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April 2, 2015 / 13 Nisan, 5775
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The View From The Beis Medrash

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Yahrzeit Of Reb Moshe Feinstein

This Shabbos, 13 Adar (February 23), is the 27th yahrzeit of Reb Moshe Feinstein, zt”l (1895-1986). Reb Moshe was born in Uzda, Belorussia, escaping from Russia to New York in 1936. He became the rosh yeshiva of Mesivta Tiferes Yerushalayim on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and was revered as the gadol and posek hador. His p’sakim continue to guide us through every aspect of our lives.

Reb Moshe authored Dibros Moshe, a compilation of his chiddushim on Shas, and Igros Moshe, a seven-volume compilation of his halachic rulings. Darash Moshe, a commentary on the Chumash, was published posthumously.

Rav Moshe Feinstein

Rav Moshe Feinstein

At age nine he had completed the Gemara on Seder Nezikin, at eleven he finished Seder Nashim, and at age sixteen he had completed all of  Shas and Shulchan Aruch. His father instructed him to write his first halachic teshuvah when he was just eighteen years old.

Reb Moshe was known for his genius and diligent study habits. Near the end of his life he was visited by a close talmid who inquired about Reb Moshe’s wellbeing. The talmid was startled when he was told, “not good.” When the talmid inquired as to what had happened, Reb Moshe responded that his doctor had just ordered him to add one hour of sleep each night due to his physical condition. Until that point Reb Moshe would sleep from 12 midnight-3 a.m. But the required additional hour of sleep prompted Reb Moshe’s answer that things were not well because “I will become a complete am ha’aretz.” It should be noted that at this time, Reb Moshe was already considered the posek hador.

Reb Shmuel Birnbaum, zt”l, the rosh yeshiva of the Mir Yeshiva in Brooklyn, learned that the best time to reach Reb Moshe was at 4 a.m. when Reb Moshe began his first seder. Reb Shmuel called Reb Moshe to ask him several of his most difficult questions on the Gemara in Eizehu Neshech (a very complicated perek that deals with the halachos of ribbis). Day after day, Reb Moshe offered a direct solution to each question. At one point Reb Shmuel commented that he was fortunate to have caught Reb Moshe while he was learning the sugya. Reb Moshe responded that he had not learned the sugya b’iyun in several years!

Reb Moshe did not waste any of his time, giving much of that precious time to listening to and helping others. He would humbly greet and converse with everyone, even individuals who went unnoticed to others. An example of that humility was when a certain woman would call Reb Moshe every Friday afternoon to ask him what the candle lighting time was. Each week Reb Moshe would answer her as if this was a serious shailah. Yet another example was when another woman once approached Reb Moshe’s home and was told that Reb Moshe was unavailable. She pleaded that she needed to see Reb Moshe because she had just received a letter from her sister in Russia and needed someone to translate it. She was told that Reb Moshe could not be bothered with such things. The woman responded: “But he has been translating my letters for twenty years!”

Reb Shmuel Birnbaum was once asked whether another rav was permitted to argue with Reb Moshe. He responded that indeed one may disagree, but added that one would have to be completely insane to do so. He explained that in order to argue, the battlefield must be leveled. So let us compare: Reb Moshe, a tremendous genius, remembered all of his learning. He was never influenced by anything other than Torah. And he had learned Shas more than 150 times. And on the other side…

For many, Reb Moshe’s absence is felt most when new complex shailos arise and we lack someone of Reb Moshe’s stature – a standing that could bear the responsibility of an entire generation on his shoulders.

Yehi zichro baruch.

Satmar Rebbe Visits Boro Park

Satmar Rebbe

Satmar Rebbe

Matzav reported that although Snowstorm Nemo dumped much snow on New York two weekends ago, it could not disrupt or dampen the spirits of the Shabbos spent in Boro Park by Satmar chassidim with Rav Aharon Teitelbaum, shlita, of Satmar.

Thousands of chassidim, devotees, and local residents and guests from the New York area joined the Rebbe, who resides in Kiryas Yoel, New York, for tefillos and tishen.

The Rebbe’s visit came as a new Satmar building is being constructed in Boro Park. The structure is set to house some 70 classrooms, a wedding ballroom, and several smaller halls.

Construction began about six months ago, and work on the first floor has now begun. On Sunday, the week of parshas Vayikra, a special Livnas Hasapir event is scheduled to take place.

Following the Friday night tish that didn’t end until well past midnight, a large crowd regrouped for davening with the Rebbe on Shabbos morning. It was reported that at Shacharis, approximately $8.5 million was raised to fund the new building.

After the tefillos, the Rebbe visited the home of a prominent supporter who pledged half a million dollars. He spent seudas Shabbos with those who have donated over a quarter-million dollars for the new building.

Following Ma’ariv and Havdalah the Rebbe went to his host’s home, where he met more building contributors.

Reb Dovid Soloveitchik On The
Military Draft Of Yeshiva Bachurim

HaGaon HaRav Meshulam Dovid HaLevi Soloveitchik, shlita, son of the Brisker Rav and rosh yeshiva of one of the prominent Brisk yeshivos in Eretz Yisrael, told talmidim during a schmooze, “The intent of the haters of Israel by trying to draft bnei yeshivos is to destroy the major foundation of Torah, to destroy the yeshiva world, and to uproot klal Yisrael’s neshamah from its roots – the yeshivos haKodesh. In such a case,” he said, “we will be compelled to leave the country as was done during the time of the gezeirah against limud Torah in Vilna by the Communists.”

Reb Dovid Soloveichik

Reb Dovid Soloveichik

The rosh yeshiva referred to the “share the burden” effort as a “threat against the Torah world and Yiddishkeit, rachmanah litzlan.” He continued by referencing the Rambam’s Iggeres Teiman, where the Rambam writes about gezeiros against limud Torah by non-Jews.

Reb Dovid said, “When we refer annually in the Pesach Haggadah to ‘b’chol dor vador, omdim aleinu lechaloseinu,’we allude to the gezeiros of the haters of Torah seeking to uproot the Torah HaKedoshah, rachmanah litzlan.” He warned that if the drafting of yeshiva bachurim is brought to fruition, there “is no alternative but to run away from here,” – and that Torah study will continue abroad.

Reb Dovid called on the entire haredi tzibur to unite against this gezeirah, and advised everyone to conduct a cheshbon nefesh as to why this is being carried out against haredim today. He explained that if one does not perform mitzvos properly, one might lose the ability to fulfill these mitzvos.

Reb Dovid concluded by saying, “Therefore, we are compelled to strengthen our adherence to Torah and mitzvos, to improve our performance of mitzvos, and of course our yiras Shamayim.”

Yahrzeit Of
Rav Yeshaya Ben Dov Meir Shimanowitz

The yahrzeit of Rav Yeshaya Shimanowitz, zt”l (1908-1998), will be observed on 20 Adar (the date has been wrongly listed in many public postings as 22 Adar, but his son makes this correction). Rav Shaya, who served as rosh yeshiva at Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yaakov Yosef (RJJ) in New York, was born in Rubizevitch, Poland. At the age of ten, he began learning in the yeshiva in Bialystok, where his rebbe was the young Steipler Gaon, zt”l.

Rabbi Shaya Shimanowitz

Rabbi Shaya Shimanowitz

Following his bar mitzvah he enrolled in the yeshiva of Slutsk, where he became the favorite disciple of Rav Ahron Kotler, zt”l. He also developed a lifelong very close relationship with his chavrusah, Rav Elazar Menachem Man Shach, zt”l. At fifteen Rav Shaya decided to change yeshivas, moving to Kaminetz to learn with Rav Boruch Ber Leibowitz, zt”l, and remaining there until his early twenties. He then went to Radin to learn Kodshim b’chavrusah with Rav Mendel Zaks, zt”l, (the Chofetz Chaim’s son-in-law) for over three years in the Chofetz Chaim’s house.

When Rav Shaya was twenty-five, he was invited to join the select Mir Yeshiva – Rav Lezer Yudel Finkel’s select chaburah. Within a short time Rav Shaya found his eishes chayil, Rebbetzin Ettel, a”h. He was one of the few yungerleit accepted into the famous Kovna Kollel, and later traveled with the Mir Yeshiva to Shanghai and Japan.

After the war Rav Ahron Kotler helped Rav Shaya obtain a position at RJJ, where he became a rosh yeshiva for the next twenty-five years. In Williamsburg Rav Shaya also became rosh kollel at Kollel Kerem Shlomo. Rav Shaya and his rebbetzin moved to Lakewood in 1990.

Some of his chiddushim were printed in a series of sefarim (currently three) called Amudei Shayish. Yehi Zichro Baruch.

Nadvorna-Lubliner Chassanah

Ben Tzion Leifer, the Nadvorna Rebbe’s einekel, was married on Sunday, February 10, Rosh Chodesh Adar at Ateres Golda in Boro Park. The kallah’s father, Reb Meir Eiger, is an eidim of Reb Yechiel Menachem, the Alexander Rebbe of the Lubliner chassidishe dynasty. The kallah’s grandfather, Reb Feivel Eiger, is an eidim by the Koslov Rebbe.

About the Author: For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.com.


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