Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

26 Cheshvan 5765 - November 10, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Anthology of Shiurim and Droshos from the Writings of HaRav Aharon Westheim zt'l
Reviewed by Rabbi C. Zilberman

"Why should I sacrifice my advancement in Torah study and mussar to devote my life to kiruv work in the virtual spiritual desert of Paris? Isn't the ruchniyus of my children also in danger? Why must they suffer? Should I even try it out for a while?"

HaRav Aharon Westheim asked himself these and many other questions of similarly great portent, after being approached by Dr. Charles Merzbach o'h of Paris, who had come to England especially to seek the right person to head a new Torah center called G.R.Y.P. (Groupe Rabbeinu Yechiel de Paris).

HaRav Aharon Westheim, born in Frankfurt, Germany, joined the Gateshead Yeshiva at age sixteen, and later continued his Torah education in Yeshivas Toras Emes of London, headed by HaRav Moshe Schneider zt'l. After studying with incredible hasmodoh and notable success for some eleven years, which included the tumultuous period of WWII, in the renowned Gateshead Kollel, and becoming exceptionally close to HaRav Eliyahu Dessler, the widely-known and esteemed mussar giant, he was being asked to engage in zikui horabbim that involved tremendous self-sacrifice. Was it worthwhile? Should he also give up his spiritually profitable contact with such good friends as HaRav Leib Lopian, later rosh yeshiva of Gateshead, HaRav Moshe Schwab, later mashgiach of that yeshiva, HaRav Leib Grossnas, a dayan in London, and many other gedolei Torah veyirah?

To resolve this dilemma he, together with his confidant, HaRav Yitzchok Tuviah Weiss (who today serves as Gavad of the Eida HaChareidis), performed the goral of the Vilna Gaon. The goral fell on the posuk (Tehillim 65:6), "With awesome deed in righteousness You will answer us, O Elokim of our salvation; security of all who live in the ends of the earth and those far off at sea." This was interpreted as a clear message to accept the offered position and travel overseas to France, and also to mean that his harbotzas Torah will surely be a "security" for his family to protect them from lowering their spiritual standards.

Indeed, his tireless disseminating of Torah in Paris brought the word of Hashem to the masses and changed the lives of many, who remain eternally grateful to him. HaRav Westheim delivered daily shiurim on diverse levels in Gemora, halocho and mussar to students, laymen, women and even elementary school children, from the afternoon until late at night, and on Sundays from dawn to dusk, stopping only for a short break. In addition, the Rov organized seudos shelishis and melaveh malkehs in order to better influence those lacking knowledge of what practicing Torah is.

During his last six years, HaRav Westheim lived in Eretz Yisroel and, together with his son-in-law, HaRav Yehoshua Chaim ylct'a, established the Kollel Rabbeinu Yechiel of Bnei Brak in which he presented a weekly shiur in depth to the Kollel students and often enriched them with his instructive and profound droshos about assorted subjects based on the mussar principles on which he had worked his whole life.

The first part of this 286-page sefer presents the reader with a wealth of eye-opening shiurim on various Talmudic sugyos such as psik reisha, mitzvas tashbisu, migo bemokom chazokoh, stamon lishmon, and many others. In addition, it includes a letter of historic and practical interest from his mentor, HaRav E. Dessler, addressed to the author about zikui horabbim, written eight months before HaRav Dessler's petiroh.

The second part of Yeshuos Aharon contains fourteen discourses with scholarly insights into many Torah axioms such as Shabbos being a mei'ein Olam Habo, the significance of receiving the Torah, the essence of Torah study, our Divine test during this period before the advent of the Moshiach Tzidkeinu, and various other subjects that will surely interest and enrich the readers.

The third part, of thirty-three pages, details HaRav Westheim's life and achievements and presents short essays portraying the author's refined character and fruitful accomplishments for Klal Yisroel both in France and in Eretz Yisroel.

Doubtlessly, the narrative of HaRav Westheim's laboring over Torah, and his harbotzas Torah and mussar that extended to "the ends of the earth and those far off at sea," as is so well-expressed in this sefer, will serve as a beacon of light for others directing them how to correctly learn Torah, what is true yiras Shomayim and middos tovos, and how a ben Torah should devote himself to bringing others closer to Hashem.


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