Tuesday, June 12, 2012
.....וזרח השמש ----- עד שלא
The handwritten note written by Reb Chaim Kanievski yesterday, passes the torch from his shver, Rav Elyashiv, who is very ill, r"l, to Reb Aron Leib Shteinman, zol gezunt zein. It's not clear if Rav Elyashiv himself told his son-in-law to pass the torch, or if it was done on his own, since RYSE has not been conscious, as far as we know, for some months now. Sources close to the matter say that is closely related to the fact that Rav Elyashiv is gravely ill, and the clamor to replace him has already begun. A recent sign of that change has been at the Israeli Yated Ne'eman, no relation to the American newspaper of the same name, where the old guard that was close to the late Ponovizher Rosh Yeshiva was unceremoniously thrown out and replaced by Rav Shteinman's people. Reb Aron Leib is not considered a follower of the true "Torah Haskafah" that the late Ponovizher Rosh Yeshiva handed down over the years. Neither is Rav Elyashiv, for that matter, but his leadership was uncontested, now that he's sidelines the fights can begin. The factions here are many, ואי אפשר לפורטם, and you can give yourself a migraine trying to figurer it out. I was asked how can I be "sleeping" at a time like this? You all know that I don't just report the dry news, I need to have an "angle," something to set me apart. Which is why I waited until this fell into my lap. It doesn't reflect on how I fell about Reb Aron Leib, whose tzidkus is undisputed, it just gives you a feeling as to what others feel, even if they claim to be respectful of Torah and talmidei chachomim...
The following is a true story about the נצי"ב of Volozhin, זצ"ל, as told by הרב אברהם יהושע סאלאווייציק of Yerushalayim:
The Netziv, Rav Naftali Tzvi Yehuda Berlin, lived in Lithuania during the 19th Century. Him and his brother-in-law, Reb Yitzchok Fried, were sons-in-law of Reb Itzele Volozhiner, son of Reb Chaim Volozhiner, the Yeshiva's founder. After his first wife passed Reb Hirsh-Leib Berlin married the daughter of the בעל ערוך השלחן. He was one of the most famous Rabbonim of his generation, and it's said that in the 40 years he headed the yeshiva in the town of Volozhin, some 10,000 students studied there. Many of them went on to lead communities and Yeshivos of their own. (a list of famous alumni can be seen here) The Netziv wrote commentaries on all parts of the Torah, and once, when he'd published a particularly difficult work, called "HaEmek Shayla," he called together his friends for a special celebration, where he told them the following story:
"When I was a child, I never paid attention in school. I was lazy and did not want to concentrate. Then one day when I was 11 years old, I came home from school and heard my parents talking. My father was explaining how he'd spoken to my teacher and together they'd concluded that I'd never amount to anything in terms of scholarship. So, my father explained, he was arranging to enroll me as an apprentice shoemaker as soon as I became Bar Mitzvah. "I was so shocked by this conversation that I ran to my parents and exclaimed: 'I'm sorry I've been so negligent with my studies. Please give me one more chance to prove that I'm a good student.' And from that day onward, I applied myself to the study of Torah with tremendous vigor and dedication. Since then I have not wasted a moment and it is that devotion which has enabled me to write the commentary which we are celebrating today." Then the Netziv continued: "But just imagine what would have happened had I not overheard my parents' conversation. I'd probably have ended up as a shoemaker. And I'd have been a pretty good shoemaker besides! But think of what would have happened at the end of my life when I'd get up to the Heavenly Court and they'd ask me: 'Naftali, (or Hirsh Leib - HT) show us what you've done with your life.' And I'd proudly show them my beautiful shoes: the fine workmanship, the quality leather and the exquisite design. "And then they'd ask me: 'But Naftali, where are all the books you were to publish? Where are your 10,000 students?'" The Netziv continued: "And what would I possibly respond??" Reb Avraham Yehoshua said that when Rav Shteinman reaches heaven, they'll ask him "Where are the shoes?!"
And this is where today's best and brightest end up. In Brisk...