Thursday, January 14, 2010
anybody know who this is???
Motze Rosh Hashono - 28th Sep '54
This letter will probably not be finished this evening as one still has to rise early for Selichos tomorrow, but just having spent two days Rosh Hashonoh in Yerushlaim, I must try to put down in words how fortunate I feel being zocheh to spend another Yomim Noiroim in E.Y. How different it is from kalter England..........I had some difficulty in deciding where to Daven. Y'm with its 300 plus Botey Knesiot ........ spoilt for choice. The first night I was at the Breslover (Toiter) Chassidim. They make a kinnus of all their Chassidim in E.Y. on Rosh Hashonoh and there is a great Hisorerus [soul-stirring]. Special pamphlets are distributed for the occasion and they have many peculiar minhogim. The Tefilloh there was very satisfying, so I was there for
Shacharis as well and was able to buy an Aliyoh very cheaply. For Tekias Shofar I went to Brisk, where a select olam of about 25 were davening. The Rov Shlita came back from Switzerland last Thursday. Before the Tekios he gave a short talk, all about technical instructions such as Kavonos, and not to say the Yehi Rotzon between the Tekios and so on. The scene of the actual blowing deserves a picture to preserve it for posterity. The Rov in his old dressing gown with a look of utmost strain on his face, leaning over with his ear only some inches from the actual Shofar. The [Chassidishe] Baal Tokea almost scared out of his wits lest he should slip on any of the technicalities. The sons all standing round with the same tense mien and the little grandchildren wondering what it's all about. The Rov has his own system of sometimes three sometimes five Shevorim, to be Yotzay all Shitos.
[Whilst writing about Brisk, I will add a bit more. It was all, I am sure in a mislaid letter, but I am now describing it from memory. Most of my several visits to the Rov's house in Rehov Yehoshua Yellin took place during the last hour of Shabbos. The Rov sat in his chair looking serene. In the dim light of the “lux” kerosene lamp his sons stood reverently. There was usually a handful of bachurim watching in awe. Frequently, a contemporary or two of the Rov came “Tzu Schmussen in lernen” The Kharkover Rav, a noted expert on Talmud Yurshalmi, was a regular interlocutor. He more than once came primed with a “Shverer Rambam”. Occasionally he came up with a novel solution. I remember in particular one exchange between the two. A resolution to a difficult Rambam propounded by the Kharkover was not received with enthusiasm by the Rov. The Kharkover was unhappy, “Ober der Rambam is doch Shver”; he pleaded. “Der Rambam is Shver”, responded the Rov soothingly. These solemn sessions were occasionally lightened with the arrival of the Rov's personal physician. (I think he was called Dr. Aronson). He was a jolly Chabad Chosid to whom the Rov demonstrated gratitude. He liked to daven Maariv at the Omed and often asked the Rov's permission to do so. I recollect the Rov agreeing, but stipulating that he should not say “Veyatzmach Perkunay” in Kaddish. Nevertheless, the doctor had the temerity to adhere to the Chassidishe Nusach and the Rov smiled indulgently. ]
For Minchah I was at the Yeshivah. There being no rivers or lake in our part of Jerusalem, Tashlich is said over wells. In Tel Aviv the thousands at the seaside are supposed to be a wonderful sight. For the second night Maariv I went to Reb Ahrele's (Shomray Emunim). You have been there, Daddy, on Pesach, so you can imagine the din raised and the energy expended in Shokling on Rosh Hashonoh. The "Yehay Shmay Rabboh" is still ringing in my ears. There was still time after ending there to go to Karlin, whose Rebbe is at present here from the States. After Ger, Karlin is in members the most powerful Chassidus in Jerusalem and is one of the few on the rise, having a well organised youth. The present Rebbe is quite young and of unremarkable appearance, but like all Rebbes countless Mofsim are told about him. He certainly has great organising capabilities. The noise in Karlin vies with that of Reb Ahrele's. After davenning it was a pleasant sight to watch hundreds of Chassidim singing and dancing around the Rebbe in an escort home. I managed to give him Sholem etc. He has a very sharp look, reminding me of the Gerer [Rebbe] , whom I went to see before YomTov for a KVT. He said (the Gerer Rebbe) “Nee Elozor Pyg'e , vus machst dee” and many more things...........
On the second day Shacharis I tried out the [Chevron] Yeshiva, which was not too bad after all. The main trouble is that so many Baaley Battim come to Daven, leaving very little space. They started 6.am, half an hour later than Breslov. During the day I made a short tour of Sephardi Botey Knesiot, where the chanting to my Western untrained ears seems to be the same as that of Tisha B'av and Krias Megilloh. I also visited some Chassidisher Shtieblach including the Modzhitzer, where the Chazoras Hashatz is one series of inspiring marches, but too little davenning to my taste. For Mussaf I was back at Brisk, where we finished before two. Generally, far less Piyutim are said here compared to England; the Minhogim being mainly those of the Gro. During mealtimes at the Yeshivah it was very YomTovdik with the most leberdike singing etc. After dinner I left for Katamon, i.e. Belz. Arriving at the other end of Jerusalem at 3.45 I found them up to Krias Hatorah. There was a crowd of seven to nine hundred packed in a very small outhouse, and the pressure was indescribable. I managed to get to the centre by the old technique of holding on to someone getting an Aliyoh. The day was very hot and the temperature there about thirty degrees higher, but the Rov Shlita was still wearing his heavy fur coat. The Rov was Baal Kore and afterwards Sandik at a Bris and later Baal Tokea. I stayed until after Mussaf, when it was getting late for Minchoh. On returning at nightfall, I waited thirty minutes for Kiddush [of Shacharis] followed by Minchoh. There I met Pinny [Pinchos Adler, a cousin]. He now wears a Kapota and has adapted himself to the minor inconveniences of late hours, lack of cutlery and space. There are many other visitors from England, many of whom I know. Also present were Chassidim from both North & South America and South Africa. After Minchoh it was about an hour after YomTov and I got the bus back.
Just this minute I received your letter written last Thursday. One misses the post here on Shabbos and even more on YomTov. Chaim Steinberg, the new Choson of Reb Favish [Feingold], I know very well from Gateshead. The new British arrivals at Chevron from Gateshead you inquire about are aged about eighteen. Why they all come is understandable, but not always advisable............
Wishing you all a Gmar Chasimoh Tova. I shall try to write again before Yom Kippur, but...........
Previous "Dear Mum" letters: Please not that the numbers were recently changed. "Parts" were taken out, meaning no more Part I and Part II, only numbers.
Dear Mum - 1
Dear Mum - 2
Dear Mum - 3
Dear Mum - 4
Dear Mum - 5
Dear Mum - 6
Dear Mum - 7
Dear Mum - 8
Dear Mum - 9
Dear Mum - 10