Monthly Archives: May 2006

Oberserving the Mashgiach

(Pictured to the right: Rav Mattisyahu Salomon and Rabbi Pinchas Stolper, in a photo I took 3 feet away from them)

I had the incredible opportunity this past Sunday, May 7th, to join about 1200 other Jews to celebrate in the dedication of the new home of Congregation Adas Yeshurun Anshe Kanesses Israel (West Rogers Park, Chicago) and the Hachnassas Sefer Torah, of a Torah that has been in the family of the shul’s Rabbi, Rabbi Zev Cohen, for over 102 years. It seemed that for the Chicago Tribune this was the hightlight of the day, as evident here:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chicago/chi-0605080206may08,1,4753021.story
It was a beautful event that started with a five block procession full of music, dancing, and true simcha, and ended with words of chizuck from Rav Salomon. The Tribune, which did a great job covering the monumentous event, didn’t see what I saw. They did have a picture in paper of Rav Salomon (stating that he was venerated) but that was the only reference to him. The Tribune was kind enough to quote me, though. Sadly they opted not to print everything I said.

What they didn’t print was that as incredible as it was to see boys from Skokie Yeshiva dancing with boys from Telshe, as great as it was to see so many people come out to show unity for the one thing that unites all Jews, the Torah, it was just as great that Rav Salomon came to Chicago to attend the simcha.
My six year old and I were there right when he came outside to go under the chuppah and start the march up Sacramento towards Touhey. As Rav Mattisyah went under the chuppah, countless children, including my son, came up and gave him a Shalom Alechiem. He smiled at each child and extended his hand numerous times.

As the Mashgiach walked, flanked by Rabbi Cohen and Rabbi Stolper (Rabbi Cohen’s father-in-law), I could see true simcha in his face. I couldn’t help but think to myself, “How cool is this. I’m dancing literally 3-4 feet away from the Mashgiach of Lakewood. In his hands is a Torah that has survived our darkest hours in recent history. This Torah has been in America since 1906 and watched Torah Judaism blossom”. I watched how carefully he took each step, holding all that we all hold so dear in our hearts…the Torah. I watched him smile, shake hands, and speak of how important limud Torah is and how we must remember this day and what it mean to us and our children. A true Adam Gadol in every sense of the word.
To attend Sunday’s event was an honor. To have Rav Mattisyahu Salomon attend was a koved for the community. To attend it with by son, unforgetable.

A Special thanks to Blogger Rafi G, for linking my blog to his post on Sunday’s event.
http://lifeinisrael.blogspot.com/2006/05/unusual-hachnassat-sefer-torah.html

Why We Don’t Have a Gadol Hador

Rabbi Harry Maryles wrote an excellent piece, about what it take to make a Gadol Hador for today. I posted this:
I wonder if yiddishkeit can actually handle a Gadol HaDor? I’m hoping to get feedback from people older than I am (I was born in 1970), but was yiddishkeit more unified 35-50 years ago. I know there were less yeshivas and day schools. Were we more tolerant of other hashkafos in the 50’s and 60’s? Parents and their children were, literally, the post-Holocaust generation. They survived near extinction and saw a home-land be born. I think most frum Jews under the age of 40 today would have a problem universally accepting ONE Gadol.
Now, let me expand why it will be hard for those under the age of 40 to have ONE Gadol. Once I read Rabbi Maryles’ post I solved a puzzle that had been brewing in my head for over two years. Most trends and movements in the non-Jewish world eventually ripple into frum society. The best example is the Enlightenment with brought about Haskalah.

Over two years ago I read about Generation C on the Trendwatching website. Check this out here, and then click back.

I wondered when would the frum world become victims to Generation C… the content Generation? We live in a world where we control as much of our individual content as possible. I’ve got 40 ringers on my Treo, not to mention the mp3’s I can use as ringers (not during Sefira, of course). We’re blogging, My Spacing, and creating our own content. Even Artscroll has cashed in on helping us indivualized our davening content… here.
Do we really need four types of leather to choose for our siddurim?
The general division of frum yidden is only magnified by those of us who fall into “Generation X”. So named, because we don’t fit into any description. We are fragmented. It’s really no surprise that there is division among todays’ RW, LW, Charedim, Modern, parents, teachers, and principals. If we don’t know who we are, how can anyone accept on Gadol?
As I think about what e-lists I belong to I’m as confused as anyone. On any given Friday, I’m printing: Rabbi Frand, Rav Kook, Yated, and Torah MiTzion…just to name a few. Why? Because I’m controlling the content of what I read on Shabbos!!!
If I had to guess, my generation won’t have a Gadol Hador. It will take a generation to realize that fracture won’t help klal Yisroel. With Hashem’s help my children and Rabbi Maryles’ grandchildren will have worked out the issues and once again we will have a Gadol.