Wednesday, December 23, 2015


Art: Jacob Taanmann
Yarzheit: 11 Teves - In memory of two great teachers: Ze'ev Yosef ben Sholom a"h and Rochel bas Mordechai a"h  who tragically left this world as the result of a surreal car crash on December 20, 2007 - we miss you and think of you every day.

Tzadikim never die, their light continues to shine forever.

"Teach them thoroughly to your children" [Devarim 6:7] - "your children" refers to your students. [Sifrei]

"Whoever teaches another man's son Torah is considered as if he had borne him." [Sanhedrin 19b]

A talmid once approached R' Chaim Shmulevitz to relate a chiddush (original Torah thought). R' Chaim listened to the student in amazed silence. The "chiddush" was, in fact, an idea which R' Chaim himself had offered in a shiur (lecture) which this student had attended.

R' Chaim was certain that the student was not trying to deceive him. There could only be one explanation. The student had absorbed R' Chaim's lecture well, but after a period of time, had forgotten having attended it. Later, when reviewing the relevant material, the student had thought of R' Chaim's chiddush, thinking that it was his own.

R' Chaim later remarked: "I then realized that here was a real talmid, assimilating my chiddushim in his thoughts as if they were his very own! It was the happiest day of my life!"

Ever Mindful

When still active as Rosh Yeshivah of Mesivta Torah Vodaath, R' Yaakov Kamenetzky once visited the home of his son R' Shmuel. Late at night, R' Shmuel heard his father leave his second-floor bedroom and go downstairs.

Concerned, R' Shmuel made his way downstairs, only to find his father jotting something down in a pocket notebook. R' Yaakov explained: "A certain bochur in yeshivah has been having some problems. I just thought of a way to help him. I jotted it down in my appointment book to make sure that I won't forget."

How Can I Leave?

The weddings of his talmidim were of particular importance to R' Moshe Feinstein. One Friday morning, someone met him in New York's Port Authority bus terminal, waiting to board a bus to the annual convention of Agudath Israel.

It seemed hard to believe that a car had not been provided to take R' Moshe to the convention. R' Moshe's companion explained: "Certainly a car was provided. The Rosh Yeshivah was to be driven to the convention last night, following the chuppah at a talmid's wedding. The car was waiting after the ceremony ended, but the Rosh Yeshivah said: "How can I leave without first dancing with the chassan?" He insisted that the car, which was to pick up other Roshei Yeshivah, not wait for him, and he would not trouble anyone to come for him a second time."

For a Student's Honour

R' Eliyahu Moshe Shisgal (late son-in-law of R' Moshe Feinstein) was a revered and beloved Rosh Yeshivah. Once, during a lecture, a student disputed a point that R' Shisgal had made. The student's remarks seemed so ludicrous that the rest of the class burst into laughter.

R' Shisgal chastised his students. "Why do you laugh? Is this the proper way? Besides, how can one be sure that what he suggested is wrong? Perhaps it is we who are in error?"

Having spoken, R' Shisgal excused himself and left the room, returning a few minutes later with a gemara that he had climbed two flights of stairs to get. He read aloud a passage from the commentary of Rashi and concluded "It is apparent from Rashi that our explanation is correct." The student who had posed the question no longer felt chagrined.

Source: Rabbi Shimon Finkelman "For Love of Torah"

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