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When I talk about Rav Aaron and mibeis abba, I dont mean just his scholarship, his Torah, but the qualities of a gadol, the warmth and other great middos. [3] At first, he settled in New York City's Upper West Side, and in 1949, he moved to the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. Dividing into three factions, the largest went to Salock in northern Lithuania, together with Rav Aharon himself. In advance of his arrival, The Morgen Journal profiled the Kletzker rosh yeshivah: Rav Aharon was already known in his youthful years in Slabodka as the Sislovitzer Illui. Some yeshivah buildings were damaged, prices of living quarters have risen, and in general everything became more expensive as a result. Sighet native David Weiss (Halivni) survived the war and arrived in America as an orphan, where he became a student of Rav Yitzchok Hutner at Chaim Berlin. After a couple of years of intense lobbying and enormous hashgachah, Chinuch Atzmai won the coveted allotment. Rav Shneur Zalman, the third son of Rav Moshe Pines, was born during the reign of Czar Nicholas I, when the dreaded Cantonist laws were in effect. Completely oblivious to the guests sitting on the other side of the room or the dinner awaiting him on the table, he sat down to learn with incredible passion and energy, as if it were the middle of the day. Rav Shneur Zalman refused to take part in the polemics some were hurling at his opponent, but those close to him saw that he was suffering greatly. Pacing up and down in the little room, he quickly supplied the answers. Rav Aharon was a forward-thinking leader who sought to establish the Kletzk Yeshivah on sound financial footing. Still, Polands economy was mired in an even worse depression, and Rav Aharon hoped that Jewish hearts and wallets would open to their needy brothers abroad. My grandfather used to come for mini-vacations sometimes. Fifty years later, almost to the day, at Mr. Wolfsons levayah, the rosh yeshivah Rav Malkiel Kotler, declared, The relationship between my grandfather and Reb Zev was that of a father to his son. Another talmid, who had been raised in relative comfort, once commented to Rav Aharon that he was having a hard time with the austere kollel lifestyle. He never ceased to praise the tireless efforts and the exceptional brilliance of Rav Aharon. Can we just chalk it up to coincidence?" Later, Robert, accompanied by federal investigator and family friend Walter Sheridan, visits Ted in the hospital. Without hesitating, Rav Aharon announced, Why dont we go study at the other yeshivah in town, (Knesses Beis Yitzchak)?. When Rav Aharon noticed, he said to the student, Let him speak, perhaps hes right.. Rav Zalman Sender accepted and shortly thereafter opened a yeshivah there. The mutual respect between the two was immeasurable. One of the primary movers behind this initiative was Rav Aharon. After a few minutes, Rav Aharon proclaimed, You must open a yeshivah and send all the bills to my home address!. Rav Aharon Kotler, rosh yeshivah of the famous Kletzk yeshivah, had recently arrived in the United States, and theyd come to hear him speak as much out of pity and respect as out of ideology. The rav of Kletzk, Rav Chaim Shimon Herensohn, is on Rav Aharons immediate right. Many of the stories have become the stuff of legend. One group was in Lakewood and included many students who would emerge as leading roshei yeshivah and builders of Torah. It was not until after one oclock in the morning that Rav Aharon returned home. Rav Aharon is much more than just the rosh yeshivah of Kletzk!, Rav Aharon delivering a shiur in Kletzk In listening to Rav Aharon, one always sensed the genius of a deep and penetrating mind arriving at simple conclusions. Rav Aharons message was clear. If one is able to accomplish this much, he must do even more. The initial Sephardic immigrants to America in the 1700s built beautiful synagogues, he told Bunim. Rav Aharon refused to enter until Rav Boruch Ber went first. When he delivered his shiur in Kletzk or Lakewood, it was often a challenge to follow his line of reasoning. It is a great honor to stand at the helm of a packed beis medrash and teach Torah, that is RAM lofty and elevated. Rav Aharon, however, had no qualms about taking blunt political positions, even if it meant alienating donors who were Mizrachi supporters. The man asks him incredulously, How can you play outside when Rav Aharon Kotler is delivering a shiur? Kotler was born Aharon Pines in visa, Russian Empire (historically Lithuania, now Belarus) in 1892.He was orphaned at the age of 10 and adopted by his uncle, Yitzchak Pines, a rabbinic judge in Minsk. He knew all too well how dangerous they could be. To his right is Rav Sheftels mechutan, Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Schuchatowitz. With his arrival in Slabodka, he enjoyed a . Along with the influx of revelers came the need for local services and businesses. For the decade between 1925-35, Rav Yechezkel Levenstein served as mashgiach, and he was succeeded by Rav Yosef Leib Nenedik, who like his predecessor was a mussar product of the great Kelm Talmud Torah. Rav Aharon translated his fiery energy into rescue activities and toward the rebuilding of Europes shattered Torah world. Hashem gave you these abilities, he is the one who gave you the power to be successful. They named it Beth Medrash Govoha. He encouraged quick action, as he was concerned that the universal impression left by the Chofetz Chaims passing would quickly dissipate. With the outbreak of World War II, Kotler and the yeshivah relocated to Vilna, then the major refuge of most yeshivoth from the occupied areas. In 1924 this emissary was dispatched to Germany. The Chofetz Chaim? In order to build, create, and motivate a new generation, he could not look back, only forward; he had to kindle, then nurture a fire strong enough, bright enough, and enduring enough to illuminate the entire Torah world. He became a successful businessman also known for his Ethics from Sinai, a beloved commentary on Pirkei Avos. Even more astounding is that his reach wasnt limited to the United States. Contrast that with the current era. The faculty at Slutzk realized that the yeshivah would have to move away from Bolshevik sovereignty in order to continue operating, yet Rav Isser Zalman categorically refused to abandon his rabbinical responsibilities to his community. Then he rose from his armchair and, looking the Rosh Yeshivah straight in the eyes, said, Tell the rabbi, I am a Jew. Such was an encounter withRav Aharon Kotler. Photos: BMG Archives, Agudah Archives, DMS Yeshiva Archives, Wolfson Family, Hoberman Family, Kamenetsky Family, National Library of Israel, US Dept of State, Prof. Chaim I. Waxman, YIVO, Torah Umesorah Archives, Chinuch Atzmai Archives, Perr Family, Golding Family, Bunim Family, TAJ Art and Judaica, Feivel Schneider, A child is playing outside a shul. During this time of uncertainty, Rav Aharon launched a new shiur for a select group of students on Seder Zeraim, an area he continued to lecture on upon arriving as a refugee to Manhattan. It is with this understanding, and for this purpose, that I am asking for your support.. He had re-sanctified a city by a simple relocation of 15 men!. Yet, as is evident from a speech he delivered at a family simchah of Mr. Wolfsons just weeks before his passing, Rav Aharon, in his wisdom, saw his young charges potential to make a continuing and unprecedented impact and encouraged him to do even more: The plan was, G-d forbid, for a totally different type of education to take hold (in Israel), which would undermine the very existence of a life according to Torah values. For a time, Jews were actually forbidden from staying in the two Lakewood hotels he built. At the wedding of Rav Shmuel Yitzchak Herman: Lower row: Rav Aharon Kotler, Rav Yaakov Safsel (Vishker Illui), Rav Shmuel Yitzchak Herman, Rav Avraham Kalmanowitz. A third group of older bochurim went to Duksht. Rav Aharon Kotler, the founding Rosh Yeshiva of Beis Medrash Gavoha in Lakewood, was a trailblazer of Torah Jewry after WWII. Once again, the growing yeshivah of Kletzk was left in the able hands of Rav Aharon. Erupting in torrents of thought like a volcano, hed cite a tradition from Rav Yisrael Salanter that Torah is studied with venom, not with calm equanimity or coldness and apathy. He spoke quickly. I cant answer, Rav Zalman Sender replied. The Lomza Rav, Rav Moshe Shatzkes, also delivered some shiurim to the group. Oftentimes it wasnt limited to mere abandonment of religion; it was openly hostile toward mitzvah observance. I have increased Torah among the Jewish People. He supported thousands of Torah students; they study Torah due to his efforts. Something like I would imagine the Chasam Sofer and Rav Akiva Eiger spoke. All water, he said with excitement. It is my responsibility and yours to save them. rav aharon kotler's sistersour milk bread recipes no yeastsour milk bread recipes no yeast Reb Shraga Feivels youngest daughter Devorah Kramer recalled the eulogy delivered by Rav Yitzchok Elchonon Spektor, the Kovno Rav, at her fathers levayah. Following the passing of Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer in the fall of 1953, Rav Aharon actually succeeded his father-in-law as rosh yeshivah of Etz Chaim in Yerushalayim. He watched as those around him strayed from the faith their families had maintained for generations. This arrangement presented an open door for the various ideological movements sweeping the increasingly radicalized Jewish street. It didnt take long for Arke Sislovitzer to be noticed. Succumbing to a long battle with stomach cancer, Rav Chaim Ozer passed away on August 9. The Yevsektsiya rightly recognized that Yiddishkeit could never coexist with Communism, and therefore aimed to destroy all institutions representing nationalism, culture and especially religion, from the traditional cheder and its melamed to the yeshivah and its dean. In Slabodka there was something of a caste system, with older students rarely acknowledging their junior counterparts, let alone conversing with them. During his trip to Europe, Rav Isser Zalman visited the Chofetz Chaim in Radin. Rav Aharon ruled against this leniency, even for those medically required to eat meat, concerned for the precedent such a dispensation would create. Even among those who appreciated Torah and supported local day schools, the idea of full-time post high school Torah study without the goal of semichah was simply preposterous. When Rav Chaim Brisker passed through town, he commented that Rav Aharon closely resembled his father Rav Shneur Zalman Pines, who had been Rav Chaimsstudent in Volozhin two decades prior. Immediately. (An interesting anecdote was related by Rav Aryeh Leib Grossnass. Rav Naftali Trop had recently passed away, and the students in Radin invited Rav Isser Zalman to deliver a shiur, after which they pleaded with him to remain as rosh yeshivah. A day that lives in infamy in the annals of the yeshivah world. Not for money, but just to say hello. The news of Volozhins closure spread quickly as students returned home to their respective cities and villages, among them the town of visa (Sislovitz), located 250 kilometers from Volozhin in Grodno Province, where a respected alumnus of the yeshivah, a rav named Rav Shneur Zalman Pines, was hosting a bris for his son, whom he named Aharon. ), The new couple settled in Slutzk, where Rav Aharon soon joined the faculty of his father-in-laws renowned Slutzk Yeshivah. He knew, however, that many had escaped to the Far East or had been arrested by the Soviets and deported to the Gulag, and he marshaled new energy to focus on saving these last remainders of Europes yeshivah world. When Rav Aharon visited America in 1935, he observed with sorrow that Baltimore was the only city outside of New York that contained a proper Jewish Day School. When the Ridbaz left Slutzk in 1903, the townspeople pressured Rav Isser Zalman to succeed him, and serve in the double capacity of communal rabbi and rosh yeshivah. We studied together with his father of blessed memory, and we spent many a mishmar (all-night learning session) together. Amos Bunim recalled another eulogy Rav Aharon delivered at the funeral of the great Torah supporter Samuel Kaufman on Chanukah 1960: When they asked Rav Aharon to be maspid, he said that youre not permitted to be maspid on Chanukah, but the halachah is that if its chacham bfanav in the presence of a chacham its permitted. Rav Simcha Wasserman, a student of Rav Aharon in Kletzk, had arrived in the US and during this period assisted his rosh yeshivah with rescue activities. One would imagine that such an accomplishment would draw endless praise from Rav Aharon. The edited memorandum was then presented to David K. Niles, a Jewish advisor to President Roosevelt. A talmid of Volozhin, Slabodka and Kelm, Rav Archik served as rabbi of many cities over the course of his long career, including Siemiatycze, Tsaritsyn (Stalingrad), Shadova, Poltava, Suvalk, Lomza, and Shavli, and a few others. Colleges and Universities by Universities, by Level and Attendance Status, Fall 2018", "11 things to know about Lakewood amid fraud sweep", "New Jersey Local News, Breaking News, Sports & Weather", "Lakewood's Orthodox population keeps growing. That wide-lens view accompanied him throughout his life, marking him not only as the Rosh Yeshivah who transformed Americas relationship with Torah learning, but as the leader who burned with a constant urgency to rescue, restore, initiate, rally, and support the growth of Torah wherever Jews could be found. Another geopolitical development presented a surprising ray of hope. They came with a value of avodahtefillah. He was the charif and the baki, he had the sharp mind and the breadth but primarily the sharpness. The departure was painful, both for those who were leaving and those who remained in Slutzk. How important it is to realize that this is the work of one man. Where are you from? Rav Mordechai went on. Years later in Baltimore, a former student at Knesses Beis Yitzchak, Mr. Harry Wolpert, described the scene: When Rav Leizer saw that hundreds of yeshivah students had arrived, he skipped the formalities and immediately launched into a shiurwith his trademark intensity. For that reason we must daven!. As time went on, however, and the security situation in Poland necessitated emigration, Rav Aharon often penned letters requesting certificates to Palestine on behalf of talmidim who requested his assistance. Partners in rescue: Rav Aharon with Rav Eliezer Silver and Rav Avraham Kalmanowitz, who tirelessly led the Vaad Hatzalah rescue attempts during the war years. Years ago he knew a little child in Minsk, and he remembered giving money for this childs ticket to Slabodka. Henry Morgenthau Jr., Hon. Upon returning, they received a stark reminder as to why they had departed America in the first place the lack of a world class yeshivah faithful to European Torah values.

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