שבת ט' בכסלו תשפ"ג 03/12/2022
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  • The Mission Continues

    As in the past so it remains today - we were and still are under the selfsame commitment to adhere to the directions of the Gedolei Yisrael, who stand guard against breaches of purity threatening our camp. When we were required to ask – we asked. When we were instructed to depart – we left. The moment we are summoned back to raise the flag, every other consideration is pushed to the side and we answer: We are ready!

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בראי היום

  • Harav Yisrael Friedman zy”a, the Rebbe of Husyatin

    מוטי, ויקיפדיה העברית

    The ancestral chain of Harav Yisrael Friedman, the founder of the Husyatin chassidic court, originates with the holy Baal Shem Tov. The Husyatin chassidus has its roots in Galicia and eventually came to Tel Aviv, during the turbulent years between the two World Wars.

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Place

  • Maccabi'im Gravesite

    In honour of Chanukah, we will discuss a fascinating, ongoing investigation attempting to establish the place of burial of Mattisyahu Kohen Gadol and his family.

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Reflections

The Beis Halevi

The method of Brisk, which is followed by most of the Lithuanian Yeshivas today, began its journey under the guidance of Rabbi Yosef Dov Halevi Soloveitchik, founder of the Brisk dynasty, who passed away on the 4th of Iyar, 5652.

Motty Meringer 28/04/2009 10:00
Rabbi Yosef Dov Halevi Soloveitchik is referred to in Yiddish as Rabbi Yoshe Ber or as the Beis Halevi, after his book. Rabbi Yoshe Ber was born in 5580 in the village of Nesvizh, to his father Rabbi Yitzchak Ze'ev, who was the grandson of Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin, founder of the mother of all Yeshivas, Yeshivas 'Eitz Chaim' in the city of Volozhin.

Until the age of ten, Rabbi Yoshe Ber learned in the local Jewish boys-school, after which he traveled to Volozhin where he learned under a private tutor until he reached the age of thirteen. Following his Bar Mitzvah he was accepted to the esteemed Volozhin Yeshiva, where he diligently pursued his Torah study until his marriage.

The tradition in Yeshivas Volozhin was that a prominent scholar would serve as deputy Rosh Yeshiva in addition to the Rosh Yeshiva himself. In the year of 5613, Rabbi Yoshe Ber was selected to fill that honorary position and assist the Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Naftali Tzvi Berlin, the Natziv. Rabbi Yoshe Ber's learning method differed from the accepted learning method at the Yeshiva; he would pursue his learning as if he was conducting research, examining and investigating the material as he proceeded. This method laid the foundation of the famous Brisk method, which the majority of the Lithuanian Yeshivas follow today. Only the students with the sharpest minds participated in Rabbi Yoshe Ber's lectures, which resulted in the forming of two student groups with different learning methods within the Yeshiva. The Rosh Yeshiva, the Natziv, who held Rabbi Yoshe Ber in highest esteem and considered himself his close friend, nevertheless opposed to his learning method, a fact that inevitably resulted in Rabbi Yoshe Ber's resignation from Yeshivas Volozhin. Ten years after Rabbi Yoshe Ber first began lecturing in Yeshivas Volozhin, he published his first book, 'Shailos v'Teshuvos Beis Halevi', in 5623. Two years after he had been lecturing in the Volozhin Yeshiva for twelve years, Rabbi Yoshe Ber accepted the offer to replace Rabbi Yosef Feimer as Rabbi of Slutzk, after the latter had passed away. Following Rabbi Yoshe Ber's resignation from Yeshivas Volozhin due to differences of opinion with the Rosh Yeshiva regarding the learning method, the Natziv asked Rabbi Yoshe Ber to return to the Yeshiva several times, however he refused, stating his position as Rabbi of Slutzk as the grounds for rejecting the offer.

Slutzk was a prominent Jewish city which had produced many highly regarded scholars. There Rabbi Yoshe Ber surrounded himself with the sharpest minds in the city and established a Yeshiva-like institution where he taught Torah. Rabbi Yoshe Ber guided the residents of Slutzk with much devotion and made great efforts to assist the poor families in the city. For that purpose, he ordered the wealthy residents to donate large sums to the low-income families. The wealthy residents on their part vehemently opposed and outright rejected Rabbi Yoshe Ber's commands and began fighting against him. After ten years of serving as Rabbi of Slutzk and having to endure constant persecution from the wealthy, he had finally had enough and left Slutzk in 5605, settling in Warsaw where lived for four years. Prior to his leaving, Slutzk was mysteriously struck by disaster after disaster, and the wealthy residents interpreted it as their punishment for fighting their Rabbi, Rabbi Yoshe Ber. They immediately sought his forgiveness and begged him to return to their city and reassume the position of the city Rabbi; however Rabbi Yoshe Ber refused and relocated to Warsaw.

In 5639, Rabbi Moshe Yehoshua Leib Diskin, who was the Rabbi of Brisk, immigrated to Israel and joined the Perushim community. The Jewish community of Brisk, which was left without a Rabbi, turned to Rabbi Yoshe Ber and asked him to serve as their city Rabbi. Rabbi Yoshe Ber accepted the offer and settled in Brisk, where he remained until his passing.
Rabbi Yoshe Ber was the one who initiated and laid the foundation of the Brisk learning method which was further developed after his passing by his son, Rabbi Chaim, and his grandson, Rabbi Yitzchak. The method eventually turned into the most accepted learning method in the majority of Lithuanian Yeshivas of today. Rabbi Yoshe Ber was renowned for his diligence in Torah studying; a story is told about one time when Rabbi Yoshe Ber became ill and required surgery preceded by local anesthesia. Rabbi Yoshe Ber, however, asked the doctors to operate on him with no anesthesia whatsoever. The doctors initially refused, but after seeing his persistence they agreed, provided that he would promise not to move during the whole process. Rabbi Yoshe Ber promised and began learning. The doctors, in the meanwhile, started operating on him and during the whole operation Rabbi Yoshe Ber did not move and did not experience any pain, as he was too engrossed in his learning to notice anything else...

On the 5th of Shevat, 5652, Yeshivas Volozhin was closed down by the Russian Czar's command, and Rabbi Yoshe Ber took the Yeshiva's closure extremely hard, so much so that he fell ill. For the next three months, his health constantly deteriorated, and on the 4th of Iyar of the same year, he passed away. A massive funeral took place in Brisk on the very same day, during which his son, Rabbi Chaim Halevi Soloveitchik, was appointed Rabbi of Brisk in his father's place.