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Bearer of the Torch

Yehudah Roset

Rav Noam Yitzchak Alon, the beloved rosh yeshivah at the helm of Mir Brachfeld, continues to light the lantern of “the Shver”

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

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Rav Nosson Tzvi ztz”l chose Reb Noam as a son-in-law for his drive in learning, but more than that, for his exceptional consideration of others. As leader of Mir-Brachfeld, he hasn’t disappointed on either account (Photos: Shuki Lehrer, Matisyahu Goldberg, Baruch Ovitz)

A s buses from around the country pulled up at 27 Rabi Akiva Street in Modiin Illit, a stream of bochurim made their way into the dormitory building, pulling their suitcases as they tried to maneuver with their various bags and packages — initial supplies for the long winter zeman ahead. But before entering the beis medrash, each one of them made a preliminary stop: They went to greet their rosh yeshivah, like children run to greet their father after a long separation.

Rav Noam Yitzchak Alon, or Reb Noam, as his talmidim call him, is relatively new to the job — just 45 years old and already the senior rosh yeshivah in Mir-Brachfeld. The first three years here were spent working hand in hand alongside Rav Aryeh Finkel ztz”l, but in the year and a half since Rav Aryeh’s passing, Reb Noam has become the official rosh yeshivah. During this short time, he’s proven an original and creative leader as he continues to build this Torah empire.

His mark is felt in its every corner — and it’s not just his lomdus and diligence, but the intensity and strength of character that has led him along a challenging journey.

A child of academic Rechovot, young Noam Alon discovered the yeshivah world, breaking in with persistence and drive. His passage has been one long testimony to the truth of the Vilna Gaon’s maxim that “akshan yatzliach,” the tenacious one will succeed.

That willpower has certainly manifested itself in his intense learning schedule, inspired by his father-in-law and the yeshivah’s founder, Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel ztz”l.

Looking for a Leader

Rav Nosson Tzvi would say the word “lernen,” and his face would light up. He showed the way to reach greatness — one chavrusa following another, one seder after another — and it became the Mir-Brachfeld way as well.

It took a similar fortitude for Reb Noam to ascend the mountain. He didn’t grow up in the Bnei Brak cheder system and he wasn’t learning Sefer Hamitzvos in exchange for Crembo treats on Shabbos afternoons. His father, Dr. Yoav Alon, is a respected professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rechovot — and quite proud of his son, the rosh yeshivah.

Noam began his post-bar mitzvah yeshivah education in a typical moden yeshivah high school, although his older brothers had already felt drawn to a more chareidi lifestyle. Noam, true to his nature, didn’t simply follow them without carefully observing their choices and considering the path before him.

What makes this yeshivah special, the boys say, isn’t the generosity of the hanhalah but the availability of their rebbeim. Just as Rav Nosson Tzvi kept the door to his dining room open throughout the day, the Brachfeld Rosh Yeshivah is constantly available

In high school, he won a Mishnayos be’al peh contest, displaying his powers of concentration and focus. He became very close with Rav Simcha HaKohein Kook, the chief rabbi of Rechovot, who publically proclaimed that young Noam would go on to become a great talmid chacham. Noam eventually moved over to Yeshiva L’tzeirim of Rechovot, and then switched to Yeshivas Ohr Yisrael in Petach Tikvah, under the aegis of Rav Yigal Rosen.

As Noam Alon rose to the top of the yeshivah, discussions were taking place at the dining room table in the apartment on Jerusalem’s Rechov Ha’ameilim. Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, rosh yeshivah of the largest yeshivah in the world, was looking for a shidduch for his eldest daughter, Golda. (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 689)

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