יום רביעי י"ז בשבט תשפ"ב 19/01/2022
Search
  • 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!

    Read More...

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.

    Read More...

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.

    Read More...

Join Our Mailing List!

Please add a Valid Email Address
Join
Thanks!

Reflections

Yerucham

Yerucham- a Torah City in the Negev

Motty Meringer 05/06/2009 14:00
"Thus said G-d I have remembered the kindness of your youth and the love of your betrothal follow me in the desert, into a deserted land" – at the heart of the Negev desert in southern Israel, the voice of Torah can be heard in the city of Yerucham.
In the middle of the deserted Negev to the south of Be'er Sheva and Dimona lies the immigrant town of Yerucham.

Yerucham is not mentioned in any Jewish ancient written works, and the name 'Yerucham' referred only to people in the past. However, in the ancient writings of Shoshenq I, one of Egypt's ruling Pharaohs, Yerucham is mentioned as one of the cities that he conquered, alongside Bnei Brak, Lachish and Sukkoth. Researchers believe that the Yerucham which Shoshenq I referred to was to the west of today's town of Yerucham.

During the early modern period, Jewish presence in Yerucham was first present in 5711. The town was established by members of the 'Gan Shmuel' kibbutz as a transit camp for new immigrants called 'Kfar Yerucham' where mainly Romanian immigrants were placed. Six years later, with the increasing waves of immigration to Israel, Jews from Iran, Morocco and India settled in the Yerucham transit camp as well. In the early sixties, the transit camp was dismantled and in its place the Local Council of Yerucham was established. Its name was then officially changed from 'Kfar Yerucham' to 'Yerucham' and it was populated by 1700 people. An additional 3000 new immigrants settled in the town shortly thereafter in a new transit camp that was erected for them.

Despite Yerucham's remote location and distance from the center of the country, its residents nevertheless enjoyed some means of centrality as the town was located right next to a major highway which led to the center of the country. Other roads were later added, such as the Arava Road which was added a decade after the establishment of Yerucham. These new roads diverted the traffic from the town and effectively cut it off from the rest of the country. This fact caused many young residents to leave Yerucham and the town was hit by mass emigration and desolateness.

Just when it seemed like the town's situation was deteriorating beyond repair a blessed change occurred: Rabbi Eliezer Kugel brought his 'Tlat' organization, which assists misled Jews in finding their way to the Torah, to Yerucham. The 'Tlat' organization's (acronym for 'Tenuah Lehafatzat Torah') main goal is to spread the light of Torah in the peripheries and remote towns of the country. A group of orthodox families thus settled in the town and set up the foundation of Yerucham's first Orthodox community. Toward the end of the seventies, a second group of Orthodox families, whose heads were alumni of the Hebron Yeshiva, arrived in the city and founded a Yeshiva, a Kollel and other educational institutions that were necessary for the preservation of a Torah life. As the years passed the original Orthodox settlers left and were replaced by others. The Rabbis of the Yeshiva and Kollel were replaced by Rabbi Frank, Rabbi Eliyahu Mann, Rabbi Shlomo Klopfer and Rabbi Shimshon Pinkus, of blessed memory. Rabbi Pinkus was responsible for the financial maintenance of the Yeshiva and made contact with Rabbi Ezriel Tauber from the States who eventually collected the necessary funds to erect a building for the Yeshiva.

The Torah revolution of the town received its most significant boost with the arrival of Rabbi Rafael Yonah Tikotchinsky, of blessed memory, who settled in Yerucham during the summer of 5745. Rabbi Tikotchinsky had previously served as Rosh Yeshiva of the Yeshiva which was located in the building of the Diskin Orphanage in Givat Shaul, Jerusalem, where he instituted a revolutionary learning method he had learned from his own rabbi and mentor, Rabbi Shmuel Rozovsky. The learning method, which put an emphasis on in-depth studying and complete comprehension of the overall issue, was greatly encouraged by Rabbi Menchem Mann Shach who deeply admired and appreciated Rabbi Tikotchinsky and his amazing abilities.

In 5745, Rabbi Tikotchinsky relocated from Jerusalem to Yerucham together with a group of over fifty of his Yeshiva students. The new Yeshiva that was established in Yerucham implemented the same learning method as that in Jerusalem and the voice of Torah learning reached far and wide in the deserted Negev. Rabbi David Abramski served as mashgiach of the Yeshiva and the staff was comprised by noted rabbis, such as Rabbi Chanoch Karlinstein and Rabbi Chaim Mann.

During the period of time when Rabbi Tikotchinsky served as Rosh Yeshiva Yerucham truly blossomed. Countless Yeshiva students from all over the country arrived in Yerucham to learn in its famous Yeshiva, and following their marriage they stayed in Yerucham and set up new homes there. Slowly but surely, the Orthodox community of Yerucham grew to include over one hundred families.

During that time an interesting person by the name of Shlomo Zalman Weissfish arrived in Yerucham from Jerusalem as he suffered from asthma and could no longer stay in the crowded capital with its polluted air. The fresh, clean air of Yerucham was good for his health, and he made the town his permanent home. Many of the Yeshiva students remember the cheery Jerusalemite, riding his bicycle around town and warmly greeting any new student who had come to learn in the Yeshiva. The Yeshiva students furthermore got to relish the special kugels of Mr. Weissfish and enjoy the other scrumptious Jerusalem delicacies he would prepare for them, which eventually created his famous nickname – 'the grandfather of Yerucham'.

On the 13th of Sivan, 5749, Yerucham was struck with disaster – Rabbi Tikotchinsky, the Rosh Yeshiva, died suddenly and without warning after suffering from a heart attack. The whole Torah world was in turmoil over his passing and he was accompanied to his final resting place by the leading Rabbis of the generation and huge crowds of shocked pupils and admirers. The people who were visiting Rabbi Shach when the news of Rabbi Tikotchinsky's tragic passing was received testified that Rabbi Shach clutched his beard and walked around his room repeatedly muttering 'Rabbi Rafael, oy Rabbi Rafael!' refusing to be consoled.

The passing of Rabbi Tikotchinsky was a great blow to the Orthodox community of Yerucham which did not recover from the tragedy for many years. However, with the arrival of Rabbi Mordechai Kraus, a member of the rabbinical court of Rabbi Nissim Karelitz, to Yerucham, the community was strengthened through his establishment of many Torah institutions and by his serving as their devoted community rabbi.

The Yeshiva in Yerucham continued to function for an additional seven years, however it did not last and the Yeshiva closed down.

During the past few years, extensive planning for the building of low-cost apartments in Yerucham for Orthodox families has been conducted, however the plans have not, as of now, been implemented. There is still hope, however, that the dream of strengthening the Orthodox community of Yerucham will materialize one day in the near future and that the community will continue to blossom.