli%iod n chore tk namc cd tk volum to morq this - hc LVO-year - wdy mahDd R Y i t h q - ~ s l ~ o v i hian. bmwm tk aulbonhip of W . Ibc inmdurtion aod tk p l b h t i o n cd hc b m k h u l d urn es m svlpirc d q i l r R Rdnu.8 : p m l i P Cf. ( b I. fun f n in h F. IRPbbi J& 1-h . SEbmI Ry Jew&- 1984 . a . tk Url pangrspb of &c. H klm. DTekphorr irumiew J . - 17. 1988
    • NUlW AND EXCURSUSES 3.1 (19) 1 EXCURSUS A ,6353, reason for R Shakhs complete omission of any reference to the Maishaleh would dip a metal nail into ink and make illegible notes Rabbi Lapidus material may be due to his having personally seen on the sides of the scraps." Fmm these scraps, R Moshe compiled - R Itzel as he writes in his letter - and never having seen R a lexicon of rabbis throughout the world in the last 200 years. He Lapidus (who had died when R Shakh was only eight years old). had been aroused to write a book of this kind after he came across But it may well be that R Shakh did not appreciate R Lapidus as the original mhu.7 nn, authored by R Hayyim-Yoseph-David much as did my father - who had never seen R Lapidus, eitherP. Azulai (5484-5566 (1724-1806)]u, and decided he could do the Pursuant to this point, it is worch mentioning that this author was same. Afte~ working at it for 38 yeus, he published o*hu,7 o r told by R Shlomo-Aaron Weinerf that my father confided to him v%,7. It is not surprising that R Moshe Markovich was termed that he saw himself as belonging to a generation prior to that of R "the eighth wonder of the world"^.) Elazar-Mann Shakh - though ow protagonist was only seven Also cf. Etkes Bookr that R Lapidus wanted initially to estabyears older than R Shakh. In my fathers opinion, the latter may lish the kolel in the town of Volozhin, with the administrative postalso have been among those who had Yorgonen the generation (of going to R Hayyim-Hillel Fried, a nephew of the Volozhin roshR Lapidus)" - for which tears welled up in his eyes. .yeshiva. the NetzivY. The Netziv, however. vetoed Volozhin as the An illushation of R Lapiduss greatness is the fact that he was location for the kolel unless he retained at least shared authorityonly 17 when he was appointed to his fmt rabbinical post, in over it. It is posited that R Yisrael Salanter, the spiritual mover ofYaneveh - according to .r=n rum 7%- n1rv5 (On the Events of the the kolel project, was behind the idea of setting it up in VolozhinCity of Rassein and Its Rabbis). authored by ph n a b an ma as a vehicle for bringing Musar into that yeshiva..p i x p T x a , Rasseins famous semi-literate shoemaker-bibliophile*. A grandson and namesake of R Yaaqov [Halevi] Lipschia,(Markovich would travel throughout the towns of Lithuania with a secretary to R Yitzhaq-EUlananq wmte to this authorb that my fa-sack of bread slung over his shoulder. picking up obscure informa- tha told him many times that he was grateful to R Yaaqov Ha-tion about years gone by. R Yisrael Shurin reportedt that my fa- levi because "he was the driving force in funding and mainrainingther told him of meeting this extraordinary individual when he the kolele; he was also the one who would do the initial screeningpassed through Tzitevian, where our pmtagonist served as rav. R of applicants to the kolel." R Yaaqov further wmte. "My gmnd-Azriel Kremmer, a resident of the town of Girtegoleh, which is father did not pennit R Yitzhaq-Elharim to become involved inonly 8 kilometers from Rassein, relatedu that R Moshe Mark* the establishment of Kolel Kovno until the source of funds was se-vich, born in 5615 [18551, was a " m o ~ m w [simplest of the w cure." The correspondent had claimed earlierd that his grandfathersimple], not even a decent shoemaker but a p r a u 5 [patcher]. Inthe towns around Rassein, he was known as Maisheleh the "~cia~mv.by&~pof~nsm~the~l&,nod~rycug~nnodaulbaofovu Y)bmtlwholnrrlcdDJNilh~dticsi.pllpuuofthevorldmbrbnlfoffieufimlso-called author [prim] -in mockery of his ambition. He would iDnimlom. S a Q u k ~ hp. 184. R Anicl - b . rrWcd ih.l in lbs SLbodLm Yrsbivndictate to older yeshiva students what to write on scraps of paper, - w h bc aadkd io t cvly 5690s ( I W s ) - s fslbx k wns R M d * m a .and have yeshiva qetanah children with good penmanship tran- HnmimSkhhm. "He had m m d o u n l y wide W I y T.lrmdie Lnowlrdge [ m m 1 md w u said D bc &wed with his gradfW&s p - o~mory."R Anid raid. "He u vscribe what the older yeshiva bahurim had set down; %en a&xuiad by ihc K o m Rsv. M M d y berm the Second W d d Wac md hi. heP Sa Ch. 4. the bcbcgioning of n 63,lbt R bpidle had beam* i o s p i w o d w k n my f&, ~ h i l o u m ( v m . m ) ~ n ~ ~ .. ~ l r . . ( h z i h c i ~ t h ~ h d ~ ~ . o~ " A - pp 286287 Y Sa ( I. t (irrt p a n w h of LC. f . ( 4, ihc d of the eighth b 8. f h h -.child dmly m n d nine y m of % y uill mi&d io o u c s f b w n y DoEwv. 9 1 m c q b,17. 1988 Publidrd in rm . m (hrth?~ - mnp3 p. w 0.Serl K q a n (n. 10. p a p p h d h. C I . h L, b c h . .b I. . kdad 10 A h 11 5752 ( M 1992) PmagmiQ was a &m.vrm nrmba of h e Komo KoW w h n it imk c v u the S l a m IS.above), p. YIO, aod mo monograph i m nw?, by .JAVTP .W n m) w p - p p . d p n~"3rm) (hmbcc Qeshr&). pp. 179-184. lormior J u ~ e 1994 July 29. 1996 15, Kokl w h bc h.d bsm smdyiig d m . ia Vol. 2 of W bmk d l n p w * w Jmusy 14.
    • NoTEs AND EXCURSUSES 3.1 (19)/ EXCURSUS A 4355Phad "sold R Yistael Salanter the idea of the kolel". However, 0 4r u na pmpnpll rlsince this last point is not mentioned in any of the sources (includ- Etr Pn msfers he heresponsibility of producing Torah &?eats fmm their famen-in-law to theing R Yaaqov Halevi Lipschias own historical J,P PI), t i hs wmmunity at large - the "kolel" namenotion seems unfounded. The fact that the kolel got to be headed : The essential message of the TD p pamphlet was that with theby R Yitzhaq-Elhanan in a circuitous way, i.e., only after R decrease of interest among the wealthy in laking Torah scholarsAlexander-Moshe had turned down the appointment (and had of- (n.n>n m5n) to be their sons-in-law and supporting them aiierfered it to R Hayyim-Hillel Fried), also makes it unlikely that R their marriage while they grew into Torah leaders (m3h.rl). theLipschitz was behind the kolels establishment; had R Yaaqov community as a whole must undertake to develop the potential ofHalevi been the initiator of the project, he would have assigned his I woahy and romising young married scholars. It is noteworthyown rav to head it to begin with. The correspondents claim thathis grandfather barred R Spectors involvement until funding P . . that ~ P J Naccredits R Y~stael Salanter with amusing the inter- est of the wealthy in seeking sons-in-law "praised in Torah" whensources for the kolel had become secure is, however, borne out in he reorganized the yeshiva in Nevyaver Kloiz upon arrival inqm~.. It tellsf how R Laiw-Yankev mavas had come to R pvr. Kovno three decades earlier[ a p i n asserts, The custom had ~nLipschitz sometime during the year of - but before - his trek to been that each yeshiva student went to the home of a layman toBerlin, and brought a letter from R Lapidus9 with the request that eat his tog. making his rounds weekly. R Yistael abolished thishe suggest to R Spector the launching of an undisclosed project custom. which degraded the esteem of the yeshiva student, and in-for which funds would need~to raised. R Lipschitz turned him be stituted instead that the donors send the meals to the kloiz. He alsodown because of the reason my correspondent gave (and because set aside a special residence for them to sleep in. not in thethe lener pmposed that R Laizer-Yankev be in charge of the beth midrash, which now became exclusively a house of study.fundraising, which was a task R Yaaqov Halevi considered to be k u g h this the statute of the honor of Torah students was el*beyond Khavass ~a~abilitiesb). Though R Lipschitz was not in- vated and raised and this practice became customary afterwar& involved in the establishment of the kolel, his employment three many communities in Lithuania and Zhamu.. until it became tyears later as its chief secretary - thus becoming "the driving fashionable for many of the wealthy and important laymen toforce in funding and maintaining the kolel" to which my father re- choose precious bahurim praised in Torah who were acknowl-ferred - is enough to have evinced our protagonists gratitude to edged as 0-L/.9 [prodigies] for their daughters grooms. inflatingthis benefactors grandchildred. their doweries and kest. Thereby the honor of Torah heightened1988 yp. p ~ . Ill, p. 223, says a R Lapidu. aml a lcmr u, R Yaaqov Wcri Vol exceedingly [qn n5m5 m nx ah]." If 3p.p pfs estimation is l(via R bizez.YII1Lc* Kbsvm) &g him u, p l u d c R Spcm u, uLs on he ID+ flbid.p. zzz.01 ~r beginning of k Y nh m rr w u winen ~ f i s ~r He10 abovem-nt in h. r . R Upvhiu w i ~ aI&. b wm m m He ah u~cm rrbm Khw- g 10 Bal. afm-wndr *be had all ~ ha u rcremd ha l a w on R lmpidva addud iha & bcaYIildmmcwr~u,smimrfmmtim~u,tbr.slc*of~~nlybdm he ardraaL d W d W u U But fa &is my hmcr ww!d haw k m &I u Ur ,Mof id- and n on n c h m b of m y fan- & of sxompWJ!~s pd ihinp h u p b -pdmls w. w*. R N o 4 n a bir A l a prc*ul. tim.&ring hu cnmummt ioLPshmno". Mu playing in B u h vim he bmb.. for a h 1 tvo mmlb, "b bs off hi$ Mcdvm Tmrh V m dr v g n R wlu n wl c- r my - a homeiUunbw d mcy M i d nl a PXMN ppd !hm (Lghmm) hid d B !a d i k lor many mmdu u a m l l of a p o ~ ~ mfe of ind!-. lo hi8 i v r s . R . ew r nriw - -lublsa m d y n large rum in thav days lor ibs M o - t of Tarah". Ibid.. pp. : Y..Lw~c~-aamakn~3h.dalsriaurvmlovimdrm - 2 2 6 I A l a ~ VoI. 2 u 10 whst mc W k r d ym p r . R Ya8q0~tld~is Y ) ~R sf. I - ( kliacd) d m h b w i r n d hkiw Tmb V - my fuhr amd by him mdNa. li@iu. did lo prsvml our polsgoaia fmm h j n g cngngcd u Rav of Vik- in k ~ b i r e r p l l s i m b r r p v s o f i h c r s r r e d ~ ~ ~Lvo~11.p. . t o ~ ~ -56Wr (19308). Pm !hm l m my falbcr msy haw h gwful u k wpl u, R Plyn-Mcir m 8 ~1.(h5.h~mmhmbpungrqhclUrlrmd~phd~1~.B. P&sBloch, wha hld ah b i n d 4 hi8 h m g so& in annhr rabbdcsl p l in lhmc ymn - Bmkp.m.b~buihuihc~ofUrkbomrdTmrh"Ulrm~bouttim~canbc~mihucd
    • NOTFS AND EXCURSUSES 3.1 (20-21) 1357P correct, it seems that during the subsequent two decades of R and the later, long-term R Avromchik Tames (~henker)~, c a e x m o C g B X g ~ W C S W C S ~ W C S - B K 4 - W Yisraels sojourn in Western Europe. the e n d set by h m was re i 20 My father described the Kovno Kolel in the Alter Interview versed - to the extent that the wealthy could no longer be counted on to produce Torah leaders through their familial support. Now, it and in Chicago Session with the following words (as translated was R Yisrael again who created the mechanism for developing fmm Yiddish): The Kovno Kolel was different in s!n~cblrefrom leaders for Jewry via the Kovno Kolel plan. present-day kolelim. There would be three married scholars study- O r protagonist saidn that the Kovno Kolel, officially called u ing in one beth midrash and another three in another, and so on - "o.31aa 5513 (Kolel for Manied Scholars)." was the first institution - and not only in Kovno but in other cities in Lithuania, too total- for Torah studies to be called a "kolel". Until that time. the term ing altogether about 80 yungeleit. The members of each threesome "kolel" was used to describe a mini~ommunity Palestine s u p in - did not necessarily learn in partnership [amurn]; each yungerman ported by compatriot Jews in the Diaspora.. made his own study program. One may have wanted to brush up on DDVD p n and another on nm mr. The yungeleir also did some adult teaching in the barei midrash where they were stationed. whereby they not only supplemented kolel stipends but gained ex- perience in practical rabbinicso. The yungeleit further enhanced their skills by watching how the rabbmim of their respective w m - munities handled halalrhic questions and procedures. The wives of the kolel members remained in their parents towns and homes while their husbands pursued this advanced program and prepared for their careers elsewhere. A koIeI member was l m t d to three iie years of support During or immediately after that time, he was to have acquired a rabbinical post." Born in 5609 (1849). he was a disciple of R Yisrael Salanter. "He is considered by some to have been as great as the Salanters three prime talmidid and was perhaps possessed of an even sharper mind than they. But since he died at the young age of 42, his n q did not become as renowned as theirs.V ~ ~ . frons-in-hw by Ur wralhy. . -polely to tk e a D m o R Yirsacls .stiona i Kmw. S i R ~for mlY ni. ~ 5 s 2.v r n r s u r r l y . . ~~~ ~ . - iuKd i Nw- KID= Lbsl R Y i W s dams h KO- l . ,~~ ~ em ~~p~ o ~ t k s h ~ n p r ~ l . I t i & b u o ~ & ~ d ~ l a n i . v h i s h ~ v i ~ ~ t k ~ ~ ~ i a rsmrdsd m d a i lhusg. vlnr ir bad come i 1741( 1 9 8 1 ) w ~ U r s l a b l i s ~ o f s ~ ( m n b U : ~ s a r i m )
    • .U58R Making of n Godol NOTES AND EXCURWSES 3.1 (22) 1 EXCURSUS B 4359, administtator. R Iml Blazzer ( ~ e t e l u r ~ ebroughtZ3a junior d~, m (Torah study and Worship) day and night without himdrance, L B w w B ) w v w ~ w w w ~ w as he wished", he resigned. The more liberal residence policies for Jews which were instituted gradually by Czar Alexander U during his quarier-cenhlryreign (56165641 [18561881])~saw a major Jewish influx into the city, which rimed the reason for R Imls ON R original move there. By 5630 (1870) there were 1.400 legally re- YISRAEL SALANTERS siding Jews and an estimated 4,000 extralegals, and during the next THREE PRIME TALMIDIM decade, the figures jumped to nearly 17,000 legals matched by the same number of illegals. Also cf. "Lire"w, where . J X ~ D.,.r writes. ! 3 ~ f l ~ ~ "I surmise that he decided to give up the labbinate and leave Pe- R lael leaves Petersburg for Kovno - R Yisrael Salanter defines tersburg because [Yehudah-Laib] Gordon hindered hi. Gordon - his three major tdnudim all three are great in Torah - R Laizer Gordon calls R Simhah-Zissel his rebbi R - was appointed secretary of the communityy, and the moskilim, with Gordon at their head, did not let R I m l lead the commuoity in the Abbeleh of Kmz conceals the comspondencc he receives fmm a gndol beYirroel- R way that he wanted." My father said it was rumored that R Itzel Iml is eulogized despite his was troubled by having to decide the exact spelling of prrr maw la61 will I the contrary 0 (names of parties to divorces) for the assimilated Jews in that city5 Born in 5597 (1837). R I m l Blazzer learned the craft of dyeing This reason is also given in Katz 11". However. m m :TIN mu 730cloth in h early twenties in the belief that this type of work would i quotes a notebook of anonymous au- m k p m -1 h ? ~ , ? ~ ? p - ? o Lallow him more tire time for Torah studies. But his master. R thorship that R Naphtali Amsterdam related that he received let-Yis~aelSalanter, suggested that he become the Rav of the Russian ters from R 11 saying, "The hills of Alleksot [where R Yisrael -capital, St. Petersburg. where he would also have ample time to Salanter delivered musar talks at the home of R Shraga-Feivelpursue his studies. At the time, the city had a solall Jewish com- FraokI do not let me sleep [in Petersburg]." He meant that hismunity estimated at 700 souls. consisting of individuals who had yearning for the Musa milieu of Kovno made staying in Peters-received special residency permits for one rationale or another. and burg unbearable for him. He moved to Kovno where he bought athe rav, too, had to be "assigned" to some privileged Jewish family hostel for his source of income. In 5664 (1904). he &ved to Erenin order to be able to r m i in the capital. Afkr serving success- ean Yisroele, where he died three years later.fully as Rav of Petersburg for 16 years. 5622-5638 (1862-1878).R Itzel withdrew from the rabbinate for reasons unclear. nurut, byDITRY 3.5 m;ru, says that the motive behind his resignation was that " Sor by (1959Wn) Cb. I l vhkd ,k h7P 8 7 % 77 by P nn a b rl (Vol. 1 srsond edition). prbliahd Al n+ r? il~~rb +ma mw ma nmr, pp. ym - , 101d02 L r s synopir. Op. dr. of h F pp. 558 M d 556 Yo&: uc [b 1. n I. snd Cb. 2 -"serving as rov in the capital, he had to sacrifice his best hours for he NelRb d Blr. A He mird in M h r g in 5632 (8) 10 ycpn .Ra R 1-1 172. - - I- Rlcnbw iwbh -unity w r peridrd wsr by Barn. H n - G e whohis post, and often was occupied with public affairs fmm the mom- Y&g h m d l y (uo m. 142 and aM in "For Whom D. I Toil.?, rvld m o b u t ring till late at nighr Very upset that he was unable to dwell in m h e G ~ i n ( h 4 . 1 t m d p a n p p h o f E I c c . H H ) O u r p ~ n c e m ~ i h c kn a F m d w g ( &g Rued.. M mdiwml Jewish I or w i h ihc bs hllathienlh mmo ipcbv bad dmdy born mkd on by ibc W q b n of c d i gerrruions. R l r fda l ibc plhw h. w d h i s o for Ur a w nsmr d d UM be p i a c . Divrrrsc ul h biUn wiL inrrcom spclliRgsa m valid. and l vomm r c i i g Ucm Fsmain legally mdd k srvn WkirhuhQ. *P.226 6 r h , ~ - i n a n s p p s n d i r m n i s l s . , u o d n r c d e d i ~ n , p n C Z (a. 2 ihc m d dS%. 2 Also a Karz If, m.421422,for ihc m l e r v b v i . . m
    • 060, Making of a God01 NDTS AND EXCURSUSES 3 l(22) 1 EXCURSUS B 4361% R Itzel was the youngest of the three foremost disciples of the Anyone familiar with the Lithuanian-Yiddish idiom would hans-Salanter. and was termed by his master "the lamdon". The other late this simply, "Learn musar and you will be a religious Jew."two disciples were R Simhah-Zissel zivd and R Naphtali because in Lithuania, ~x i r r h r - was the term used for "religiousAmsterdam. whom R Yisrael termed "the wise one (om)", and Jew"; in that society, honesty was considered the paradigm of reYhe pious one (-run)", respectivelyf. (The denomination for R ligiosity. Thus,R Yoseph-Zundels dicnun was solely an exhorn-Naphtali which w 7 uses, namely. "con-, is preferred over the one ~ rion to learn musar, not a lesson that muror l e d t becoming oused in Katz N, p. 25. " p x [the saintly one]" because it is likely G-d-fearing, or honest andrighteous. With his last five words, Rthat R Yisrael used the Yiddish words ln15p and w a n 9 for R Z ~ V Yoseph-Zundel simply added that without the study of musar, oneand R Amsterdam, respectively, and i r n n o . traoslates more accu- is not a religious Jew!/)mtely to pious". Similarly, the inconsistency between m ~p. ,nm. It goes without saying that each of the three disciples was alsoand Katz I, p. 1429, as to the original directive of R Yoseph- outstanding in the traits denominatihg the other two. R NaphtaliZundel of ~alantKto the young Yisrael Salanter stems from mis- ~msterdam~, termed "the pious", served as rav in several commu-translation of the Yiddish quote which R Y i m I heard from R nities. While in Helsinki, he was concerned that his rulings mightYoseph-Zundel and conveyed to his disciples [and was passed on be incorrect, so he checked with the Rav of Kovno, R Yitzhaq-orally by R Amstenlam to the author of ir-lw]. Katz has R Elhanan Spector, through weekly letters. He found that the lattersYoseph-Zundels directive as, "POW n*m m 7mn m 5 [Learn musar mlings coincided with his own in all cases (except on a solitaryand you shall be Gd-fearing]: while w r has it as. "nwm Tmn m5 ~ question about which R Naphtali considered the Kovner Ravsnnxa 1 on a [Learn musar and you shall be a truly honest and m x m h g questionable even after receiving R Spectors detailedrighteous person]." What R Yoseph-Zundel actually said was in responsumf). R Simhah-Zissel, termed "the wise", was the originalYiddish, "mw 7 p.x p~ + 9 morn 7mn pn> lI.earn musar and you choice for the St. Petersburg rabbinate, and he turned over the con-will be an honest Jew]" - which is open to varied Hebraihtions. tract to R Blauerm. R Ziv was also described posthumously byIh. mddiv who purchad R taelr hostc~when he i m Lithuania ~c w u born, aa0rdi.g R Noson-Zvi Finkel as l mmu?m nh95or mha .iar m n n 7-JW vlo Xon. in 5584 (1824) (but cf. ihs fobwiog pang+). and died in 5658 (1898). a. he mrn o"nu 195 m w nna m m h n m n m (an ever-flowing spring.t o m in . fm. q p5n e* mr, by 5-n r m 5 w n q p m pun etc.. in halakhah and the deliberation of Torah, who tendered expo-twwn .mhm~ n n ,no) nmma) (lunhr.d, 9 Rn. (m.lfn)>mv nx .pp p.m.p. m fi ~c w u R ~ n ~ V ISm . iO- favorite h i d tm ao o n t m m rraam- pr tk sitions many hours long before great scholars and geonim)"".Icaimony of anourr, major laLx!d. tk r u m a of yPnUWu R Ysnpv of Kvlio. u rrcordrd (Also cf. the inboduction to hl0,7 t w that R Hayyim cin murr owho hm Tor 7 p x r a u i h d by (J*IlOn .- pLRl W (hntha: 7 m Soloveicbik said: The awesomeness of greatness is seen in fRh n o , p. D,?. R Y i r d feu vnds bis ion- whik k w u mdying in S&I uder iu m.R Zvi-Hinh Bmid.. who war his gvi& i T h u d fmm he ~ gof. 12 - ue p. 1078. bclm. n Zivl ". Not &ing a MusariteP, R Hayyim was certainly referringR. Yi-1 rmrid io city st Ihc of 14 and m n b d &PI Tmh Une for L k r * e to R Simhah-Zissels superiority in Torah knowledge in general.18 y- whik his wife nul a bluina. Md svppomd tk W y . Scr K m I, pp. 139442. Rzvi-Hirrh Brnida we, in e m M with R. .Aqivs Big= Md k h bis 1C)"~ld d . ULx!d. R This coincides with what R Rudeman relatedr, viz.. that RY i i l , und lo R Aqiva a h k l a of m v e l k er+ ibid.. ep. 142-141. ar lo tk -8reaction by R Aqivn Eigcr. R Havim Sauna r r l d en April 28. uXD. lhar k M told byI iCI. 5 - n h p . 1%. W ~ R ~mamdamdsourdcramdthedtau.lokinrmnivc. R. YO* Shrrrhn.!q, a oompui.. wb. M mm. lo Gm Y h l after w g %s tk - i n lorob M d (op. rir.. Q. I. o. 13). p. 72 is compkQb OR tk muL w k n it r e - Y i d d i s hhmd of tk Jcpilh c o m m i ~ y (hpn w )of Sl- n rn R ZviXhb B m W l rrplutim wr mm ~hcwordrquDccdlbowfmm5n~nxiolorr.o~ T ~ B ~ D W pa~(,(Lamm~llm~llsodsuch !hat r k nudam in tk Vololhin Y a h i n - R Y& had sdid Une- w a c vnnvr of b G-d-feuins),u if R Y w - z i d d Mpovd wo eqm~~ v e m tk puns %lrr.~ d iwho ihe greater Tonh asp war. R Zvi-Hih Bmids m R Aqivs Eigrl X o q i, p. 139. Mer ff.Ssc4.hloP.. ~ f f . K m l l , p . m . 1 1 , p . m . .Ilnrrlll(op.cir.,(hZthu R Aqira E i r vould ref" 10R Zri-Hinh s k d b l R Hinh". CI. GI 4. +@ E r r . D . p l 2 0 DOp.cr)..Q.I,tkthhd~gnphofErc.D-p.9.~dcl.~m-io@KC. J. Ibcfmcnxaolp.IBlbfd. P s e e t h e t h i r d ~ o f E u . N . k l o v . qlhinisrcmrded
    • C%2& Mobng o a Godol f NoTEs AM) EXCURSUSES 3 1 (22) / . EXCLIRXJSB C?iBLaizer Gordon eulogized R Simhah-Zissel by saying that the de- responsaY to R Simhah-Zissel in 7ui,r n n-iv by the great goon. rceased knew Massekheth Babha Merzia better than he did. [AC- the Rav of Shavil. R Yoseph-Zekhariah,Stemz.cording to R Aaron-David B w k , a ralmid of R Laizer, R ([Also cf. m l u no+n, by mrrunl5~uS~Y. which describes R ZivGordon studied and reviewed Massekheth Babha Mekia "all his : uncharacteristically and patently falsely. It states that he alwayslife. and afier he had been rosh yeshiva in Telz for several de- : hied to pretend @ be ao extremely simple man,objected to beingcades, he said in his humility that he did not know this tractate called "rabbi," and would recite Psalms after davenen, taking out aand must study it for at least another LOO years, and then he would Gemara volume only when the beth midrash emptied of people.possibly know it a bit". Thus, saying R Ziv knew Babha Metzia and hiding the gemara and returning to reciting Psalms when any-better than he was R Gordons way of avowing that R Ziv was a .: one walked in. The author must have confused R Ziv with Rgreater Torah scholar than he was!] Katz 11 also records that R t Abbeleh of Kmz, who Lived a full century earlier, and to whomGordon said in his eulogy that the deceased knew three sections exactly such behavior was ascribed by a present-day descendant of[ a m ] of Shas with Rashi and Tosphoth verbatim, and the four : R Abbeleh, R Yisrael Shwinz. R Shurin also stated that theparts of the Shulhan Arukh with every sub-paragraph [ p p ~ w ] . story told in .w5m rum7 p m , by m Srha4 about a "hidden SRabiner-RLGt quotes from R Eph~aimBorodiansky a far more : Roddiq R Laib," whose greatness was discovered when the Gaonelaborate version, to wit: "I heard from many Torah personalities i of Vilna sent him a sealed, secret invitation to join him on his[am . a m ] who were present at the funeral [of R Ziv] that m i plahed voyage to Eretz yisrae16, actually occurred with RGordon] called him [my] rebbi and listed his praises, viz., that . Abbeleh (and that he did not cast the V i a Gaons letter into thehe knew S h well with most of the famous Rishonim and the four i stove at which he worked distilling whiskey, as the printed story sections of the Shulhan Arukh with the commentators [mb wm], ? has it, but slipped it into his pocket - R Abbelehs occupation and he was also fluent in the Jerusalem Talmud. When R Laizer was grinding grits [p~onpl). Alsocf. ibidC,which quotes R Aryeh concluded the eulogy and the funeral procession began to move Levine as indeed comecling the story of R Laib to R Abbelehout, his anention was called to the fact that he had once said R instead. *&,I mh71r1 uw, by mnpm m a 4 records, however, thatSimhah-Zissel knew ~ D , n m .Knooul and n n h ~ D too. R Laizer R Abbelehs gmtness was accidentally discovered by the dwell- stopped the procession, got up on the bimah again, and said that : ers of K m z because a halakhic question was bmught to him by he had forgotten to mention that the great d w a s e d possessed this : messenger (not from the V i Gaon, but) from Bmdy (Galicia). It knowledge as well." Also cf. ;bid." that while R Gordon was rav also states that ankrwanis, R Abbeleh no longer concealed his of Kelem, R Ziv "visited him every Sabbath momiog afrer greatness and R Rephael later Rav of Hamburgz, became one of davenen and they discussed halakhic matters [;oh -71 for many his mlmidim. i t teUs how his grave was a prayer site u t l it could ni hours". This must have occurred during a major part of R Gor- : no longer be located - which was "a KSD (marvel) in the eyes ofdons 9 or 10 years of tenure in Kelem, an4 before R Ziv opened : the elders of the town". R Shurin added that the grave was 10- his school in Grubin" - and possibly, even afterward, during R . cated in his native Ritteveh and had been a pilgrimage site every Zivs subsequent home visits to Kelem. ?here are also three , Rosh Hodesh Elul until it disappeared. This makes the disappear- . : f).f).a,^D xALDFt(h21kmdofn93. Yl+vn.wbm,ppmwm-p.nlon p. 4 d Gmm!mn N m ((hZ n. 94)a ?a&Id wering pior lo 25 Av 5741 (Wguu 6 d ibc j a ~nravrs, iwr 16. I W a n-kn .wbm .-j-m m > m a- pp. mob 6 mddiq m25.1981). Rcponcd i 3 n!mu m-5~ F% . - m by (rrmn) v , ml am n n ((humcr. l : ~ d a v n i l a i n . i ~ m d f D w n ~ i h s O l o . ~ v o u l d mPMr m . ..Rubiner.RI.47). p. 7 7 P. 33 P. l f J P. h ff. k c . Y. below; C h 4, ibc Esmd i. 3 m ,PO nn* . + m m mn5lm- .&n (1910) - il mi. Sol h l the ~ Y Cpmgnph d Pls. K: and k c . Q. below. vlborahip of lbir b m t in k c . A. nbovc. .See Cb. 2, n 12.
    • 43641. Making of u God01 NMES AND EXCURSUSES 3.1 ( 2 1 EXCURSUS B 2) W65bance even more wondrous! Also cf. Ch. 4. Exc. J, that the behav- birth 5577 (1817). ?his is seven years before the dating of hisior ascribed by a 0 1 0 ncnh to R Simhah-Zissel contradicted birth by Katz 111: which gives the year as 5584 (1824). AcwrdingSalanterian precepts.]) to R Lopians testimony. R Simhah-Zissel was only 7 years All three disciplesf. then, were outstandig "lamdantn". Like- younger than his master, R Yisrael, and 15 and 20 years older(!)wise, beiig the top adherents of the Musar movemenf the three than R Naphtali and R Itzel, respectively. R Ziv met R Yisraelwere all pious. AU of them were wise, too, in accordance with the Salanter when he heard about the "Musar house ( i ~ m n.3" that thefundamental tenet of Musar that one must be wise in order to be latter had established in Kovno and went to that city to study un-pious3 - a p ~ c i p l e precluded the Musar movement from b e that der h m in Nevyazzer Kloiz. This could not have occurred prior towming populisf as per the Biblical verse. "inarr 0-1 n5 (The mul- 561 1 (1851)m, the year R Y i e l began teaching there (as in f .j ntitude is not wise)(". When R Itzel died. R Avraham-Yitzhaq on p. 1125, below), at which time R Simhah-Zissel was, acwrd-Kook, Rav of JaEa at the time, applied the leniency of the Rav of log to R Elyas revelation. at least 34. (Also cf. Kah II" that RRague, R Yehezqel Landau, to disregard R Blazzers last will Simhah-Zissel "married as a youth and after his marriage travelednot to be eulogized. R Landau had ruled that in the case of a de- to learn in Kovno under R Yisrael m Nevyazzer Klo~z""- whichceased gedol hador (one who is greatest in his generation) au un- is inwrtect anyhow, because even according to the later binh dateauthorized eulogy may be made. R Kook said Lhat although we of Katz II, he was already 27 when he went to KOMO,not a newlycannot decide who is the greatest halakhist in the generation, R married youth. According to the Kafz birth year, R S d - Z i s s e lItzel was certainly the greatest in piety/. was 74 at his death in 5658 [I8981 [after becoming sick 13 years earlier, in 5645 (1885)], and according to R Lopian, R Ziv died Dib.rmnnp.npnp$ when R Simhah-Zissel Ziv was born at the age of 81 [and became sick when he was 681.) Regarding the year of birth of R Simhah-Zissel. Rabbi Myer J.Schwab writesL that R Elya Lopian (5631-5730 [1871-19701)."close to 90 at the time". related chat "as a young student he heardfrom his rebbi, R Simhah-Zissel, that when he was a young boy,he had seen R Hayyim of Volozhi". According to this, RSimhah-Zissel must have been born at least several years before R -Hayyim Volozhiners 5581 (1821) death let us say for argu-ments sake four years. This makes R Simhah-Zissels year of lhra9,ExcJJ./ n . m ~ 6 9 . s b ~ l h m m ~ ~ h c l d u , b c ~ l p t u a l d k b cMOW. a im.m*.ivrnmmarakmc~polm~.~.iff. Xon 11, p ZSs. I n WQ .;vn;lw m5n ahwwn n k r n mnoom a n~ m m ~ 1 a . r n m m m o 5 ~ i i n i m o ; l r l n n m ~ ~ ~ p o ~m MH in m w ,nu1k hr .m . m w mn m i a b rn rn 59 h M 5 m?m muFP un 4nw n .p h .~rm m i -mwsrPQ%% hna5 hn u mp f n m 1 r m o n r n m n o o 5 r k s y ~ o ~ r o h n . ~ i ~ l n ~ .-woa r n " 5 n n w mo mp 1 m m5m w ~ m *n rnn .mu m w r m n mu> ~ 5 n~ ~ ~ h w m m m ~ ~ ~ h n ~ a i m ~ ? ~ . ~ I 2l . . i n a rod Utu Bmk, p. 2M. " lbld. A d e a i p b n of R Zvs ~ P p l n Ibidem, p 30.~ m v i. * p w v p ~ p m m 1 m) *rr i n n d -n p-q a o (m r 5 i m lrn ~~~~vimRY-Imamindd.u,Lci~g-inmMiclcbympnnoDcntilLcdJ n r W O ~ Y N I IN h 57S7lAp"l 1%7, p 24 , : -mup ( - Mnrcw), im -Uw". pp. 663-686 - is T i
    • ,43661. Making of a God01 NOTE3 AND W(CURSUSES 3.1 (23) 1 EXCURSUS C *367& yeas a mighty spiriS fresh and awake, which never exhausted, never tired, never weakened. His estate consisted of valuable pa- pers - naturally, not financial papers. but mnm nixv [Counsel and Customs] of R Yisrael Salanter - a beautiful pair of tephillin and ON TWO a tom tallith." By the last sentence, the author shows up the falsity VERITABLE ANGELS, of the calumny spread "by m k i l i m in Kovno, in whose eyes the R LAlZER-YANKEV KHAVAS kolel was like thorns", that R Laizer-Yankev had accumulated AND HIS SON-IN-LAW R NAPHTALI TROP wealth from his public activities. (Also cf. a footnote in 3 , 7 ~ r t , p by the publisher, the authors son R Nota Lipschitz, which alludes 9 tlrr first tnuww4 to this issue as well and adds that R Laizeri~ankevsson also R Laizer-Yankev Khavas is in unknown hero in the disseminarion died in poverty about two years before the volumes publication. of Torah - he is also secretly active i securing n the safety of the Jews in Russia - i.e., in 5688 I19281. However, the last three words in the footnote, he lives in deprivation viz.. ~ D Y oim nm [may the Merciful One forgiver a prayer for- According to an article in opmfP (and cf. the beginniig of Exc. someone not wantonly sinful, as the maskilk were -indicate thatE, below), the Alter of Slabodka was behind the establishment of others too, perhaps the opponents of Musar [in the tradition of Rthe Kolel at its earliest germination - in association with R Notas father], were also guilty of slandering this saint)Laizer-Yankev Khavas (who was related to the Alters wife?). In This author has come across seveml of the "heroic exploits" leftthe 0.~79f obituary article-. R Laizer-Yankev is described (in unspecified in ~ p In . f 5646 (1886). R Lakr-Yankev Khavaspan): " h l n iwm %l;t ?.tun [the great saint and the man of great visited R Eliyahu-David Rabinowitz-Teomim (the Aderethu). Ravhumility] about whom the Jewish public knows almost nothing but of Ponivezh then, "and implored him for t r e consecutive weeks hewho was one of the creative spiritual personae among us - a his- until (the Adereth) could no longer bear it and acceded" to convenetoric figure, in the modern nomenclature." The d c l e goes on to a secret meeting of rabbis h m county seats in Lithuania for thetell, "In his house temible deprivation always reigned. with his purpose of raising money to maintain a lobbyist (~hnw) in Rus- inhousehold actually starving for bread. He barely worried for his sian capital, St. Petersburgv. Also cf. Katz I I m that "when pogromschildren because he had greater and more imponaat worries; The erupted in Russia" @robably those of the early 5640s [1880s]).Torah students [mm mrS] are the only ones who still mainlain Ju- R Laizer-Yankev walked to Berlin to arouse foreign public opin-daism in us, and we must sustain and support thems was his ion against what was happening to Jews in Russia=. In 5654motto. He was a hero, his life was constantly heroic, and the plans (1894). he w& wandering about - probably by foot a g a d - inwhich he implemented were heroic exploits. Yet no one knew him, Vohyn, 800 kilometers away, in an attempt to establish yeshivothfor he always tried to be concealed and to hide out; if be smelled EPZ. A, b v e - Vd. 111, p. 225 C h I. n. 93 * Vmm Uu d h y or Uu Mcmh, rrhr 770the odor of honor and glory he turned trepid. His body was a com- (q. (X I. !kc. R. pp. 89-90. w N. - h b. d i d murs R W - Y m k m or 11I p p k l - o r ~ ~ ~ ~ W % H ~ ~ ~ ~ n ~ . s L c ( D W P & ) ~ b s c a u . . h o ~ ~ l m u u u ~plete contradiction to the well:known docaioe of a healthy spirit r l w ID t r M d l nun ro Mik Uu oti#Lnmr of 111l plan. R Laka Oordm, lo m o d kin a healthy body because he was a mere heap of bones, a sherd Ir mains. P. 412. a 5 k m d h g B R Siw,a g a u - g w + h n of R Nspbm~ l I Tmp. R b . Y m k m Kbvu ru moridsrrd Ur e m w r d R Ylaracl SdanWs dirrstivs: born v- sick, weak, and hunchbacked. And in this shel dwelt for 76 kcping a l o W l i SL Fum& . ad pph racign hurrmh agairm UuP The rw pmgrsph of &c. A, h v c - p. ml P Asmrding lo R Y & W Siscr ( u A. E . dSemik srariat r g r w e R fimrdz pet mJeas Ssc Knn I pp. 201-203. Y Cf. eie . &c.hvs) . n See Uu rod or 6L q on pp. 346347. A, above
    • NOTES AND EXCURSUSES 3.1 (23)/ EXCURSUS C %6 3WthereZ: also cf. Kafz 11. that R Hitshalleh Levitanb, founder of ble to conjecture that the Alter felt R Laizer-Yankev Kbavas - aReb Hitshallehs Yeshiva in Slabodka, went with him, and ibid, . veritable angel, too - was even better suited to be R Naphraliswhere two of his cadre of i n s m c t m for the newly founded i father-in-law than himself. (R Yeshayah Singer related9 in theyeshivoth are named. : Dame of his grandmother. R Naphtalis daughter-in-law, that the . An article entitled " a r h mum mnipn rmo3nn n3wxinm a (Mem- Alter at first suggested R Naphtali many his brides younger sis-oirs of the Beginning of the Establishment of Tomb Centers in ter, R Noson-Zvis second daughterX, but the young man tumedLithuania)" by the Rav of Kupishok, ~ ~ l hi3m irrb.5~.in .aUrP, l - ~ him down, saying that the tragedy made him fear he was not wor- describes R Laizer-Yankevs indigence with the followig sen- Iby of being the Alters son-in-law.) After his 5655 (1895) wed-tence: "(Khavass) food was bread and herring" these were the - ding. lhis talmid of R Iael Ponivezher in Slabodka and Gonhd -cheapest food items and the sraple fare of the poor "and for - - see the beginaiig of Exc. J, below continued his Torah studies inmany years he lived hi1 im -n (a life of great pain) for the honor Kelem under R Simha-Zissel Ziv for several years, and then tookof Torah and its scholars." a post as a ramm in R Hirshallehs Yeshiva, the yeshiva qetanah : founded by his father-in-laws colleague (mentioned at the end of O*rrdwwwb the first paragraph, above). R Tmp was lolown there, as in his ear- R Naphtali Trops kallnh, the Alters daughter, dies and R Naphrali becomes R Laizer-Yanlrevs son-in-law lier years in Slabodka, by his native city, as R ~ a ~ h r aGrodner. li - our protagonist resalls R Trop M~ father told R Singer that he recalled R Naphtali spending It is noteworthy that R Laizer-Yankev Khavas, b u g h lacking h e High Holy Days in Slabodka. He did this during the f i t yearsthe Alters didactic talents, was akin to him ideologically in the he served as rosh yeshiva in Radin, when my father had alreadyfollowing aspects: (a) he was dedicated to the propagation of To- arrived in Slabodka. (According to a memorial issue of , p u b mrah. (b) he related more to bnei Torah in general than to his own lished in rrnm [19281, it was [also] Uuough the effom and influ-children, (c) he had no regard for materialistic possessions, ( d ) he ence of the Alter" that the Chafetz-Chaim took IR Tmp] as arecoiled from publicityd. Remarkably, it turned out that R Laizer- senior lecturer in his yeshiva in Radin" in 5664 [1904]. Also cf.Yankevs daughter married the man who had been beh-uthed to the hna ?pg 71x8 v d where Radii talmid R Kalman Farber reports,Alters daughter. R Naphtali Tmp! It is not farfetched to specu- "Besides the shaiurim he regularly delivered, RNaphtalis powerlate that when the Alters daughter died, the Alter b I f sug- was also great in the teachings of Musar [ioinil niml. and he wouldgested to R Naphtali the shiddukh with R Laizer-Yankevs deliver m a r shnuressen on special occasions, such as on the evesdaughter, for she had been raised by the same type of father and of Rosh Hashanah and in the midst of the Elul days.")with the same ideals as the woman of whom the Angel .of D a h et jEac.A.hc ~lrwu~anh(~f.Ibssao~d~@dExc.~,kbv),wblucrhad robbed him. According to R Shmuel ~ishonf,my father de- + R. Shm-Y*Wb P m h k b . R Y b d Shui. rrpmrd m MPsb 19. mz. hrkvumldbyRArmhm~inIbsnvlr~S.nb-~GadoPSamLin.Ulcwscribed R Naphtali as "an angel (1.5Rbn)" on the occasion of eulo- dul@tadRLaim~oIT4ihUdrwar~~~RN.p~buth~loldsgizing his son R Avmhm Trop and describing the home in which bmba.irAw. R "Y-bLaibtlh" Bloch. nhed mc rmrrb Sb lbrn mu6d R Illma.the deceased was raised. Accordingly. it would not be unreasons- (Her dscad.llu 1h.r rbc w r bm, in - 2 I18821 i. mrdingly, OR s bv v dY - h - R N @ U w.r nlrrady msrri+d in 5655 118.31.) . r /lherug a P Uls ron 71 R hsuc d NM (op. d..Q. 2 R 2 ) p. I " 4. 412-413 0. ? Ciqm 34 : *ofPlc.hMe-p.20LmrcpmdRWs-UeoainMvvrvaof h n I1 is &bmed to R Lcvim. b u c of rum nrvm-mm, plbhkd in Komo ~ b & r m m l d ~ f ~ . d i o . ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ p b , = & b ~ ~ r ~ ~ ~ b u r i . ( dd~cgarding Alur, aq -lively, iha (o) Pu.Q, telw (b) a 4, k r C (c) Exc. W, b b w ; . ~r).dtoihL~oa~l6.2002).R~pdn~mt~RN~wu-n~( d ) ~ l c . ~ b t o w , a n d ~ 4 . ~ l c .~ t.~ r c w , t e l o w . * ~ fsp.rchin-ma. ~veF,~~mdYlYuhh.~bdclirrrsdw~gmunvr~.HLyclradpornpmirrs p h m i r in 5757 (1997) mdy lmdrr t h R k Pmiwzk d R S i - Z i u e l pcpwd him lor lhil dual m . u 1 k
    • 370C Mnking of a Codol NUlES AND EXCURSUSES 3.1(24) / W(CURSUS D 4371D fellow adherent to the Musar movement R Nom-Zvi F&I%. : Simhah-Zissels position." Also cf. the closing monograph of 700 e a B K B b ) c 3 € s w B Y B B Y B ~ ~ - - B Y B ; mn7 + 7 ~ m9m> h m , titled " 1 5 ~ mi) h ldnY", where R h n i Hayyim Sarna repom in the name of his father, R Hatzqel, that : when told that R Noson-Zvis yeshiva had grown to 300 students. I R Simhah-Zissel conveyed his displeasure by remarking, "He has ON THE . . 300 caps [~II~IID~;~]."R Hayyim gropes for what it was that met DISAGREEMENT OF ii with R Zivs disapproval. It may be that R Simhah-Zissel was THE ALTER OF SLABODKA ; critical merely of the number, opining that only through working WITH HIS MENTOR, THE ALTER i with a small group can one hope to raise students to the level that . OF KELEM, AND ON THE GUIDANCE 1 Musar mandates. (This expression of displeasure with R Finkel HE RECEIVED FROM R YISRAEL SALANTER ; seems to have been made several years into the 5650s [1890s]. when the Slabodka Yeshiva numbered that many studentsp.) R o ~IV f(rap m p n ~ b I Meir Shapiro, born in 5665 (end of 1904). a Kelem native who R Noson-Zvi Finkels beginning ; was orphaned and raised in the homes of the children of R R Noson-Zvi Finkel was born in Rassein in 5609 (1849). and i Simhah-Zissel, related?, however, that in Lithuaniao yeshiva cir-alter his maniage in the town of Kelem, became a traveling i cles it was thought that the essence of the dispute between R Zivnnggid. Once when he spoke before an audience in his native i and R finkel was whether the movement should concentrate oncity, the local rav. R Alexander-Moshe I.apidush, heard him and i producing laymen or rabbinic leaders. The interviewee added:realized that R Finkel had the potential to do much more for the : "Despite the disagreement. the closing words of a letter addressedTorah world. He sent him with a letter of introduction to R by R ~imhah-&el to the Alter of Slabodka, which I have seen,Simhah-Zissel Ziv, and R Finkel became his talmid< were *?5n n n lp5no [May my share (in the Wodd to Come) be 5 rW =& u d equal to yom]. This indicates that whatever the dispute between the two was, it had been subsequently settled." But see below that R Simhah-Zissel Zivs and R Noson-Zvi Finkels paths diverge - our protagonisr believes that there was no philosophical the gap had not been bridged in R Simhah-Zissels lifetime and disagreemenr - the latter is the formers ralmid. but continued into the next generation. Obviously R Zivs letter had - not fully R Noson-Zvi cannot remain in the city been written before the relationship was sundered - not after it of Kelem - he seeks a place for the High Holy Days - R Simhah-Zissels had been mended. as R Shapim erroneously assumed. family shuns R F i l My father wasof a different opinion. however, when he claimed There are reports that there were philosophical disagreements in the Alter Interviewq that the basic appmaches of R Ziv and Rbetween R F i e 1 and R Ziv. Cf. Katz III. which declares: "It is Finkel were the same, except that the Alter worked with a studentknown that at times there were differences of opinion beween R society and R Simhah-Zissel with a lay group. Thus there was no ,,Finkel and R Ziv on certain outlooks. Tbis resulted in R Noson- philosophical disagreement between the two altogether. Ia fact, RZvi setting his own mode in the theory of Musa and in the meth- F i e 1 told my father that he felt hurt for being suspected by other -ods of its implementation, which were at times opposed to R Ip.119 "rmgin.mnpam~rmm;hovlmnmh.(nd);~eruw of PAC. A, W . U KOQ IU. IL c E p d ~b. . m w m k w w b w n p . * F u n k bw7ba7-p.1rrpn P k ~ r e - g o r b . X ~hc third of ~hc I ~nnt firrt4. n. 55, on R Finkels viewing his bccomlog .a(uliawd with R Z v m emellrly f Em d i . K. sad 0. 39. h b w . 9 l n W i e w Norrmbsr 3. 195-2 PAC. A. nbow
    • *372t Mnking of a Cod01 NOTES AND EXCURSUSES 3 l(24) / EXCURSUS D a73b(so-called) talmidim of R Simhah-Zissel of veering from his men- This must be understood to mean that although he gained enoughtors teachingss. Furthermore. when the Kelem Talmud Torah from him to refer to him as 1-iai~,he did not follow R Zivs di-leadership debated 23 years after the death of R Zivt whether t o : rection blindly and disagreed with him in someestablish a yeshiva alongside the existing b l e l U , some members in- . Another stoly my father told his grandson, this authors son Rsisted that they must not tamper with the legacy of R Simhah- Yoseph, indicates, however. that there bad been a rift between RZissel, who accepted only elite students, most o f them already R ~ i v a n d Finkel. As an illustration of how a talmid must respectmanied. When the Alter found this out, he nrmed angry and told ated that one year. R Finkel returned tomy father, "Talmidim who studied under the Alteru for 20 years ah, and on Erev Pesah was asked bydid not understand what it was that he sought: I am the only one R; Simhah-Zissel where he would h v e n on Yom Tov. The verywho did: My father explained that the "talrnidim" to whom R question was sufficient t convey to R F i e l that his rebbi was oNoson-Zvi referred were both R Zivs own son(!) R Nahum-Zev not granting him permission to pray in the.Talmud Torah that(who had died in 5676 [1916]). and R Ruven-Ber Dessler (mar- year. R Noson-Zvi, knowing it was improper for an alumnus ofried to R Yisrael Salanters granddaughter), who headedthe fac- the Talmud Torah to h v e n in the city synagogue, responded to Rtion opposed to creating the yeshiva. Cf. also Ch. 5, the end of the Simhah-Zissels question without hesitation or argument. m e r e issecond paragraph of Exc. H, which discloses that the Alter sent enough time to get to the neighboring town of Shkudville." Andgroups of his best talmidim to spend Elul under R Zivs tutelage that is where R Finkel and his family spent that Pesah.in 5656 (1896). less than two years before the latters demise. This A story similar to this is recounted in K a n I I I ~(but without the lesson in talmid-rebbi relationships), to wit, "R Finkel was notpmves that it was not R Finkel who was critical of the Kelem : permitted to h v e n in the Talmud Torah on the High Holy Days...education. The criticism must have been only one-sided, i.e., onlyR Siah-Zissel and his "talmidim" objected to Slabodka. Also and he had to spend the holiday in a neighboring village,cf. Karz IIIw, which cites a letter R Finkel wmte more than 25 : Fogmzovac." i ~ a t adds, "Despite [his expulsion for the High z ~years after the passing of R Simhah-Zissel and in comection . Holy Days, R Finkell did not refrain from asking permissionwith the planned publication of R Simhah-Zissels shmuessen, in , and submitting to the authority of Rwhich he expresses boundless adoration for his mentor, and calls eone expressed astonishment at this con-him 1.7nm (acronym for nn .mr [my lord, my teacher and my duct of his, [R Finkell replied that since in Slabodka they gorge master]). And cf. the quotation from Marcw in the first para- him with great honor... he travels to Kelem from time to time to graph of the following excursus, which describes R F i e l s lim- purge himself." According to K a n , the Alter of Slabodka was in itless attachment to R Ziv, even posf.humously. disfavor for mbre than one High Holy Day season. The Kan epi- Yet, according to R Shlomo Aidelstein, Hayyah-Mitiam jode must have occutred in the 5650s [1890s] at the earliest, Shulman disclosed that the Alter, her graodfather, had said, "I am some years after the Slabodka Yeshiva was f d y established and grateful [;oru .rw] to the Alter of Kelem, but he is not my rebbi." Finkel was receiving "great honor" there.) R Shmuel-Hayyim Domb relatedc that while working on a bio- Alw, d Korr 111, p. 121. Cf. Vol 2. " % rto*l W u did TdIlXd T d " kLWSe I . h imti~~tim dsvrlopod horn ? vbml fm y m g d l d m ahsidmd by R S i Z i . r l id k a rhs wm told what Ur Ntcr h%lc d d d m R Y-ph Dhklia~ a a ~ u y ~ m i b c ~ u . ~ c s i h k ~ o f ~ r c . ~ , b c l m , d4 9bR r d m p . ~ 9 ~ .( . EIE. Q. klw. for UX s w p k i i g U whidl ViU ~ E cour~ r FS~.ZiaacYsrolnti~md~dr.R~~by(biram,a,di.CbL~cadoln.~. r k w m R Elomn-Zri md R S;mhah-Zbyl. P 235 .. 1 1 1 2 1 *ff. 13.4, 55. w h a mlcvml pxrt of I k w i s p w d 3 Fa o M p a. k365 Inlcrric* June 21. 1995
    • ,34 47, Making of a Godol NOTES AND EXCURSUSES 3.1 (24) / EXCURSUS D .@751.graphic sketch of R Yehiel-Yankev Weinberg (born 5645[1885]). surely have slept in the Alters own house. The visit must have oc-a Slabodka student at the turn of the 5660s (20th cennuy c.E.)~ curred. then, after the Alteh moved to Slabodka, by which time Rhe read letters that his subject had written to the author of ~ u n Weinberg had already left Slabodka for the Miner Yeshiva. It is TO~D,?. R Dov Katzs, in which R Weinberg expressed sorrow at surprising that the Alter should tmuble someone not in Slabodkanot having conveyed their contents before the publication of that at the time to come along with him to Kelem if all he needed waswork. In one of the letters he relates the fouowing: "One bitter a valet. Funhennore. as clarified in Exc. W. the Alteh kept herwinter night I visited Kelem together with the Alter. and the Tal- house in Kelem till 5670-5671 (191G191 l), and the Kelem visitmud Torah called a special meeting about us. After deciding that must therefore have taken place sometime afterwards - by whichthe Alter was a rodeph [pursuer with intent to kiU]h because he time R Weinberg was already Rav of Pilvishok for four or fivemiseducated in Slabodka (empbasis added), they saw to it that no years. It is incomprehensible, then, that the Alter would bother Rone allowed him to sleep over. Although I, just a shamosh of the Weinberg, a Lithuanian rav, to join him on the visit just as an es-Alter. was ruled not guilty, I would not abandon my rebbi, and I con. What about the other event mentioned in R Weinbergs let-stayed up with him all night. Thirty years later, the Alter sent me ter, the shiddukh pmposal - when did it occur? From the contextto propose a shiddukh (emphasis added for discussion below) for of the letter, we can see that R Weinberg was ceaainly not de-his son with a granddaughter of R Simhah-Zissel. but R Zivs snibing something that took place before his Masters unpleasantson said, They say Nota-Hirsh p F~nkel]is 7~315pr [a smart fel- - reception in Kelem but when? And when did the 30-year hiatuslow] - how can he send for a shiddukh when he knows what my until the shiddukh proposal, as mentioned by R Weinberg, begin?father held of him?!" (Seemingly, the Alter may have had this e p It cannot possibly have commenced when R Weinberg was on theisode in mind when confiding to my father that he was hurl by the Kelem visit with the Alter or even with the earliest contact he hadmisunderstanding with R Zivs talmidim - the hurt stemmed from with the Alter of Slabodka, in 5661 (1901). because the "thirtythe sons turning down his shidduWI pmposal.) It is certainly years" would take us to the beginning of the 5690s (1930s) whenshocking that the minimum of hospitality was not forthcoming - in chmnological order - the Alters children were aU marriedwhen it came to R Noson-Zvi. Such extraordinarily harsh ueat- (5673 [1913]). R Weinberg was living in Berlin (5674 [1914]).ment as meted out by R Zivs son must have been due to more R Zivs son had died (5676 [19161), and R Finkel had passed onthan a philosophical disagreement, and labeling the Alter "rodeph" (5687 [19271). This author submits that R Weinberg was writingbecause of "miseducation in Slabodka" - as R Weinberg under- not about two events, but about one! He was describing the KelemsWod the problem - also seems w be an exaggerated reaction. visit as having been made in connection with a shiddukh plan ofThere must have been some sub rosa element involved. In regard the Alter; the words "sent me to p m p s e a shiddukh mean that heto when the shocking reception of the Kelem winter guests oc- - went dong with the Alter depicting himself as serving in the ca-curred, we would naturally assume that it was sometime during the pacity of a sbmosh - because the help of the distinguished youngthree and a half years R Weinberg studied in Slabodka, that is, Rav of Pilvishok was needed in offering "outsider" praise of hisbehveen 5661 (1901) and 5665 (1905). But cf. the first paragraph masters son to the pmspective brides family. Since their visit toof Exc. W, below, that R F i e l s wife. the Alteh", still resided Kelem took place after the Altehs move to Slabodka, as pmvenin Kelem at least till 5666 (1906). and in that case, the pair would above, the only sons of the Alter still in the shiddukhim stage weref Cf. a. w.md E 9 lkq ere in Or -ion 4. D d R Ksus son R Y-ua: R.v the twins R Maisheh and R Avrohm-Shmuel, and they did not or MoalLb Adumim. See r 9 19 f. f
    • 4376%. W n g of a Godol NOTES AND EXCURSUSES 31 (24) / EXCURSUS D . X777B.do shirldukhim until 5672 (191 1-1912). The expression "thitty was afraid that he might fail to wean them fmm the then popu-years later" reiets to certain criticism that the Alter suffered (for lar Hmkalah unless he continued his personal advancement and -which he was temed "rodeph") fmt from R Simhah-Zissel, built his own self-contidence. R Yisrael responded enigmatically,then from his son - from three decades earlier until the time of the They address all questions to me -even a question of m [apos- wshiddukh visit in 5672. For exactly what it was that happened 30 tasy]!" R Yisrael seems to have evaded giving an answer at thatyean prior to the shiddukh proposal, i.e.. in 5641-5642 (1881- time and let R Noson-Zvi decide for himselfn, but at their meet- 1882), that caused the Kelem Talmud Torah leaders to treat the ing a decade later, the Salanter did respond to another question, asAlter in the way they did, cf. Exc. Q,below; it is impossible to ac- recorded below. R Yitzhaq Hutner related that when the Altercept that there was no disagreement between R Simhah-Zissel and was asked at a later time if he considered R Yisrael Salanter histhe Alter of Slabodka, as our pmtagonist would have it. rebbi, he replied, "I regard him as a ger regards the beth din which converted him."" O tlrr tlrlrb m e w 4 It seems that the Alter met with R Yisrael one time only - not- R Noson-Zvi Finkel meets R Yisrael Salanrer - R Yismet guides the Alrer in he mison delre withstanding the language of Katz, to wir, "one of (their) few of Slabodka Yeshiva - the limited meetings". as quoted below. It occwed in the early 5640s goal of he Yeshiva (1880s), sometime close to the establishment of the Slabodka Y e Our pmtagonist reported that despite his having enjoyed the sbiva in 5642 (1882) and less than a year before R Yisraelguidance of R Yistael Salanters major disciple, R Ziv, "the Salanters demise. in 5643 (1883). The time frame of the meetingMusar approach was not considered infallible (ism-lna u.1) by R is indicated by the question R Rnkel reportedly asked R Yistael,Finkel" until he personally met and spoke to R Yisrael. The Al- viz., what direction should the yeshiva hr wm establishing inter disclosed this to his prime disciple. R Avrohm Grodzinskyi. Slabodka take, to which R Yisrael answered by quoting the verse(In the Salanter ~nterviewb father used the weaker but affma- my in rkn -YIP, to wit. rra>il 25 n i n n ~0 . 5 m ni.nn5 (To revive the ~ytive expression in describing the benefit the Alter gained from his spirit of the downtrodden and restore the heart of the depressed).personal meeting with the Salanter, to wit. The Musar approach The question and answer am reportedin an article by l S ~ p in laxwas confirmed [ D . I ~ D P B D ~ ] R Finkel after meeting R Yis- for 70n7 7n&, in the name of R HatzqelSama, to whom the Alter re-nel.") Before meeting with R Yisrael. R Noson-Zvi had already lated this "when (R Sama) was sitting with the Alter late at night?had contact with him but through an intemediq. According to Per(lap R Nwo-Zvi v n h d Ur mers wodn sr u a o s ~ his quuzion. IO wit. n towhat R Yoizil Honvitz told his son-in-law R Avrohom yoffenf, - How Ean u Y U n lald k k fmm w d o g with y m g popk erm whco he ia unslm ofat the stan of his career as an educator the Alter had asked the - wcm if W n i n g ocIiw is IuUmounr their lD071" oRqmd by lhia authors babsr-btav R Hirrb D i h d . Anolbcr of R H u m s pM%k .rid ibn ih Alkr bed mndcSalanter - probably 10 years prior to their meeting, and by way of lhir salenml sbwl R S i i - Z i u c l : this soineida with the M ~ Yqwmtim h Ur follawing IR Laizer Shullevitzm - whether he should begin workiog with u~llu. p. 3W. AWlougb lhi8 venim ir cauiaenr with the Allera ricw on vhrt he glliocd onyouth already. R Finkel realized that he possessed the talent to in- from R S+Zssd - a in . - 4. o. 55 R N-. vi Zs diwlmrs to R ~vmhmfluence young people and draw them into the beth midrash, but k d z i n a k y rmta Ur Dinrjnd vrraion dm phuiblc P m u 9 . y I~ 7 ~ wr pur IDM *.me ~ ~ ~nunrisw /a.Val. 2. sac h.u on p. 554. ~ceadodin $2 m r ~ m ~ e rnu mu .m* ( n - h .o3mr) , u ? " Sa ffin 11. p. 329. W R hR Yilmel in Mcmrl for mmy y - nb m , snd w &mash in dl m m . 10 the crlcnl thy his m myed cl~pc - - wkrm .oh179 ( f u n k Soma Mrmorhl) p 017 ? Ln u inlcrvior ra ~ p r i 2 8 . 2 W R H ~ q l rm. R H w i m mid I r hia faUar would s h . l x k AlWs bA forhim lo d r s a midnigb u d lfro R fintcl would sir down a d Islk wilh him uruil 3 LM. R H s p i m m rdalcd this h Ur mruexl of his claim du his faher war k =baa rnlflnid of ihc AIM. a dthe Sahars most avid dirciplcs w e nor m i v e d by Ur m r e x o p t by way of R W. k lbnr R N m - Z r i lold his Iybcr Ihot b had snd a hdf raldh, wilh (him) k i n g UrR Shullsvitr win onc p r older lhnn Ur AlAlrsr of Shbodka me"! Clhe inmiewac did not h o w vho w b g rsf-d m by 6 Alwm the .halrrabnid...) .
    • ,38 67, Making o o Godol f NOTES AND EYCtJRSUSE 3.1 (251 / EXCURSUS E ,11179b. inti, the Kolels administration, though in an unofficialwhen yet a young bnhur in the Slabodka Yeshiva". Katz III, after i a i s x s a x 9 w L a E x s W ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ B Y g i a x 9the introduction that "mostly, the Alter applied the method of 3mp(drawing close)", repom that "it is told" that R Yirael used theabove-quoted verse "during one of the few meetings betweenthem" to answer a different question: Which method o education f ON THE SELF-(7im.7 777) (emphasis added) should one exercise in our times? NEGATION OF BA ALHSince lkp 73r has revealed ro whom the Alter repeated the ex- MUSAR, ON THE APPOINTMENTchange, we can surmise that the Karz version of the gist of the OF FUNDRAISERS FOR THE KOVNOquestion and answer is inaccurate, because it is inconceivable that KOLEL; AND ON THE OPPOSITION TO THEthe Alter would discuss methoak of education with "a young MUSAR MOVEMENTS ENTRENCHMENT THEREINbohrrr", talented as he may have been. What the Alter might have -divulged to one of his charges especially to one who had been % fb fmO P -circulating in various yeshivoth prior to his arrival in Slabadkq as Ule Alter is bmughf into the Kovno Kolel administrafion -R Hatzqel Sarna had done - was the purpose for which the he feels that the Slabodka Yeshiva can get alongSlabodka Yeshiva. which the wandering student had now joined. without him - monuments are not emred forwas established. exactly as 1hp .IX reported. Also cf. the fifth par- Kelem Musarites - R Yisrael Salanters agraph of Exc. 2. below. that it was i the summer of 5642 (1842) n w v e remains sans tombstone for a long limethat R Yisrael appeared in Kovno after a two-year hiatus in Parisf. To describe the Alters posturing within the Kolel my father In accordance with R Yisraels instructions, the Alter built the usedu the expression, The Alter was sneaked into the Kolel ad-Slabodka Yeshiva with a narrower goal than its forerunner, the minimation." This depiction demands an explanation. DvorerzVolozhin Yeshiva: c . the beginning of the introduction to onn87m91 f .Uemoria[" posits that "(the Alter) was the true founder of theby pnhin oV*n ?nuv,m that his father built the Volozhin Yeshiva ,>I Kovno Kolel"; Karz IIIu adds that the idea for a kolel was put for-on three foundations - n-ton n d ~ a n min (Torah, Worship, and ward by R Yisrael, but while negotiations between the Torah-eenemsitv). -. leaden as to where and under whose aegis the kolel should be setBut u Vol. 11 lhvl my fnthu held h r R A m h m Gmdliuky. not R H s q l , wa. Ur A l e s . up were in progress. the Alter together with R Laizer-Yankevprime disciple. Funherrmm, my falkr dcrribcd R Avmhm -who dd Mac R H i W - ru"(he Imt or ibc M u u r i l d . A h d (a. 5, rh v m n d pnrbgraph of h. WI Ibc AUn D . Khavas (who controlled the funds at that point) opened up theconridcrcd it p n n b i b l c lo i w l s m iI i t &w a e hi$ e d u w i a . .nd in lhir vsio R Fmkl kale1 "circa 5637-5638 (1877-1878) and laid the first foundation$nuy hare told R H a q l lhst k is hi only full !dtnfd. P. 3 1 Cf. x a. 5. n. 28. . I for an institution of this type" in the city of Slabodka. In which-the Rude- l a m i e w ((a. I , b. m on p. I n ) . R R u d m said w I l 1 I k - pl hirsingle d n g with t S d ~ t in K v l Alm b g h t himself Iti* k u om k I l mi. fmm Lk Y , ever way the Alter was involved, there seems to be no reason whyKorllr, to Vilnq whuc R Y d wm mrcling. in olda u bs in R y w r m m p y Im-r. , he was not appointed a member of the adminismation routinely.cr. k m c r u , C h 4. rh veDod of Pls. H, w k it ia porilrd w horn Korm RY i v u l trrrcld lo M c m l (by way or Kekm d pmsibly. Sbavil). 4Vilm would b r s brtm : Why did he have to be smuggled in? If he was too young at theoul or his way. Re Alrcr m y b v c head thu R Y b m l w u in Vilm on hir w y ro K m , : iime of the kolels founding in 5639 (1879) - he was 30 then -nod R Finkel dceidrd to rnvcl lo Vilno sod soco-y the mssvr to Kovm: uc k I. p there seems to be no reason why he was not made one of the237. thm R Y-1-~ viailrd M o k rod V h thml s u m . d m & in C%. 5. the p v h ir ~. cm administrators officially when he returned to Slabodka (from - ~pamgmph of k c . B, k t m v d d u Kom, d a d %It is povlbb lhsl l Allcr did om UU , . kto , o s R Yisml on ihe tmin lor frh ih.l R Y l n v l would m -r pL d m uodl bm&g 1 i. -Fmm a dlrcnian io out polsgoniss doph p n " (a n. 6 ) " P. n 2, 6 P. 21m w h u quninwd with him), sod did no1 pou hi^ quadon until l k y g a u Komo. ,
    • - OW b Making o a Godol f NOTES AND EXCURSUSES 3.1 (25) 1 EXCURSUS E -&381PGrubin=) and began to function in this capacity anyhow. It seems j that he was needed in the yeshiva. She also added that the Alterunlikely that his simultaneous occupation at that time as mashgiah > asked not to be called to the Torah on the High, Holy Days, exceptin Reb Hinhallehs Yeshiva, an institution for younger students. at Minhah of Shabbarh Shuvah.) In a talk on the 50th anniversary of the Alters demise., my father noted that R Noson-Zvi neverwould be perceived as interfering with an advisoly function in theKovno Kolel. had stationely with a letterhead: "f he had to write a letter, he I This author believes that the answer lies in a basic uait of the - used a blank piece of paper," he said. p r mu mm, tells fur- dAlter which my father described3 when he was asked why the Al- ther. "When the Alter founded the Kneseth Yisrael Yeshiva" - inter never wrote articles or books. My father said emphatically. 5657 (1897) - "and consorted daily with the falmidim, none knew‘Vie Alter did not want to exist: he wanted it to be forgotten for a duration of years that he had any connection to it; he spreadthat such a man ever lived." R Laibel Perlsteinz filled in the pos- the word that the rosh yeshiva IR Epsteinl had founded it. Theitive side of the Alters existential purpose when he quoted my fa- Alter would enter the yeshiva every day and speak one time withther as adding. "All the Alter wanted was to develop himself - to one bahur, another time with another, and sometimes many wouldperfection [nm>m]." (Poetically exaggerating Marcusa comes up gather around him to hear what he had to say, c o n s i d e ~ g a himwith a preposrerous reason for the Alters not writing a book. wise falmid hakham enjoyable to listen to, but it entered no onesAmong other bizarre statements, the piece makes the following in- mind U~atthe Alter was the founder and administrator [5;ua] of thecredible claim: The Alter was constantly in fear that some might ?eshiva." In view of this attitude, we may assume that when thesay [he] surpassed his rebbi [in Musar. R Simhah-Zissel.1 to Kovno Kolel was established. the Alter refused to accept an ad-whom he felt limitless gratitude. When mentioning his masters ministrative post, even a junior one, and whatever he wanted toname, he would becomeall but shaken up out of respectfulness m@ibute to the kolels development, had to be proffered from a[ n a x nx~,].On his master:s yahrzeif, he would walk around for- position he was "sneaked into".lorn. as if the demise had taken place just yesterday. He kept [an- This self-negation may be behind the custom of the Kelemnually] as yomim rovim the day he met R Ziv for the fmt time Musarites not to have monuments put up on their graves. Rand the day R Shah-Zissel turned to Musar; lie would wear his Yehoshua Geldzahler, son-in-law of R Eliyahu-Eliezer Dessler,Sabbath clothes and recite Hallel in his davenen on those days.") related9 that he and his brother-in-law, R Nahum-Velvel Dessler, My father elaborated on the Alters self-negation: The Alters did not erect a tombstone for their father-in-lawlfather ( the Bnei iposition in the yeshiva he founded. Kneseth Y i e l , was unoffi- Braq cemetery where he was buried) because, based on the Kelemcial. He never signed any document of the yeshiva. and when custom, his father-in-law had also not put up a tombstone for hisasked what his job in Kneseth Yisrael was,. he replied that he did : ? rebbifzen whd had died two years before him. (The deceasedsnot actually know." (Also cf. Dvorefr ~ e m o r i a l lthat lhe- Alter c daughter recalled that her mother would say critically. "In Kelem 5would say, "For what does the yeshiva need me?" In fact, Hannah : lhey put up no tombstones, and there was no defined place for vis-Finkel, daughter-in-law of the Alters son. R Maisheh. related :j iting ancestral graves [nuxup]. One had to grovel about to f i d a that she was told by her "husband, or uncle R Hawel samad grave.") When the surviving children received letters from Israel that every Elul R F i e 1 did not return to Kneseth Yisrael from reprimanding them for "neglecting" the erection of a tombstone for the k c h a until he was assured - likely by R Moshe-Mordkhai - C. . f Bc. Q. bcbw. J Th? A l s r l n s r v i o v Ch. 1. 0. 7 * P t67 P r Lolcrviss, .~ovembcr2. 11991 d ~ war mwid lo a risw of ibc i l r j v o s mlhp-in-law.z D 4 c ncvno h b i &&ac.ia 5 I t. N , n - (hodolbo U vu dctivaed mr Ycshiwm ~sbbrnuY 9 h i e w Mvch 1 . 1 8 3 98 - l Mdr bk&n, in ~ o r c r nib. - r i Y d (huths: Y & A T W . lop. ch., €ornod p. m% YR p. ID, in R Meir
    • NOTES AND EXCURSUSES 3.1 (25) / EXCURSUS E W33k sedrus $2773 and ~ p r were combined, and no one would have , R Dessler, the interviewee asked my father to look into the mat- dated his letter with just the second of the two, --nprrV. It could ter. Our protagonist had the opportunity to do so when he made therefore not have been written earlier than i-am (with the fullhis first visit to Israel, in the summer of 5716 (1956), two years date being 25 Adar 1 5646 [March 2. 18861). (It is posited thatafter R Eliyahu-Eliezers demise. My father visited R Yaaqov- whoever wrote in "nWnm- chose the fmt possible year that the let-Yisiael Kaniyevsky (the Stypoler Rav) to discuss the matter, and ter could have been penned. R Yisiael died on the 25th of Shvat,the latter said he happened to see a responsum by the ~ i d that~a mnm [56431. On the fust-year yahneit. in ?"am [56441. when vis-the deceased has the right to decide only on what is to be in- itors to the grave saw no tombstone, they would not have been sur-scribed on his monument, but its erection is pan of the burial rite prised, because the custom there was to erect the tombstone afterover which he has no say. (After this encounter, my father wouldsay that he saw wnpn m i @it.the Holy Spirif clairvoyance] in the the fmt year had passed. They would be aroused on the secondStypolers berh midrush. The interviewee said, however. that he yahneit visif in a-am [1885]. and that is when the annotator pre- sumed that the family was gently chided.) It is conceivable, how-heard that whenever a prominent Torah scholar [ h i ] ma] askedhim a question for which a source existed, the Stypoler would say ever, that the letter was not wrinen until r n n (1891) at the earliest - the year 5651 happened not to have the sedrus 5 n p and qipahe "happened to see" a source instead of just citing it - in order combiied - because it is possible to make out the letters "im- afternot to make his interlocutor feel slighted.) It may also be assumed that there was no tombstone put on R the word m: Rav of Konigsberg switched around the first let- theYistael Salanters grave in Konigsberg for the same reason. A let- ters of the years acronym (which are usually written consecu-ter in the possession of R Mordkhai Blazkrl was examined by tively). writing i m instead of M, because the latter, as a word,this author. In it, the writer, the Rav of Konigsberg, asks, "Are means "let it sing" and is unfit for o missive of such content. (If itthe children and family members of the goon. R Yisiael of achlally was written in 5651. the full date of the letter was 23Salant, the memory of a holy lilnddiq be blessed, willing to set up Adar I [March 3, 18911.) Be that as it may. it is posited that Rn monument on the grave of the deceased saint. of blessed mem- Yistaels family had not erected a monument the third (or the sug-ory, and bear the cost?" The raw goes on to write, "On the yahr- gested eighth) year after his demise because they felt R Yistaelreir we and the members of the association [mann .D]/ prayed [at preferred "not ... to existL", as did R Finkel and the Kelem people.the site] and a wealthy man from Berlin told me that if the family In fact. R Yisrael may have ordered them not to put up a tomb-members were not willing to erect the monument. he would pay stone and, unaware of the obscure responsum that the Stypolerfor it. Its cost is 60 marks." The date of the letter is -no$ ,a or Rav quoted. his family abided by his wish. (It may also be conjec-TP~". with the word following r (the year)" not wholly legible; hw tured that the wealthy man h m Berlin who offered to pay for thewritten above it. in a different hand. is "nMnm-(1885). This anno- A m n p ruggcrlion was pul Tonh by R Mordkhai Zuksrmnn (wen. 17, nbove). v i r . lhrt Rtation is incorrect because in the two ym:following R Yisraels Y i l moved out of Lithumin in ordcr ool lo o v e d w h w his d i r i p k und ennble rhon to put t k i i sump m ~ r s huriety. (.?mam?a a-7 n-9 I m phn -m p.mi R Z u k e m w a demise, i-nm (5644 [I88411 and n-ain (5645 [1885]), the two v q elms lo R Armhm Omdinsky, my fmhrrr brother-in-low. in Ur Slubodl;. ghruo, -"ding u hour u r h day vilh him T UMe y m . It may k mnjccad h R MordWwi.r vrraiotiort l u i r nm .X"P Two .9nv P n n70 It wu r e p d u d in a brief Micle in p w m.omlingfor l r l p io locolil~gR Yimcls gmre in p m l d n y Winingrad. 1 It is nor c i m which - with R Avmhm whom my rolhcr k r i t r d ar r tart of Ur Murorila - n ~ r y k have led hi," lo pictun R Y i m l S a h W acting in such un incredibly dminic mrrr. ulsu d Ch. 5. theurgmized body ihs m-lsr war refsrring to. thc m p ; r u n o r the synagogue whuc R sod or&c. 8. t b R Avmhm spoke about R Y h r e l very oftcn Also cf. h e b i n n i n g of thcMcir.Loiburh Wriur. Ur M,zlbirrt. hod w e d for "oppmiimivdy the l h fow pan of bir lt . i* m m r r p h or G c . Z k b w , us to how R Yirrel defined Ur m Imid. n m l y . one o d .Il<ar,!, M~.rrk, I511 until l u died io SMO (the m d of 1879) m d which R Yiuocl wrr d k d p. rho = r i b his own spiritual duancemnl for nomcone elus. Tnis diiwm of the Ulvlterltpon lo n q l h c n in hi larl monlhs of life - see Ellcr E d . p. 270 a d o. 62 od loc.
    • 43841r. W i n g o a Godol f NOTES AND W(CWUSE 3.1 (25)/ EXCURSUS E 4385D.tombstone was none other than the Kovno Kolel supporter, Emil account honored. and getting immediate credit on check deposits. [Ovadiah] Lachman. He had met R Yisrael and been influenced The surprised customer replied, "Why should I get special beat- by himf, and was generally close to the Musaritesm. Lachman may ment? I am like any one of your other customers." The manager also be the "II>WR px I W ~ Dinn m [a certain wealthy manfrom the x called R Yoseph Schlossberg and said there had to be a mistake,fiir reaches o the land of Germanyn]" about whom R Itzel f because he had never seen a "VIF" h ~ m down an offer of bemgBlazzer tells in the n n1a.i-u section of 9 n ?rxOthat he offered to x ~ ueated as such. R Yoseph had to explain to the non-Jewish man-buv R Yisrael Salanter a new tallith and was turned down.) ager that among faithful Jews the more imponant the penon, the - . greater his humility, citing the Biblical description of "the greatest I .rrad puspnph tOl Jew who ever lived, Moses", as "more humble than any man on our proragonist refuses to accept privileges - he does not realize h n r R Moshe-Mordkhai Epstein considers him a lop student - he the face of the Earth"7. knows much more than he thinks he does - R Aamn Kotler R Noson Stem noted that ou 28 Tishri 5739 (October 29, does not lack self-confidence - our protagonist 1978), a grandson of R Yisrael-Zissel Dvoretz paid a visit to my does not prepate a speech in advance father in Monsey and showed him a letter he had found among his In this authors opinion, among thc ralmidim of the Alter, our gmdfathers papers. It was written by R Moshe-Mordkhai E pprotagonist came closest to their master in terms of being unas- srein in the winter of 5686 (1926) regarding my fathers candidacysuming. (No one would be surprised more than my father that for the rabbinate of the town of Yezneh. In the letter R Epsteinbooks are written about him!) An illustration of this was bmught praises our protagonist very highly and mommends that Rto this authors cognizance when told the following by R Yoseph Dvoretz, the retiring rav of Yezneh. who was moving then toSchlossbergP: R Yoseph was in charge of converting new com- Ererz Yisraei, make sure that he provides his city with a pmperputer systems for Chemical Bank. A random account would be se- successor, our pmtagonist. When my father read R Epsteius de-lected for testing new systems, and it happened that my fathers scription of himself, he remarked in surprise, "It seems fmm theaccount in the Spring Valley branch of Chemical came up. Notic- lrrter that R Moshe-Mordkhai held the world [rwr>ni nns] of me!"ing that it was a regular account. Mr. Schlossberg attached a In his humility, he did not know that his rosh yeshiva considered"VIP" flag to it in the computer. The Spring Valky branch man- 1 him a top student until he read the ietter. Another expression ofager saw the flag and instructed his tellers that next time "Rabbi : his humility was conveyed by another grandson of R Yisrael-Jacob Kamenecki" came into the bank, he should be nomed. a Zissel Dvoretz, R Moshe Dvoretz, who had met my father inWhen that eventually occurred, the manager came out to greet my Netanyah during the latters 5723 (1963) visit to Israel. When Rhther with an apology for not having treated him with the special : ii Moshe introduced himself and said who his grandfather was, mycourtesies a Very Important Person deserves - such as not having . father said. "1shaU tell you who your grandfather was. I tried to -to wait in l i e for a teller, having checks issued on an overdrawn ! step into his shoes in the rabbinate of Yezneh, but I was not ac- R Zutrmnr ruaenian plsuribl~ewn if cvidentinlly uorupmed. m o d wm&mph k c . G. * See k c . h nbvc. "Tkm l a i o n of LC . . . of Ch. 4. I k word mpn. fmn : cepted because I was not good enough to replace him." It is note-lhc for mnchcr ol". ar cmphprid. perlvder m ollurion lo k r l i n . Ihc home of h h m . $ worthy that R MosheMordkhai had sent the letter of recommen-Wrvv in the Gcrmsny of h r M o d k l i o wirs l m d at l k ccotcr of ilr ccunhy. We barc j: dation to R Yisrael-Zissel via our pmtagonistu! R Moshe-here. ,ha. maher i n s w a of L v h m r n being l e d fmm Homburg, r cily a l b wcrlcm mdof Gcnnany - cf. l k 6m pmgraph of 6rc. A, h r s and Ch 4. the end o f k . ( . (Ibe umrd 1 k r;s m D a h I. lk w n i o g d the wcond p a g r a p h in 0. 22. .See VoI. 2 for Ch.m p nuy u k o be m M d . s l k i l in m l o u r u d monncr. "fmm Ulc fmway.) x 8, h v c E. ! ingorum1 daojlr on this. lotcniev h k c h 10, 1999 "On Norcmbcr 9, 1996. R Morhc- pp. m-114 P inlerview Scplcmk 2. 1993 : ~ U R Q m d hearing this fmm my lalhs d Ulc N a m y h e n m u n u p 6
    • NOTES AND EXCURSUSES3.1 (63) .r(5Tilr Afterwards, when R Kamai wimessed the fervor with which the and ultimately. when he personally was suuck with the tragedy rrrlttridinr prayed their drawn-out M m p h - they were capable of of his sons apostasy, a new approach to Musar crystallized inside him. No longer did he dwell on fhe weaknesses of humanity. He doiug that only because they had broken their overnight fast before mmed instead to r f e t on ~ M Spotential for elc His Musuph and their blowing of the shophar - he conceded that the cswcsm~E%sma,~~~a,cgE%skXgE%sma, Mashgiah was right. [R Yoseph-Eliyahu Henkin also fought 63 w7d quotes a shmuess by R Finkel in which the sin of m a against the yeshivisheh innovation of eating before shophar by a n at npia .n is defined as a failure to seize the opportunity to up- publishing articles against such action in rabbinic journals. Ac- lift the congregation. Also cf. #-wu,which quotes the Alters ex- cording to R Yisrael ShurinP, when R Henkin was told that the planation of why "the Holy One, blessed be He, is particular with br~hurirrrwould be unable to dawn the long Musaph without mak- those who are in His proximity (even on something as fine) as a ing Kiddush fmt, he said, "Let them &ven a short M m p h . then." strand of hair (mwn mn> m ? DY pipa n-pn)"". to wit, thal the ~ He was so fervently opposed to the innovation that before Rosh echelon of the holy are required to educate the masses by acting as Hashanah of 5733 (autumn 1972), he told R Shnayur Kotler he inspiring models for them - and if the holy have the slightest im- wes urdering him (ow 7?# mna) not to make Kiddush in his yeshiva perfection. they will fail in this task. Typifying the revised ap- in Lakewood. R Shnayur called our protagonist for advice on proach to Musar is a statement of R Isaac Scherw quoted ibid:: what to do. and my father told him that being that the first day of "Excessive picking [at the inner recesses of the heart of a troubled Rosh Hashanah fell on Shubbath that y e x and the shophar would student] is essentially a product of a sadistic inclination - a kindnot be blown, there was no problem with making Kiildush before of lust, may the Merciful One spare us [~)PS ~mni],to observeMusr~ph; and on the second day, when the obligation of blowing someones soul in its throes.Y" (Also cf. KD+D .mn,7 by r+hps n-nzskuphor is only midrubbo~tr.there is less of an objection to which demonstrates how R Schers approach interlocked with thatmaking Kidush firsty. R Henkin was no longer alive the follow- of the anti-Musar Hazon-lsh when it states: "Our tencher [theing year. and R Shnayur was able to uphold the custom instituted Hazon-lsh] did not generally ascribe importance to the Musariteby his father when he founded Beth Medrash Govoha.]) demand for breaking the traits [nrrnn ni?w] [of the personality]. Also cf. Blqvoth. where the Alters shmuess of 13 Elul 5673 or to extra bewonderment of ones spiritual powers [wnn n~no],(September 16, 1913). as narrated by the author R Kaplan, evi- and even less to picking at someone elses spirit [emphasis added].dences shades of R Noson-Zvis ongoing battle for Musar. Per- He would say, We need not tell a man all that we know abouthaps the Alter was aroused to confront the issue because of the him. In his opinion, good deeds are not disqualified because theirlong-lasting dispute over Musar in the renewed Volozhin Yeshiva performer has self-interest in mind; and he also did not hold thatrlrat raged "in the years 5672-5673 (1912-1913)", as per b v ~ D P . r - some self-galn [nmn N~D] a " ~ P U [touching], in the Musar ter- minology - is a sore of leprosy [IIPIY YU] that requires constant - rnr who war lcrr orquainled with yexl~;~;~heh CU-0811. ww R EI~PB~vYL: mC olhU h 4 m il ir rurpriring thvt in ibe anre.bellrun crs w k n rnbboninl enjoyed u hi* urirw r- h t scratching. Whoever does that becomes plagued by his scratching. ousl!rip~hivu cf. Ch. O. tho 8 p ~ l g m p h Elc. L - Ib.)r~h&lh wne iodrpmdsntenrugb - 1. of I,, crr;lle their own hlrthic n a m . R Avnhrrn-Zvi. a young and m U y w i n l e d ruv. wr Our teacher smiled and whispered."The Worlds Creator and hisinlro more likely to hvrs h M down on a hdokhis pin1 in I . f r c of R Yuuhms i w h . r h P lalcrrirw O r h r 16. ZaXl r See n p s l . n u mr n-nn -D n7x ih.t b m a iD I El<. above - p. B. Y. " P. m " R am> 3 " Cf. n. 77. b h w . P. ,am . P 7 Y BUI dmrictly h.!dhic p o p x i v s . caling b e r m fullilliog I . holiday mimlb is eoosidcml by I . h h a. n. I .Ma.late as 56(6 (IW6). S 4, n W ~ wA viewed (by Tck ~ 8 l r n W i r 8 2 1ar ivlvavliug a; m q B # lo b ur luingsnl on the ravnd day of Yom Tov as on I . 6% my fathsr man, ih.1 h "frmlbg out and impoclim of t k d r " of nudmr. A h el. Ch. 4. I . end of n. 49, w k m h . -R Ho8lln would oflm I m : rerum=. . P. rup b e . 1 h r c p. F u k l c by s a,n . ... R Sehu is durribd by a fanaus Sl- au u ar rlor belng fully in tune with R Finkcls lms l 0 1 . A i s cf. Ch. 5. I . end d the fim m g m p h of Elc. F. m11 h d PuhlirW by w h .wm on pn n m i . pp. 1161 19 -
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