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Oneg Shabbos: Court of Appeal

Yeruchem Yitzchak Landesman

In his dream, he saw himself ailing and weak, while the news spread throughout the city that the Rav was in grave danger

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

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T he town of Nasaud in Hungary was not officially a Jewish city, although it often seemed like it, considering all the rabbanim, geonim, dayanim, and Torah scholars, as well as

G-d- fearing laymen, who resided in its midst.

The city’s spiritual leader, Rav Avraham Yehoshua Freund ztz”l, was considered one of the tzaddikim of his generation. While he resided in Nasaud, his spiritual influence and piskei halachah spread far beyond the city limits, to the rest of the country and even abroad. He was a devoted chassid of the Divrei Chaim of Sanz, and in addition to his vast Torah knowledge, he was also known as an ascetic and a wonder worker.

He received halachic questions and requests to resolve complex dinei Torah from all over Europe. Cases involving agunos that seemed to have no solution, and many other halachic conundrums, were presented to him, and with his brilliance and tremendous siyata d’Shmaya, he was often able to bring about a reasonable resolution.

He carried a tremendous responsibility for the generation on his broad shoulders, and his community members wouldn’t make a move without consulting with him first. He was always busy with one of two things: studying Torah or working on needs of the klal. On many nights, his bed remained empty, while his desk was piled high with seforim that were worn from decades of use.

 

THE GAON OF NASAUD was 70 when he experienced the most frightening night of his life. At first it was a night like any other — it was quite late actually, and much closer to dawn than to midnight. The holy gaon of Nasaud concluded his busy, exhausting day and climbed into bed for a short nap to refresh himself. In just two hours, he would rise to begin serving Hashem for the day ahead.

As he slept, he had a dream — although it was as vivid as if he were living it. In his dream, he saw himself ailing and weak, while the news spread throughout the city that the Rav was in grave danger. His family and the leaders of the community stood around his bed, and the top specialists were hastily summoned. The Rav saw them bending over him, measuring his heartbeat and blood pressure. He saw their grave expressions, yet could not utter a sound. The doctors shook their heads in regret. They didn’t have good news.

“Your father has just a few days left,” they informed the family. “You need to prepare to take leave.” The shuls in Hungary filled at once with thousands of Yidden who feared for the welfare of the esteemed gaon. But it was not to be. The gaon watched himself leaving This World.

Messengers were sent to inform communities all over of the tragedy and to publicize the time for a mass levayah; heartfelt eulogies were delivered, and the Rav was lowered into his grave to the sobbing of the masses. In his dream, he was not interested in the honor being accorded to him — throughout his life, honor, acclaim, and money never meant anything. He understood that very soon, he would stand before the Beis Din shel Maalah, and his life would be spread out before him.

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