Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

3 Nissan 5771 - April 7, 2011 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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











Memories Of The Aliyah To Yerushalayim On Chol Hamoed Pesach 5704

By Yisroel Spiegel

Part II

In 5704 (1944), while World War II was raging in Europe, Agudas Yisroel in Eretz Yisroel arranged for a special aliya laregel during chol hamoed of Pesach. Thousands came to the special event. Many of them arrived on a special train that was chartered for that purpose. The high point of the trip was a gathering in Batei Machseh Square in the Old City where the leaders of the yishuv addressed those assembled.

Rav Moshe Blau z'l: The Eternal Does Not Lie Am Yisroel Will Have a Remnant!

The theme that had been chosen for the gathering was "Hashem's Voice Is Speaking To Us From The Flames" and all the addresses were suitably fiery. Rav Moshe Blau z'l, the unforgettable leader of Agudas Yisroel in Eretz Yisroel, managed to skillfully weave together the two irreconcilable threads that hung in the air: the genocidal massacres on the one hand and the ascent to Tziyon on the other.

Resplendent in his streimel, he delivered the opening remarks by welcoming the thousands of celebrants on behalf of the Central Committee of the Agudah in Eretz Yisroel, on behalf of the Agudah in Yerushalayim and on behalf of the Eida Hachareidis. He then continued, his heart overflowing with the devastating troubles that Klal Yisroel was experiencing but even in the depths of despair he managed to find a note of hope and comfort.

" 'Hashem is K-eil (the Name of might) and He has made it light for us' (Tehillim 118:27) He will illumine the black darkness that we are living in at present!

" 'Tie [the offerings of] the chag with ropes!' Now is not an opportune time; there is no room in our hearts for the joy of the festival. Nothing in the world can awaken rejoicing in our hearts when we remember the millions of our brethren who have been murdered in sanctification of Hashem's Name, the Torah academies that have been destroyed and the holy communities that have been devastated.

"And as we devote ourselves to celebrating the festival despite all this, it is only because we hearken to our orders, to the will of Hashem who has commanded us to rejoice on our festival, one of the eternal commandments of the eternal Torah that is independent of time and of circumstance. We are rejoicing on our festival because we are Hashem's servants; it is about us that the posuk says, 'Give praise, servants of Hashem'! (ibid. 113:1).

"Just as 'this itself is His might' — that he restrains His Hand before the enemy His might is also revealed in our celebration of this festival in accordance with His command, even though there is no room in our hearts for joy. Happiness and rejoicing do not want to dwell in our hearts but we are commanded to bind them to ourselves with avosim, with thick, double ropes — against their will and against our own.

"We must bind the celebration to ourselves with ropes, even, 'until the corners of the Altar' (ibid. 118:27) even when we remember the altars upon which myriads of our brethren in the diaspora have been sacrificed — their souls departing in the millions upon the altar of sanctification of Hashem's Name.

"And as we come together here with thousands of our brethren in Eretz Yisroel who have gathered in the Holy City, our message to them must be: Don't give up! Hakadosh Baruch Hu has not despaired of us. He has faith in us. And we shall not despair of His salvation. We believe in Him and in His promises. The eternal does not lie! Am Yisroel will have a remnant!"

Rav Zalman Sorotzkin zt'l: From Berlin Came Haskalah and Nazism!

The next to arise was the patriarchal figure of the Lutzker Rov and chairman of Vaad Hayeshivos, HaRav Zalman Sorotzkin zt'l, who later served as chairman of the Moetzes Gedolai Hatorah and of the Directorate of Chinuch Atzmai. With his thundering voice and uncommon gift for public speaking, he bewailed the destruction of the European Jewish communities. He himself had been "there" when the war broke out and in Hashem's kindness, was fortunate to have escaped from the vale of death.

"While the Mikdash stood, Jews would come [there on the regolim] to see and to be seen. Now too, we have come to Heaven's gate to hear and to make ourselves heard. We have come to make Hashem's voice heard, speaking to us from the tempest. When someone is hard of hearing, two measures are taken. We call to him loudly and we go next to him and yell right into his ears. This is how Hashem is now calling us, since, because of the yetzer hara, we were too hard of hearing to hear His cry to 'Repent, wayward sons!'

"He, yisborach, is [now] calling louder, screaming the screams of calamity that are heard in our camp — but to no avail. Therefore, we must go nearer and approach the gates of Heaven, from where the voice from Heaven emanates: 'Repent, repent from your evil ways, Beis Yisroel!' Perhaps here at the holiest spot in the world we will merit hearing Hashem's voice.

"Oi, had we been worthy, we would have come up to hear 'Hashem's voice in splendor' (ibid. 29:4) but now that we haven't, we shall be hearing 'the voice of our brothers' blood crying to us from the earth'!" (see Bereishis 4:10)

HaRav Sorotzkin mentioned the two battles that Yisroel fought against Amoleik. "The first was at Refidim and it was over in a day. The second was in the time of Moredchai and Esther and it lasted for three days. And now," he roared, "our blood has been spilled like water for five years already!

"The reason for this is that Amoleik and his angel Samael must be fought on two fronts. Yehoshua fought them with weapons and Moshe, on the hilltop, fought with hands outstretched to Heaven, to win Yisroel's hearts back to Hashem. There were two fronts in the time of Haman too. Esther worked on the diplomatic front to influence the King to annul the evil decree while Mordechai donned sackcloth, gathered the young children and decreed a three day fast, by day and by night.

"At present, we and the civilised nations are only fighting Amoleik on the material front. When will we open the second front the spiritual front against Samael and his teachings? Who will ascend the hill for us, to raise his hands and signal to Yisroel to return to Hashem? Perhaps at this aliyah la'regel, Agudas Yisroel will succeed in shaking everyone's heart and calling into our ears, 'Go and let us return to Hashem! — for He has smitten us and will heal us!' (Hoshea 6:1-2) He has smitten us, no other!

"We see that from Amaleik's capital, Berlin, where haskalah came from, breaching the religion of Moshe rabbenu and Klal Yisroel, the Nazi legislation also came, to kill, destroy and eradicate us chas vesholom. As Chazal say, 'The book and the sword came down from heaven intertwined' — 'If you wish and listen... and if you refuse and rebel'(Yeshayoh 1:19-20)."

End of Part II


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