Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Old Vintage, New Blend

Eytan Kobre

Rav Hillel Zaks ztz”l, whose first yahrtzeit is marked this week, never tried to be unconventional for its own sake. But this grandson of the Chofetz Chaim stood out, says a grateful longtime talmid, for the way he turned abstract Torah into joyous real-life practice and for the love and giving he showered on all who crossed his path.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Elysha Sandler had just made it through the gauntlet of four tests to gain admission to Yerushalayim’s famed Yeshivas Chevron — a rarity for an American bochur — but he had not yet met Rav Hillel Zaks, the one rosh yeshivah who hadn’t tested the 19-year-old newcomer. And so Elysha made his way to the nearby Zaks home, but nothing could have prepared him for the scene that greeted him: It was bein hazmanim, and Reb Hillel was on the roof of his building, busy at work welding a break in the ma’akeh (gate required by halachah) around its perimeter. “There he stood,” recalls Rabbi Sandler, “tzitzis over his shirt and under his vest; his long peyos — usually neatly tucked under his oversized yarmulke — were flying. Wearing these huge goggles, he expertly wielded his soldering gun, the sparks flying every which way.” It was, says Rabbi Sandler, a memorable introduction to an impossible-to-forget adam gadol at his unconventional and unpretentious best. Over the next two years, Elysha Sandler would become a talmid-for-life, learning to appreciate the multiple facets that made Reb Hillel such a rare diamond of the Torah world until his passing on the 22nd of Teves just one year ago. 

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

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.
CAPTCHA
Message


 
Drink to Eternity
Rabbi Moshe Grylak Redemption doesn’t simply mean being let out of jail
Klal Yisrael Is Always Free
Yonoson Rosenblum "In that merit will Klal Yisrael continue to exist”
Home Free
Eytan Kobre My baseline for comparison is admittedly weak
Believe in Your Own Seder
Rabbi Judah Mischel Hashem is satisfied when we do our best
Picture Perfect
Yisroel Besser Take a picture — and this time, send it to yourself
Flying Solo
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman As Pesach loomed closer, his resentment was growing
Hanging on by a Hair
Jacob L. Freedman MD “Do you still think that I’m not completely crazy?”
A Song for Every Season
Riki Goldstein Influencers map out their personal musical soundtracks
Subliminal Speech
Faigy Peritzman The deeper the recognition, the deeper the effect
The Big Change
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Spelling things out clears clouds of resentment
The Count-Up
Mrs. Shani Mendlowitz Tap the middos of Sefirah to recreate yourself
The Baker: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP with Zivia Reischer "She can't get married if she can't build a relationship...
Know This: Infertility
As Told to Bracha Stein There was no place for me. I didn’t belong
Dear Shadchan
The Girl Here's the thing: I need time