Thousands of Los Angeles residents joined together for a
his'orerus gathering surrounding the historic visit of
HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman and the Admor of Gur, HaRav
Yaakov Aryeh Alter.
Upon arrival at Los Angeles International Airport, HaRav
Shteinman and the Gerrer Rebbe were picked up on the tarmac
by private cars arranged by Police Chaplain R' Chaim Kolodny,
himself a Gerrer chossid. HaRav Shteinman stayed at the home
of R' Yaakov Krause, menahel ruchani of Yeshivas Toras
Emes and rov of Young Israel of Hancock Park, while the Admor
of Gur stayed at the home of R' Yossi Naiman.
The next day an assembly was held for all of the chareidi
boys' high schools in the city, followed by another assembly
for elementary school boys. The Gerrer Rebbe spent the
afternoon meeting with several individuals and then both he
and HaRav Shteinman held a meeting with all of the city's
melamdim and mechanchim, followed by a meeting
with all of the rabbonim of the Greater Los Angeles area.
The Hilton Hotel was packed as the event opened with the
recital of Tehillim, followed by a brief talk by local
chareidi leader R' Wellrock, who offered thanks to R' Shimon
Glick of Monsey, NY for his dedicated assistance in arranging
the extraordinary visit. Before HaRav Avrohom Greidan
introduced the esteemed guests, HaRav Ginsburg spoke of the
significance of the event for the city's various
HaRav Shteinman spoke about the need to begin Shabbos early
and to work hard every day at elevating oneself in
emunoh and bitochon.
Noting it was the yahrtzeit of R' Shimon Bar Yochai,
the Admor of Gur said according to the gemora the
whole world should be exempt from din in his merit.
Torah is a zchus for all Jews. R' Shimon Bar Yochai
held on Shabbos one is not liable for a dovor she'eino
miskaven. Jews want to do Hashem's Will whereas
aveiros are a dovor she'eino miskaven,
therefore the whole world is exempt. The Admor ended by
expressing hopes he would be a meilitz yosher for all
Jews and by offering his blessings for abundance in
ruchniyus and gashmiyus.
Both of the gedolei Yisroel spoke about the value of
unity in Am Yisroel, saying it was the key to
receiving the Torah at Har Sinai. They also discussed the
importance of fortifying the walls of halochoh and
strengthening pure Jewish education.
HaRav Osher Weiss of Eretz Yisroel summarized the
speeches in English, adding that the great efforts involved
in arranging the special visit carry an obligation for
The next evening the hall of the Bais Yaakov Seminary in
Toronto was packed when HaRav Moshe Yaakov Kenner announced
the arrival of HaRav Shteinman and the Gerrer Rebbe.
The world must be molded to fit the Torah world view, said
HaRav Shteinman, not the converse choliloh, for
HaKodosh Boruch Hu "looked into the Torah and created
the world" and without Torah there is nothing. Therefore
Torah learning must be strengthened and our lives must be in
accordance with Torah and mitzvas.
The Gerrer Rebbe spoke about humility as a precondition for
receiving the Torah, just as the Jews displayed at Har
The next morning, following tefillas Vosikin, HaRav
Shteinman gave a talk to the avreichim of the local
kollel on preparing for Kabbolas HaTorah.
After a last-minute consultation with Maran HaRav Eliashiv
due to various uncertainties, the visit to Montreal went
ahead as scheduled. A delegation of rabbonim and
distinguished kehilloh leaders greeted HaRav Shteinman
and the Admor of Gur enthusiastically at Montreal Airport
upon their arrival from Toronto.
At Yeshivas Mercaz HaTorah, the city's yeshiva
gedoloh, the two gedolei Torah were received by an
eager crowd that burst into song upon their arrival. After
tefillas Minchah berov om, a speech was given by HaRav
Moshe Mendel Gluestein, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Mercaz
From Yeshivas Mercaz HaTorah the two illustrious guests
continued toward the Young Israel shul with thousands lining
the way. Following a brief address by HaRav Shteinman, the
city's residents filed past the luminaries, exchanging
greetings of sholom and brochoh.
In downtown Montreal they paid a visit to the Skverer beis
medrash, where they were met by the heads of the
kehilloh led by HaRav Yochonon Wosner, a dayan in the
city, who thanked HaRav Shteinman and the Gerrer Rebbe for
giving Montreal the opportunity to host them.
At the Belz beis medrash they were met by HaRav Yaakov
Yitzchok Naiman, the elderly av beis din of Pupa, a
talmid of the Vayaged Yaakov and the rov of Belz in
Montreal. HaRav Shteinman then gave a brief talk about
kabbolas haTorah, saying the great lights of Matan
Torah descend every year and should be utilized to grow
stronger in Torah. Their final stop was at Yeshivas Yavneh,
where they were received by HaRav David Sabagh, the chief
rabbi of Quebec.
The joint tour ended in Toronto with the Admor of Gur staying
for Shabbos and HaRav Shteinman continued on to New York,
where he took part in the Torah Umesorah conference.
Before the conference began HaRav Shteinman led an urgent
meeting attended by the rabbonim of Torah Umesorah who are
members of Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of the US. HaRav Chaim
Stein, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Telz-Cleveland, and HaRav
Mattisyohu Salomon, mashgiach of Yeshivas Lakewood, also
After HaRav Y. Levenstein presented the hard facts relating
to the present state of the Torah world in Eretz Yisroel,
HaRav Shteinman, speaking on behalf of himself and Maran
HaRav Eliashiv shlita, called on the gedolei
Torah of the US to make every effort to strengthen
support for yeshivas and kollelim, as well as the
Chinuch Atzmai busing system, which currently faces a crises
that threatens the education of thousands of yaldei
At the Torah Umesorah conference some 1,000 educators were on
hand to greet HaRav Shteinman. During a long question-and-
answer session transmitted to chareidi population centers
throughout the US and Canada, Rabbi Shlomo Gottesman read
fundamental questions submitted by educators. Many of the
questions were of such a weighty nature that the responses
turned into fascinating discussions on hashkofoh. The
proceedings were translated into English by HaRav Osher Weiss
for listeners unable to understand Yiddish.
Despite the early hour, hundreds of educators took part in
tefillas Vosikin the next morning. Students from
Yeshivas Yesodei HaTorah, Yeshivas Ohr Yisroel and Yeshivas
Toras Habayis came to the conference to bless HaRav Shteinman
during Bircas Cohanim.
After the tefilloh he gave a special talk. Citing
Chazal's dictum that man's yetzer overcomes him every
day and were it not for HaKodosh Boruch Hu's help man
would be unable to prevail, he noted according to the Gra man
does not receive siyata deShmaya until he has made
every effort of his own accord.
"What is the meaning of the words, `Va'anachnu lo neida,
mah na'aseh?'" asked HaRav Shteinman. Answering based on
the Tur he said that we pray sitting, standing and with our
faces covered. Then we turn to HaKodosh Boruch Hu and
tell Him, "Ribono Shel Olom, we have done everything
in our power and we don't know what else to do. Now please do
Your part and redeem us."
At that point the Rosh Yeshiva's voice suddenly became
choked. Lifting his eyes upwards he called out, "Ribono
Shel Olom! There are so many educators sitting here
engaged in their holy task on behalf of Am Yisroel —
education and outreach for Am Yisroel. They are
trying so hard for the sake of Hashem's honor. We don't know
what else we can do so that your children grow up to sanctify
the Name of Heaven. Ribono Shel Olom, now You do Your
part and redeem us!"
Later he gave a talk at Yeshivas Lakewood. "Our entire
purpose is to increase Kvod Shomayim," he said, "and
there is no greater Kvod Shomayim than Torah. Torah
study and expanding the influence and rule of Torah . . .
Preserve the Torah in its pure form, not allowing any foreign
hands to touch it. Do not use schoolbooks written by non-
He also spoke about the need to strengthen Shabbos
observance, including learning the halochos pertaining to
Shabbos and accepting Shabbos at least half-an-hour early.
After leaving Lakewood HaRav Shteinman paid a visit to the
Admor of Skvera on his way to Monsey, where he spent Shabbos
at the home of R' Shimon Glick.
A Day in Mexico City
Four thousand people filled one of the Centro Banamex
conference halls in Mexico City for a chizuk gathering
led by HaRav Shteinman following his visits to the US and
Canada last week. After Minchah the speakers included
HaRav Shlomo Tawil, rov of Kehilat Magen David, HaRav David
Shweiki, head of Aram Tzova Institutions, and HaRav Avraham
Shevut, head of Keter Torah Institutions.
When HaRav Shteinman took the podium he remained silent for a
moment. Then he began to discuss the value of the days
preceding Matan Torah, saying that preparation
requires unity among all of the various kehillos. When
he finished speaking HaRav Shlomo Tawil translated his
remarks into Spanish. Then the entire gathering accepted the
yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven together, ke'ish echod
The next morning hundreds of local residents joined the Rosh
Yeshiva for Shacharis at Kollel Me'or Avraham, headed
by HaRav Shevut. After the tefilloh HaRav Menachem
Juni, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat Keter Torah. Some people
wonder, he said, why such a great gaon, of such an advanced
age, takes the trouble to travel to visit them. But if
someone were able to point out that the Rosh Yeshiva's
grandchildren live in Mexico City and Argentina, no one would
have any questions. She'al ovicho veyageidcho —
Gedolei Yisroel are called our fathers and our
grandfathers. So it is just that the Rosh Yeshiva had taken
the trouble to travel so far because he has 1,800 children
and grandchildren in Mexico City — the talmidim
studying at the city's Torah-true schools.
HaRav Shteinman expressed his deep concern over assimilation
around the world, saying the reason was the lack of yeshivas.
Suddenly he burst into tears, saying, "Please, continue
founding more yeshivas, more kollelim, so that we can
pull the wagon along despite the difficulties, until bi'as
Later a reception was held in the home of HaRav David Shweiki
followed by a tour of the city's Torah halls and educational
institutions, including a meeting of local educators. Monday
night HaRav Shteinman flew to Buenos Aires.