web analytics
August 23, 2014 / 27 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Kidz
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



The Modern And The Old Jew


Tales of the Gaonim-logo

The name of the Gaon, Rav Yitzchok Elchonon Spektor, was known to Jewry throughout the world. He was also well know to Russian royalty, having visited the Czar many times to plead for his fellow religionists.

Once, while traveling home from St. Petersberg he was on the same train with a prominent merchant, one of the Maskilim or free thinkers. When the train stopped at Vilna for an hour, a large throng of Jews gathered at the station. The merchant had never seen such a large crowd this station and he inquired as to the reason for their gathering.

“Don’t you know?” He was told, “the world famous Gaon, Rav Yitzchok Elchonon Spektor is on this train and we are hoping for the honor of at least getting a glimpse of him.”

The freethinker was impressed and decided to meet the Gaon. He inquired of the conductor of the first class coach if the prominent Jew was in the car. The conductor had neither heard of him nor had he seen him in his car. The merchant was a bit taken aback. A man who visits often with royalty surely travels first class.

Seeks The Gaon

He then inquired in the second-class coach and again he could not find him. Only when he entered the third class coach did people know of him.

“Will you please direct me to the chief rabbi of Kovna, Rabbi Rav Yitzchok Elchonon?” he asked the conductor.

He pointed to an elderly Jew with a long white beard who was at that moment praying in his tallis and tefillin.

The free thinker couldn’t believe his eyes. This old man, praying in public, was supposed to be the important representative of the Jews who was friendly with the Czar of Russia?

He waited until the Gaon had finished praying and then approached him saying, “Greetings unto you Rabbi. I am one of the freethinkers in Russia, a prominent merchant in my city. We have often spoken of you and your ideas. But I am somewhat taken aback, I had always figured you to be a modern Jew, especially since you visit the Czar. Imagine my surprise to see that you are one of the real old fashioned Jews.”

The Gaon looked at him and smiled. “On the contrary,” he said, “I am of the modern generation but you are of the old fashioned generation.”

“In what way?” asked the freethinker.

“Simply,” answered the Gaon, “on Pesach we read in the Hagaddah, ‘In the beginning our ancestors were idol-worshippers…”

Never Scold A Jew

Rav Yitzchok Elchonon was known for his humility and kindness towards his fellow Jews.

Once on Shabbos, while walking in the park in company with his secretary, Rav Yaakov Lipshitz, he saw a member of his congregation approaching him with a cigarette in his mouth. When the man saw the Gaon, he hastily threw it away.

“Good Shabbos to you,” said the Gaon to him, pleasantly.

“Good Shabbos,” answered the transgressor in a guilty tone as he hurried away.

The secretary could not contain himself. He turned to Rav Yitzchok Elchonon and said, “Rebbe, why didn’t you scold that man when you saw him violating the Shabbos? That way he’ll never do it again. Instead, you greeted him in a friendly manner as if you approved his actions.”

“On the contrary,” answered the Sage. “If I would have scolded him he would have felt offended at my interference in his personal life. Whereas, he now thinks that I didn’t see him and he’ll never smoke in public on Shabbos for fear that he may meet me again.”

Helping The Poor Woman

Once, a woman came to Rav Rav Yitzchok Elchonon with a difficult sheilah on an Erev Yom Tov. The Gaon paced the floor of his room, absorbed in deep thought. He then turned to the woman and said, “All is kosher.”

When the woman left, he told those present in the room that the woman’s husband was a poor melamed in a small town. He sent her only four rubles for the upkeep of the family. The poor woman had to pay one ruble for her son’s Hebrew tuition, leaving her only three rubles for all her Yom Tov needs. Then this sheilah arose. No heter could be found.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Modern And The Old Jew”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
4 yr old Israeli Daniel Tregerman, murdered by Hamas rocket on Aug. 22, 2014.
IDF: Israeli Toddler Murdered by Rocket Fired Near UNRWA School/Shelter
Latest Kidz Stories
Tales of the Gaonim-logo

In their perverted justice they also declared the following law: Anyone who was injured by another so that blood flowed from his wound, was compelled to pay his attacker since he bled him!

Tales-of-The-Midrash-logo

“When I asked why she cried so much she said she came from a very religious home and feared she would be sold to a non-Jew and forced to convert.

Tales of the Gaonim-logo

Know that from. the day I began to recite the holy name of God, I have always loved Shabbos

Tales-of-The-Midrash-logo

And so the enemy burst into the Sanctuary and set up a stand on the Temple Mount.

By means of a clever pretext, they succeeded in getting Rabi Yitzhak aboard a ship and sailed it down the river.

When the young man awoke, he did not know where he was. As he looked around, the princess looked out and saw him.

One winter morning a terrible blizzard raged, the weather dropped to below zero, and the woman became desperately ill.

Entering the city he visited the cattle market and saw two parei adumah untouched by any harness.

Crowded into their ghettos and suffering legal disabilities that make today’s claims of discriminations pale into insignificance, the German Jews suffered poverty and wretchedness.

Every night he would go out in the darkness and dig for hours until the waters began to rise, and watering places for the weary and thirsty came into being.

One of the greatest opponents was a certain wealthy man who did all that he could to make life difficult for Rav Naftali.

Do you wonder at times what possible purpose some little insect might have for being?

The two fathers began to discuss the terms and naturally, they were astounded to find that each one assumed that the other would give double.

Twelve years went by until Eliyahu HaNavi came to the entrance of the cave and exclaimed, “The Roman emperor has died and all of his decrees have become void. You are no longer under a death sentence.”

Rav Naftali was born the day that the Baal Shem Tov passed away, on the holiday of Shavuos, in the year 5520

Certainly, the Jewish leader, even more than the layman, must have his answers and explanations ready at all times

More Articles from Rabbi Sholom Klass
Tales-of-The-Midrash-logo

He followed her advice and, before departing, the rabbanim offered him a bracha. “Aba Yudin, may the Lord return your wealth, for all the kind deeds you do.”

Tales of the Gaonim-logo

In their perverted justice they also declared the following law: Anyone who was injured by another so that blood flowed from his wound, was compelled to pay his attacker since he bled him!

“When I asked why she cried so much she said she came from a very religious home and feared she would be sold to a non-Jew and forced to convert.

Know that from. the day I began to recite the holy name of God, I have always loved Shabbos

And so the enemy burst into the Sanctuary and set up a stand on the Temple Mount.

By means of a clever pretext, they succeeded in getting Rabi Yitzhak aboard a ship and sailed it down the river.

When the young man awoke, he did not know where he was. As he looked around, the princess looked out and saw him.

One winter morning a terrible blizzard raged, the weather dropped to below zero, and the woman became desperately ill.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/kidz/tales-of-the-gaonim/the-modern-and-the-old-jew/2012/08/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: