Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Pact to Brotherhood

Dovid Sussman

In 1939, they were five bochurim learning together in the Novardok Yeshivah. In 1949, while rebuilding their war-shattered lives, they met again. Decades later, a series of marriages fused the lifelong friends into a single family unit. What kept them united throughout those long, difficult years is an incredible story about the power of a correspondence with a purpose — the story of the Sheves Achim.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

old photoIn 1939, on the 7th of Shvat, five young men gathered in the halls of the Novardok Yeshivah for an occasion that was at once prosaic and momentous: to establish a chaburah.

 Students in the Novardok Yeshivah often formed chaburos, small groups of young men who together took on kabbalos to bolster their spiritual growth. At this gathering, the five friends decided to unite in a chaburah whose goal was to preserve their friendship for the rest of their lives, even though circumstances might cause their little group to physically disband. 

The chaburah, which they called “Sheves Achim,” imposed seven stipulations on its members, which were detailed in a contract: They would each correspond with all other members of the group at least once every six months. Before writing to each other, they would learn 15 minutes of mussar on the subject of bein adam l’chaveiro. Every year, they would observe the 7th of Shvat, the anniversary of the group’s formation, as a personal Yom Tov, when they would learn an additional hour of mussar, also on the subject of bein adam l’chaveiro, and write letters to the rest of the group. If the 7th of Shvat coincided with Shabbos, the letters would be written on the following day. They would also assist each other in any way possible, physically or financially, just as they would have done for actual brothers. If any member of the group moved, he would inform the others immediately of his new location. Finally, their ultimate goal was to settle together, eventually, in one place in Eretz Yisrael.

A few months after they signed their pact, World War II broke out.


Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

When Tragedy Strikes
Shoshana Friedman What are we giving and what are we getting?
One Nation, Divisible
Yonoson Rosenblum Israel isn’t yet suffocated by political correctness
What Am I, Chopped Liver?
Eytan Kobre Far more disturbing is the title’s unspoken implication
Not Just Politics
Yisroel Besser We’re fighting over something that means the world to us
Are We There Yet?
Alexandra Fleksher Seeing other models of avodas Hashem enriches our own
Top 5 Yeshivish Business Ventures
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Different answers to “So, what is it you do?”
Work/Life Solutions with Mois Navon
Moe Mernick “When you set a goal, it’s going to take lots of effort”
Were They Orthodox Jews?
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman This is why I asked, “What difference does it make?”
You Get What You Pay For
Jacob L. Freedman “Get me a real doctor from Harvard who speaks Persian!”
Tunes That Take Me Back, with Levy Falkowitz
Riki Goldstein “It’s amazing how strong music memories are”
All Rivers Wind Up in the Sea
Riki Goldstein Your heartbeat will slow down listening to the new album
Faigy Peritzman A name symbolizes the essence inherent within
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Inject positivity into your marriage to counter burnout
The Game of Life
Rebbetzin Suri Gibber Use your competitive spirit to score high in life
The Musician Part II
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer “It’s an integrative therapy approach. Not boot camp”