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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Motzaei Shabbos’

My Machberes

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Liska/Rimanover Chassunah

In the Liska Beis Medrash of Boro Park moments before candle lighting time on Erev Shabbos Vayishlach, November 30, Aleksander Sender Friedlander was ennobled by his grandfather, Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Friedlander, fifth Liska Rebbe and author of Chamudei Tzvi, with the traditional placement of a shtreimel on the head of a chassan.

Shtreimel for the Liska chassan. (Credit: Shmuel Lenchevsky)

Chassan domeh l’melech – a chassan is the equivalent of a king (Pirkei D’Rebbe Eliezer 17). Our sages declared that a chassan must be respected as a ruling king and, of course, a kallah must be honored as a reigning queen. That is why a chassan and kallah, before their wedding day, must not walk alone but be escorted. The placement of a shtreimel on the head of a chassan is traditionally performed by a person of distinction, such as a chassidishe rebbe, a rav, a rosh yeshiva or a grandfather.

Aleksander Sender, son of Rabbi Sholom Chaim Friedlander, was uniquely honored by his grandfather, a venerated chassidishe rebbe descending from a revered chassidishe dynasty.

On Sunday, December 2, chassidim gathered at the Tiferes Rivka hall in Boro Park to be part of the kabbolas panim for the chassan. Ladies gathered to welcome the kallah, Esther Miriam, daughter of Rabbi Chaim Elazar Wassertheil, Rimanover Rebbe. The chassan is also a grandson of Rabbi Avrohom Mordechai Safran, Kamarna Rebbe in Jerusalem.

The chuppah was held on a bedecked platform across the street from the wedding hall, in an open area ordinarily used as a parking lot. The Liska Rebbe, as mesader kiddushin, officiated, imbuing the joining of two chassidishedynasties with sanctity and blessing.

(L-R) The chassan; the Liska Rebbe; the Hivnover Rav. (Credit: Shmuel Lenchevsky)

Singing and dancing erupted as the chassan and kallah were escorted into the wedding hall after the meal. The mitzvah tantz honoring the kallah by the chassidishe rebbes, fathers and grandfathers included, was a picture of joy and ecstasy.

The kallah’s father, the Rimanover Rebbe, is distinguished in his outreach and community work. His doors are always open and his table is always set and welcoming. The Rimanover Rebbe was a prime disciple and close confidant of Rabbi Pinchas Menachem Alter, zt”l, (1926-1996), sixth Gerer Rebbe and author of Pnei Menachem, for more than sixteen years. The Pnei Menachem served as rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Sefas Emes Ger in Jerusalem before he was anointed Gerer Rebbe in 1992. Given his relationship with the Pnei Menachem, the Rimanover Rebbe was privy to and participated in many discussions with Gedolei Torah and Jewish leaders. When the Pnei Menachem passed away, the Rimanover Rebbe returned to the United States.

Under the chuppah (L-R): The Hivnover Rav; the Liska Rebbe; Rabbi Sholom Chaim Friedlander (father of the chassan); the chassan; and the Rimanover Rebbe. (Credit: Shmuel Lenchevsky)

The Rimanover Rebbe is a direct descendant of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Tarim, zt”l (1745-1815), Rimanover Rebbe and author of Tziyon Menachem. As prime disciple of the Noam Elimelech and Rabbi Shmelke of Nikolsburg, zt”l (1726-1778), and as mentor to Rabbi Naftali of Ropshitz, zt”l (1760-1827), the Rimanover Rebbe is considered a pillar of chassidism. Today’s Rimanover Rebbe continues his teachings.

The chassan is a great-grandson of Rabbi Yozef Friedlander, zt”l (1918-1971), Liska Rebbe and author of Tzvi Vechamid who survived the Holocaust, emigrated to the United States in1947, and established the Liska Beis Medrash in Boro Park. He is interred on Har HaMenuchos adjacent to the Belzer Rebbe, zt”l. The Tzvi Vechamid is a son of Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Friedlander, zt”l Hy”d (1874-1944), Liska Rebbe and author of Sharei Hayosher who was murdered in the Holocaust; son of Rabbi Chaim Friedlander, zt”l (1840-1904), Liska Rebbe and author of Tal Chaim; son-in-law of Rabbi Zvi Hirsh Friedman, zt”l (1890-1874), founding Liska Rebbe and author of Ach Pri Tevuah.

In addition, the chassan is a grandson of Rabbi Avrohom Yehoshua Heshel Frankel, zt”l Hy”d (1874-1944), Hivnover Rav and descendant of Rabbi Sholom Rokeach, zt”l (1783-1855), founding Belzer Rebbe known as the Sar Sholom; Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Dravrimdiker, zt”l (1740-1810), revered Berditchiver Rebbe and author of Kedushas Levi; and Rabbi Elimelech Weissblum, zt”l (1717-1787), Lijensker Rebbe and author of Noam Elimelech.

My Miraculous Hospital Experience

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Since suffering from colitis as a teen, I finally adopted a strict diet in my 30s that ended my torment. It wasn’t easy to forgo white flour, white sugar and all chemical additives, but it meant that I spend the last 40 years pretty much free of doctors, medications and illness, thank God. Thus, I was surprised when two weeks before Rosh Hashanah, I began to experience increasingly severe stomach discomfort – until I was barely able to move. Despite what I was soon to endure, it helped greatly to focus on the moment-to-moment miracles. For example:

Miracle #1: My son Moshe, who is one of the busiest people on the planet, called on a Wednesday night to say, “I have a free morning, so let’s finish your new set of Sanity Cards,” a project to help children deal with stressful events in a positive manner. Miraculously I had no clients that morning, which is usually a busy time, and miraculously he has never before called with such an offer. So I immediately agreed. He came promptly at 10 a.m., as promised. His presence helped distract me from the pain, which I was sure would soon fade.

Miracle #2: We finished around 10:30 a.m., when he said, “Mom, this is ridiculous. You’re in too much pain! Get a doctor.” I promptly called the service that sends doctors to one’s home. The clerk at the health fund said that the doctor could not come until 3 p.m., but less than half an hour later, he showed up unexpectedly. After a brief examination, he promptly sent me to the emergency room.

Miracle #3: Since my son was with me, he was able to drive me to the hospital. He also stayed with me most of the time – returning home at 2.am.

Miracle #4: After sitting in terrible pain in the emergency room, a bed finally became available at around 3:30. I was able to lie down, which I hadn’t been able to do before, and was given an IV, which included a pain reliever. At 5:30, the results of the CT finally came back. A group of doctors determined that I had a massive infection, as well as three large blood clots near my pancreas. The nurse told me to not move around, as things looked grim. But I was relieved that there was no obstruction, as my greatest fear was that I would need to undergo intestinal surgery.

Miracle #5: I was given antibiotics and heparin intravenously to dissolve the clots. I was told not to move, lest the dangerous blood clots travel to my lungs or brain, God forbid. As I looked at the bags hanging from the poles, I thought to myself, “This is how I need to feel Hashem’s love, as if it is flowing into my veins 24/7.”

Miracle #6: At 2 a.m., I was transferred to the hospital ward. Although my roommate was having a hard night, her husband was the sweetest person imaginable, constantly soothing her with words of reassurance and helping her with all the little things a person needs right after surgery. Thus, the energy was very positive and loving. I was grateful that there were only the two of us and grateful for buttons that allowed me to adjust the bed myself.

Miracle #7: The next day my son brought me lots of reading material, including all the Mishpacha magazines that I hadn’t gotten to and a book I had been wanting to read for months – that he just “happened” to find. I was soothed and inspired during the long nights.

Miracle #8: On Friday afternoon, at around 3 p.m., a group of ten young men with guitars, flutes and drums entered my room singing Shabbos songs. They even asked for my favorites. Pure Gan Eden! After they left, a chassid walked in with a sweet two-year-old who was holding a basket of taffy candies. Her father motioned to her to give two candies to each patient. What a lesson in chesed! I disposed of the candies, as I do not eat sugar. But her smile will stay with me forever.

Miracle #9: At around 5 p.m., my brother walked in with a box of grapes, which I had asked him to bring – just in case I could eat something. Since my daughter, who insisted on coming to visit, had gotten mixed up and had gone to Ein Kerem hospital instead of Shaare Zedek, we had time to talk, which was important to us.

Marriage Compromises

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Dear Dr. Yael:

I am struggling in my marriage after just five years. I am, by nature, a very outgoing person. I love to go out with friends and have people over for Shabbos meals. My husband, on the other hand, is quieter and would rather be home and stick to our routine. This causes a great deal of friction; between work and the kids, I do not have much of a social life and always want to invite people over or go out with other couples.

My husband likes to be alone and resents the fact that I want a fuller social life. I begrudge his not understanding my need to go out or have friends over. This has led to neither of us appreciating the other’s wants. When we were dating I knew that my husband was not as social as me, but I figured that opposites attract. I also didn’t want to be with someone who would always be running out of the house to be with his friends. I am happy that my husband wants to be home with me, but I wish that he would also enjoy going out – as a couple. I know I can’t force him to enjoy going out, but it bothers me when he doesn’t have a good time when I am able to convince him that we should share an evening out.

How can we solve this problem?

A Frustrated Social Butterfly

Dear Frustrated Social Butterfly:

Marriage is very challenging when spouses have different needs, but it is a positive sign that you are able to appreciate that your husband enjoys being a homebody. Since you cannot force your husband to have a good time going out with others, perhaps he would have more fun if the two of you go out alone and do something that is mutually enjoyable. It’s possible that your husband does not feel as comfortable as you in social situations and would feel less pressured and thus happier if it was just the two of you.

Here are some suggestions: consider asking your husband whether he and your friends’ husbands would be comfortable babysitting the children when you go out with your friends.

Another way to be more sociable is by inviting friends to join you for Shalosh Seudos or to you go visit a friend on Friday night after lighting the Shabbos candles. You should also ask your husband to meet you half way by sometimes having company over for meals.

If he agrees to any of these ideas, you will have more of the social life you desire.

It is important to understand that while your husband is your partner (and hopefully your best friend) he need not fulfill all of your needs. Instead, you can have some of them filled by friends (as I’ve described) in ways that will both meet your wishes and not make your husband unhappy.

As I said earlier, it can be difficult when each spouse has different wants. However, even you married someone with the same wants and needs, other issues would surface because no two people are exactly the same.

Hashem creates a match between two people in order for them to help each other grow and become better individuals. Perhaps you and your husband can learn from each other and try to make compromises, so that you both feel fulfilled and understood. Additionally, it might be a good idea for you to talk to your husband about his reason for not liking to go out or having company over. This might give you some insight into what makes him uncomfortable. And inquire as to whether he has a chavrusah or close friend that he would enjoy socializing with.

Use “I feel” messages when you speak with him so he does not feel defensive. While doing this, it is important that you approach him in a calm and gentle manner. Otherwise the conversation may lead to an argument.

It is essential that you and your husband understand that just because you have differences on the issue of socializing with others, doesn’t mean that you do not care about the other’s desires. And if you and your husband are expressing an “I don’t care” message, you need to strengthen your communication methods.

The Intricacies Of Selichos

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

There is a custom to say Selichos before Rosh Hashanah. Sephardim have the custom to say Selichos during the entire month of Elul, while Ashkenazim follow the custom of the Ramah (Orach Chaim 581:1) to only say Selichos for a minimum of four days prior to Rosh Hashanah – beginning with Motzaei Shabbos. The Ramah quotes from the Kol Bo that certain communities had the custom that the ba’al tefillah should also be the chazzan for the remainder of the day. The Magen Avraham explains that this is because of the general rule that when one begins a mitzvah he should complete it.

The Magen Avraham adds that the chazzan for Selichos should also serve as the chazzan for Ma’ariv. Several Achronim took issue with this ruling, for Ma’ariv is part of the davening of the next day and is not connected to the davening of the day before. The Chasam Sofer, in his commentary to Shulchan Aruch, explains that the Gemara in Berachos 26b says that the Ma’ariv tefillah was instituted in correspondence with the burning of the eivarim (sinews), which were left over from the korban tamid of the evening that the tefillah of Minchah corresponds to. Therefore, even though the tefillah is technically part of the next day’s davening, it is nevertheless connected to the tefillah of Minchah that precedes it.

Many Achronim were bothered by the explanation of the custom that the ba’al tefillah for Selichos should also be the chazzan for the rest of the day because he must complete a mitzvah that he began. They asked the following questions: What connects the rest of the day’s davening to each other and to Selichos? Do we apply this rule to one who davens Shacharis and thereby tell him that he should also be the chazzan for Minchah? Certainly not. The rule is only applicable to parts of one mitzvah; davening Selichos for the amud and davening for the amud the rest of the day are separate mitzvos. Thus this rule should not apply.

The Livush suggests a different understanding for this custom. He writes that in the place where this custom was practiced they also had a custom that the chazzan for Selichos would fast the entire day. Therefore, as it would be too difficult for the general chazzan to daven everyday, they would alternate; the one who was fasting would daven all of the tefillos of that day.

The sefer, Binyan Shlomo, disagrees with the Magen Avraham and offers an alternate explanation for the custom. He suggests that we often find that we offer encouragement for people to do certain services that they might be hesitant to do. For example, the Gemara in Yuma 22a says that the person who did the terumas hadeshen would be granted the honor of arranging the maracha, which was more desirable to do. Similarly people do not regard Selichos as being an honorable tefillah in which to serve as chazzan; therefore we must give them an incentive and grant them the position of chazzan for the remainder of the day. The Binyan Shlomo adds that today, when most people say Selichos on their own and the chazzan must only finish each paragraph, it is no longer too burdensome in people’s eyes – and thus it is unnecessary to continue this custom today.

The sefer, Harirai Kedem, suggest that in order to understand the Magen Avraham we must first understand what the essence of Selichos is. He says that the essence of Selichos is an introduction and an addition to the day’s regular tefillos. That means that if one only davens Selichos and does not daven any other tefillah that day, he has not even fulfilled his obligation to recite Selichos. This is because the Selichos are additions to the regular tefillos.

Based on this we can explain the reasoning of the Magen Avraham. Since Selichos are additional prayers to the davening of the day, they are connected to all of the davening of that day. Therefore, when one serves as chazzan for Selichos (the addition to all of the day’s tefillos) we tell him to finish the mitzvah by also davening the rest of that day’s tefillos. On a day when Selichos are not recited, we do not tell the ba’al tefillah for Shacharis to daven Minchah since they are not connected in any way.

Events In The West

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Siyum HaShas: On August 1 communities worldwide will celebrate the Siyum HaShas. West Coast locations include The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the music center in downtown Los Angeles. The program is sponsored by Agudath Israel of California and features Dayan Aron Dovid Dunner and a big screen, real-time connection to the Siyum HaShas at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. You will also hear a special message for the L.A. community from The Toloner Rebbe of Yerushalayim… Denver’s celebration will be held at Aish HaTorah Denver.

On July 30 the northern California bay area community will host its celebration in Palo Alto at the Jewish Study Network.

Events In The West: On August 4 a Motzaei Shabbos concert will be held at Beth Jacob Beverly Hills to benefit Israeli Youth In Crisis, featuring the music of Yehuda Katz, Robby Nathan and Jeff Stern… On August 17 Kehillat Yavneh in L.A. hosts Rabbi Adam and Sharon Mintz as scholars-in-residence.

Shul News: Two Northern California shuls are seeking Rabbis: Kenesseth Israel Torah Center in Sacramento and Adath Israel in San Francisco… Rabbi Yoir Apter from the Kollel Mercaz HaTorah in the Pico Robertson area of L.A. is now the assistant rabbi of Anshe Emesin the Pico-Robertson neighborhood.

CALABASAS, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Bas Mitzvah:Shayna Cohenghadosh, daughter of Joseph and Dalia Cohenghadosh.

LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Birth: Jeremy and Anna Beck, a daughter.

Mazel Tov – Bar Mitzvah: Eita Acks, son of Mick and Ilana Acks.

Mazel Tov – Wedding:Michael Denise to Miriam Backer.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Births: Zack and Dovie Tomaszewski of NY, a daughter (Grandparents Joe and Guerta Tomaszewski)… Yoni and Lisa Wintner, a son… Michael and Ariana Bernstein, a daughter (Grandparents Saul and Linda Bernstein)… Yehuda and Arielle Cohen, of Brookline, MA, a daughter (Grandparents Jack and Carrol Fenigstein)… Zachary and Rikki Hepner, a son (Grandparents Gershon and Linda Hepner)… Arele and Mushka Teleshevsky, a son… Pini and Dinie Foreman, a daughter… Rabbi Avrohom and Russi Mordenstein, a daughter… Rabbi Dovid and Ayala Sulami, a daughter… Lou and Simi Shapiro, a son (Grandparents Alan and Rona Shapiro of Woodland Hills, CA)… Rabbi Mendy and Leiba Lerner, a son (Grandparents Rabbi Aaron and Devora Friedman; Great-grandparents Rabbi Jacob and Leah Friedman)… Rabbi Yitzchok and Miriam Davis, a son… Mark and Jennifer Smith, a daughter (Grandparents Benjamin Shapell and Anna Novack; Great-grandparents David and Fela Shapell)… Chesky and Rosalie Braunstein, a daughter (Grandparents Haim and Helen Dayan)… Ari and Miryam Wasserman in Israel, a daughter (Grandparents Dr. Manny and Marsha Wasserman).

Mazel Tov – Bar Mitzvah: Joel Abecassis, son of Alisa Abecassis.

Mazel Tov – Engagements: Greg Kanter to Batsheva Polatsek of Monsey, NY… Shira Lavian, daughter of Rabbi Yaakov and Sharona Lavian, to Shlomo Khalili… Jennifer Anishban to Daniel Halperin.

Mazel Tov – Weddings:Jonathan Uretsky, son of Steve and Muriel Uretsky, to Ilana Sussman of NY… Michael Friedman, son of Steve and Janis Friedman, to Shirley Lechtman… Shaul Klein, son of Rabbi Eliezer and Tova Klein, to Rachel Fuchs of NY.

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Bas Mitzvah:Daniella Engel, daughter of Alan and Sarah Engel.

PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Engagement: Ari Tuchman to Liora Schultz.

Mazel Tov – Wedding: Ari Kushner to Alexis Deller.

TARZANA, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Birth:Rabbi Yanky and Hindy Kahn, a son (Grandparents Rabbi Mordechai and Chavie Einbinder).

VALLEY VILLAGE, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Births: Benyamin and Tzipora Shoen of Houston, TX, a son (Grandparents Jan and Lori Moore)… Moshe and Pam Friedman of Chicago, a son (Grandparents Yitz and Selma Friedman).

Mazel Tov – Engagements:Tuvia Schwarzmer, son of Rabbi Shmuel and Malca Schwarzmer, to Bayla Landau of Queens, NY… Sholom Berman, son of Rabbi Avrohom and Mimi Berman, to Rivka Shurin of Monsey… Aviva Bellman to Steve Bercovici of Montreal, Canada.

DENVER, COLORADO

Mazel Tov – Engagements:Ariella Kopinsky, daughter of Brian and Sarina Kopinsky, to Abayai Sherman of Chicago… Micah Olesky, son of Neil and Vicky Olesky of Greenwood Village, CO, to Alannah Masinelli, daughter of Trevor Masinelli and Adina Sladek

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

Mazel Tov – Birth: Avi and Debbie Erblich, a son (Grandparents Les & Michelle Levin).

Learning As A Child

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

I’d like to believe that I at least have average intelligence. And when in need of inspiration or to learn something to facilitate my personal growth, I gain much from adult tapes and books. I’m greatly inspired by the words of the plethora of writers and speakers who target their words to adult audiences; their sentence structure and vocabulary meant only for us grownups. Their valuable lessons are often arrived at through a series of logical steps any adult with reasonable intelligence should be able to follow. And follow I do.

Then why, as a middle-aged woman, do I so much enjoy listening to Rabbi Juravel, whose tapes are geared to the average five- or six-year-old? Why do I so often find that it is the tapes meant for children that speak to my heart best, motivating me to make quick, positive changes?

Maybe it’s because while my head may enjoy intellectual material, my heart responds best to simple language.

Months ago I was listening to Rabbi Juravel’s Chanukah tape. He told a story involving two horse-and-wagon drivers, Rav Mordechai and Rav Pinchas, who earned their living by taking people to their destinations. Rav Mordechai’s horses were faster than Rav Pinchas’s, making Rav Mordechai’s traveling service more expensive.

On one Chanukah there was an upcoming fair on a Sunday, a long distance away. The townspeople had to leave on Motzaei Shabbos to get to the fair on time. Those in a better financial position used Rav Mordechai’s superior traveling service, while the poorer people used Rav Pinchas’s, which was less expensive but had slower horses.

When the people came to Rav Mordechai’s house after Shabbos, Rav Mordechai, in a rush to get his customers to the fair on time, quickly recited Havdalah and the Chanukah candle lighting without saying the words of the berachos properly and with kavanah. But Rav Pinchas behaved differently. When his customers arrived at his house that Motzaei Shabbos, Rav Pinchas said the berachos slowly and carefully – and with kavanah.

In the end, Rav Mordechai’s horses and everyone on them were significantly delayed, as they fell into a river that they mistakenly thought was frozen and had tried to use as a shortcut. As a result, they all arrived at the fair when it was almost over. Meanwhile, as Rav Pinchas and his customers were on the way to the fair, Rav Pinchas and everyone else in the wagon fell asleep. The horses, having gone down this route before, trotted along the familiar path, ignoring the seemingly frozen lake and able to bring everyone to the fair on time.

After telling this story Rabbi Juravel offers this explanation: “Why did Hashem help Rav Pinchas, but not Rav Mordechai, get to the fair? Well, we don’t know. Hashem always has His secret reasons for what He does. And Hashem never tells us His secret reasons. But we do know that Hashem likes it better when a person makes berachos slowly and with kavanah, while He doesn’t enjoy it when a person rushes through berachos without kavanah.”

“Hashem always has His secret reasons…” is a simple reminder to trust Hashem despite not understanding His ways. But then comes this powerful message: “[Hashem] doesn’t enjoy it when a person rushes through berachos…”

The words “Hashem doesn’t enjoy it…” echoed in my head.

Every morning, when I opened my siddur, those words reverberated in my head and reminded me to slow down. Not a long drasha. Not a mussar schmooze about giving a din v’cheshbon after 120 years on the quality of my davening. Not even a lecture about the power of tefillah (although surely all the things just mentioned have their places). Rather, just a “simple” statement – a statement to children. Just an image of having made Hashem sad because I rush through my davening and act, chas v’shalom, like I don’t like to spend too much time talking to Him.

As another example, I recently got a powerful dose of inspiration and chizuk when listening to a tape. A 1996 children’s tape by Rabbi Shmuel Kunda, titled “Where’s Zaidy?” featured these simple yet powerful, profound words: “But the Ribbono Shel Olam sometimes sends us on trips to places we never heard of for reasons [of which] I have no idea. But we can be sure that everything the Ribbono Shel Olam does is for a good reason. So when we hear the sounds of the shofar, we should think of it like the voice of the Ribbono Shel Olam telling us to believe that everything He does is for a good reason – and for the best.”

My Machberes

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Ozerover Rebbe Rebuilds Great-Grandfather’s Ohel

A new ohel (mausoleum) was built on the gravesite of Rabbi Aryeh Yehuda Leibish Epstein, zt”l (1837-1914), third Ozerover (or Ozjorover) Rebbe and author of Birkas Tov. The order of his names – Aryeh Yehuda Leibish and Yehuda Aryeh Leib varies according to the source. Founded in 1569, Ozerov, also called Ozjorov in Yiddish and Ozarow in Polish, is a town in Southeastern Poland, 40 miles from Lublin. Today, it has approximately 5,000 residents and its largest employer is a local cement factory. No Jews presently live in Ozarow.

Ozerover Rebbe

Ozarow was a small Polish town, a shtetl, one of the hundreds of such small towns scattered throughout Poland. However, in the Jewish world it was a source of chassidic inspiration. To this day the name Ozerov stands for Torah scholarship and piety.

A famous Jewish cemetery in the town dates back almost 400 years and is one of the limited number of remaining Jewish cemeteries in Poland. The cemetery wall was almost totally destroyed during World War II. Nazi soldiers used the tombstones in their nearby fortifications. In May 2001, Dr. Norman Weinberg organized the Ozarow Cemetery Restoration Project, and along with his wife and friends renovated and rebuilt the cemetery, which was completed on October 15, 2001. The new ohel also houses the gravesite of Rabbi Yosef Epstein, zt”l, son of the Birkas Tov.

In 2000, a complete tombstone was found in the river that runs adjacent to Ozarow. The inscription was fully legible and Jewish visitors to Ozarow were pleased to identify it as that of the Birkas Tov. In an endeavor spearheaded by Dr. Weinberg, in concert with the Ozarow municipality, Jewish monuments that had been scattered around the area by the Nazis were collected and restored to their rightful locations. In addition, a memorial monument was erected to honor the Jewish martyrs murdered in the Holocaust. A retaining wall was rebuilt around the cemetery to protect it. At that time, Rabbi Tanchum Benyamin Becker, sixth and present Ozerover Rebbe, together with a large group of Chassidim and Ozarow survivors and descendants, took an active part in the restoration efforts. The rededication took place on October 15, 2001.

Ozerover Rebbe at cemetery dedication.

Using the testimony of the few surviving witnesses, the exact location of graves of the Birkas Tov and his son was identified and the foundations of the original ohel were unearthed. The ohel had been destroyed by the Nazis. The lengthy and costly process of obtaining a permit was initiated and processed by the necessary intermediaries. The tombstones of the respective rebbetzins were found and their gravesites identified.

The resuscitation of the Ozarow Jewish cemetery is nothing less than miraculous. Keys to the cemetery are now available at the municipality office as well as with the cemetery caretaker. Visitors are urged to be considerate and to offer gratuities to those who extend beneficial services.

Efforts are now underway to redeem (i.e. repurchase) the Ozerov Beis Medrash where the Ozrov Rebbes and their chassidim davened, studied Torah, and conducted tisch. Sadly, the beis medrash itself, used as a cinema and a plumbing supply warehouse, is today run down. The shul’s courtyard is used as a shopping center.

Rabbi Becker, the current Ozerover Rebbe, was born in America. He is the son of Rebbetzin Miriam Becker, daughter of the fifth Ozerover Rebbe, married to Rabbi Dovid Eliyahu Becker of Milwaukee. The Ozerover Rebbe continuous the republication of his grandfathers’ sefarim. He is also the third Chentshiner Rebbe, succeeding his grandfather and his great-great-grandfather.

Rabbi Becker is the succeeding grandson of Rabbi Moshe Yechiel Epstein, zt”l (1890-1971), Ozerover-Chentshiner Rebbe. He is the fifth Ozerover Rebbe and author of Esh Dat (11 volumes) and Be’er Moshe (12 volumes). In addition, he served as the second Chentshiner Rebbe, succeeding his grandfather, Rabbi Chaim Shmuel Horowitz-Sternfeld. Rabbi Moshe Yechiel moved to America in 1927 and lived on the Lower East Side and in the Bronx. In 1953 he moved to Tel Aviv. A leading Torah scholar, he was awarded the Israel Prize for Torah Literature in 1968. He is buried in Bnai Brak.

Rabbi Moshe Yechiel is the son of Rabbi Abraham Shlomo Epstein, zt”l (1865-1918), fourth Ozerover Rebbe and author of Sheiris Bracha. He was the son-in-law of Rabbi Chaim Shmuel Horowitz-Sternfeld, zt”l (1843-1915), founding Chentshiner Rebbe who lived in Eastern Europe but conducted his life according to Eretz Yisrael time.

Rabbi Abraham Shlomo is the son of Rabbi Aryeh Yehuda Leib Epstein (1837-1914), third Ozerover Rebbe and author of Birkas Tov; son of Rabbi Yechiel Chaim, zt”l (1820-1888), who succeeded is father at the age of 17 as second Ofalow Rebbe, then served as Apter Rebbe, and became the second Ozerover Rebbe; son of Rabbi Yehuda Aryeh Leib Epstein, zt”l (d. 1837), founding Ozerover Ofalow Rebbe.

Dear Brother: Who Are You?

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Hey Yankel, how are you doing?

Thanks for the pics you sent me. You and your son really look well fed and robust. However, since you asked me how I am doing, I have no choice but to be honest.

Yankel, I have known you all of my life; after all, you are my older brother and I have always attempted to emulate all your ways.

I live in “treif America”; you settled in Eretz Yisrael. While I use English as my spoken language, you insist on exclusively speaking Yiddish. While I wear “Western style” clothing, you are obsessive in maintaining what you emphatically describe as “authentic Jewish” dress.

Although sometimes I kidded you for your obstinacy, in truth I envied you for what certainly seemed to me at the time to be your “more Jewish” lifestyle.

You are living in Meah Shearim; you have the freedom to teach your kids the way you want to; you are protected by the state; and for the most part no one — and I mean no one — interferes with your life.

When I would visit you I was always amazed by your financial stability and the growth of your neighborhoods. You now have air conditioning, cell phones and beautiful Shabbos clothes. You purchased apartments for all your children when they married.

In short, you were blessed by He whose blessings count and I was happy for you.

Even though you complained at times about all the Americans who come through your neighborhood, privately you admitted to me that it was those American dollars that pour through the shops and collectors of your streets that enable you to make beautiful weddings for your children.

I remember how at the last wedding of your daughter you had two videopeople – one for the women and one for the men. It did make me wonder why you needed that – after all, I (the Modern American) had no videoperson at my son’s wedding while you had two! However, I let it pass and was happy for you.

When the incidents occurred in Beit Shemesh, I believed what I read in the haredi media: that this was not indicative of the feelings of most “authentic Jews”; that this was the work of a “fringe group.”

Perhaps I did not really believe this, but I so wanted to believe it was true that I let it pass.

All that was before Motzaei Shabbos week before last, when I turned on the computer and there you were with your son – my nephew – Yossele.

Yankel, how could you do it? And how could you do it to our Yossele?

Look at your smile, Yankel, as you proudly set your eyes on your son whom you manipulated to raise his hands in a grotesque, sickening pose, mimicking the iconic photo of a young Jewish boy being rounded up by Nazi soldiers.

Yankel, I am sending you a copy of the authentic (as I know you always want that which is authentic), original photograph of that scared little boy. He is terrified, not knowing what life has in store for him.

Look at the other people in that old photograph (I know, most of them are women, but let’s be honest, Yankel, you must have studied this photo intently before you offered your son on the altar of hate) – they are petrified and to be pitied.

Look now at yourself, Yankel, and at the other people in the picture from Motzaei Shabbos. All of you are dressed in your Shabbos finery, and none of you appear frightened.

Yankel, what did you say to little Yossele before you sullied him with the badge of hate?

What words of chizuk did you offer to his pristine neshamah as you told him to pose in that position of mockery?

After that Motzaei Shabbos demonstration – and you often pointed this out to me – no one can claim you are “just a few fringe people.”

There were hundreds if not thousands of people involved in the planning and execution of that event.

You had women sewing the concentration camp uniforms. You had technical assistance in surfing the web to get the best Holocaust pictures. You had people printing and translating your signs into Hebrew and English.

And as you noted to me many times, although we have seen rabbinic bans and protests against concerts and books and women rabbis and individual authors, there has not been a single signed pronouncement appearing with the names of any prominent haredi rabbis protesting or denouncing your actions.

All that being said, Yankel, the reason I am writing to you is because you are my brother and I do love you dearly.

I love you with all my heart and soul and I cherish the good and wonderful and spiritual times we spent together singing and discussing Torah.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/dear-brother-who-are-you/2012/01/11/

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