יום שני כ"ב באייר תשפ"ב 23/05/2022
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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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  • 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

Yarzheit of Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe

Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe, the author of the series "Alei Shur" was known as the Mashgiach.

B. Wolff 11/04/2009 10:00
The great Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe, may he rest in peace, the mashgiach of “Yeshivas Be’er Yaakov” was known to all as the “Mashgiach” (spiritual counselor). He was a unique, fascinating and multifaceted personality.

He was a spiritual and ethics counselor in the true essence of the word. He was the one who gave the definition of who and what is a mashgiach.

During his service as mashgiach in “Be’er Yaakov” he received an anonymous letter complaining that he wasn’t functioning properly as a mashgiach since he wasn’t approaching the students on his own initiative enough.
As a reply to the letter he hung up his own letter on the Yeshiva bulletin board clearly explaining what is the purpose of a Yeshiva and what roll do its heads play.

“A Yeshiva” he wrote “besides being a place of elevation in Torah and prayer, should also house the preparation-course for life. Its heads should take extra notice to not give over any false ideas about life. How will one whose education is based on false ideas and perceptions about life, ever find his path through it?

What is the path of life? If a sick person is laying on his deathbed suffering with unbearable pain and in desperate need for a doctor, should he ponder over why the doctor is not coming to visit him or should he make the effort to get to the clinic or at least give the doctor a call asking him to come over? A mashgiach in the Yeshiva is the same. If the mashgiach would make it his business to approach all the students on his own initiative, he would create the disillusion that in real life they will also be approached at the right time and place with no effort on their side.”

He was once quoted saying at a conference of mashgichim “Admitting a student into Yeshiva is a tremendous responsibility. The mashgiach must be prepared to accept the student in all situations, in his ups and in his downs, up until the day he gets married and leaves Yeshiva. If the mashgiach cannot picture himself tolerating the student regardless of the condition he is holding in, he should avoid admitting him into the Yeshiva in the first place. It’s a horrible feeling for a student to be learning in a Yeshiva in which the mashgiach doesn’t value him and bestow love and warmth on him."
His words weren’t just sermons or beautiful lectures that sounded intelligent. They were thoughts and ideas that were deeply ingrained in his behavior. He would never speak what he didn’t follow himself.

Rabbi Shlomo was a mashgiach from a relatively young age. He absorbed his mannerism and conduct from his Rabbis and mentors in his younger years.

He was born in Berlin, Germany. From an early age he strove to reach a high level in Torah study and would pray for a lengthy time. He learned in a Yeshiva in Frankfurt and carried on learning in Monteux, but he was still aspiring for a higher standard. It was when he came to Mir, Poland that he felt he finally came to his intended place. He attached himself to the great mashgiach Rabbi Yerucham Leibovitz, may his merit protect us, whom based on his methods and teachings Rabbi Shlomo built his personality as future mashgiach.

His next stop was Stockholm, Sweden. When the Second World War broke out he was expelled from Poland due to his German nationality. Understandably, he had no interest in returning to Germany and with the turns of events, divine providence brought him to Stockholm where he would have the opportunity to assist the many refugees who would flee to Sweden after the war would end.

Before he began his journey he received ordination from the Mir Rosh-Yeshiva Rabbi Eliezer Yehudah Finkel and from Rabbi Plastzchinski, may they rest in peace.

All alone, he arrived in Stockholm which at the time was a spiritual desert as far as Judaism was concerned. There were several Jews in the city but they were far from being organized together and institutions such as schools or Yeshivos were never established. Rabbi Shlomo began teaching his first student, Rabbi Lehmann and gave many sermons in the Shuls around the city.

Rabbi Shlomo attested to the fact that the eight long years he spent in Stockholm were his most beautiful years of life. In order to sustain himself on a high spiritual level and not fall down from the ladder of piety he had to engross himself in Mussar study (Jewish ethics) on a daily basis. It was in this situation that Rabbi Shlomo built his character and formed and strengthened his personality. It was the product of his hard work of self-improvement that gained him the ability to be a source of positive influence on others.

At that period he invested his time in writing up a series of articles named “The weighed Mitzvos” and essays in the field of education.

In the year 1945 the war ended and refugees began pouring into Sweden and with it began Rabbi Wolbe’s charity operation. Joining forces with Rabbi Binyomin Jacobson they set up a refugee home in Lindinga for Jewish girls who survived the horrifying war. In the home they attempted to renew the girl’s spirits and rebuild them from their ruins.
 In 1947 he left Sweden in favor of Eretz-Yisroel where he married the daughter of Rabbi Avraham Grodzinski who was coldly murdered by the Nazis in the ninth port in Kovno.

He settled in Petach-Tikva where he was offered a position of head of the local Jewish agency office. He accepted the offer after consulting the Chazon-Ish but soon thereafter he was forced to leave the job as a result of incompatibility. The end result of this was rabbi Shlomo’s decision to establish his own Yeshiva. He chose the little town of Be’er Yaakov as its location. It rapidly grew and developed and hundreds of students found their place of success and elevation there. Years later they still felt greatly indebted towards Rabbi Shlomo for the great effort he put into each student and his total devotion to each one individually.

Not only was he involved in the advancement of religious boys in the Yeshiva, he was also involved in outreach programs aimed at assisting Jews in returning to traditional Judaism. More than once he travelled to various settlements lecturing and uplifting lost Jews.

He set up an outreach organization named “Dvar Yerushalayim” which was later the base of a Yeshiva carrying the same name. The Yeshiva had the merit of bringing back many Jews to their forgotten path of life – living the Torah way.
Rabbi Shlomo published his lectures, teaching methods and novel thoughts in a series of books named “Alei Shur” which became elementary books on the Jewish bookshelf. He published his essay “Bein Sheshet le-asor” which discusses the ultra-orthodox view on Zionism in general and specifically in light of the Israeli victory in the six day war. He also put out his “Shalhevet-ya” which elaborates on the fundamentals of Jewish belief through the lenses of creation.

He gave many talks in different places on various occasions in addition to establishing the “Mussar House” which houses lectures on mussar issues on a weekly basis. The “Mussar House” operates until today. He founded a boy’s school in Jerusalem named “Chavas Daas” which is based on his teaching methods and approach to education. In his older years he started the “Givat Shaul Yeshiva” which conducts itself in Rabbi Wolbe’s mannerisms.

On the seventeenth of Nissan, 5765 (2005 A.C.) he returned his soul to its creator. Hundred of his students and admirers attended his funeral.