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CONTENTS 14 24 6 FEATURED ARTICLES 6 14 1 8 2 4 A CHASSIDIC BEN

CONTENTS

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FEATURED ARTICLES

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A CHASSIDIC

BEN NOACH?

By R’ Yaron Tzvi

A NOBLE CONCESSION

THAT BROUGHT LONG LIFE

Nosson Avraham

EVERY WORD COUNTS

Menachem Ziegelboim

THE MAN WHO COLLECTED DIAMONDS

Shneur Zalman Berger

WEEKLY COLUMNS

3

D’var Malchus

5

Moshiach & Geula

13

Shlichus

23

Feature

30

Parsha Thought

34

Tzivos Hashem

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D’VAR MALCHUS BASI L’GANI 5715 Beis Moshiach presents the maamer the Rebbe MH”M delivered on

D’VAR MALCHUS

BASI L’GANI

5715

Beis Moshiach presents the maamer the Rebbe MH”M delivered on Yud Shvat 5715, in accordance with the custom established by the Rebbe to review each year a section of the Rebbe Rayatz’s maamer Basi L’Gani of 5710. • This year we focus on the fifth section of the profound and foundational chassidic discourse. • Part 2

Translated by Boruch Merkur

HOW DANCING AT A WEDDING IS SHTUS

The Rebbe goes on to explain the significance of dancing at a wedding. For at first glance, although in order to fight and transform shtus d’l’umas zeh, evil folly, there must be the avoda of shtus d’k’dusha, what connection does this avoda have to dancing at a wedding? When Rav Shmuel Bar Rav Yitzchok would dance at a wedding it was not something spontaneous, spurred on my by the festive occasion or setting. Rather, it was his approach and his custom that at a wedding he would conduct himself with shtus d’k’dusha. [Thus, his dancing at a wedding is not something that can be dismissed as trivial. Given its relevance then] it is, therefore, even more significant to determine its connection to the avoda of shtus d’k’dusha. The Rebbe explains in the maamer that since the concept of marriage is so lofty, it is therefore celebrated with dancing. That is, the Alter Rebbe discusses in Likkutei Torah how dancing is distinguished from the more typical form of movement, walking, as follows. Although the avoda of walking, the spiritual sense of walking, entails ascending from level to level and from world to world, nevertheless, the ascent is gradual and incremental. Dancing, however, refers to a radical departure from the previous level and taking a quantum leap to an entirely new height, as it is written, “They danced like rams” – rams [being animals] which do not have the power of reason (as the Alter Rebbe writes in Likkutei Torah

Parshas Tzav). The source for this level of avoda transcends reason. Dancing and the approach of shtus represents a quantum leap, beyond reason. In light of the above we can understand the connection between shtus, which transcends reason,

and dancing at a wedding, in terms of the sublimity

of the concept of marriage. As the Rebbe continues

in the maamer, citing the saying of our Sages: If

a husband and wife are meritorious, the Divine presence dwells among them. For the husband,

ish, is the fire of Yud, eish Yud, and the wife. isha,

is the fire of Hei, eish Hei. When they merit, they

form [G-d’s name] Yud-Hei. That is, there is an extremely lofty manifestation of the Divine presence among a meritorious couple, a lofty degree of G-dly revelation, represented by the letters Yud-Hei, the higher part of G-d’s name Havaya. Moreover, beyond the revelation of the letters Yud-Hei that extends to the couple, the root and source of this revelation is far loftier still (as will be discussed). In virtue of this sublime source, marriage is eternal, an everlasting edifice, as my revered father in-law, the Rebbe, adds in the maamer, the words, “and it comes to be openly revealed: an everlasting edifice, etc.” Here the Rebbe invokes the concept of infinity and eternality, transcending time and space. The Mitteler Rebbe develops this concept in his Siddur Im Dach, elaborating on the words of the blessings said at a wedding, “Be joyful, rejoice, friends, beloveds, as the joy bestowed unto you in Gan Eden by the One Who Formed you, from primordial times”: “from primordial times” refers to

primordial times”: “from primordial times” refers to Issue 955 • �

Issue 955 � 3

D’VAR MALCHUS the level of Adam Kadmon, Primordial Man, which precedes the natural order, the

D’VAR MALCHUS

the level of Adam Kadmon, Primordial Man, which precedes the natural order, the Seider Hishtalshlus. On account of the lofty source of the wedding blessings, the joy of a wedding not only entails, “He bestows joy upon the groom and the bride,” where the bride is secondary to the groom, but more than that, as stated at the end of the blessing: “He brings the groom to rejoice with the bride.” Here we see that the main joy shall be from the bride, etc., and from the bride it shall extend to the groom, as it will be in the Future Era, when “the female will surround the male.” (In anticipation of that future reality, also nowadays there is the concept of the bride encircling the groom under the chuppa, the wedding canopy.)

AN EVERLASTING EDIFICE OF FUTURE GENERATIONS

Thus, the Rebbe adds in the maamer: “and it comes to be openly revealed: an everlasting edifice, etc.” Since marriage stems from a dimension that transcends Creation, beyond the Seider Hishtalshlus, therefore, a manifestation that transcends Creation and Hishtalshlus takes place even within Hishtalshlus. In marriage, this G-dliness is expressed as an everlasting edifice, ongoing reproduction throughout the generations, a revelation of the infinite within the [finite] worlds. The ultimate purpose of marriage is for there to be an everlasting edifice, “a generation of upstanding people will be blessed.”

According to what has been said – that a wedding draws down from a level that transcends Seider Hishtalshlus – it is

understood that this requires a conduct that transcends reason. Thus, the approach of Rebbi Yehuda b’Rebbi Ila’i and Rav Shmuel bar Rav Yitzchok was to dance at the wedding celebration, an activity that transcends reason. By going beyond reason, they were able to draw down to the physical world a dimension of G-dliness that transcends Hishtalshlus. Thus, it was said of Rav Shmuel that his approach “was to his credit,” to the extent that “a pillar of fire distinguished Rav Shmuel bar Rav Yitzchok from the entire world.” Since his conduct transcended the regular order of the world [reason, structure, concern for outward signs of honor], there was an overt revelation indicating his distinction above the entire world.

The main joy shall be from the bride, and from the bride it will extend to the groom, as it will

be in the Future Era, when “the female will surround the

male.”

Future Era, when “the female will surround the male.” This joy of a wedding is drawn

This joy of a wedding is drawn down from a level that transcends the entire Seider Hishtalshlus (“from primordial times”). Within Seider Hishtalshlus, male is above and female is below. The joy of a wedding, however, is drawn down

in such a way that not only is the bride on equal

footing with the groom (“the voice of the groom and the voice of the bride” equally), but the bride is higher than the groom. The groom actually draws down G-dliness from the bride; the groom here is the recipient. This reversal is only possible through

reaching “primordial times,” drawing down from a dimension that transcends Seider Hishtalshlus.

[To be continued be"H]

Continued from page 5

Moshiach?” They will probably say, “Comes from Dovid HaMelech, he is a King etc.” You

read for them – or have a printout

to distribute – (Rambam T’shuva

9:2) “These changes will come about because the king who will arise from David’s descendants will be a greater master of knowledge than Solomon and

a great prophet, close to the

level of Moses, our teacher. Therefore, he will teach the

level of Moses, our teacher. Therefore, he will teach the 4 � • 11 Tevet

4 � 11 Tevet 5775

entire nation and instruct them in the path of G-d.” Also, Hilchos Melachim (11:4): “If a king will arise from the House of David who diligently contemplates the Torah and observes its mitzvos as

prescribed by the Written Law and the Oral Law as David his ancestor, will compel all of Israel to walk in (the way of the Torah) and rectify the breaches in its observance, and fight the wars

of God, we may, with assurance, consider him Moshiach. If he succeeds in the above, builds the

Temple in its place, and gathers the dispersed of Israel, he is definitely the Moshiach.” From the above, the greatness of Moshiach will be very clear to them and the fact that it is the biggest compliment to be called Moshiach will be obvious.

[To be continued be"H]

Rabbi Avtzon is the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Lubavitch Cincinnati and a well sought after speaker and lecturer. Recordings of his in-depth shiurim on Inyanei Geula u’Moshiach can be accessed at http://www.ylcrecording.com.

MOSHIACH & GEULA MOSHIACH & CHINUCH By Rabbi Gershon Avtzon Dear Reader sh’yichyeh, Thank you

MOSHIACH & GEULA

MOSHIACH & CHINUCH

By Rabbi Gershon Avtzon

Dear Reader sh’yichyeh, Thank you for your responses to my articles. I have received many comments and questions about the current series on Moshiach and Chinuch and I would like to take the opportunity to address some of them. I will start with a very basic question that I was asked by many people:

“If I had to give a class about Moshiach to a group of teenage (Lubavitcher) students, how would you advise I structure the class?” I once heard a story from Rabbi Moshe Feller (shliach of the Rebbe to Minnesota) who was invited to a public school to speak to the students about being a Jew. He began his lecture by asking the following question: “When I say the word ‘Jew,’ what is the first thing that comes to your mind?” Only after receiving a wide-range of answers, including “money,” “Moses,” “horns,” and “bible,” and getting the students interested and involved, did he start explaining the Chassidishe perspective about what a Yid is. This is an excellent way to start the conversation about Moshiach too. In today’s politically charged climate, you would be shocked to hear what some of the answers may be. While you are expecting to hear words like Rebbe, T’chiyas HaMeisim and Beis HaMikdash, do not be surprised to hear the words “machlokes,” “Tzfatim” and “Flags…”

It is our obligation as educators, shluchim and parents to remove all negative stereotypes and to instill in our students and children – from the very beginning – the following two very basic points:

1) Believing in Moshiach is

a major foundation in Judaism

and that if one does not believe in Moshiach, it puts his general belief in Judaism into question.

2) Referring to someone as

Moshiach is the ultimate compliment

that one can give him, as Moshiach’s qualities are the greatest any human has ever had. (At this point in the conversation, it is not important

to discuss who Moshiach is or the

correctness of calling someone

Moshiach, rather the main thing is

to instill the foundation that calling

someone Moshiach is the ultimate compliment that can be given.)

are

wondering: How would I introduce

above-mentioned

concepts?

first

concept with two things:

A) Asking the students the

following question: “If you had to make a list of the 13 principles of the Jewish faith, what would you include?” You will receive answers like Shabbos, Kashrus, Mikva,

T’fillin etc. You then surprise them

by saying that the Rambam made

such a list and none of the above are

the list, yet the belief in Moshiach

on

these

I am

sure

two

that

many

I always

introduce

the

and T’chiyas HaMeisim is on the list!

always introduce the and T’chiyas HaMeisim is on the list! You continue by quoting the Rambam

You continue by quoting the Rambam (Hilchos Melachim 11:1):

“Anyone who does not believe in him or does not await his coming denies not only the statements of the other prophets, but those of the

Torah and Moses, our teacher.” After giving them a moment to let it settle, ask them to ask themselves – after they just heard to what extent it is important to believe in

Moshiach – “Why do you think it is so important?” B) Telling them the history of Yalkut Moshiach U’Geula Al HaTorah (where the Rebbe said that if you look in the commentaries, you will find how every pasuk in Torah speaks about Moshiach (Acharei 5751)) and show them a picture of literally bookshelves of S’farim (basically one for each Parsha) showing that Moshiach is connected

to every part of Torah. All this leads to another concept: Our Sages say (Zohar, Part 2, p. 161), “Hashem looked into the Torah and created

the world.” If every verse in Torah is connected with Moshiach, then every part of creation is connected with Moshiach! Now that you really have their attention, you explain why believing in Moshiach is so important (for another article). You then address the second of the above-mentioned points by asking them, “What do you know about the characteristics of

Continued on page 4

do you know about the characteristics of Continued on page 4 Issue 955 • �

Issue 955 � 5

PROFILE He looks like a Chassidic young man but the absence of a yarmulke lets

PROFILE

He looks like a Chassidic young man but the absence of a yarmulke lets you know he is not Jewish. Meet 34 year old James Gosnell of Chicago, who is active in spreading the Seven Noachide Laws.* In a fascinating talk with Beis Moshiach, Gosnell tells about his religious search. * A righteous gentile with a mission.

By R’ Yaron Tzvi

ACHASSIDIC

BENNOACH?

W hile doing mivtzaim,

it happens sometimes

that in my outreach

to Jews, I encounter

non-Jews. I usually just give them

a sheva mitzvos card with a picture

of the Rebbe. Once in a while, a

non-Jew will enter into a discussion about faith, the seven mitzvos, Moshiach, etc. I have met smart non-Jews who have despaired of what their religion has to offer and are looking for an alternative. I have also met those who choose to eat kosher and “observe” Shabbos even though they are not Jewish. I respond to each one according to the circumstances and the question

they pose. I usually explain that

in

Judaism we are not interested

in

enlisting new candidates and

that in their current status they are obligated to observe the Seven Noachide Laws.

When the idea came up of

interviewing James Gosnell,

a ben Noach who works in

the computer field for Tekno Telecom, a telecommunications company, and uses his free

time to spread the message of the Noachide Laws, I jumped

at

the opportunity. I assumed

I

would learn more about how

to

approach mivtzaim like these

which I wasn’t used to as an

Israeli.

RELIGIOUS (SELF) EDUCATION

James was raised as a

Catholic in Terre Haute, Indiana

in

a moderately religious home

by

typical American parents. He

went to church every Sunday where he learned Christianity and read the Bible. When he got

up to the Ten Commandments and learned about the prohibition

of

idol worship, he asked what

an

idol is. He suddenly realized

that in Christianity (Catholicism)

there are lots of idols and this

revelation resulted in an inner

conflict for it contradicted what

it said in the Bible. When he was

older, his trust in the Christian faith was broken and he decided

he had to do more research. In college, James met some Christians who tried living according to the Bible, but this did not prove satisfying to him. He felt there was something deeper. After studying Christianity more deeply, he realized that it all came from and started with Judaism. When he saw in Judaism the principle that what is hateful to you, don’t do to others, he remembered that he learned this in Christianity.

That’s when he realized it is all

taken from Judaism. At a later stage, when he learned the Laws of Kings in the Rambam about Moshiach, he began to understand what Moshiach is supposed to do

from the Jewish perspective as opposed to the erroneous Christian notion. He learned about Hashem’s relationship with the world and about Har Sinai where Moshe received the Torah

directly from Hashem. The Jews

had a direct connection to the

G-dly source and this proved to him that Jewish history is correct.

TO REMAIN A BEN NOACH OR CONVERT

“I understood that I am not

a Christian but a Ben Noach. I

studied basic Hebrew and began

doing more research on Judaism and at a certain point also on Chabad, mainly through the Internet. I was living at home in Indiana and the changes I made generated negative feedback. I

was in my mid-twenties and had almost completed a degree in the sciences at the University of Southern Indiana when I began to look into the conversion

process. I thought of finishing my studies, moving, and converting.” The inner change was expressed in his speech and actions. At a certain point, he even decided to wear tzitzis, to keep kosher, and to light Shabbos candles, which interfered with

his relationships with his parents and friends. At the same time,

he studied the sheva mitzvos and

what it means to be a Ben Noach. He slowly came to the awareness

that G-d wants something other than conversion from him.

“Around 2007, when was I

at

the university, I realized that

if

I converted that would be to

my personal benefit, but if I got involved in sheva mitzvos as

a non-Jew, I could make a far

greater impact on the world.”

He began researching the

topic in depth with the knowledge that he could always decide to convert. He ultimately decided to focus on his obligations as

a

Ben Noach. He committed

to

disseminating the topic and

talking to people about observing the Sheva Mitzvos.

James met his wife while in college and convinced her to commit to the Sheva Mitzvos too. After finishing his degree, the couple moved to Chicago where he has an ongoing relationship with Rabbi Eliezer Turen and the Moshiach Center. “I had finally found someone

who could answer my questions about Judaism and faith. We became close, and now every Thursday we have a shiur for B’nei Noach at the Moshiach Center whom I bring from work

or mivtzaim.” When you look at James, you can easily mistake him for a yeshiva bachur. His appearance, with the beard, makes you think he’s Jewish. I asked R’ Turen about the beard and he told me:

Jewish. I asked R’ Turen about the beard and he told me: Issue 955 • �

Issue 955 � 7

PROFILE “James worked at a gas station and when he began growing a beard, his

PROFILE

“James worked at a gas station and when he began growing a beard, his boss told him to get rid of it. He asked me and I told him that if he would be Jewish, I would know what to tell him (that a beard not only does not harm your parnasa, it helps) but since he is not Jewish, he has no obligation to have a beard. Afterward, he asked someone who is not Chassidic who told him to take off the beard. James figured that since the non- Chassid told him to take it off and I told him that I would tell a Jew to keep it, he was better off keeping it. As for the boss, in the end he stopped bothering him.”

woman. You can’t talk spiritual talk at her and convince her to make a major change, but after they were our guests and they saw a Chassidic family, she was impressed by the meaning and warmth in Jewish-Chassidic life. This made her want to strengthen the spiritual side of herself as a Bas Noach.” R’ Turen:

“The wedding took place in 5770 and James flew me to Indiana to officiate at the ceremony for them. There are no rules for a ceremony of this kind, but James saw it as a mivtzaim opportunity and asked me to come up with a wedding

“Afterward, he asked someone who is not Chassidic who told him to take off the beard.

James figured that since the non-Chassid told him to take it off and I told him that I would tell a Jew to keep it, he was better off keeping it.”

tell a Jew to keep it, he was better off keeping it.” A B’NEI NOACH WEDDING

A B’NEI NOACH WEDDING

When the Gosnells decided to marry, the question arose as to how to go about it. As B’nei Noach they could not have a Christian wedding, of course, and a Jewish wedding was not relevant. R’ Turen relates:

“When James met his future wife, it was after he had decided to remain a Ben Noach and to live as one and not a Christian. His wife respected him and his views about being a Ben Noach but it was still strange to her. In order to strengthen her connection to it, he brought her to us so we could explain things beyond what he had already told her.” Mrs. Tsyrl Turen relates:

“Danielle is a very grounded

Mrs. Tsyrl Turen relates: “Danielle is a very grounded 8 � • 11 Tevet

8 � 11 Tevet 5775

document that would express their obligations according to the mitzvos b’nei Noach. I spoke with R’ Emanuel Shochet of Toronto, an expert on this subject. We finally came up with a “Document of Commitment” under the heading lasheves yetzara, for even a non-Jew is obligated in settling the world. We also wrote something that includes the sheva mitzvos. The commitment was then produced as a beautifully designed document. They had a sort of chuppa where I took the opportunity to give a talk about the sheva mitzvos. Sheva mitzvos cards with the Rebbe’s picture were put on the tables for the guests. People were impressed and it was a big Kiddush Hashem.”

HOW DO YOU GET A CHRISTIAN TO REALIZE HE IS A BEN NOACH?

James’ work in explaining the Noachide laws to gentiles is challenging:

“It is hard to convince b’nei Noach to learn about this in depth but they do more or less keep the seven mitzvos. When you tell them that they are okay if they observe them, even without changing their religion, they are relieved and feel validated. “There are b’nei Noach like myself who through a deep search arrived at the awareness of their identities as b’nei Noach. For those who did not go through this process, there are usually two reactions: 1) considering the seven mitzvos as moral laws that are proper to observe, and 2) considering them as part of Toras Moshe. Of course, the second approach is preferable. Otherwise, if it is only a moral code, tomorrow he can decide to be less moral. “My goal is to provide them with a foundation and to educate them about Judaism, to counter the lies they heard in church. I give them a background for the Mishna Torah of the Rambam and explain that there is a Written Torah and an Oral Torah. This leads to talking to them about the Sheva Mitzvos which is part of the Oral Torah. I quote to them from the Torah where Moshe gives authority to the Elders to teach Torah, and how this went from generation to generation, and how we must observe it.

hard for people to

understand

need to use the knowledge that

I have in order to

explain it to

them.

from circumcision,

etc. and show them that Jews

“It

is

this.

Sometimes

I

I

give them examples

kashrus,

have laws that were transmitted over the generations about how to observe the Written Torah. Christians believe in the Torah and in Moshe and the goal is to help them acquire the belief that the Rambam is also part of Toras Moshe; otherwise, they

think you are making things up. When the Oral Torah’s authority

is established, you can talk with

them further and explain that

a Jew must observe all the laws

while a Ben Noach is obligated only in seven.”

SHATTERING THE CHRISTIAN MESSIANIC MYTH

I asked James how he deals

with the mistaken messianic ideas of the people he encounters and he said:

“The mistaken Christian belief about the Messiah has both an advantage and a disadvantage. The advantage is that they are open to discussing faith and connecting to G-d. The problem begins when they associate this with their messiah. They translate what I say and my good feelings about Judaism into their terms and Christian mindset and it is very hard to break this association.

“The strategy is to provide them with an alternative, to

explain that they will still have

a warm relationship with G-d

but in a more correct manner. The problem is we don’t have a substitute to offer them for the social framework and emotional support that the Christian community provides them.”

I saw we had touched on a

sore point and I asked James to expand on this:

“They have emotional support from their community, from their family, and from friends who share their faith and it is hard to

and from friends who share their faith and it is hard to R’ Turen with James

R’ Turen with James signing his marriage commitment

The unique marriage document which starts with the words, “With the help of G-d, Creator of the world” and then underneath that, “lasheves yetzara” (He created it to be settled-civilized)

yetzara” (He created it to be settled-civilized) go against all this; it is emotional suicide for

go against all this; it is emotional suicide for them. I want to move them away from Christianity to the awareness that they are B’nei Noach and they have a role as a

Ben Noach, but a Ben Noach has no community and it’s very hard. This is really the question, what can be done to establish B’nei Noach communities so that it will be possible to draw them in, as an alternative to the support systems

that they have in Christianity. “Generally, those who really connect to their identities as B’nei Noach are those who studied and researched it as part of a journey of self-knowledge. There are those who are agreeable to going along with the ideas but when it comes to discarding the mistaken messianic idea and leaving the church, they feel it’s beyond them.”

and leaving the church, they feel it’s beyond them.” Issue 955 • �

Issue 955 � 9

PROFILE WHATTHEREBBESAIDABOUTSPREADINGTHESHEVAMITZVOSB’NEI NOACH “In previous generations, any attempt to

PROFILE

WHATTHEREBBESAIDABOUTSPREADINGTHESHEVAMITZVOSB’NEI NOACH “In previous generations, any attempt to influence the
WHATTHEREBBESAIDABOUTSPREADINGTHESHEVAMITZVOSB’NEI NOACH “In previous generations, any attempt to influence the

WHATTHEREBBESAIDABOUTSPREADINGTHESHEVAMITZVOSB’NEI NOACH

“In previous generations, any attempt to influence the nations of the world in matters of faith entailed danger to one’s life and therefore it was not possible to fulfill this command. In our generation, however, not only is there no danger involved, on the contrary, this increases the honor of the Jewish people in the eyes of all the nations when they see that the Jewish people care not only about themselves but also about the civilization of the entire world by people behaving according to righteous and just ways.” As proof, the Rebbe referred to the enthusiastic endorsement of the President of the United States at the time, Ronald Reagan, to announce to all citizens of the US to unite around the fulfillment of the Seven Noachide Laws, as well as the declaration of both the Congress and the Senate that the seven laws should be upheld. From this, the Rebbe concludes, “The very fact that the President publicly made an announcement about the fulfillment of the Sheva Mitzvos B’nei Noach ought to greatly increase the efforts of Jews in this regard on all people of the world.”

Sheva Mitzvos B’nei Noach ought to greatly increase the efforts of Jews in this regard on

REACHING OUT TO JEWS

As someone connected with Beis Moshiach of Chicago, who has a bearded-Jewish appearance and speaks about Judaism and the seven mitzvos with non-Jews, James also encounters Jews who are not yet observant and he tries to influence them as well. “There is a Jewish man who works with me and we never spoke much. He is not religiously observant. When did he start talking to me? When, one day, he heard me talking with non-Jews about Judaism and he get involved in the conversation. When he heard things against Judaism from the Christians I spoke to, and how I defended Judaism, he suddenly displayed Jewish pride and began defending Judaism too. This definitely brought him closer to his traditions and strengthened his faith. Perhaps one day a Lubavitcher will ask him to put on t’fillin and he will agree because I warmed him up to it with the conversations he heard from me. I notice that when I talk about galus and Geula in the

me. I notice that when I talk about galus and Geula in the 10 � •

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proximity of Jews, this also wakes them up.”

KNOWLEDGEABLE IN THE RAMBAM

A gentile once asked James how the world will look in the time of Moshiach. James quoted to him the description at the end of Hilchos Melachim in the Rambam’s last section, Seifer Shoftim. On another occasion, a gentile asked him to define Moshiach and wanted to know why he did not believe in Yoshka. James explained that the Rambam sets forth criteria by which to identify Moshiach and not only does Yoshka not meet them, but he acted contrary to what is expected of Moshiach (as Rambam states in 11:10 in the uncensored edition). James also quotes to gentiles from the verses that deal directly with the seven mitzvos to show them how authentic it is. Another topic that James tells non-Jews from the Rambam is the introduction to the Yad HaChazaka where the Rambam

lists the chain of the Oral Torah transmission from generation to generation, starting with Moshe Rabbeinu. With this, James emphasizes the Oral Torah’s veracity to gentiles and proves that it is also part of Toras Moshe.

his

I

asked

him

about

knowledge of Rambam:

“It’s a fundamental work which contains all the relevant information for a Ben Noach. You need to be knowledgeable when you speak to them. It’s hard to argue with the Rambam because he is factual and very logical. I think every Jew needs to know by heart the laws in the Rambam regarding the Seven Noachide Laws, the criteria for establishing Moshiach’s identity and, of course, to be able to quote the end of the Rambam about what will happen in the Days of Moshiach, no jealousy, no competition, etc. The topic of how the world will look in messianic times often comes up on mivtzaim and we need to be able to quote the end of Maimonides about no jealousy, no competition, etc.”

FEMININE SUPPORT

In order to examine the subject from all angles, we spoke with Mrs. Turen for the feminine perspective and then with James’ wife, Danielle. Mrs. Turen, beyond her family responsibilities and the running of B’nos Rabbeinu high school, gives three weekly shiurim. “On Mondays, the shiur is for beginners and we learn Tanya in a way of avoda. James’ wife, Danielle, attends this class. On Tuesdays, there is a shiur in Tanya for those who are more advanced. This shiur began in Sivan 5750 because of the

Rebbe’s request/horaa to start shiurim. There is also a phone shiur on inyanei Moshiach and Geula every Thursday which is

a conference call listened to by women all over the world.”

I asked whether the Monday

shiur is for B’nos Noach or Jewish women and how Danielle fits in. Mrs. Turen said:

“It’s a shiur for intellectual women who are just beginning to learn about Judaism. The shiur is focused on avoda so if Tanya is talking about iskafia or the mind ruling the heart, they will have homework on this and at the next shiur they will report how they did with the assignment. Danielle takes this very seriously. She is always one of the first to do the homework I assigned and to internalize what we learned. She takes home what we learned and implements it in her life and also davens with it and I see a special seriousness in her and significant progress.”

I asked Danielle to elaborate

a bit, from her perspective, about her background and what she thinks of all this. She said:

“I was raised in a modern Christian home without any religious trappings in a small town with no Jews. I believed there is a G-d but did not think about it much. When I went to college and met James, he told me his thoughts about conversion and his connection to Judaism and his status as a Ben Noach. “Now too, he teaches me something new every day. I don’t know whether I want to convert, but Judaism seems logical and

more correct than Christianity. I learned about being a Bas Noach and about the seven mitzvos that

I am obligated in, and I began

taking an interest in this because

of my husband. “When we were living in

in this because of my husband. “When we were living in R’ Turen and James at

R’ Turen and James at the entrance to the Moshiach Center in Chicago

Chicago and I met the Turens, my connection became much

stronger because of being hosted

in a Jewish home. I was amazed

by it. It is one of the nicest, most incredible homes I’ve ever seen. Everyone is focused on educating their children and on religion and this is so different from the way I

grew up. I hope my home will be like that.”

I asked her about learning

Tanya with Mrs. Turen and she

said:

“I cannot explain in words how much I learn from and appreciate the book of Tanya and the special studying we do with Mrs. Turen. It is a very spiritual and practical path for me to connect with G-dliness. I learn Tanya and pray with it. The

topic of the mind ruling the heart helps me a lot in life and with my relationship with G-d. Now

I know that you cannot allow

emotions to rule because then it’s

a life of chaos. Also, the topic that everything is actually G-dliness (the unity of G-d), is something

I hadn’t thought of until I began

learning Tanya and it changed my

way of thinking. Lots of people, I think, observe the seven mitzvos

without being aware of it, but with us it is coming from a place of awareness combined with love

and fear in the service of G-d.” James tells how he does mivtzaim, giving out sheva mitzvos cards and starting conversations about faith and religion at work or wherever he is. He is in the planning stages of starting a website on the subject and wants to generate awareness about the great need for a community of likeminded Noachides. He also tells of Christians who don’t like him and who think he is damned or confused. He concludes:

“It’s really important for Jews to spread the information and to be knowledgeable in Rambam. People listen to you. I can tell you that if you commit to observing the seven mitzvos, you become

a better person, more calm, and you live more in harmony with

your environment, especially if it’s with the awareness that this is the teaching of Moshe as

commanded by Hashem. It’s very important to give people this foundation.

It’s very important to give people this foundation. Issue 955 • �

Issue 955 � 11

PROFILE BEIS MOSHIACH IN CHICAGO – A SOURCE OF LIGHT Beis Moshiach of Chicago, which

PROFILE

BEIS MOSHIACH IN CHICAGO – A SOURCE OF LIGHT Beis Moshiach of Chicago, which is

BEIS MOSHIACH IN CHICAGO – A SOURCE OF LIGHT

BEIS MOSHIACH IN CHICAGO – A SOURCE OF LIGHT Beis Moshiach of Chicago, which is run
BEIS MOSHIACH IN CHICAGO – A SOURCE OF LIGHT Beis Moshiach of Chicago, which is run
Beis Moshiach of Chicago, which is run by R’ Eliezer Turen, has minyanim every day,

Beis Moshiach of Chicago, which is run by R’ Eliezer Turen, has minyanim every day, shiurim on Moshiach and Geula, and does widespread hafatza in the area. There is also a morning kollel for the study of Chassidus led by R’ Dovid Feldman. The Moshiach Center is located in a religious neighborhood and in the window there is a picture of the Rebbe with the p’sak din about his being Moshiach. There is also work done with Israelis which is called Ohr Ha’Geula, led by one of the shluchim, R’ Yossi Kleiman. There are also activities for women run by Mrs. Turen. She regularly gives shiurim for women including a Tanya class for beginners, as related in the article. Every Thursday night there is a shiur for B’nei Noach at the center given by R’ Turen.

“We are really lacking a community; Noachides have a hard time finding one another. I have a friend, a Noachide like me, who due to the research he did on Christian symbolism, came to the conclusion that the spiritual foundation of Christianity is shaky. He did research on Chabad websites and realized he is a Noachide. Today he is estranged from the Christian community and their displacement theology, but in general, I don’t have many friends who can be called

Noachides.

a

significant step forward by asking his Chassidim to spread the subject. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have anything and we would all be lost on the subject.”

Danielle also talks about the lack of a community:

“My husband and I talk a lot about starting a community for Noachides. There are blogs and websites but we don’t have an actual community and it’s hard. I don’t have a single friend who

“The

Rebbe

made

considers herself a Bas Noach. We are open to ideas about this

and are willing to help in building

a community of Noachides.” As for Geula, she adds:

“You first have to explain what Judaism is, because there is a lot of ignorance in the non-Jewish world about this. I believe that the Messiah is on his way and we need to prepare for his coming by Jews doing their mitzvos and we doing ours. We have a picture of the Rebbe at home and the Turens tell us more and more about him; we also write to him through the Rebbe’s letters. Mrs. Turen recently gave us a video in which the Rebbe talks about the seven mitzvos and it’s amazing to hear how much the Rebbe pushed this issue. “I thank Mrs. Turen for the education she is giving me. I would not have a connection with G-d if not for her, and I thank the Rebbe who urged you to spread this message; otherwise,

I would not know anything and I

certainly wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Continued from page 13

a neighborhood, new neighbors, how did you begin? My wife is the one who led and always leads the way. She began giving shiurim and soon became an influential spiritual figure in the neighborhood. Many women started calling and consulting with her about all kinds of things. She explained to them about hiskashrus to the Rebbe through the Igros Kodesh. This became widely known and many women began turning to us for help in this. Then we started organizing Rosh Chodesh gatherings for women which were attended by

new

You

come

to

gatherings for women which were attended by new You come to 12 � • 11

12 � 11 Tevet 5775

dozens of ladies. At the same time we began developing programs for men, shiurim, Mesibos Shabbos for children with over 100 children every Shabbos, and holiday activities like the Lag B’Omer parade, children’s rallies on holidays and more. We are particular that every activity be permeated with and directly connected to the only remaining shlichus, Kabbalas P’nei Moshiach Tzidkeinu. You are not the first Lubavitcher to live outside of a Chabad community. What motivates a Lubavitcher family to take responsibility and to do as you do in your place of residence? (Chemdi chuckles): First, it’s

thanks to my wife. On second thought, you’re asking a tough question. I don’t know. I never thought about it. I think it comes naturally. I never stopped to think about what motivates me. I think that every Chassid in my position would do the same thing. We know that shlichus is good for the shliach; more than the calf wants to suckle, the mother cow wants to give it milk. Being involved in shlichus is first and foremost good for the shliach. It has a tremendous spiritual effect, it obligates you, and it contributes tremendously to the chinuch of the children. When they are part of the giving and influence, it has a great effect on them.

SHLICHUS ANASH-SHLICHUS SOME BACKGROUND in Rechovot. I learned in Chabad yeshivos in Kfar Chabad (Rishon

SHLICHUS

ANASH-SHLICHUS

SHLICHUS ANASH-SHLICHUS SOME BACKGROUND in Rechovot. I learned in Chabad yeshivos in Kfar Chabad (Rishon L’Tziyon),

SOME BACKGROUND

in

Rechovot. I learned in Chabad yeshivos in Kfar Chabad (Rishon L’Tziyon), in Tzfas and in 770. I got married after a stint on shlichus at the Chabad house in New Delhi, India.

Tzfas,

I

was

born

and

raised

After a

year in kollel in

for a few

years in the yishuv of Eli in Mateh Binyamin and then we moved to Petach Tikva. What is the Jewish workshop? I run a series of experiential Jewish workshops for preschools, schools and cultural centers, like shofar and olive oil making workshops. Our main activity is the Lego workshop for children. I work mainly with preschools, cultural centers and youth clubs. Most of my customers are not yet religious and I come in contact with dozens of children and staff members every day. As you know, building with Lego is very popular with young kids. Being involved with building and little pieces contributes to developing motor skills. Awareness of this is growing along with a demand for Lego workshops.

I worked as a teacher

with a demand for Lego workshops. I worked as a teacher I also work with Chabad
with a demand for Lego workshops. I worked as a teacher I also work with Chabad

I also work with Chabad Houses and Chabad camps to provide appropriate programs for them.

SHLICHUS AT WORK

As I said, most of the people I encounter are not yet religious. I come to run a professional Lego activity, but all the preschool teachers and staff members know that all my programs start with a story. It could be a Chassidic tale or a story from Chazal, with an emphasis on stories with a lesson that strengthens emuna. On holidays or other special

Name:

Chemdat Avner (Chemdi) Gantz

Age: 36

Location:

The Kfar Avrohom neighborhood in Petach Tikva

Occupation:

Director of “The Jewish Workshop”

By Zalman Tzarfati

occasions, I try to construct Legos with Jewish themes like a menorah or a Beis HaMikdash. Your flagship project is the Lego Beis HaMikdash. Tell us about it.

I built a huge model of the Beis

HaMikdash out of Lego, and mainly during the Three Weeks I come with Lego and build the model with the children. It’s a hands-on activity through which the children learn about the Beis HaMikdash, its structure, the side rooms, the azaros, and mainly about the Geula.

I do the workshops with all kinds

of audiences, all over the country, starting with Lubavitcher children and Chabad House camps, the national-religious public and the exclusive neighborhoods of Tel Aviv or the Sharon, and the feedback is very favorable. I work hard to adjust the messages to the target audience and they are absorbed in an experiential and pleasant way.

SHLICHUS IN LIFE

We moved to Kfar Avrohom in Petach Tikva after a few years in Yishuv Eli and we began doing things in our new surroundings.

Continued on page 12

doing things in our new surroundings. Continued on page 12 Issue 955 • �

Issue 955 � 13

MIRACLE STORY ANOBLE CONCESSION THAT BROUGHT LONG LIFE Together with his fervent desire for the

MIRACLE STORY

ANOBLE

CONCESSION

THAT BROUGHT LONG LIFE

MIRACLE STORY ANOBLE CONCESSION THAT BROUGHT LONG LIFE Together with his fervent desire for the position

Together with his fervent desire for the position of rav of Yekatrinoslav, Rabbi Bunin was a man with a very refined and exemplary character who recognized the greatness of Rabbi Schneersohn. He knew that he himself was more of an orator, while Rabbi Schneersohn was more outstanding for his deeds. Thus, he felt that if the community would choose their rav based on the sermon he gave, they would likely choose him and not the one who was better suited for the job. Rabbi Bunin was faced with a difficult internal struggle, and he eventually decided to withdraw his consideration of this lofty post, choosing instead to use his connections on behalf of Rabbi Schneersohn’s election. His decision was made with a heavy heart, but also with absolute determination

By Nosson Avraham Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry

L ast month, we publicized in this column an amazing miracle of how the Rebbe hinted through a pasuk in

T’hillim to a Belzer Chassid from B’nei Brak, Rabbi Elimelech Fried, how many more years he would live in this world. The story aroused many enthusiastic responses. One of them was from the mashpia, Rabbi Bentzion Grossman of

One of them was from the mashpia, Rabbi Bentzion Grossman of 14 � • 11

14 � 11 Tevet 5775

Migdal HaEmek, who asked if he could share another amazing miracle story with our readers that he heard about forty years ago. While he had kept the story to himself since then, he now knew by Divine Providence that the time had come to publicize it on a wide scale. He personally heard the story from Rabbi Michel Piekarski of

Crown Heights, who regularly sat in the first row behind the Rebbe in Beis Chayeinu. Rabbi Grossman, who was still a young bachur/avreich at the time, maintained good friendly relations with Rabbi Piekarski. This eventually introduced him to Rabbi Piekarski’s uncle, the famed Rabbi Yitzchak Bunin, an outstanding rabbinical figure of

The holy Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneersohn and Rabbi Yitzchak Bunin with a map of Yekatrinoslav

The holy Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneersohn and Rabbi Yitzchak Bunin with a map of Yekatrinoslav in the background

the previous generation in the Soviet Union and the United

States, and a tremendous scholar

in

Torah and Halacha. While

he

didn’t identify himself as a

Chabad Chassid, he had great love and affection for the Rebbe and Chabad Chassidus.

Rabbi Yitzchak Bunin, of blessed memory, returned his

soul to its Maker in 5742 at the age of one hundred and ten

in Yerushalayim, where he was

living at the time. When he was one hundred and seven years old,

he was the oldest living American

citizen, earning him a visit from the American ambassador and

a delegation from the State

Department in Eretz Yisroel.

They presented him with a special letter from the President of the United States. In whose merit did he live so many good, long, and healthy years? It was exactly this story that Rabbi Bunin told one year to his nephew, Rabbi Michel Piekarski, who shared it with his friend and acquaintance, Rabbi Bentzion Grossman.

AN AMAZING CONCESSION

“Rabbi Yitzchak Bunin was already friendly with Lubavitch back in the early Yud’im (fifties),” said Rabbi Grossman. “Anyone

who reads the diaries written by those present at the Rebbe

Rayatz’s levaya can see an entry on a distinguished looking Jew who read together with the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach from the same Seifer T’hillim. This was none other than Rabbi Yitzchak Bunin, who was already seventy- five years old by Yud Shvat 5710. “Before Rabbi Bunin immigrated to the United States, he was already renowned as a giant in Talmud study, a Halachic authority who maintained correspondence with all the leading Torah scholars of the previous generation. He was born in 5632 in the city of Molev, near Haditch, to a family of Trisker Chassidim, a branch of the illustrious Chernobyl Chassidim.

Chassidim, a branch of the illustrious Chernobyl Chassidim. Issue 955 • �

Issue 955 � 15

MIRACLE STORY “When he was still a young boy, he had already achieved much distinction

MIRACLE STORY

“When he was still a young boy, he had already achieved much distinction in his Torah study. His diligence became

known far and wide, and scholars everywhere spoke highly of the pearls of wisdom that emerged from his Torah classes and discourses. His greatness was

a combination of his amazing

knowledge alongside his ability to explain profound Torah subjects

to common people.

“Even before his wedding, he received his ordination from leading rabbinical figures in Russia of over a century ago, and he served with tremendous brilliance as a rav in prominent

to serve as the rav of this city would be a great honor. In those days, a rabbi who wanted to be accepted for a rabbinical post had to give a sermon, and there would be others rabbanim like him competing for the position. Community members would then vote for their preferred candidate. “From the very outset of the race, it seemed clear that those in power in Yekatrinoslav’s

Jewish community preferred Rabbi Yitzchak Bunin. During the preceding years, people had been made aware of the reputation of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneersohn as an outstanding and fearless Jewish leader who

“Rabbi Bunin retained his strength, and to the amazement of everyone, he regularly lifted the

Torah scroll up until a few years before his passing at the age of one hundred and five.”

before his passing at the age of one hundred and five.” Jewish communities. A recently sold

Jewish communities. A recently sold archive included hundreds of letters he received from leading Torah giants of that generation, including the Chafetz Chaim. He also received a siddur from the Rebbe Rayatz with a personal dedication and correspondences with very unique titles not often bestowed upon men of Torah and Yiras Shamayim. “The following story relates

to an offer he received to serve

in the rabbinate of the city of Yekatrinoslav. “There were two candidates for this coveted post: Rabbi Yitzchak Bunin and the father of the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneersohn. Yekatrinoslav was a prestigious city with numerous synagogues and a large and respected Jewish community. For Rabbi Bunin, an appointment

respected Jewish community. For Rabbi Bunin, an appointment 16 � • 11

16 � 11 Tevet 5775

would scrupulously follow the path of Torah and mitzvos without compromise. However, there were many community leaders who were deeply troubled by this. In those days, the Zionist movement was taking root in Yekatrinoslav, and this generated much concern over the candidacy of Rabbi Schneersohn. “Together with his fervent desire for the position, Rabbi

Bunin was a man with a very refined and exemplary character who recognized the greatness of Rabbi Schneersohn. He knew that he was more of an orator, while Rabbi Schneersohn was more outstanding for his deeds. Thus, he felt that if the community would choose their rav based on the sermon he gave, they would likely choose him and not the one who was better suited for the job. Rabbi Bunin was faced with a difficult

internal struggle, and he eventually decided to withdraw his consideration of this lofty post, choosing instead to use his connections on behalf of Rabbi Schneersohn’s election. His decision was made with a heavy heart, but also with absolute determination. “Eventually, after much consideration, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneersohn was chosen as rav of the Jewish community of Yekatrinoslav. Rabbi Yitzchak Bunin continued on his own path and he was privileged to serve as the rav of Jewish communities in other cities. After the Holocaust, he managed to reach the Western Hemisphere, and he stayed in continuous touch with the Rebbe Rayatz and his successor, the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach. In addition, he had close contact with the Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe, Rabbi Yekusiel Yehuda Halberstam, known as the “Shefa Chaim,” who was then living in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg section.”

IN YECHIDUS WITH THE REBBE

“During one of the early years after the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach assumed the Chabad-Lubavitch leadership, Rabbi Bunin casually mentioned to his nephew, Rabbi Michel Piekarski, about his decision to give up the rabbinate in Yekatrinoslav in favor of the Rebbe’s father. As is known, the Rebbe MH”M always wanted to hear about his father from people who knew him, and Rabbi Piekarski urged Rabbi Bunin to go in for yechidus with the Rebbe and tell about his acquaintance with the Rebbe’s father, including this story. Rabbi Bunin agreed. “Rabbi Bunin, who had

already passed the age of eighty by this time, told the Rebbe in yechidus about the events of those times. According to Rabbi Bunin, the Rebbe’s face shone with great pleasure and satisfaction, and the Rebbe blessed him with a long and happy life. This is exactly what happened. “At the age of ninety, Rabbi Bunin moved to Yerushalayim, establishing his residence in Yerushalayim’s Shikun Sanz neighborhood. “To illustrate how fully the Rebbe MH”M’s bracha to Rabbi Bunin was realized, there are those who live long lives yet they become a heavy burden upon their families’ shoulders. However, Rabbi Bunin retained his strength, and to the amazement of everyone, he regularly lifted the Torah scroll up until a few years before his passing at the age of one hundred and five. “Although he had already passed the age of one hundred, he would go regularly to the Mea Sh’arim neighborhood to deal with his banking matters. Afterward, he would go into the

local battei midrash and study Torah in great depth.”

THE AMERICAN AUTHORITIES TAKE AN INTEREST

“In conclusion, here’s an interesting addendum: One day, the telephone rang in the home of the Spitzer family in Yerushalayim, where Rabbi Yitzchak Bunin was living. On the line were representatives of the United States Embassy in Tel Aviv. A clerk in the Treasury Department had recently discovered that there was someone listed as a pension recipient, aged one hundred and seven. Concerned that this might a swindle, the matter was investigated to determine if someone was possibly using the person’s name for fraudulent purposes. “When officials called his sons in the United States, they were surprised to hear that their father was indeed still alive. They eventually came to the Spitzers’ house in Yerushalayim to see for themselves. When Rabbi Bunin

heard that the embassy officials wished to see him, he happily agreed. One day, a delegation arrived carrying a flower wreath and a decorative tray of fruit. They sat with him for a while, totally amazed that his intellectual acumen and clarity at his age remained fully intact. “This is the great value

of a bracha from the Rebbe,

Melech HaMoshiach, who was

most grateful to Rabbi Bunin for the kindness he showed towards his father,” Rabbi Bentzion Grossman said as

he concluded his story. In his

words, Rabbi Bunin had been

a well-known personality in

Chassidic communities outside of Lubavitch, and for some reason, this episode had never been made public before. “I was privileged that when Rabbi Bunin

was ninety-four years old and already living in the Holy City of Yerushalayim, he honored me

with his presence at the bris of

my first-born son. He even gave

a very deep D’var Torah, and as always, he knew how to captivate

an audience.”

In Crown Heights area: 1640/1700AM worldwide, online: www.RadioMoshiach.org
In Crown Heights area: 1640/1700AM
worldwide, online: www.RadioMoshiach.org
area: 1640/1700AM worldwide, online: www.RadioMoshiach.org I n I s r a e l (Nechayeg Venishmah) :

In Israel (Nechayeg Venishmah): 08-9493-770 (press 1 # / 9 # / 3 #)

ADD IN ACTS OF GOODNESS & KINDNESS

TO BRING MOSHIACH NOW!

IN ACTS OF GOODNESS & KINDNESS TO BRING MOSHIACH NOW! Issue 955 • �

Issue 955 � 17

INTERVIEW EVERY WORD COUNTS Elchanan Nir 18 � • 11 Tevet 5775 To commemorate

INTERVIEW

EVERY WORD

COUNTS

INTERVIEW EVERY WORD COUNTS Elchanan Nir 18 � • 11 Tevet 5775 To commemorate

Elchanan Nir

INTERVIEW EVERY WORD COUNTS Elchanan Nir 18 � • 11 Tevet 5775 To commemorate

18 � 11 Tevet 5775

To commemorate twenty years since the founding of the Beis Moshiach Magazine, editorial board member R’ Menachem Ziegelboim sat down with R’ Elchanan Nir, editor of the Makor Rishon Shabbos supplement, and discussed their work in writing and editing, revealing a few secrets of the trade. They deliberated over a variety of journalistic possibilities, and they agreed on the tremendous responsibility attached to every written and printed word.

D uring the recent High

Holiday season, in

commemoration of

twenty years since the

founding of the Beis Moshiach Magazine, I conducted an interview in the home of Rabbi Elchanan Nir, editor of the Makor Rishon Shabbos supplement, a forum for discussions on Torah, Jewish thought, literature, and art.

to

present him to our readers:

Rabbi Elchanan Nir (34), a pleasant and warmhearted Jew and an exciting conversationalist, is a rosh mesivta with the hesder

First of all,

I would like

Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry Photos by Itai Ben-Ezra

yeshiva “Siach Yitzchak” in Efrat, a highly regarded writer, and as mentioned, the editor of the Makor Rishon Shabbos supplement. He has won numerous literary prizes, among them the 2010 Ramat Gan Prize for Literature and the 2011 Prime Minister’s Art Award. Rabbi Nir is a descendant of national Torah nobility. He is the son of Rabbi Chagai Nir, who served for two decades as the rav of the Binyamin settlement of Maale Michmas, and he is the son-in-law of Rabbi Binyamin Elon, the former head of Yeshivas “Beit Orot” on Har HaTzofim,

who also served three terms as a Knesset Member, including a stint as minister of tourism. Rabbi Elchanan Nir has written

a seifer on Chassidic philosophy, Im Ratz Libcha, dealing with the Chassidic concept of “ratzo v’shuv

in a manner that crosses all sectorial

boundaries. He even produced three successful and well-received songbooks, and the Yediot Acharanot

literary critic dubbed him “one of the most prominent and boldest writers

of our generation.” In his insightful

Torah classes, he integrates Chassidus, Kabbalah, art, literature, and psychology.

About ten years ago, he founded the book section in the Makor Rishon Shabbos supplement, where

he also publicizes literary and Torah

articles. Nearly three years ago, he was appointed the supplement’s

editor, a role he fills to this day. It is

in connection with this role (among

other things

with him for a discussion, to get acquainted and exchange different views and approaches, not to mention a few points of agreement. Rabbi Z.: I want to thank you for agreeing to have a discussion on the subjects of writing and editing, which we each deal with in our daily lives. I would like to open our discussion with the thoughts that accompany me as I sit in front of the computer screen and edit weekly articles and columns for the Beis Moshiach Magazine. I am aware that you regularly read our publication and critique my work. Sometimes, I sit alone and write in a quiet atmosphere in the front of the computer, with no one else around. Suddenly, I get a hold of myself and think: At this very moment, I am essentially speaking to a crowd of thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of people who turn from their daily affairs and listen to the messages I

that I chose to meet

)

try to convey. This is done through Chassidic stories and a variety of interesting articles that appear

in the magazine. When a Chassid

reads, he doesn’t do so merely to pass the time ch”v, rather in order to receive greater vigor, power, and intensity – to find something that will strengthen him. We’re not talking about just one or two people, but many thousands. We hold influence over whole worlds, and therefore, the weight of responsibility falling upon me is great indeed.

Let’s consider when someone goes to the doctor. The doctor examines him, makes a diagnosis, and prescribes the necessary medications for his ailment. The person goes home, takes his medicine, and recovers. To a

certain degree, we find that writing

is a much loftier form of cure, as

there is a very large cross-section

of people for whom the same text

relates to their inner soul.

and

responses I receive, I often learn about the sheer revolutions that

writing creates in people’s lives.

about

Not

two Jews who called their sons

“Menachem

reading

seifer

From The Rebbe’s Room,

a

stories

Rebbe

chamber.

his

These Jews were not

Chabad Chassidim;

From

the

feedback

long

ago,

I

heard

Mendel”

of

after

my

Stories

collection

holy

thrilling

the

inside

about

from

nevertheless

the

seifer

led

them

to

make

this

important decision.

And this is just one

example

many.

among

STANDING IN THE MIDDLE

Rabbi Nir, I would like to know a little more about you, if I may. You wear a large knitted yarmulke on your head and serve as editor of a vitally important newspaper supplement that is considered “religious Zionist” in nature. However, as I look at your library shelves, I see numerous Chabad s’farim, all of which are on our Rebbeim. I also know that you teach Chassidus in your yeshiva, and even as editor of the Makor Rishon Shabbos supplement, you write with a spirit of Chassidus. Rabbi Nir: In

fact,

I

was

raised

in

a home

Menachem Ziegelboim

I was raised in a home Menachem Ziegelboim Issue 955 • �

Issue 955 � 19

INTERVIEW steeped in the teachings of Merkaz HaRav. However, a little in-depth information on the

INTERVIEW

steeped in the teachings of Merkaz HaRav. However, a little in-depth information on the essence of Merkaz HaRav is first necessary. I will give a brief introduction. In practical terms, the national religious community consists of two sectors: a) Mizrachi, and b) Merkaz HaRav, founded by Rabbi Kook. While the Mizrachi faction came into existence first, it was the latter group that provided its ideological voice. The religious Zionists’ work created the link between religious Jews and Zionism, the army, and a secular state headed by non-religious Jews. It received

a far more inner meaning in the

merit of the teachings of Rabbi Kook, reverberating with even greater potency since the Six Day War, when they moved from the beis midrash into practical application.

Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda emphasized the general national outlook, and this was transmitted to his students, who were my teachers at Yeshivas Merkaz HaRav. However, in recent years,

a more personal and individual

question has been raised within religious Zionist circles: Where am I in this whole story? Where is my Avodas Hashem, my holiness? What is the answer for my distress, my solitude, and my downfalls? Within the realm of ideology, Jewish souls today are looking for what I would call “dialogue.” They want intimacy, mysticism, substance, creativity, and freedom. Yes, a lot of freedom – to reveal the holiness of freedom and independence.

to

Chassidus when I was sixteen

I

first

became

exposed

years old.

This

treasure of

knowledge

had

not been in

my

parents’

and

grandparents’

homes, although had prominent

they all Chassidic

backgrounds – my father’s family

they all Chassidic backgrounds – my father’s family 20 � • 11

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was from Bobov, and my mother’s was from Belz. Chassidic teachings there endured their own form of exile, and this is the worst possible thing from the outlook of Merkaz HaRav. My discovery of Chassidus didn’t just come out of nowhere. There were numerous figures working then to formulate this bond. Among them I recall Rabbi Adin Even-Yisroel (Steinsaltz). I heard him in my youth on many occasions, and afterward I was even privileged to teach for about ten years in his spiritual center with Rabbi Menachem Froman and my teacher, Rabbi Shimon

Gershon Rosenberg-Shagar, the rosh yeshiva who essentially created the spiritual theology I live by and teach to others. In many ways, what we have here is a new sub-movement that we can call neo-Chassidic or ChaBaKook – an acronym for Chabad, Breslov, and Kook. This sector wants to restore vitality to religious observance, to the claim for inner authenticity and the holy intensity within Torah,

as revealed mainly in Chassidic teachings. It has no single widely accepted spiritual leader or official institutions, although it does have its own style of avoda and intellectual approach. In fact, there are already a number of yeshivos identified with this branch and its methodology toward life, prayer, and Avodas Hashem. They have their own brand of Chassidic humor and mischief, combined with seriousness and depth, and as the Alter Rebbe brings in Tanya (Igeres HaT’shuva, Chapter 11):

“Weeping is lodged in one side of my heart and joy is lodged in the other.” Since discovering Chassidus, I’m practically standing in the middle. My father’s house is based on the traditions of Rabbi

Kook, while I live and breathe the profound teachings of Chassidus. I even feel that the air and the teachings of Eretz Yisroel enhance and enrich Chassidic philosophy, giving it a new and influential platform. It requires that I also express this through the Shabbos supplement I edit and the Torah classes I give over.

EDITORS AND

THEIR SECRETS

Rabbi Z.: I don’t have to tell you my secret (Nu, one of my secrets…), one that you certainly know yourself. We often get material sent to our offices or receive suggestions on possible articles. First, we give them consideration according to our personal standards, and we either approve them or reject them.

a

special effort and manage to put my own opinions on the side in order to look at things objectively. But what can we do? We are absolutely in a position to judge and critique. This apparently is another reason why we earn our salary The idea that someone suggests a certain article or interview and I don’t find it appropriate is a distinct possibility which will have an effect upon many others – and this sometimes troubles me. Suddenly, I say to myself: Just a minute, this magazine isn’t just you… Rabbi Nir: It’s quite true. Each week, we receive dozens of articles written by our readers to share with the general public. We’re talking about a wide range of subjects, angles, approaches on life, Torah, and troubling questions on the connection between them.

Sometimes

I

make

Rabbi Z.: As an editor, are there things that you wouldn’t put in your paper? I don’t mean things that are clearly improper, rather things that are fitting and kosher, yet you decide that they have no place in the newspaper you edit

read

an article, and I feel that the writer wrote it as someone on the outside, speaking about the matter albeit not from within, I won’t be in such a rush to publicize it. I want the “inside stuff,” the cry rising from the heart, the plea of deep personal feeling. In short, the thing itself.

Rabbi

Nir:

Yes.

If

I

Rabbi

Z.:

How

do

you

identify

this

in

the

writer’s

work? Rabbi Nir: That’s an excellent question. I try to pay attention and I often seek advice. I have a marvelous staff and organization. Writing must be in a manner of “Anochi” – as is explained in Gemara in the acronym “I Myself wrote [these words and] gave [them to you].” The person has to put himself and his soul into what he writes.

Look, once a week a person sits and reads the Shabbos supplement. The week has been very intense – work, family, personal troubles, daily runaround – and then he has a moment to relax. Perhaps he even looks to Heaven, asking himself what he really wants to do here in this world. However, in most cases, it happens when he reads the paper. He wants something that will move him, uplift him, and give him that extra neshama – a little Atzilus in the whole world of Asiya, the lowest level of Asiya for all the days of the week. I want that when he reads the Shabbos supplement; I want him to find something in it that will challenge him and shake him

find something in it that will challenge him and shake him up a bit. Rabbi Z.:

up a bit. Rabbi Z.: To tell you the truth, R’ Elchanan, I also sit the whole week behind my editor’s desk. The only difference is that you can write about a long list of people and subjects, develop public debates, open discussions on rather sensitive matters, and bring positions from numerous schools of thought. I edit for a weekly magazine that by its very nature is quite restricted in scope. Our publication has a very clear agenda:

strengthening the reader’s overall Chassidic experience, connecting him more to the Rebbe, and arousing constant interest in the magazine’s ever- present headline: Moshiach and the Redemption. As a Chabad editor, I pass up straightaway on the chance to interview exciting world figures, unless they are affiliated in some way with a “Chabad” program. This essentially is the declared purpose of Chabad media: bringing out the “inner” content. As a result, the work of the editor of a Chabad magazine is far more difficult and complex than for any other publication due to its limited mandate. Yet, I must say here openly

and enthusiastically that despite all the limitations and although there’s no “news from 770,” we manage to put out new, absorbing, varied, and enriching articles each week, together with traditional and historical material from generations past. The wealth of information is incredible and astounding. With your permission, I’d like to tell our readers a secret:

You are a subscriber to the Beis Moshiach Magazine. What exactly do you find in it? Rabbi Nir: It’s the Rebbe’s shofar, a platform for Chassidic thought and connecting with the great Chabad personalities throughout the generations. It arrives in my mailbox each Thursday morning, and there’s nothing like that moment when I take it out of its wrapper, eager to start examining its valued content.

SPREADING THE WELLSPRINGS IN THE LAND OF THE RISING SUN

Rabbi

Nir:

Menachem,

Chabad

Chassidim

often

quote

the

saying

“Spread

your

wellsprings

outward.”

What

does

this

mean

to

you

in connection with the level of

this mean to you in connection with the level of Issue 955 • �

Issue 955 � 21

INTERVIEW your commitment in editing and writing in Beis Moshiach and your s’farim? Rabbi Z.:

INTERVIEW

your commitment in editing and writing in Beis Moshiach and your s’farim? Rabbi Z.: Look, writing down words is quite easy. In these times, anyone can sit in front of a computer and put in writing whatever enters his mind and his heart; that’s easy enough. From my vantage point, writing must be used to

positively influence others, and

as you said previously, to uplift

and strengthen them – even if it’s just an inch, it’s something.

A good and qualified writer is

someone who can influence through his writing, capable of reaching people’s hearts and minds, striking an emotional nerve.

There’s a story that the Rebbe Rayatz used to tell: Once he brought a book of stories to his father, the Rebbe Rashab, on the Chabad dynasty, “Beis Rebbe.” His father was very pleased and he told his son:

“I appreciate this more than

if you would have brought me

the Rebbe’s own handwriting.” Now, just imagine to yourself how precious such handwriting was to the Rebbe Rashab, who worked with great self-sacrifice to obtain it. Nevertheless, a book of stories on “Beis Rebbe” was even more precious to him. There are many Chassidic suspense stories (naturally, their heroes have beards), and there are many stories on thought and meditation. However, Chassidic writing for a targeted Chassidic audience is in another league entirely. When a person reads a book, he turns away from his other pursuits and directs his attention to the book’s content and the messages it conveys. It’s no wonder that they say how Chassidic stories illuminate and bring warmth to the

say how Chassidic stories illuminate and bring warmth to the 22 � • 11

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Chassidic household, and its influence is considerable. The Rebbe Rashab even says that “Chassidic stories are for the benefit of all, giving a person good middos and making him into a servant of G-d.” If that’s the way it is with adults, then it surely applies to children, who receive and internalize all reading material with great gusto. The influence goes very far, right to the heart and soul. I’d like to ask you the very same question that you asked

me: What does “Spread your wellsprings outward” say to you? Rabbi Nir: It means getting a real good look at the operating system of Torah, life, holiness,

and physical existence. It creates

a working Torah platform on

what it means to be a Jew today within all sectors of modern-day

culture: What is Jewish culture,

or to put it simply, how can we

truly reveal in everything so that there is nothing else besides Him

and there is no place void of Him?

Rabbi Z.: I heard a rumor that you are also involved with the Noachide community, which is naturally connected with the Rebbe’s universal vision for all humanity. Can you tell us something about these activities in your life? Rabbi Nir: You heard correctly. For more than seven years, I have been in touch with the members of the Japanese Makoya Movement. This is a spiritual pro-Jewish association founded after the Second World

War, identified with the causes of postwar Japanese renewal, belief

in the Tanach, and the Land of

Israel for the People of Israel. They assist us as much as they can, and their help has included supporting us during the Yom

Kippur War, donating thousands of trees after the giant Carmel forest fire, and a solidarity march in the streets of Tokyo during Operation “Protective Edge.” My wife and I also stay in close touch with them through my wife’s wonderful parents and grandparents, including through classes, lectures, and joint holiday celebrations in our home. We traveled to Japan following the recent tsunami disaster, and we conducted three seminars there. Each one was attended

by about two thousand Japanese

Gentiles, seeking to learn how to rehabilitate themselves and achieve spiritual growth after such a crisis.

Once when we were on our

way to one of the seminars, they

suddenly made a most unusual request. They asked me not to speak about post-crisis growth

in the spirit of the Tanach, as

I had planned. Instead, they

wanted me to bring them the message of Chassidus… It was simply marvelous. Thousands of Japanese whose homes had been destroyed and whose lives had been washed away, literally and figuratively, sat glued to their seats as they thirstily listened to the holy teachings that the Baal Shem Tov had introduced to the world. At the conclusion of my talk, they began to dance with great joy. This was an actual demonstration of “Recount in the nations His glory.”

Rabbi Z.: A few words in conclusion, R’ Elchanan, if you please. Rabbi Nir: I bless the readers

of the Beis Moshiach Magazine

that we should all merit the

ultimate holiness of the Beis HaMikdash in our own daily lives, filled only with goodness, peace, and tranquility.

FEATURE MIRACLES FROM UP CLOSE One of the people familiar to those working for Zaka

FEATURE

MIRACLES FROM UP CLOSE

One of the people familiar to those working for Zaka in Beer Sheva is Shimon Zaguri. Zaguri is a volunteer in the Zaka organization for over fifteen years now. In recent years he has been driving an ambulance for them. “The Zaka organization is holy work and I wanted a part of it,” he explains. The war this summer made his daily routine much busier than usual. He shared with us some of the miracles he experienced during Tzuk Eitan as a volunteer for Zaka. Before we talk about the war, tell us about your work for Zaka. Zaka is a holy organization. It consists of work 24/7. There is no break, no time to rest. Whenever something happens, we immediately go there. It makes no difference what time it happens or what we are busy with at the time. What was your job during Operation Tzuk Eitan? Aside from my usual volunteering, I ran from place to place. A typical incident would be, for example, a person heard the siren and rushed to the shelter and on the way he tripped and hurt himself. Boruch Hashem, he wasn’t hurt by the rocket but we arrived and treated him. What miracles did you

experience during the war? (Emotionally): There were dozens, even hundreds.

Whenever they reported a siren

in Beer Sheva, we waited tensely

for the explosion. Time after time, when we ran to the site, we saw big miracles. Dozens of

rockets landed in open areas, but some did fall in built-up places and even between buildings.

I remember, for example, one

incident in which a rocket fell at the entrance to a house. There were dozens of frightened people and crushed cars, but nobody was hurt. Boruch Hashem! There were some who were shell-shocked but nobody was physically hurt. What people are afraid of, in these instances, is that a gas balloon will explode. Time and again we saw plenty of destruction without anybody injured, boruch Hashem. One miracle that I remember, took place in Beer Sheva in the Ramot neighborhood. It was a direct hit on a house that was fully occupied and nobody was hurt. All these instances lack a rational explanation. If it happened once or twice, maybe someone could say it’s a coincidence, but when the same thing keeps happening, you can’t deny it. These are open miracles that we merited on a daily basis. Here’s a miracle that I

that we merited on a daily basis. Here’s a miracle that I personally experienced. As a
that we merited on a daily basis. Here’s a miracle that I personally experienced. As a
that we merited on a daily basis. Here’s a miracle that I personally experienced. As a
that we merited on a daily basis. Here’s a miracle that I personally experienced. As a
that we merited on a daily basis. Here’s a miracle that I personally experienced. As a
that we merited on a daily basis. Here’s a miracle that I personally experienced. As a

personally experienced. As a person who works for Zaka, I’m

a bit of a cynic. At the beginning

of the war I got a phone call from someone who asked me what was going on. I told him I was on the connecting highway between Urim and Zikim and there was

a siren. We exchanged some

jokes about sirens since these are places where there is nowhere

to run. There is no shelter, no

protected area, and we are on the way somewhere and just continue going. With a smile

still on my face, I suddenly saw

a huge explosion twenty meters

away on my right. Two minutes later there was another mighty explosion, this time on the left side of the road. As I said, there is nowhere to run to. Your heart starts beating. Every mortar like that could wreak destruction and cause loss of life, G-d forbid. Even with all the cynicism, you can’t remain indifferent. Every mortar that we saw that did not cause damage, just strengthened the feelings of gratitude to Hashem, along with the pain over the terrible incidents and the many dead.

I hope and wish that we won’t need these miracles anymore, that there will be peace and quiet for all of Am Yisroel wherever they may be, amen.

and quiet for all of Am Yisroel wherever they may be, amen. Issue 955 • �

Issue 955 � 23

OBITUARY THE MAN WHO COLLECTED DIAMONDS Forty years ago, R’ Yosef Ladaiov had yechidus and

OBITUARY

THE MAN WHO

COLLECTED

DIAMONDS

OBITUARY THE MAN WHO COLLECTED DIAMONDS Forty years ago, R’ Yosef Ladaiov had yechidus and asked

Forty years ago, R’ Yosef Ladaiov had yechidus and asked the Rebbe for permission to stop his work in registering children in Chabad schools and to go into the diamond business. The Rebbe negated his plan and told him to continue with his holy work. R’ Yosef, as a faithful Chassid, did just that. For the rest of his life, he located small diamonds covered with dirt and brought them to the “diamond polisher” in Chabad schools.

By Shneur Zalman Berger

O 4 Cheshvan, we

heard the sad news of

the passing of R’ Yosef

n

Ladaiov, a”h, after

he went through much suffering. At his funeral, the Mara D’Asra, R’ Yitzchok Yehuda Yaroslavksy, spoke of R’ Yosef’s great merit in having brought thousands of children to Jewish schools, both in Samarkand and in Eretz Yisroel.

to Jewish schools, both in Samarkand and in Eretz Yisroel. 24 � • 11

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COLLECTING SOULS

I knew R’ Yosef over the last twenty years, since I came to live in Nachalat Har Chabad. From time to time he told me stories about the work he did in Samarkand that entailed mesirus nefesh. One of our conversations that remains with me more than all the others was a farbrengen

that took place one Sukkos in Crown Heights two years ago. It was a farbrengen hosted by Eshel-Hachnasas Orchim and it took place in the Strasbourg sukka. There were young bachurim present as well as older Chassidim. After drinking mashke and singing soulful niggunim, I asked R’ Yosef to tell us about one of his private meetings with the Rebbe.

After a fair amount of nudging, he related the following: “A few years after I

After a fair amount of nudging, he related the following:

“A few years after I arrived in Eretz Yisroel, I went to the Rebbe for the first time. At that time, I was busy locating children of immigrants for the purpose of putting them into proper schools, mainly the Yeshivas HaBukharim in Kfar Chabad. I had done work like this before when I was a teenager in Samarkand. Back then, I helped the Chabad

young men who had started secret schools. Since I knew the Bukharin community well, I was successful, with Hashem’s help, in convincing many parents to send their children to these schools. “I continued this work in Eretz Yisroel under the auspices of Chamah (Chaburas Mezakei HaRabbim) led by R’ Moshe Nisselevitz. I registered the children of new immigrants in proper schools, at first in Ashdod

and then in Rishon L’Tziyon, until the Yeshivas HaBukharim was founded in Kfar Chabad. As a young man but someone with experience, I was asked to bring talmidim to this yeshiva. Boruch Hashem, I was successful. “The thing is, I had to support my family and the salary that I got was nowhere near enough. Together with my wife, we concluded that I had to find work that paid. At the time, I had offers in the diamond field. “I went to the Rebbe for the first time and when I had yechidus I described our situation. On the one hand, I wanted to continue saving children by providing them with a proper chinuch. On the other hand, I knew I could not manage financially under the present work conditions. “The Rebbe did not hesitate for a moment. He firmly told me to continue doing what I had been doing, the work that I had done in Samarkand. “Despite what the Rebbe said, I did not think I would continue doing this much longer, but I ended up working decades longer for various Chabad organizations. Thousands of children attended Chabad schools and because of that, they began observing Torah and mitzvos. Many of them now have religious- Chassidic homes.”

TORAH IN THE SHADOW OF THE KGB

R’ Yosef Ladaiov was born in

5709/1949 in Samarkand. His father was R’ Yitzchok. He gained a lot from his grandfather, R’ Avrohom Chai Ladaiov, who was a close student of R’ Simcha Gorodetzky, the shliach of the Rebbe Rayatz to Samarkand.

Yosef

A

few

years

ago,

R’

described his undercover work to Beis Moshiach. Here are some excerpts from his memoirs:

to Beis Moshiach. Here are some excerpts from his memoirs: Issue 955 • �

Issue 955 � 25

OBITUARY R’ Yosef Ladaiov (on the right with the megaphone) leading the last Lag B’Omer

OBITUARY

OBITUARY R’ Yosef Ladaiov (on the right with the megaphone) leading the last Lag B’Omer parade

R’ Yosef Ladaiov (on the right with the megaphone) leading the last Lag B’Omer parade in Yamit

“At age 16 I began learning with children who had nobody to learn with them. At first I secretly taught them alef-beis, p’sukim, and t’filla. Even in those difficult times I wasn’t afraid. I always wore a kippa and tzitzis and those who were there know that this was no simple matter. “Over time I developed a relationship with R’ Moshe Nisselevitz. R’ Moshe asked me to open secret yeshivos and shiurim and I enthusiastically agreed. That is how the great outreach work in Samarkand began with R’ Moshe financing the work and my making it happen. “The work was extremely difficult. Every boy, out of the thousand and more who learned in the secret schools we started, is a story in himself. We had to instruct each child in what to say and how to say it in the event that he would be questioned. There were situations in which even the parents did not know where their sons learned. I remember that one time I took a boy to one of

learned. I remember that one time I took a boy to one of 26 � •

26 � 11 Tevet 5775

our chadarim and his father was furious about the ‘kidnapping’ of his son. He threatened to inform the authorities and we had to give him a lot of money so he would leave us alone. “In addition to bringing talmidim and instructing them, we had to get teachers to come and teach the children. That wasn’t easy, since a teacher who taught Judaism was putting his life in danger. I remember for example R’ Yochai Yaakobov who taught in Tomchei T’mimim in the early years and sat in jail for seven years. At first he was reluctant to teach and only later agreed, though not before we got him a house within a house. Then there was R’ Menachem Malaiov who sat in jail for many years who nevertheless agreed to teach 25 bachurim every day!” The tycoon and philanthropist Lev Leviev who lived in Tashkent also learned in Samarkand thanks to R’ Yosef Ladaiov:

“I would go to other cities and towns to bring talmidim to

the schools we started. On one of my visits to Tashkent I met R’ Avner Leviev a”h who knew that his brother [R’ Yaakov] taught Judaism in my house. He asked me to take his son Levi for half a year, which we did.” What gave you the strength to carry on?

“The Chassidishe farbrengens, that was the adrenaline that fueled me with the strength to carry on the difficult work. Every Shabbos Mevarchim and on special days we would bring about fifty bachurim to a farbrengen. The bachurim would come one by one to the house where the farbrengen was taking place, despite the fear of an ‘evil eye.’ “The farbrengens took place in a different house each time, once by R’ Tzvi Hirsch (Herschel) Lerner a”h, once by R’ Eliezer Mishulovin a”h and once in the home of one of the two brothers R’ Berel or R’ Hillel Zaltzman. If you attended these farbrengens you got so much.”

do

everything you did under the close surveillance of the KGB? “The Rebbe watched over us, that is the only way I can explain how we managed to bring more than a thousand boys to learn Torah every day for years and under the watchful eyes of the police. We changed locations every few weeks. We got ‘intelligence warnings’ about their plans to conduct searches in certain homes and we were saved, but definitely, without the feeling and the reality that the Rebbe was with us, even in that darkness, we would not have done what we did.”

How were you

able

to

THIS IS YOUR SHLICHUS

In 5731 the Ladaiov family

made aliya and R’ Yosef, then 22, began working in diamonds. The Chamah organization, that had begun its work in the USSR, reopened in Eretz Yisroel and members of the organization told Yosef that the Rebbe said he should join them. First a learning program was started in Ashdod where he gathered immigrant children from Bukhara and they learned in the local shul. After a short time, the talmidim moved to Yeshivas Achei T’mimim in Rishon L’Tziyon and from there to Kfar Chabad where Yeshivas HaBukharim was founded for them. In every phase, R’ Yosef worked hard to register students. This entailed talking to the parents and convincing them to leave their sons in Chabad schools so they would go in the path of Torah and mitzvos. R’ Yosef married his wife Leah and the work in registering students continued. In those days, R’ Yosef worked very intensively, going to people’s homes and talking to parents

at length about the necessity of

preserving tradition. Once they were convinced and agreed, he would take the children in his car and bring them directly to

the Yeshivas HaBukharim in Kfar Chabad and the girls to Beis Rivka or Chabad schools in Tzfas. As mentioned earlier, after

a few years, when the meager

salary was not enough to support

his family, he wanted to work in diamonds. In 5735, he and his wife went to Beis Chayeinu and

in yechidus the Rebbe told him to

continue doing his holy work of registering children. His wife found this hard to accept and after the yechidus she wrote to the Rebbe in French (her native language) that due to

parnasa difficulties she wanted to stay in New York in order to find work. The Rebbe responded with a note in which he rejected this idea:

Since 1) your husband has been very successful in saving quite a few of the Jewish people – spiritual pikuach nefesh,

a few of the Jewish people – spiritual pikuach nefesh, R’ Yosef Ladaiov with the former

R’ Yosef Ladaiov with the former menahel of the Yeshivas HaBukharim, R’ Berke Schiff, with Bukharin children

literally – for a life of Torah and mitzvos (especially when through his influence they went to schools with a proper chinuch al taharas ha’kodesh) 2) the necessity of these activities in Eretz Yisroel still exists – obviously he needs to continue in Eretz Yisroel – and joyously – and Hashem will bless you with success, also in your personal matters. Since, for the success of the work, it must be done with serenity of body and soul, I hope that when your husband speaks with the hanhala of Chamah in Eretz Yisroel once again, that according to Chamah’s finances they will add to his salary and try, as much as possible, regarding a car … Enclosed is my participation in the expenses of your visit here. This clear answer from the Rebbe left no room for doubt. He needed to continue the work of spreading the wellsprings in Eretz Yisroel under the auspices of Chamah.

later,

for a ticket

Yosef won a raffle

One

year

in

5736, R’

for a ticket Yosef won a raffle One year in 5736, R’ At a Chol HaMoed

At a Chol HaMoed Sukkos farbrengen in Crown Heights. From left to right: R’ Yosef Ladaiov, Shneur Zalman Berger (author of this article), mashpia R’ Yosef Yitzchok Friedman, R’ Gil Orion

mashpia R’ Yosef Yitzchok Friedman, R’ Gil Orion Issue 955 • �

Issue 955 � 27

OBITUARY The Ladaiov brothers with shluchim in Kazakhstan. R’ Yosef Ladaiov is first on the

OBITUARY

OBITUARY The Ladaiov brothers with shluchim in Kazakhstan. R’ Yosef Ladaiov is first on the right

The Ladaiov brothers with shluchim in Kazakhstan. R’ Yosef Ladaiov is first on the right

BACK TO SAMARKAND

In recent years, R’ Yosef Ladaiov and his brother wanted to work among the Jews of the CIS to be mekarev them to Torah and mitzvos after the religious disconnect of decades. After much deliberation they went on

a special trip and each place they went they worked on mivtza t’fillin and

mezuza. They put t’fillin on many and gave pairs of t’fillin as gifts and put up mezuzos.

It was moving to see the Ladaiov brothers who had worked in their youth with mesirus nefesh in Samarkand, returning there decades later in order to put t’fillin on with people and put up mezuzos. The brothers did this a number of years in a row. Each time they invested

a lot of money and tremendous effort in order to connect once again with

lost souls who remain in distant towns and villages and reignite their faith.

to the Rebbe. “We both went again,” said Mrs. Ladaiov, “and once again, I wrote before the yechidus about our financial situation. When we entered for yechidus and submitted the letter to the Rebbe, the Rebbe did not open it but moved it aside. Then he looked at my husband and said, ‘Last year when you were here, I did not allow you and now too, I do not allow you …’” R’ Yosef and his wife finally realized that this was their mission in life and there was nothing further to ask. From then on, for decades, he worked tirelessly to register children in

for decades, he worked tirelessly to register children in 28 � • 11

28 � 11 Tevet 5775

Chabad schools.

SAVING LIVES

About a year ago, R’ Yosef began having pain and it was discovered that he was suffering from the dreaded disease lo aleinu. It was a year of suffering and pain but there were also moments of satisfaction and nachas when, a few months ago, there was a celebration in honor of his 65th birthday in which he was recognized for his work for the Bukharin community. There were dozens of guests, family members, students

and friends, who gathered to express their appreciation to R’ Ladaiov who saved many of their community and led them to the path of Torah and mitzvos. It was a moving evening with his talmidim, some of whom are distinguished members of the Bukharin community. Lev Leviev, president of the Bukharin Jewish Congress was there as were R’ Hillel Chaimov who emceed the event, Knesset member Amnon Cohen, and others. R’ Hillel Chaimov, a distinguished rav in the Bukharin community, began the event with his personal story. This moved everyone and demonstrated how vital R’ Ladaiov’s work was and how it affected generations. “I was in eighth grade in Yeshivas HaBukharim in Kfar Chabad. It was toward the end of the year when my father told me that the following year I would be attending the government religious high school so I could get an education and eventually become a doctor so that I could support my family. I was very shocked by this and did not know what to do. I loved the learning in yeshiva but my father wanted me to study a profession. “R’ Yosef heard about this. Where did he hear this from? Nobody knows. But a few days later, he knocked at the door of my home together with R’ Boris Yitzchakov. My father, R’ Menachem Chaimov, welcomed them graciously. R’ Ladaiov explained to my parents how important it was that I, young Hillel, continue learning Torah in yeshiva. ‘Listen, if he studies medicine, he can save some lives, but if he studies Torah, his Torah study will protect the entire world. Is there anything greater than that?’ R’ Ladaiov sat there for a while until he got

a commitment from my parents

that I could continue learning in yeshiva. A few days later, before the start of yeshiva in Elul, R’ Ladaiov called our neighbors

(there still weren’t telephones in all homes) and through them he conveyed the message: In two days I will come and take Hillel

to yeshiva.

“R’ Ladaiov and R’ Yitzchakov weren’t wrong. I continued learning Torah in Yeshivas Achei T’mimim Chabad in Rishon L’Tziyon. Since then, I have had

the privilege of giving shiurim and lectures that bring merit to the public. If I had not remained in yeshiva, where would I be today? I, and those like me, the multitudes of his students, work among the Bukharin community in Eretz Yisroel and the world. What is mine and what is theirs,

is his.” Mrs. Rina Leibov, member of

the presidium of the Congress,

also spoke in honor

Ladaiov:

“It was a few days after we made aliya in 5734. We heard knocks at the door. Who could it be? The door opened and in the doorway was R’ Yosef Ladaiov in his usual dynamic manner. My father knew him from Samarkand. I don’t know how he managed to convince him to send his four sons, my brothers, to yeshiva. He did not suffice with that but told my father, ‘Your daughter also needs to learn in the right place.’ My father was taken aback. How could he part from his only daughter? R’ Yosef promised him that it would be alright and we all went to Beis Rivka to see where I would be learning.” During the evening more and more moving and unusual stories were told about mesirus nefesh for Torah and R’ Ladaiov’s effect

of

R’

The Ladaiov brothers in Samarkand. R’ Yosef is on the left

The Ladaiov brothers in Samarkand. R’ Yosef is on the left

on the spiritual futures of Jewish children in Russia and later, in Eretz Yisroel.

UNTIL HIS FINAL DAY

R’ Ladaiov underwent surgery during the Days of Awe of a year ago which was followed by harsh treatments, but he remained strong as a rock. Despite his suffering he would go to shul and daven together with everyone even when it sometimes seemed as though he would collapse from weakness. During this period, his youngest son was with him and helped him tremendously, but after a year, it was the son’s turn to go on K’vutza. Although his condition was precarious, R’ Yosef insisted on his son going on K’vutza because that is what the Rebbe wants. Until his final days he exerted himself to attend shul even though it cost him, physically and emotionally. Shabbos B’Reishis was the last time he appeared in shul. The doctors told him he had a few days left. Every day, a doctor went to his house to see how to make things easier for him, if only a bit. Each time the doctor came, R’ Yosef insisted that he

bit. Each time the doctor came, R’ Yosef insisted that he R’ Yosef giving a shiur

R’ Yosef giving a shiur in the shul in Nachalat Har Chabad

put on t’fillin before he examined him. One of the doctors said he doesn’t do that and there was no reason for him to do so now, but R’ Yosef said, “You won’t examine me until you do.” This was said in a whisper but firmly and the doctor gave in and put on t’fillin. That was R’ Yosef, stubborn for holy matters. He is survived by his wife Leah and his children: Shneur Zalman of Crown Heights, Daniel of Crown Heights, Yehudis Lifshitz of Nachalat Har Chabad, Devora Ben Abu of Crown Heights, Chana Kozlovsky of Crown Heights, Avrohom Meir of Kiryat Gat, Penina Saadi of Nachalat Har Chabad and Eliyahu.

Kiryat Gat, Penina Saadi of Nachalat Har Chabad and Eliyahu. Issue 955 • �

Issue 955 � 29

PARSHA THOUGHT THE ULTIMATE BLESSING By Rabbi Herschel Greenberg A BLESSING TO ALL JEWISH CHILDREN

PARSHA THOUGHT

THE

ULTIMATE

BLESSING

PARSHA THOUGHT THE ULTIMATE BLESSING By Rabbi Herschel Greenberg A BLESSING TO ALL JEWISH CHILDREN Before

By Rabbi Herschel Greenberg

A BLESSING TO ALL JEWISH CHILDREN

Before departing from this world, Jacob blessed Joseph and his two sons, Ephraim and Menasheh. When Jacob placed his right hand on the head of the younger son, Ephraim, and his left hand on the head of the older son, Menasheh, Joseph tried to correct his father. Jacob explained that Ephraim, though the younger brother, would be greater than his older sibling, Menasheh.

The

Torah

then

concludes

with

Jacob’s

final

blessing

to

them:

He blessed them on that day saying, “Israel will bless [their children] with you, saying, ‘May G-d make you like Ephraim and Menasheh.’” He placed Ephraim before Menasheh.

Since that day, the traditional blessing fathers give their children has been “May G-d make you like Ephraim and Menasheh.” This provokes a question:

Since the time of Ephraim and Menasheh, there have been thousands of righteous people, many of whom are regarded as spiritually superior to Ephraim

many of whom are regarded as spiritually superior to Ephraim 30 � • 11

30 � 11 Tevet 5775

and Menasheh, such as Moses and Aaron. What is it about these two brothers that Jacob wanted all our children to emulate?

CONTINUING

PREFERENTIAL

TREATMENT?

To answer this question, we must first answer another pressing question. After seeing how preferential treatment of Joseph led to such negative results, why did Jacob do it again with Ephraim and Menasheh by showing favoritism to the younger brother? Moreover, his elevation of Ephraim and Menasheh, Joseph’s sons, to a status equal to that of their uncles, Joseph’s other brothers, Jacob conferred a privilege on them that he did not accord to their cousins. This step seemed a repetition of his original mistake of showing preferential treatment to Joseph. Didn’t Jacob learn a hard lesson about showing favoritism when he suffered so much precisely from showing preference for Joseph? In response to this question, we must conclude that Jacob’s open display of his greater love

for Joseph coupled with sending him to seek out his hostile brothers, was not, G-d forbid, an act of reckless neglect or a lack of common sense. The Patriarchs are regarded by our Sages as “chariots,” meaning that every action of theirs was a natural

response to G-d’s will, in the way

a chariot responds to the will of

its driver. Even their “errors” were not examples of human frailty and moral lapses but were well-intentioned and, moreover, orchestrated from Above to teach us important lessons.

SEEING THE PRESENT THROUGH THE EYES OF THE FUTURE

Jacob prophetically saw into the future and knew that the secret of Jewish survival, and what will ultimately end exile, is unity. Indeed, our Sages inform us that the Second Temple was destroyed because of the senseless hatred that prevailed amongst the Jewish people at that time. The way to correct that destructive force, restore the Beis HaMikdash and usher in the Messianic Age is by reversing that jealousy and enmity that brought about the exile in the first place. Jacob, therefore, may have reasoned that if he could cultivate

a lack of jealousy amongst his

diverse children, themselves the progenitors of diverse approaches to serving G-d, he would have empowered the future Jewish nation to overcome its harmful divisions. Jacob wanted to inculcate in them the unconditional love for one another that would be crucial for the future of the Jewish nation. The real test of that love is demonstrated when another brother—especially if he is younger – is given preference without arousing jealousy. When all are left equal, there is no stress test of their unconditional loyalty and love for one another. If Jacob “erred,” it was that this test of his sons was premature; they were not ready to absorb the lesson. He miscalculated the extent to which his preferential treatment of Joseph would lead to disastrous results. Jacob viewed his sons from his own spiritual vantage point and saw their underlying potential for unity before they were ready for it to be actualized. In other words, Jacob saw them through the eyes of the future and saw how they would ultimately unite. However, our Sages tell us that when truly righteous people pursue a certain goal, it will inevitably be reached. Jacob’s efforts to instill true brotherly love in the DNA of the souls of his children finally paid off in the next generation with Ephraim and Menasheh. These two symbolize the ideal of King David’s statement in his Psalms:

“How good and pleasant when brothers dwell together.” There was not a tinge of jealousy or bad feelings toward Ephraim on Menasheh’s part; neither did Joseph’s brothers harbor any resentment against Joseph for his sons getting an extra

tribal portion. This was a new generation and a new dynamic was established. After all of the travail that Jacob, Joseph and his brothers had experienced, Jacob felt that they had been purged of their jealousy and were ready for the Messianic Age.

REVEALING THE END OF TIME

We therefore find later in this parsha, that Jacob tried to reveal the future arrival of Moshiach. Jacob called for his sons and said, “Gather around and I will

was based on how he saw his sons outgrow their rivalry and jealousy and enter into an unprecedented unified state. He had successfully planted the seeds for the final Redemption. More specifically, when Jacob saw Menasheh totally accept his secondary status without any trace of jealousy or malice he knew that the potential for correcting jealousy amongst his descendants did in fact exist and he saw the Redemption on the horizon. But, alas, our Sages continue, “the Divine presence departed from him” and he did not reveal the time for the Final

What distinguished Ephraim and Menasheh from all others was their total reversal of the

dynamic of division and rivalry that plagued their elders. Moreover, the reversal was as dramatic as it gets. They went from the extreme rivalry of their uncles, which lead them to plot Joseph’s murder, to the opposite extreme of harboring not a trifle of envy.

to the opposite extreme of harboring not a trifle of envy. tell you what will happen

tell you what will happen to you in the End of Days.” The Midrash, cited by Rashi, comments:

He wanted to reveal the “End” [of days, when Moshiach would come] but the Divine presence departed from him, so he began to speak about other things. This raises a question. If Jacob knew that Moshiach’s coming would be in the distant future, why would he want to burden his sons with the sad news that it would not happen for quite an extended period of time? And why did the Divine presence depart from him at that very moment? The answer is that his desire to reveal the future Redemption

Redemption. What went wrong? The answer is that, once again, Jacob had viewed the world through his prism of being able to see the future in the present. He saw a rehabilitated and united family, devoid of petty jealousy; the ingredients for the Final Redemption. He saw the Redemption unfolding before his very eyes. However, the process of forging unity had to be more than

a one generation phenomenon.

For the Final Redemption to become a reality, future generations would need to

recreate the dynamic that existed

in Jacob’s final days. The seeds

of unity needed to be nurtured. As we know, it turned out to be

unity needed to be nurtured. As we know, it turned out to be Issue 955 •

Issue 955 � 31

PARSHA THOUGHT a long, arduous and rocky road until Jacob’s vision could be seen by

PARSHA THOUGHT

a long, arduous and rocky road

until Jacob’s vision could be seen by everyone.

As we stand now, poised on the threshold of the Redemption, we ask ourselves where did this process begin? Where did we derive the power to break out of exile? The answer is that it all began with the lack of jealousy and brotherly love displayed by Ephraim and Menasheh.

THE VESSEL FOR ALL BLESSINGS

We can now appreciate why the ultimate blessing for our children is to be like Ephraim and Menasheh.

It is true that there are many other Jewish historical figures who rate more prominently than Menasheh and Ephraim, such as Moses and Aaron. Nevertheless, what distinguished Ephraim and Menasheh from all others was their total reversal of the dynamic of division and rivalry that plagued their elders. Moreover, the reversal was as dramatic as it gets. They went from the extreme rivalry of their uncles, which lead them to plot Joseph’s murder, to the opposite extreme

of harboring not a trifle of envy.

Their ability to reverse course like this made them unique, even in comparison to Moses and Aaron. When G-d chose the younger Moses as the liberator of the Jewish nation, Aaron did not feel envy. On the contrary, G-d told Moses that when Aaron heard that Moses was the chosen one, “he will rejoice in his heart.” Even so, Menasheh and Ephraim stood out for their lack of rivalry immediately after events that represented the zenith of brotherly division and strife. Their unique contribution is their ability to reverse a negative dynamic.

crucial for our future. No other blessing could match that of brotherly love, because it is the ultimate vessel for all other blessings. Peace is the ultimate blessing that makes all the other blessings real and accessible to us, particularly when it follows a time of dissent and discord. In the eternal words of our Sages, with which they conclude the Mishna:

“G-d could not find any vessel that contains blessing other than peace.”

Jacob,

having

seen the way

Menasheh

Ephraim responded

preferential

treatment of the younger of the two

brothers, knew that this would be the

ultimate

for the future of the entire Jewish nation. He believed that he

blessing

and

to

his

had finally succeeded

in

u n c o n d i t i o n a l brotherly relationship

cultivating the

that

would prove

a l brotherly relationship cultivating the that would prove 32 � • 11
a l brotherly relationship cultivating the that would prove 32 � • 11
a l brotherly relationship cultivating the that would prove 32 � • 11

32 � 11 Tevet 5775

QUIZ

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B y N e c h a m a Bar us open a business, buy

By Nechama Bar

us open a business, buy buildings

the

in

to work

used

people

plane

of

the

wheels

The

diamond jewelry

I will buy

and we, the

cleaned

offices I

lifted off the runway. The earth

and beautiful clothes …”

crew, benefited

cleaning

and

many

smaller

became

slowly

her

times. These rich people wanted

in

caught

I got

up

smaller and only the blue skies

enthusiasm. In our imagination,

only the best and they rushed

be

and white fluffy clouds could

life

They

the nice

to buy any new gadget.

we pictured

we

windows.

seen out of the plane’s

to have with a

threw the old ones out, available

were about

liftoff

for

waited

Chaim

R’

mansion, a magnificent garden

to whomever wanted them. We

to be completed so he could get out of his seat. He was holding his t’fillin bag and he wanted to

good

But

home with

nice

a pool,

and

often went

cars

the very next day my thoughts

and quality items that

clothes

the rich employees discarded.

changed.

enable

around and

Jews

walk

the huge loss

One day, as I was cleaning,

As expected,

to put on t’fillin.

the

in

commotion

suitcase.

a small

made

I noticed

a

the passengers

As

soon as

building. Policemen and

figured

Another bargain, I

office

R’

stand

allowed

to

up,

were

and

I took it without thinking

out,

in

detectives came

and

Chaim got out of his seat and

many employees,

twice. When I opened it I was shocked to see that it was full

questioning

Many looking

walking faces. around

began

trying to get some information

Jews

for Jewish

them to the

would lead

that

of money! I was quite familiar

the

happy to say yes to

were

thief.

with the

and put

offer

Chassid’s

on

lowly janitor and

office building and I knew that

I was

t’fillin, but there was one who

a

question

there were video cameras that recorded everything that took place, but in the spot where I

they did not suspect or me. I acted as though I

He made

did not like the idea.

had no

a face and motioned to him to move on. Next to this Jew sat a

on and

was going

idea what

worked extra hard.

suitcase, there

found the

was

gentile who watched the scene.

no camera. I knew that nobody

I found out

a while

Chaim finished going

After

R’

When

would know I had found it.

lost suitcase belonged

around the gentile asked him, “What about me?” The Chassid smiled and said, “Putting on tfillin is something

that the

memories of

in

suitcase

the

hid

to a Jew. At once,

a

I

my childhood came back to me.

garbage bag so as not to arouse

a grandfather

home,

walked

I remembered

and

suspicion

so much.

look as I always did.

My

loved

whom

I

I trying to

is why

do, which

only

Jews

always

would

walked into the

grandfather

I

As

only offered it to Jews.” “Yes, yes,” the man nodded, “but I want to tell you a story

soon as

he sat

She excitedly

lap

wife

on his

I my told find.

as

house,

seat

me

my when

and tell

jumped

armchair

his red

in

about

kept

One thing he

she

me stories.

from excitement

saw

connected with Jews.”

on repeating was, “You should know that Jews are the chosen

the

lying in

bills

of

piles

the

willing

to

Chaim

R’

was

suitcase. “Wow! You wont have

began his

listen and the gentile

people and one cannot do them any harm.

to work anymore as a janitor.

story:

are over!

Our days of scrimping

in the

I worked as a janitor

Millionaires! Let

in

echoed

RICH!

We are

This sentence

wealthy

Very

Twin

Towers.

TZIVOS HASHEM

r y T w i n T o w e r s . TZIVOS HASHEM 34

34 � 11 Tevet 5775

not find any source for

the

me. What is $3000 compared

felt dizzy. I

my brain and I

pain but decided to hospitalize

of

of thousands

the

tens

I would return

to

that

decided

so they could

me for a few days

there?

We

dollars that were

the money to the Jew. You can well imagine my wifes reaction

keep an eye on me.

could have been rich!

what

believe

wont

You

She kept ranting and raving

decision.

told her my

when I

days later,

A few

happened.

sick

I became

and cursed

until

She screamed

for hours

me

the hospital, the

in

lay

Painkillers did not

I

for my foolishness and tried, in

from it all.

as

television and radio stations did

help and I could not go to work

every way possible, to stop me from doing this. But her efforts

not stop broadcasting about the

the next day.

tragedy that had just

terrible

morning

The next

people,

futile.

chosen

The

“See?

were

The Twin Towers

taken place.

black

in

them and

the suitcase

you said. You helped

put

a

I

had

been attacked and

had

plastic bag. I quietly entered the

what did you get? You became

Thousands of people

collapsed.

Jewish employees office and told him that I had the suitcase.

fool

what a

sick.

Now you see

had died.

you were? This is what you get

moment I

that

At

Let

money!

returning the

one thing, I

for

I want just

understood that G-d had saved

will help

told him. Dont turn me into

us see now if the Jews

me because of what I did and my caring for His chosen people.

yelling

she continued

the police and make sure they dont question me.

you

while my headache got worse.

***

pain

felt that the

tell

just

When

Of

I

me

course,

R’

exclaimed

finish

I went to

“Wow!”

do

wasn’t going away,

when

please,

you

Chaim, but the gentile hadn’t

The doctors did

the hospital.

work?”

patted

finished.

He

4:30,

I

At

of the

the shoulder

said.

Jew sitting next to

“Come back

to

him who had heard

when

please,

me

word of

his

every

you finish work.

story.

When I entered

gentile

the

“I,

he

his

room,

alive

worker, am