Tuesday, May 20, 2008
A Story And A Lesson
A Reader Writes:
"In the '30s the Zeirei Agudah arranged a boat ride once a year on Lag B'Omer for Bochurim and girls from Heimishe Mishpachos to come together and meet. When Reb Leizer Silver, ZT'L, heard about it, he went ballistic. He approached the baal habos, a Mr. Feigenbaum, who was arranging this outing and told him that it is absolutely assur. Mr. Feigenbaum explained to Rav Silver that with all the Yidden going off the derech, the other option would be that these kids would go to bars to meet members of the opposite sex. The result would be that many would, Chas V'Sholom, marry goyim. Reb Laizer heard what Mr. Feigenbaum had said, but he still felt very strongly that it was assur to hold this boat ride. However, he agreed to go to a din torah.
They went to Reb Shlomo Heiman, ZT'L. First Reb Leizer Silver screamed for a while about how this boat ride is assur. Then Mr. Feigenbaum explained his reasoning. Reb Shlomo put his hand on his chin, closed his eyes, and did not move for 45 minutes! Then he said 'Nisht nor men meg, men muz!'A few years ago an older gentleman told this story to Reb Malkiel Kotler. Rabbi Kotler replied that, 'It can't be true!' The older gentleman replied loudly, 'Chuchik! ('Young child') You don't know what went on with Yiddishkeit in those days! Out of my whole class at Chaim Berlin, I was the only one who remained Shomer Shabbos!'The end of the story is that Mike Tress found his shidduch on that boat ride, and so did Rav GEDALIAH SCHORR. Reb Laizer Silver was a big kanoi, but after he had confronted Mr. Feigenbaum, who had arranged for the boat ride, he was maskim to go with him to a din torah!"
What do we learn from this story? I'm not sure, really. I doubt the RGS part of the story simply because I think he was past the "Zeirei" stage, he was a ben-torah already, but maybe. Even if he did go on mixed boat rides does that negate his later achievements? of course not. Truthfully, I'm uncomfortable even writing about this, simply because I don't want any of you to think that I'm some kind of mudslinger.
(Reb Gedalia as a Bochur outside Torah VoDaas)