יום שישי ה' בתשרי תשפ"ג 30/09/2022
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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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  • 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 Yarzheit of the great Rabbi Simcha Mordechai Ziskind

The Yahrzeit of the Rosh Yeshiva of Chevron, the Gaon Rav Simcha Mordechai Ziskind Broide, author of the sefer ‘VeSam Derech’

B. Wolff 10/04/2009 10:00
The Chevron Yeshiva is one of the largest and most prominent in the yeshiva world, and is particularly renowned in Eretz Yisroel. The yeshiva has experienced many upheavals prior to its establishment at its present location.

The first seedling of the yeshiva was the Kovno Kollel, established in the year 5637 by Rav Yisroel Salanter, the father of the mussar movement, in the town of Slabodka in Lithuania. From this kollel emerged many gedolei Yisroel who went on to spread Torah and Mussar, and established yeshivos. Among these gedolim was the Alter of Slabodka, Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, who founded the yeshiva ‘Knesses Yisroel – Slabodka’.

‘Knesses Yisroel – Slabodka’ was founded in the year 5643, soon after the petira of the founder of the Kovno Kollel, Rav Yisroel Salanter, and its name was in remembrance of him. The yeshiva was extremely successful and expanded greatly. Rav Nosson Tzvi, the Alter, installed Rav Moshe Mordechai Epstein as Rosh Yeshiva and brought some of the greatest rabbonim and mussar personalities to the yeshiva in order that the talmidim should benefit from them and derive greatness in Torah and mussar.Talmidim of the Slabodka Yeshiva graduated to positions of leadership in the whole Jewish world; in Russia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany and even in Eretz Yisroel and the United States. These talmidim took on many forms of leadership positions, becoming community rabbonim and roshei yeshiva in all parts of the world.

The Alter of Slabodka, Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, was greatly supportive of the founding of additional yeshivos, and even sent some of the best of his own talmidim to strengthen existing yeshivos, not harbouring any feelings of competition.
With the outbreak of the First World War in the year 5674, the Slabodka yeshiva went into exile together with all of the Jews of the region, but the subsequent wanderings of Knesses Yisroel did little to deter the talmidim from their devotion to their studies.

At first the yeshiva took refuge in the city of Minsk in White Russia, but when the war’s front later became too close, it moved to Kremenchug, where the yeshiva remained for four years. In the year 5680, two years after the end of the war, the government finally permitted the yeshiva to return to Slabodka, and there it remained until the year 5684.

In that year the government abolished the exemption of yeshiva students from army service, altering the situation that had previously existed. This was a result of the activities of the maskilim, who had been pressuring the yeshiva to introduce secular studies into its curriculum. The mashgiach, the Alter of Slabodka, would not consent to their wishes and the conscription decree followed. In order to save the talmidim from being conscripted, the administration of the yeshiva decided to completely uproot the yeshiva and transfer it to Eretz Yisroel.

Rav Yechezkel Sarna, the son-in-law of Rav Moshe Mordechai Epstein, was sent by the Alter to investigate possible locations for the yeshiva. The choice that emerged was the city of Chevron, the city of our Forefathers, and so the yeshiva came to be known as the Chevron Yeshiva. At the end of Ellul in the year 5684 the first talmidim reached Eretz Yisroel, those who were at immediate risk of being conscripted, and gradually, in small groups, others followed them. They were also joined by talmidim from other yeshivos and locations, and so the new ‘Yeshivas Knesses Yisroel – Chevron’ expanded.

When the Lithuanian government rescinded the conscription decree, Rav Moshe Mordechai appointed Rav Yitchok Eizik to lead the yeshiva in Slabodka while he himself proceeeded to Eretz Yisroel as Rosh Yeshiva in Chevron, with Rav Leib Chasman at his side as Mashgiach. In this manner the yeshiva bloomed, with its two branches.

In the summer of 5685 the Alter of Slabodka arrived in Eretz Yisroel, where he continued to encourage the talmidim in their learning and teach them by his example, until his petira on the night of 29th Shvat in the year 5687.
The yeshiva remained in Chevron for two years, until the terrible Shabbos, the eighteenth of Av 5689, when Arab riots broke out in Chevron and fifty-nine Jews both from the local community and the talmidim of the yeshiva were murdered in cold blood, with the complicity of the British rulers.

In the wake of the destruction then wrought, the yeshiva was transferred to Yerushalayim, and located itself in the Geula area, in the Achva shul and nearby buildings. In the year 5694, on the tenth of Kislev, Rav Moshe Mordechai Epstein was recalled to the Heavenly Yeshiva, and his position was then filled by Rav Yechezkel Sarna, with Rav Aharon Cohen and Rav Avraham Moshe Chevroni at his side, who were also sons-in-law of Rav Moshe Mordechai.

In the year 5699 the yeshiva moved to its new building in the Geula area, at the corners of Chagai and HaYeshiva streets. There it stands until the present day, ‘Yeshivas Knesses Yisroel – Geula’.

In the year 5696 the mashgiach Rav Leib Chasman was recalled to the Heavenly Yeshiva, and his position was then filled by Rav Meir haLevi Chodosh.

Through all of the upheavals, in hard times, when both food and security were scarce, the learning in the yeshiva continued nevertheless, its talmidim striving for higher levels of Torah and mussar even when there was nothing to eat and dangers to body and soul lurked all about.

In the year 5721 Rav Simcha Zissel Broide was appointed as Rosh Yeshiva. He was a son-in-law of Rav Moshe Finkel (the son of the Alter of Slabodka and a son-in-law of Rav Moshe Mordechai Epstein), who had been one of the yeshiva’s finest talmidim when the yeshiva had still been located in Chevron. He served thus until his petira on the 16th of Nisan in the year 5760.

In the year 5722, after the administration of the yeshiva decided that the current building in Geula was becoming too cramped to accommodate the growing numbers of talmidim and those who were clamouring to enter its portals, an additional location was sought where the yeshiva would be able to expand. A large area was found in the region of Givat Mordechai, near Bayit Vegan. On a Tuesday, the third of Nisan, the foundation stone was laid for the new yeshiva complex, to be known as ‘Knesses Yisroel – Givat Mordechai’.

Many long years then passed until finally, the yeshiva moved to its new location. Many delays had impeded process over the years; delays in the building itself and other related matters. Then in the year 5729 Rav Yechezkel Sarna, the Rosh Yeshiva was niftar, and in the year 5735 the Rosh Yeshiva who succeeded him, Rav Avrohom Moshe Chevroni, was also niftar.

Then finally, with great joy and celebration, on the 27th of Tishrei in the year 5736, the yeshiva moved from its cramped premises in Geula to its new expansive location in Givat Mordechai.

In its new location the yeshiva blossomed. The number of talmidim increased and many gedolei Torah emerged from its portals and went on to serve as rabbonim in many locations, carrying forward the Slabodka legacy and traditions to new generations. Indeed, many many gedolei Yisroel owe their strength in Torah to Yeshivas Knesses Yisroel, one of the greatest and mightiest yeshivos of our generation.