Monday, Feb 26, 2024

My Take on the News

 

Davening at the Kever of the Chazon Ish

On motzoei Shabbos, I attended a mass tefillah on behalf of the hostages in Gaza at the kever of the Chazon Ish in Bnei Brak. The tefillah was organized by an organization known as Ayeles Hashachar and its director, Rabbi Shlomo Raanan. I might not have made a special trip from Yerushalayim to Bnei Brak for this purpose, but I had spent Shabbos in Bnei Brak, and it was only natural for me to stop at the cemetery on my way to Yerushalayim

I couldn’t help but marvel at the collaboration between the chareidi community and the families of the hostages in Gaza. The speakers at the event included two members of the hostages’ families. One of those speakers, like the other chiloni participants, seemed to be unable to properly pronounce the words of a particular posuk, even though he was reading it from a vowelized text. It seems that there is something that frightens many secular Israelis about quoting pesukim, even when they are reading them from a printed text.

Many of the families of hostages seemed to be in attendance at the tefillos, holding pictures of their loved ones, alongside hundreds of chareidi participants who listened intently to the speeches. (In addition to the hostages’ relatives, Rav Boruch Rosenblum also delivered an address.) I gazed at the families, who seemed to be in shock. The entire situation was apparently foreign to them: standing in a cemetery in Bnei Brak at night and reciting Tehillim at the kever of the Chazon Ish, not to mention undertaking kabbalos to generate zechuyos for their family members in captivity. But as bizarre as the scene might have been, I also found it uniquely moving.

Before joining the crowd at the cemetery, I made a stop at Maayanei HaYeshuah Hospital, taking advantage of my presence in Bnei Brak to visit Rav Boruch (ben Tzivia) Weisbecker, the rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Bais Mattisyohu, who has likewise been the subject of many of our tefillos in recent days. Rav Weisbecker has been sedated and intubated, and the efforts to free him from the intubation have failed. He speaks with the people at his bedside from time to time, which is certainly good news. We are all davening and hoping to see him return to the yeshiva and deliver shiurim, but it was saddening to see him in that condition. It was agonizing to see a living sefer Torah racked by suffering!

Netanyahu Trial to Continue

I have so many things to report to you this week that I don’t even know where to begin. First of all, Naftoli Bennett revealed in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that Israel had attacked a base in Iran and eliminated a senior terrorist. Israel’s policy is generally to refrain from admitting its role in such offensives, but Bennett decided on his own volition to reveal this sensitive fact. Netanyahu responded in his motzoei Shabbos press conference by denouncing Bennett’s indiscretion.

Meanwhile, the situation in the north has been escalating, as both Syria and Lebanon have launched missiles into Israel. As I have mentioned in the past, most of the residents of the north have already left their homes. This is a topic that deserves more extensive coverage; perhaps I will write about it at greater length in the future. For the time being, many soldiers are stationed in the north.

We have also witnessed continued terror attacks within Israel; may Hashem protect us all. It seems that the country has grown so accustomed to these horrific acts of terror that they are barely reported in the media. But while the press has generally remained silent on this subject, there have been six car ramming or shooting attacks in the vicinity of Har Chevron over the past two weeks. That is an awful statistic. Any such incident is a tragedy, even if it does not result in a loss of life.

Another hot topic this week is the ongoing trial of Prime Minister Netanyahu. This is an absolutely mind-boggling phenomenon: In the middle of a war, a sitting prime minister is being forced to contend with a criminal trial, while everyone agrees that the charges against him were trumped up by a prosecution dominated by leftists whose real goal is to unseat the prime minister. Every court session yields more revelations of the injustices that were committed as the police struggled to recruit state witnesses to testify against Netanyahu. This is another subject that deserves to be covered at greater length, but this is not the time. Perhaps I will write about it more extensively in the near future, bli neder.

The Nobility of the Bereaved Parents

On motzoei Shabbos, we received the saddening news of two more soldiers who had lost their lives. One of those soldiers was killed in Gaza, while the other succumbed to his wounds. The death toll has already exceeded 500.

During these dark days, Yehoshua Shani managed to say the right thing at the right time. Yehoshua Shani is the father of 22-year-old Uri Shani, an IDF officer who was killed in Gaza. Uri was a resident of Kiryat Arba who is survived by his wife and infant child. On Simchas Torah, as a commander in the Golani Brigade, he was involved in a fierce gun battle against Hamas terrorists near the Kissufim outpost. He managed to save many other lives, but he ultimately lost his own. His father visited the Knesset this week, and I had the opportunity to hear him speak.

Yehoshua Shani urged the members of the Knesset to be unrelenting and to insist on continuing the war against Hamas. When he spoke about his son, he showed genuine Jewish fortitude. “We have many reasons to be thankful to Hashem,” he said. One cannot help but marvel at the fact that a bereaved father still grieving over a recent tragedy could speak in such elevated terms. Similar sentiments were expressed by another civilian who accompanied him: Yehuda Duchan, the brother of Yochai Duchan, who was likewise killed on Simchas Torah during a six-hour gunfight against the terrorists. The two brothers were the sons of Yehonasan Duchan, who was killed in a terror attack in Kiryat Arba twenty years ago. But despite the tragedies that have rocked his family, Yehuda Duchan spoke with amazing strength.

There was absolute silence in the Knesset while the two visitors spoke. Shani and Duchan also attended the Shas party meeting, where Aryeh Deri spoke to them with great sensitivity. At the end of his speech, he added a personal thought: “You have lost loved ones, but it is important for you to know that the losses were not in vain. The mesirus nefesh of the soldiers, the unity among the people and their Torah learning, will restore the glory of Israel and bring security to the country, with Hashem’s help.”

The Sin of Conceit

Every day brings new stories of heroism and miracles, new accounts about survivors of the Hamas horrors who pledged to change and were miraculously spared from death—and new details of the massive Israeli failure as well. There seems to be no escape from that reality. This week, the families of the observation balloon operators on the Nachal Oz base were interviewed by the press. These soldiers were tasked with using surveillance balloons to monitor the Arabs’ activities in Gaza, which was less than a kilometer from their location. When the attack began on Simchas Torah, they fought the terrorists until they were murdered. It is almost certain that they managed to indirectly save the lives of dozens of soldiers on the base and residents of Kibbutz Nachal Oz in the process.

The soldiers’ parents related that their sons had sensed in advance that Hamas was about to launch an attack, and they spoke about their fears at home. It is likely that they raised these concerns with their superiors in the army as well. One father related that his son had told him that half the surveillance balloons were not in operation during the days before the massacre. Another father said that the battalion commander had come to the base on Hoshanah Rabbah but had only been interested in an infestation of mice. Early on the morning of Simchas Torah, fifty terrorists broke into the army base and were eliminated or repelled by the balloon operators. These soldiers managed to continue holding off additional terrorists until they were slaughtered; may Hashem avenge their blood. It is widely agreed that the soldiers fought with great heroism.

One of the soldiers’ mothers declared, “I am angry with the chief of staff and the director of the Shin Bet. Our children were abandoned.” She feels that the two officials, along with the rest of the government, must be removed. “They ignored the warning signs,” she asserted. “I have lost faith in the IDF; I no longer rely on them.”

With these words, the bereaved mother captured the essence of this tragedy. Anyone who revered the IDF as their pillar of support has seen that perception shattered by recent events. That is why these parents take no comfort in the fact that their children were killed while defending their homeland. For many people, the IDF practically played the role of a supreme deity in their lives. A person who has a connection to Hashem can find comfort even amid such tragic events, but for someone who puts his faith elsewhere, there is nowhere to turn for solace.

The bereaved parents, racked by pain, have accused the army of unforgivable conceit. “Why did you ignore the reports and the warnings, not to mention the professional work of our children?” one of the fathers demanded. It is clear that the blame for this failure lies with the arrogant officials who refused to heed the signs of impending danger, and the entire country is now paying the price for this conceit.

Brian Mast Gives a Boost to Wounded Soldiers

I presume that some of you are familiar with Brian Jeffrey Mast. For those of you who do not know, I will tell you that he is a Republican who represents a district in Florida in the House of Representatives, but he is best known for his period of service in the army of the United States. Mast received several awards for his military service, but he also suffered the loss of both his legs during the Vietnam War. He is a Christian and is known for his staunchly pro-Israel views. There was a period of time when he came to Israel to volunteer. Last week, he visited Israel for the second time during this war, as a guest of Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Netanyahu and Mast traveled together to meet with a number of soldiers and Border Guard officers who were wounded during the course of this war and are currently in the rehabilitation unit in Hadassah Har Hatzofim. Before making this visit to the hospital, they met in the prime minister’s office in Yerushalayim, and Netanyahu thanked his guest for his support for Israel and the soldiers of the IDF. In the hospital, the prime minister and the congressman listened to the soldiers’ stories about the battles they had fought against Hamas terrorists in Gaza and about their operations in Yehuda and Shomron, and were duly impressed by their sense of mission and their dedication to their goals. They also received reports from the hospital on the soldiers’ medical conditions and their progress in rehabilitation. Congressman Mast told the soldiers about his own personal struggles after the loss of his legs during the war. It was a moving experience for everyone involved.

BenGvir Riles the Left

Itamar Ben-Gvir, the public security minister, is in the headlines once again. Ben-Gvir represents the political right in the government and tends to evoke the ire of President Biden, who regularly speaks out against the “extremist” elements in Israel’s government. Ben-Gvir has been constantly rising in the polls and is apparently siphoning right-wing votes away from Netanyahu. He is also an ardent opponent of Benny Gantz (a sentiment that is mutual) and hopes to see Gantz leave the government. This is believed to be the reason that Ben-Gvir decided to fire the commissioner of the Prison Service and to install his close associate, Kobi Yaakovi, as an interim replacement. (Permanent appointments cannot be made during wartime.) When Gantz entered the cabinet and the government, one of his preconditions was that no government appointments would be made during this time. Ben-Gvir apparently hopes that Gantz will choose to resign from the government due to his actions, even if Yaakovi’s appointment was only temporary.

Is Kobi Yaakovi the right man for the job? This seems to be debatable. On the one hand, he has held a number of senior positions in the security establishment, and in August 2021, Yaakovi earned an award from the police force after leading his own men and other officers in a lifesaving operation while risking their own lives during a wildfire that spread through the hills around Yerushalayim toward the Eitanim psychiatric hospital. Since January 2023, Yaakovi has served as Ben-Gvir’s assistant. He holds an undergraduate degree in humanities and social studies with a focus on criminology, as well as a graduate degree in criminology from Hebrew University in Yerushalayim. Despite these qualifications, however, Yaakovi was a deputy commissioner until very recently, and it is not the accepted practice for an official to rise through the ranks so rapidly. At the same time, Ben-Gvir has argued very convincingly that the commissioner whom he dismissed had refused to obey his instructions. It would be hard to justify allowing her to keep her position in light of her actions.

This isn’t the only scandal surrounding Itamar Ben-Gvir. A newspaper in Israel recently reported, citing anonymous sources within the Prison Service, that Ben-Gvir has been working to ease the conditions under which Jewish security prisoners are held. They claim that Ben-Gvir rebuked the chief warden of the Eshel Prison, where two Israeli inmates are being held for allegedly attacking Palestinians, and ordered the warden to improve the conditions of their imprisonment. Ben-Gvir’s associates emphasize that he has been working to combat discrimination, and that it is clear that the Prison Service has been discriminating in favor of Arab murderers and against Jews who were convicted of murdering Arabs. “I was appalled to hear that Jewish prisoners are being held in flea-infested cells without the most basic conditions, where the adjacent cells hold depraved terrorists who are enjoying superior conditions,” Ben-Gvir said. Indeed, it is hard to disagree with him.

Double Standard in the Prison Service

On a somewhat related note, I recently received a copy of an internal update within the Prison Service, dated December 20, 2023. “In keeping with the situation assessment,” the message read, “the prisons will continue operating as usual. Activities outside the wings will be conducted in accordance with the Home Front Command’s instructions concerning public gatherings…. Prisoners will be permitted to take leave as usual. The parole board and courts will continue meeting as usual.” The next line, however, is the most important: “Prisoners’ families will continue virtual meetings as a substitute for visitation.”

The main question here is why this should be so. Why are the prisoners being deprived of the only ray of light in their dreary existence, in the form of personal visits from their wives and children? Why are they being treated with such cruelty? MK Moshiashvili of the Shas party recently raised this very question as an urgent parliamentary query, and the Prison Service officials panicked and asked for an extension of one week before they were required to respond. During that week, the rules governing furloughs were changed, and Ben-Gvir proudly announced the new regulations in the Knesset. However, he was unable to give a coherent answer about the prisoners’ visitation rights. The reason for his hesitance is now clear—since the rule wasn’t changed at all—but there is no clear reason for this measure, which is torturous for the prisoners.

This outrageous decision indicates the Prison Service’s general attitude toward the inmates in Israel’s prisons. In general, the Prison Service assumes that a prisoner deserves to be crushed and dehumanized unless a different decision is reached. This is true in almost every area: Prisoners pay exorbitant prices for phone calls and for purchases in the commissaries, and discipline in the prisons is extremely harsh. The Prison Service takes the approach that everything that a prisoner receives should be treated as a privilege rather than an entitlement, and there is no reason to refrain from stripping him of any last vestige of tranquility that he possesses if they deem it appropriate. They have no mercy for the inmates, who are suffering terribly in any event. Why should the wardens in a prison have the right to punish inmates more than the judges have already punished them?

Now, why do I mention this now? Because one of the prisons held a special event on Chanukah for the wardens and their family members. The event, which began at 8:00 in the morning and ended at 1:00 in the afternoon, featured barbecues and special entertainment for the children. The inmates were locked in their respective sections of the prison until the families had left. This event demonstrated a striking double standard. The prisoners have been deprived of visits from their families on the grounds that their children would be endangered by visiting the prisons during this time of heightened security tensions. But why doesn’t that same reasoning apply to the children of the wardens? There is no good answer to that question; it is simply a function of the general attitude that prisoners have no rights.

A Leak from the Court

Last weekend, Israeli journalist Amit Segal dropped a bombshell on the nation when he publicized a draft of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the law striking down the reasonability clause.

Let me remind you of the basic background to this verdict. The reasonability clause was a legal doctrine used by the justices of the Supreme Court to reject any laws or government decisions that did not meet with their approval when they had no other basis for overturning those measures. This was the basis for the court’s decision to disqualify Aryeh Deri from serving as a government minister; they ruled that his appointment was “unreasonable,” and that was the final word on the subject. The Knesset recently passed a law that did away with the reasonability clause, barring the justices from deciding whether a government appointment or a law passed by the Knesset meets the standard of reasonability. Naturally, the Supreme Court was petitioned to overturn that law, and the judges chose to publish their ruling now. Chief Justice Esther Chayut is on the verge of retirement and her replacement has already been chosen; this was intended to be the final ruling of the court that she would oversee. The court’s decision was to strike down the law passed by the Knesset to limit its authority, and Amit Segal revealed that Chayut’s opinion was shared by a slim majority of eight of the justices, with the other seven opposing her.

This is utterly outrageous. First of all, there is no real justification for publicizing this ruling in the middle of a war. What is so urgent about it? Second, the ruling is deliberately being publicized when the chief justice is still part of the court, shortly before her retirement. If the court had waited two more weeks, then Chayut and one other justice (Anat Baron, who supported her ruling) would have retired already, and the majority would have gone the other way. Based on the judges’ positions recorded in the verdict, there would have been seven judges opposed to striking down the law and only six in favor of canceling it. This is clearly a power grab on Chayut’s part. And half the Israeli public also believes that it is outrageous for the court to be overturning a law passed by the Knesset. Many are also infuriated by the fact that the media has published a draft of a Supreme Court ruling for the first time. It is almost certain that the individual who leaked the draft to the press was trying to affect the outcome, or at least to create a provocation. And he certainly succeeded in causing a stir.

Uzi Fogelman, the deputy chief justice of the Supreme Court, gathered all the judges in his office after the leaked report and announced that the verdict will be released before January 12, as scheduled, and will not be delayed. Fogelman added that after the ruling is officially published, the leak will be thoroughly investigated, and that the judicial branch of the government views the leak as a case of serious misconduct and an illegitimate effort to influence a judicial process. “This assault on the public’s faith in the Supreme Court will not be successful,” Fogelman asserted. But despite his assurances, faith in the Supreme Court is continuing to fall, and for good reason.

And then on Monday the ruling was released and was exactly as was publicized.

Local Elections Postponed to February 27

Do you remember that Israel was about to hold elections for all of its local governments when the war began? We were expecting internal clashes within the chareidi community in many cities: Elad, Rechasim, Bnei Brak, Beit Shemesh, and so forth. I won’t get into the details here, but I will tell you that there were at least two chareidi candidates vying for the office of mayor in almost every chareidi city, with the exception of Modiin Illit. Even there, some individuals floated the possibility of mounting a challenge to the incumbent mayor, Yaakov Gutterman.

As of now, the local elections haven’t yet been held. The elections were originally scheduled to take place on October 31, but when the war erupted, the Knesset approved a delay of three months, rescheduling the elections on January 30, 2024. In the communities where the residents were evacuated from their homes, the local elections were to be held five months after they return home. It goes without saying that there are many reasons to postpone the elections on account of the war. First, there is the fact that many people are not in their homes and are not capable of turning out to vote at this time. In addition, public gatherings are forbidden during wartime, and the polling stations are considered places of public gathering. Moreover, many of the voters are serving in Gaza at this time, and many of the candidates are likewise serving on the front lines. It seems almost impossible to hold an election under those conditions.

Moshe Arbel, the Minister of the Interior, responded to this situation by spearheading a law in the Knesset to postpone the local elections until January 30. He recently met with officials in the Home Front Command and the army, who assured him that there would be no problem with holding the elections at that time despite the ongoing war. They claimed that there would be polling stations set up for the soldiers, and that the candidates for local office would be released from duty to manage brief election campaigns in their home cities. However, this evoked the ire of Finance Minister Betzalel Smotrich, who was probably irked by the fact that the national religious sector was expected to suffer the greatest harm from this decision. Smotrich warned the interior minister against holding the local elections at the scheduled time; however, local government leaders from the Likud party informed Netanyahu that they were adamantly opposed to any further delay. It has become clear that neither side was basing its position on the national interest; rather, each was motivated by narrow political considerations.

When the debate began, United Torah Judaism, the Ashkenazic chareidi party, was in favor of pushing off the local elections for another month, but the Shas party was opposed to the idea at first. Nevertheless, the Shas party changed its position when the IDF altered its stance. After a petition was filed with the Supreme Court, the army was required to prepare a document explaining its official position; at that point, the army admitted that it would be problematic for the local candidates who are serving in the reserves. As soon as the army took that position, the interior minister changed his stance to reflect their view and announced that he was in favor of another postponement. As could be expected, Netanyahu grew distressed by the conflict; he did not want to antagonize Betzalel Smotrich, but he also feared stepping on the toes of the Likud party’s mayors. On Wednesday, the cabinet finally gave its unanimous approval to a compromise suggested by the prime minister. The cabinet also instructed the army to relay its position as to whether the 2189 candidates for local office who are currently on active reserve duty could be released, and to present details of the localities where the candidates in the reserves would be unable to be discharged. The army prepared the document, which revealed that a total of 688 candidates would not be able to be released from duty. The cabinet therefore made its latest decision on Sunday and rescheduled the elections once again, this time for February 27.

The Mayoral Race in Teveria

While it’s true that there would be nothing life-threatening about delaying the local elections, it is also an integral component of democracy to see to it that the people have a chance to choose their governments. Moreover, the country cannot allow itself to completely give up its routine on account of the war. We must also not ignore the fact that there are some places where the elections will be very significant for the religious community, such as the city of Teveria. This city has experienced a good deal of spiritual development. There are groups of chassidim who have decided to settle there, and there is a good chance that Teveria will soon blossom into a city of Torah, as it was in the past. On the other hand, there is one man who insists on waging a relentless battle against the chareidim, and I am sure you will recognize his name: Ron Kobi. I have written in the past about his deplorable actions and words. If he is elected in Teveria, then the situation will be very bad indeed for the chareidi public.

I am mentioning this not only because of the postponement of the elections but also due to a recent verdict that emerged from a court in Tzefas. Last week, the court ruled that Kobi was required to pay 380,000 shekels to his predecessor as mayor of Teveria, Yossi Ben-David, to compensate him for libel. Another judge had previously ordered Kobi to pay 120,000 shekels to Dovid Ochana, a member of the Teveria city council, for defamation. If Kobi thought that he would never be punished for his vicious tongue, he is beginning to learn that he will have to pay the price for his words. The wheels of justice turn slowly, but they do turn.

Ben-David had sued Ron Kobi for 58 social media posts, of which the court found that eleven posts concerning complaints to the police, investigations, and arrests, and 25 posts about corruption, fraud, bribery, and other criminal acts constituted defamation. Ben-David argued that Kobi’s malicious intent was evident in the obsessiveness, consistency, repetitiveness, and tone of his posts. The judge wrote in her ruling, “We are not dealing with a single posting. This was a campaign that continued for a long period of time during the years 2016 and 2017. These postings were made with high frequency and intensity, and even on a daily basis at some times. The defendant has not retracted his statements or removed them; he repeated his claims during these proceedings and did not express remorse. The defendant’s actions and his constant offensive statements against the claimant and others require us to use deterrent measures against him.”

Let us hope that Ron Kobi will learn his lesson, and that the voters in Teveria will learn what sort of man they are dealing with.

An Encounter with Rav Yosef Lieberman

Rav Yosef Lieberman was a great tzaddik and posek who passed away last year on the 14th of Teves, just a bit shy of the age of 100. On erev Rosh Hashanah of that year, I had the privilege of visiting his home together with Rabbi Avrohom Leuchter, a yungerman from the Beer Yaakov yeshiva who had been close to Rav Lieberman. The rov was living at the time in the home of his daughter and his son-in-law, Rav Menachem Mendel Fuchs, the rov of Shomrei Hachomos in Ramot. When we arrived, Rav Yosef was sitting on the porch, engrossed in learning. I introduced myself by name, and he asked if I was related to Rav Binyomin Zev Yaakovson; I told him that he was my grandfather.

I noticed a set of Rabbeinu Tam’s tefillin on the table, and I asked Rav Lieberman if he used them. He said, “That was what my father did, and the posuk says ‘al titosh,’” he replied. I began asking him a few more questions, but it was clear to me that he was reluctant to put his Gemara aside. He gripped the Gemara tightly, tilting it toward him, and his head was practically buried in the text.

“I heard that the Toldos Aharon Rebbe was here recently,” I said. “Did he come to ask a halachic question?”

“We are relatives,” Rav Yosef said, without looking up from the Gemara. He seemed to be implying that there was no reason to be impressed by the visit. Then he added, “He told me that the chassidim wanted him to stand on a platform, and he asked my opinion.” Rav Lieberman tersely told me how he had answered the Rebbe.

I raised a question that I have presented to a number of gedolim, including Rav Elyashiv, Rav Ovadiah, Rav Chaim Kanievsky, and Rav Tuvia Weiss: “Since the halacha prohibits reciting portions of the Torah shebichsav from memory, is it necessary to read the passage of Vayechulu in the Friday night Kiddush from a printed text? What is the rov’s practice in this respect?”

“I read it from a siddur,” he replied.

“Is that because of the halacha concerning the Written Torah?” I pressed.

“One should even daven the Shemoneh Esrei out of a siddur, even though we all know the words,” he said.

I told Rav Lieberman that I had once asked Rav Elyashiv where to insert a tefillah to develop a desire for learning Torah, and he had told me to add it to the brocha of atah chonein. “Where should a person daven to know the entire Torah?” I asked him. “Does one need a good memory for that purpose, or is it simply a matter of reviewing one’s learning over and over? And how does a person become a gadol?”

Rav Lieberman smiled and said, “You have to learn lishmah for fourteen hours a day.”

“Should a person learn Torah with the intent of acquiring knowledge?” I asked.

“He should learn it for the purpose of observing it,” he said.

“I know that the rov was born in Pressburg; I daven in the Pressburg shul,” I remarked.

Rav Lieberman briefly began discussing his memories of Pressburg. “The Daas Sofer was like royalty,” he said. “When he walked down the street, people would close their stores and run after him to kiss his hand.”

“Our shul follows the custom of the Pressburg community to recite Aleinu after Shacharis on Shabbos,” I said.

“That is the custom in Vizhnitz as well,” he replied.

I commented that I had heard that he was a brother-in-law of Rav Aharon of Belz, and he explained the family connection to me. He also spoke about the Rebbe’s reaction when his son was martyred, a memory that brought tears to his eyes.

“What does a person need to know in order to become a posek?” I asked.

“He needs siyata d’shmaya,” Rav Lieberman said. Then he added, “There was a tremendous iluy in chutz laaretz who always waited five minutes before responding to any question. Someone once discovered that he always spent those five minutes davening for siyata d’shmaya.”

Our generation lost a great man. May this brief account serve as an aliyah for his neshomah.

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