An address to the participants in the Second Yerushalayim
Yarchei Kallah of Agudas Yisroel of America, last
I have heard that everybody here has experienced a great
elevation. Everyone has risen higher! I do not know how much
people have managed to rise, for one cannot become a
gaon in the space of a few days, but the very fact
that people feel elevated is itself enough. If people feel
that they have risen higher, this in itself is a great
At the top of the list of things which need to be
strengthened (Brochos 32), Chazal place Torah.
Although we learn constantly, we nevertheless need to
strengthen ourselves constantly and this is especially true
in our times. If Chazal said it in their times, then nowadays
we are certainly in need of constant reinforcement. If one
doesn't try to encourage oneself, he weakens, so one needs to
strengthen oneself constantly.
We also find that Chazal refer to a time known as chevlei
Moshiach, the birthpangs of Moshiach. We cannot know with
certainty when the beginning of this time is. It might be
near to its end, or it might just be beginning. Who can know?
Nowadays we don't have prophets, although it's probable that
the birthpangs of Moshiach have certainly already begun.
Chazal say, "What can a person do so that he is saved from
chevlei Moshiach? He should busy himself with Torah
and with doing chesed." Certainly, the more a person
busies himself with Torah and doing kindness, the greater his
chances of being saved from chevlei Moshiach.
Lately we see how dreadful things are, how almost every day
R'l there are terrible tragedies, whether in the form
of attacks by our enemies, or road accidents, or other kinds
of misfortunes. Terrible things are happening, day in and day
out. As far as we know, there has not been a situation like
this. There have been tragedies but not like today, when they
take place on a daily basis, R'l. One can certainly
believe that it is all happening because the time of Moshiach
is getting closer and closer.
It is not so simple to be saved from chevlei Moshiach.
Torah and chesed are absolute necessities. "A little"
Torah isn't enough. A lot of Torah is needed and a lot of
chesed. Boruch Hashem, the participants here have come
to strengthen themselves in Torah. For your part, it is very
good that you have understood this and have made efforts to
follow this path, to strengthen yourselves and increase Torah
study. We find different ways that a person is supposed to
The prophet Michah (6:8) tells us, "What is Hashem
asking of you, but the doing of justice, the love of kindness
and going in concealment with your G- d?" This means that the
correct path for a person is, "to proceed in concealment," to
hide himself! One should be seen as little as possible and
behave with modesty . . . this is on the one hand.
On the other hand, we find that when one wants to succeed in
launching a venture, it is hard to do so with concealment.
One has to make a "big deal" out of it and publicize it. It
isn't possible to get something moving modestly, in a
Throughout history, we find these two extremes working
together. On the one hand modesty, while on the other hand,
in order to provide encouragement, there have to be
gatherings in a manner that is somewhat removed from
This is how things have to be. In order to strengthen people
many people have to gather together in public, but at the
same time, a person must be aware that he should conduct
himself modestly, "and proceed in concealment with your G-
There is no greater proof of this than Har Sinai, where there
were sounds and lightning. What a tremendous occasion it was!
Chazal tell us that the Torah was given "in fear and dread,
in trembling and sweating," and in such seriousness. It had
to be done this way, so that Klal Yisroel would attain
the right level of solemnity, but the fact remains that the
Torah was given amid sounds and lightning, not with
The Torah goes on to tell us that the first set of
Luchos, that was given amid such publicity, was
smashed, whereas the second set, which was given in a more
modest manner, endured.
When a person does something, he might be unsure of whether
what he is doing is good or not. Later, he might see from the
results of what he did that it was not good. This cannot be
the case with HaKodosh Boruch Hu, however. He knows to
begin with what the results will be -- the smashing of the
Did HaKodosh Boruch Hu think to begin with that this
was a good way to arrange the giving of the Luchos and
then see that it was not? Chas vesholom!.
HaKodosh Boruch Hu cannot and does not make a mistake.
He knew that if the Luchos were given publicly, they
would have to be smashed. Why then did he do it that way the
It seems therefore, that this is the order that things must
follow. First, the Torah had to be given publicly and the
Luchos in fact had to be smashed and then it had to be
done again privately.
This is the path, which leads between these two opposites.
Things cannot only be done in concealment. There has to be
publicity, to the point of "sounds and lightning." In the
desert, Klal Yisroel numbered about five million
people (so it is said in the Chofetz Chaim's name). The six
hundred thousand mentioned by the Torah were only the men
between twenty and sixty years old. Add the women and
children, and the eirev rav and the number
approximates five million.
What publicity! And the Torah was given amid such numbers,
with kolos uvrokim. This is how it had to be.
Even though HaKodosh Boruch Hu knew that because of
this publicity, the Luchos would be broken publicly,
that too was correct and had to be. First things had to be
done publicly, and only then privately, after which they were
to continue privately.
In order to give encouragement then, a large gathering has to
be held. It can't be done while everyone sits at home. But
afterwards, when the meeting is over, everyone must stay in
his own domain, privately, "and proceed in concealment with
We also find this in the medrash (Yalkut Shimoni Shmuel I,
1). Elkonoh, the father of Shmuel Hanovi, was himself a
prophet. When he made a pilgrimage to the Mishkon, his
wives, children, siblings and all his relatives went up with
him. They would go to the Mishkon in Shiloh, for the
Beis Hamikdosh had not yet been built, and the mitzvoh
of aliyoh leregel, then applied to the
Elkonoh would travel there with his entire family. They would
sleep out in the open, and the arrival of an entire family,
which probably numbered at least a hundred souls, would raise
quite a commotion. People would ask them, "Where are you
going?" and they would say, "To the House of Hashem in
Shiloh, from where Torah and mitzvos issue forth. Why don't
you come with us and we'll travel together?" Tears would
immediately flow from the people's eyes. They would say,
"We'll go with you," and they said, "Yes."
The following year there were five families and the year
after, there were ten, until everyone used to ascend. Elkonoh
would not follow the same route when he went up year after
year [so that he met different people each year] until
everyone went up.
HaKodosh Boruch Hu said to him, "Elkonoh, you have
tipped Klal Yisroel's scales to the side of merit and
have trained them in doing mitzvos (i.e. in fulfilling the
mitzvoh of going up for the Regolim) and many have
attained merits because of you. I will bring forth a son from
you who will tip Klal Yisroel's scale to the side of
merit and who will train them in doing mitzvos."
From this we learn that Shmuel's birth was a reward for [the
deeds of] Elkonoh. (The commentary Zayis Raanon on the
medrash, by the author of Mogen Avrohom,
explains that we should not think that Shmuel's birth was
only a reward for Channoh's prayers. In fact, Elkonoh's was
the main merit.)
We see here too, that they fulfilled the mitzvoh amid great
publicity. An entire family ascended to Shiloh, sleeping on
their way in the middle of the street. The purpose of all
this was in order to strengthen the mitzvoh! Apparently,
people were somewhat slack in their observance of this
mitzvoh and it needed to be bolstered, so Elkonoh had to make
a public event out of it!
In the end, he was successful and all of Klal Yisroel
started to go up for the Regolim. As a reward, he
merited a son like Shmuel Hanovi.
In order to provide encouragement, it is important to bring a
large group together from time to time, publicly and with
fanfare. Afterwards however, one should see to it that he
continues with modesty and the concept of "going in
concealment with your G-d."
I hope that all the Yidden who were here for these few days,
whom I have heard all experienced a spiritual elevation, will
be returning home with many gains that will enable them to
continue with their Torah and their chesed and with
seeing to all of Klal Yisroel's needs.
May HaKodosh Boruch Hu assist every one of you in
continuing along this path and also all of your families. And
may you witness the arrival of Moshiach tzidkeinu,
swiftly, in our times.