Thursday, August 18, 2016
HaRav Reb Chaim Sofer gives his blessing for expansion
In this sefer'l - compliments of the $1 table at Pinter's in BP - they have an article that was printed in the Belzer periodical אור הצפון about Reb Yitzchok Tzvi Ratzersdorfer, a talmid of the כתב סופר. A businessman. Having made a fortune from the diamond trade with Belgium he decided to move there. The traveling from Vienna, where he lived, to Antwerp was too much for him. His father was shocked, Belgium was then a מדבר שממה in terms of Yiddishkeit. He took him to the holy Reb Chaim Sofer, בעל המחנה חיים, the king of all the kanoim, the Reb Chaim of Hungary, to ask him for his approval on his son's plan to move. Reb Chaim said: "Lech lecho, ואעשך שם לגוי גדול.... If you leave your parents' country, וועסטו דארט אויסוואקסען א גרויסע גוי. In other words don't go! So he stayed. A while later Ratzersdorfer met Reb Chaim again. Reb Chaim asked him what were you thinking? to go live in a place with no mikvah? No kosher meat? No Chinuch for your sons and daughters? Ratzersdorfer answered humbly I will start with all religious matters from Amsterdam a few kilometers away, then I promise to build a kehilah there in Belgium. I'll bring a frum Rov, I'll build a mikveh, I'll build a Shul, and I'll bring an erliche melamed for my kids. The Rebbe will realize that I'll make everyone proud. I won't bring shame onto the family...Then Reb Chaim agreed that he go. At the same time he mentioned to Reb Shia'le Belzer Reb Chaim's argument against going. The Belzer Rov also agreed if he will do his master plan to build orthodox Jewry to Belgium then he can go. The rest is history.