A large rally was held in Bnei Brak towards the end of the
last election campaign by the United Torah Judaism party. The
rally was attended by many important women, including
Rebbetzin Steinman and others. Rebbetzin Kanievsky sent a
letter since she could not attend in person. Rebbetzin
Mowshowitz presided. Speakers included Rav Mordechai
Neugroshel, Rabbi S. Halpert, HaRav Yitzchok Weinberg, the
Admor of Tolno, and Rebbetzin T. Halperin, the wife of the
Admor of Vasloi.
Rav Neugroshel made several comments that will provide food
for thought long after the elections are but a memory.
When he was asked how we could convey the true message of
Torah to our errant fellow Jews, Rav Neugroshel suggested
that we tell the following story:
"In Hungary, the Reichmans built a Jewish school, sponsored
by HaRav Moshe Soloveitchik. They appointed a veteran
mechanech from England, HaRav Cohen, to head the
institution. He rented a building, placed announcements in
the Hungarian newspapers and expected, at the most, a few
scores of children. On the day school opened, HaRav Cohen was
in a state of shock. Four hundred students appeared.
"A number of months later, the principal held a parents'
meeting, at which he asked them: `Why did you sent your
"All of the fathers explained why they had registered their
children in HaRav Cohen's school. One Jew, though, didn't say
a word. When the principal asked him to speak, he replied:
`It's difficult for me.'
"'Nonetheless,' urged the principal, `I am certain that your
story will benefit of to all of us.'
"The man complied, and related his story.
"`I was only five years old when the Germans invaded Hungary.
One day, my parents shut themselves in a room and argued. I
heard my mother say that she was frightened and wanted to
flee the country. I then heard my father stubbornly insist:
We have no Jewish signs. Nothing in our outward appearance
indicates that we are Jews. What's there to fear?'
"`My mother turned toward the book shelf, climbed a chair and
took down an old book from behind the top row of books. It
was a siddur which she had received on her wedding day
from her grandmother. She leafed through it and then threw
into the fireplace.
"`I didn't understand the meaning of her action, but knew
that she had done something terrible. All these years, when
my children were growing up, I hoped to be able to one day
give them a siddur. When I saw your announcement, I
said that I would send my son to study in your school,
because he would receive a siddur there.'
"99% of the Jews here want their grandchildren to be Jews.
Such a genuine story, so real, so touching, surely will have
strong impact on those who hear it."
There is nothing new under the sun. Dr. Nosson Birnbaum, a
friend of Theodore Herzl who coined the concept "Zionism,"
later did teshuvah and became one of the founders of
Agudas Yisroel. In 5678 he wrote an article in Zurich,
entitled, "In Golus Under the Jews."
Dr. Birnbaum's article, read by Rabbi Neugroshel at the
rally, startled those who are currently shocked by the
intensity of the venomous attack against chareidi Jewry.
"Our golus under our fellow Jews began the day the
Jewish mind conceived the notion that light shines in the
Diaspora, and in our camp darkness prevails, and therefore,
we must introduce the light into the darkness.
"At first they pitied us. But after a while that pity was
transformed into anger and rage. Who ever heard of such a
thing? They are trying to make us into professors,
procurators, and experts in the laws of films, taverns and
coffee houses, and we still dare to oppose them?
"But what must we do! We are forced to oppose them. Our
ancient religion does not believe in the happiness which is
imbedded in the fashionable. Even the nations of the world
are disgusted by these `enlightened' people and by their grim
Dr. Birnbaum wrote this article in 5678, not today. At the
end of the article, he writes, "It is far easier to
understand the problem of our exile under the nations of the
world than the problem of our exile under our brothers who
are estranged from Torah and mitzvos.
"When the nations of the world persecute us; attack all of
our sacred values and institutions and interfere in our
affairs, we protest and search for an escape route. But when
our estranged brothers debase us; when they not only
interfere in our affairs but place us under their exclusive
authority; when they not only attack all our sacred values
and institutions but seek to totally eliminate them
cholila, we cover our mouths with our hands and do not
even attempt to defend ourselves."
How true even today!