Wednesday, August 23, 2006
What I'm reading now
by Osher Bergman (his grandson) Bnei Brak, 5766.
חלק א discusses the first part of his life, from his childhood in Vaboylnik through Kletsk, Slutsk, Novardhik, Lunenitz, (a Chassidishe Yeshiva run by the Karliner Rebbe hy"d) to Vilna in the beginning of WW2, to then-Palestine, where he was a ר"מ in not-so-illustrious Yeshivos until the Ponovizher Rov brought him to BneiBrak.
- To be honest, the book is not the typical, dime-a-dozen, Litvishe biography available these days, just by the mere fact that he lived such a long and unique life and he didn't have the same Rabbeyim nor go to the same Yeshivos as most others. There are also so many different time periods discussed - including 2 world wars - something not often found with people who have passed away recently. The amount of pictures and documents that they've assembled is nothing short of amazing!
Then there's "Chassidishizatzye" of the man, where every breath he took was בלתי לה' לבדו, including every puff of the cigarette he smoked. "מרן זצ"ל אחוז בשרעפיו" is the caption of the picture where the man sits back and enjoys a long puff of the nicotine-laced stick. Every good conversation, including a good joke or story with friends and old acquaintances, where even a child can see that, is automatically turned a heated Torah discussion, "ריתחא דאורייתא" is the caption of that picture... And then they try and say that ?חסידות האט ניט אויפגעטאן
There's also the fact that all the later Gedolim in Eretz Yisroel had formed what amounts to be a little בראנזשע of their own, a group of friends and like-minded people who decided what's right and wrong in Yiddishkeit and who should or should not be accepted. Some names that come to mind are the Steipler and the Brisker Rov, with whom the protagonist (Thank you Nathan Kamenecki!) enjoyed a very warm relationship. The same goes for the United States, where the powers that be were all Yeshivamates in Lithuania.
If not for the fact that he made himself persona non grata to so many people the book would be quite believable! Now all we can do is sit back and await the publishing of Vol 2, where the Bnei Brak days will be discussed. It's sure to be worth the wait! -