|Photo from here|
“The way to educate kids is to elevate them by pointing out the greatness they can achieve by utilizing their potential”~Rav Yechezkel Levenstein zt’l
|Photo of R E Lopian from here|
|Photo from here|
Rabbi Yisrael Salanter said:
Mussar is like a microscope, revealing what parts of ourselves we need to perfect.
|Graphic from here|
|Photo from here|
Last Tuesday, January 31, 2012 the following story about Rabbi Yisrael Salanter was included in a letter to the editor of the Palm Beach Post (no, I don’t read this paper, but the link showed up in my Google Alert for “Salanter”).
I recall a story recounted in the name of Rabbi Yisrael Salanter, a founder of an ethical movement in Judaism. Rabbi Yisrael saw two boys squabbling over who was taller than the other. One boy took an aggressive action to sustain his view that he was taller by pushing the other into a hole. Rabbi Salanter went over and said, “If you wish to prove that you are taller, put a stone under you, don’t shove another into a hole.”
RABBI JACOB SIMCHA COHEN
So, I emailed to people, whom I consider to be fairly well versed in the teaching of R Yisrael Salanter to see if they had heard of this story. Both were not familar with it.
Now, there’s a quote from R Yisrael Salanter that states, “”Promote yourself, but do not demote another.” This idea behind this quote seems similar to the story above, however it’s not an exact fit.
Over Shabbos I happened to find the quote below on page 123 of R L Oschry’s translation of Tnuas HaMussar, “The Mussar Movement” by R Dov Katz. This seems like the missing piece of the puzzle.
To surpass someone else, one must not dig a pit for him, but build a higher platform for oneself.
Update: A message was sent me regarding the story printed in the Palm Beach Post and I’d like to clarify that the story is, most likely, apocryphal. Most probably it was created around the quote above.
The 25th of Teves is the yahrtzeit of Rav Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler zt’l, one of the most influential post World War II baalei mussar.
I’d like to re-examine one of my favorite about him, originally posted here.
When Rav Dessler came to America in 1948, he met up with his son, Nachum Velvel in New York. Rav Dessler asked his son who had help him during his years alone in America? His son mentioned several people in New York along with Rabbi Eliezer Silver, the head of Agudah Israel and the rav of Cincinnati. Rav Dessler said, “We must thank him.”
His son offered to place a telephone call to Rabbi Silver, but Rav Dessler wanted to show personal hakaros hatov to Rabbi Silver. Nachum Velvel and his father then took a nine hour train ride to Ohio, arriving at 5:00 am in Cincinnati. Then went to Rabbi Silver’s home and waited on the porch to meet Rabbi Silver as he left his house for davening.
Rabbi Silver met his two guests when he woke up and they all went to shul and then back to the Silver’s for breakfast. After a bite to eat, Rabbi Silver said, “So, Rav Dessler, what brings you to Cincinnati?” Rav Dessler said that he had only come to show appreciation to Rabbi Silver for all he had done for his son.
Rabbi Silver thought about this and again asked, “So, Rav Dessler, what really brings you to Cincinnati?”
Rav Dessler said that he had no other purpose that to show hakaros hatov. Rabbi Silver asked, “Rav Dessler, what can I do for you?”
Rav Dessler, for a third time, repeated that he only wished to show gratitude to Rabbi Silver in person.
Rabbi Silver finally gave up and muttered, “This must be mussar.”
(Paraphrased from the Artscroll biography of Rav Dessler, by Yonoson Rosenbloom)
For other postings about Rav Dessler please click here.
R Avraham-Elya Kaplan, a beloved student of the Alter, wrote the following poem, “As I Listen” in 1912. The poem describes the how the Alter “captured the hearts of his talmidim:
The spark of the heart of the sage of Israel,
fanned by his past,
Guided by the force of his presence,
solaced by his morrow,
Angered by the rebellion of his challengers,
constrained by the cry of his pain,
Is carried atop his storm
in a desert of exile and wandering.
(from page 573 of MAKING OF A GODOL by R Nosson Kamenetsky)
Starting the Wednesday, December 14 at Ohel Shalom, 2949 West Touhy Ave, Chicago (SE corner of Touhy and Sacramento) at 8:30 is a new shiur given by Rabbi Daniel Raccah that I am very excited about.
Rabbi Raccah will be teaching Messilas Yesharim with the commentary of Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh. I’ve heard some shiurim from Rav Weinberger based on this sefer, but I am uber-happy to have an opportunity to actually learn it inside with a tremendous Rav like Rabbi Raccah. I have been hearing about him since I came to Chicago and was zoche to hear him speak this past Shavuos. This blurb was emailed to me: