Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

4 Sivan 5759 - May 19, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








Sponsored by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Produced and housed by

Lessons from the Election Campaign

by Yated Ne'eman staff

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 children here?'

"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.

Dr. Birnbaum:

"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 torches."

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!

All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.