Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter
When the Vizhnitzer Rebbe shlita, Rav Yisrael Hager, agreed to take on the mantle of leadership in Vizhnitz, it was with one stipulation: the honorific “kvod kedushas” — the way a rebbe is usually addressed — would not be added to his title. Yet his extreme humility has not inhibited his massive following.
For years, the story seemed straightforward enough: the Aleppo Codex, a precious historical manuscript, was saved from the torches of Arab rioters, smuggled into the fledgling state of Israel, and brought to Yad Ben Zvi. But why are there no burn marks on the rescued pages? And why would a Sephardic religious treasure end up in a secular Ashkenazic research institution? A new book documents the efforts of a journalist, an amateur historian, and a former Mossad agent to unravel the mystery.
In 1932, 18-year-old American bochur Yehudah Leib Gordon left for a world now lost to the mists of memory. Drawn by the light of Mir and Kamenitz, Yehudah would stay for seven years, basking in the radiance of Rav Boruch Ber Leibowitz, Rav Leizer Yudel Finkel, and Rav Yerucham Levovitz, and returning to the US the same year the iron gates slammed shut. His letters home conveyed his excitement to parents and siblings who eagerly awaited every word. Today those letters are a precious family legacy.
Who was the dayan of Brisk, referred to by Rav Chaim Brisker in his writings as “my good friend, Rav S.Z.”? Rav Simcha Zelig Riger Hy”d left none of his own seforim as a legacy, but as an integral part of Brisk and confidant of the Soloveitchik gedolim of prewar Europe, his name continues to be venerated as a remarkable halachic arbiter and a rav dedicated to his people until the end. His grandson, Rav Chaim Ber Gulevsky, shares his memories of the zeideh he left when he fled Europe for safer shores.
It’s a bright and breezy Friday morning in May, and at 9:30 AM, the Sasregen shul at Avenue M and 24th Street isn’t even close to emptying out. As yet another minyan gets underway, the Sasregener Rebbe, Rav Rubin, is putting away his talis and tefillin at the front of the shul. And in the back, at his post, is Reb Yehoshua Danese, who in less than a year’s time, has made Shalom Bayis Flowers a Flatbush byword – and, he’s hoping, a buy word, too.
Rabbi Dan Roth insists that he never wanted to be the star of any show. So why do the popular educational videos produced by his company, Torah Live, often feature Rabbi Roth going to the ends of the earth, literally, to bring Torah concepts to life for today’s generation? The answer, he says, can be found in a commentary on Pirkei Avos that few people have read.