Title: For the Love of Torah – Stories and Insights of Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel
Author: Rabbi Hanoch Teller
This book is very riveting. It is a comprehensive biography of the Mirrer Rosh Yeshivah, Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel, zt’l. It starts out telling us about the Mirrer Yeshiva escaping to Shanghai from Lithuania during World War II because of the invading Germans. It then describes Rabbi Finkel’s family, and then Rabbi Finkel himself. It is important for young adults to see our gedolim as role models, and Rabbi Teller’s biography provides just that. Also, Rabbi Finkel is a relatable role model, because he grew up as a typical American Jewish kid.
Rabbi Finkel was born in Adar 1943 in Chicago. At that time, Chicago’s Jews were greatly exposed to the secular world. Rabbi Finkel even followed baseball as a kid. He was also very popular amongst his friends. His great-uncle, Rabbi Lazer Yudel Finkel, the Rosh Yeshiva of the Mirrer Yeshiva in Yerushalayim at that time, made sure he would learn there. Many of Nosson Tzvi’s relatives worked in the school’s administration. He learned with many prestigious chavrusos, one of them being Rav Chaim Kamil. During his years at the Mir, Nosson Tzvi always went to Rav Lazer Yudel for advice. He married Rav Lazer Yudel’s granddaughter when he was 20 years old. Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel worked hard, and eventually became the rosh yeshiva of Mir, influencing thousands of students, including two of my uncles.
The book is filled with anecdotes about Rabbi Finkel’s life. Many of the stories show Rabbi Finkel’s amazing displays of ahavas yisroel. One such story took place during an air raid warning in the first Gulf War, when students were in a sealed room in the yeshiva. Rabbi Finkel braved the dangerous streets to be with them. I also enjoyed reading about his fundraising skills.
We can see from this book how talented of a writer Rabbi Teller is. He often makes comments within parentheses that add humor to the stories. If you were wondering how Rabbi Teller was able to author such a detailed biography so soon after Rabbi Finkel’s petira, it was because he was a close talmid of Rabbi Finkel, and he knew many people who could provide first-hand stories and information.
I would recommend For the Love of Torah to adults and older children who like biographies of gedolim.
Shmuel Holczer is a seventh grader. He is an avid reader of interesting books. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org