יום חמישי י"ח בתשרי תש"פ 17/10/2019
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  • The Mission Continues

    As in the past so it remains today - we were and still are under the selfsame commitment to adhere to the directions of the Gedolei Yisrael, who stand guard against breaches of purity threatening our camp. When we were required to ask – we asked. When we were instructed to depart – we left. The moment we are summoned back to raise the flag, every other consideration is pushed to the side and we answer: We are ready!

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  • Harav Yisrael Friedman zy”a, the Rebbe of Husyatin

    מוטי, ויקיפדיה העברית

    The ancestral chain of Harav Yisrael Friedman, the founder of the Husyatin chassidic court, originates with the holy Baal Shem Tov. The Husyatin chassidus has its roots in Galicia and eventually came to Tel Aviv, during the turbulent years between the two World Wars.

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  • Maccabi'im Gravesite

    In honour of Chanukah, we will discuss a fascinating, ongoing investigation attempting to establish the place of burial of Mattisyahu Kohen Gadol and his family.

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In Books

Master of the Pen: Rabbi Hillel Zeitlin, hy’d

‘And all the nation saw the thunder – seeing what is heard and hearing what is seen. They saw words of fire emitting from the mighty Mouth and carved onto the tablets – ‘The voice of Hashem is carved in flames of fire’.

‘The Torah descended earthwards, and became the legacy and possession of man. The heavenly angels asked: Where is its place of honor? And they were answered: In the heart of man.

‘The Torah is called by the name of the son of Amram, and [equally so] by the name of each and every individual. The moment a person acquires it, it becomes an intrinsic part of his being, carved from the fire of his spirit…’

So begins the famous writer and publicist, Rabbi Hillel Zeitlin hy’d, in his work ‘The Acquisitions of Man’. Here he describes the awesome moment when the Torah was given to man, a moment that transformed the Nation of Israel into an eternal people. Rabbi Hillel’s entire being existed solely for the Jewish nation; he would record its glorious moments and its times of pain for posterity, with a storm of emotions pouring forth from his talented quill.

Rabbi Hillel Zeitlin hy’d was born in the year 5639 (1879) in the town of Korma, Mohilav which lies in the state of Belarus. His family were devoted Chassidim of Chabad, and already in his youth he was recognized as a budding genius.

At fifteen years of age Rabbi Hillel was orphaned of his father, and he left the portals of Yeshiva to begin a career as a teacher. Outside the walls of the Yeshiva he was exposed to secular books of all kinds, written without fear of Heaven and containing noxious ideals. Rabbi Hillel slowly began to stray from the true path. As he wandered through strange pastures, littered with secular philosophy and foreign beliefs, he searched for a place to rest his weary and probing soul since everything he uncovered led him to deeper melancholy and disquiet. The content of his life as it had once been eluded him, and he felt like an empty vessel calling out in despair. Zeitlin’s writings of that period characterized great restlessness, as he expressed his inner confusion and turmoil.

From his position on the other side of the ‘fence’, he observed the suffering of his brethren and the anti-Semitism they suffered at the hands of their enemies in exile. He joined the Zionist movement full of hope that therein lay the answer to peace between Jew and gentile, and an end to the senseless hatred. Zeitlin served as a delegate in the Fifth Zionist Congress which took place in Basel in 5661 (1901). In those days he was greatly opposed to the idea of establishing a Jewish state specifically in Palestine, and so it was that after two years during which ‘Operation Uganda’ (an campaign initiated by Herzel to form a Jewish autonomy in Uganda) was persistently being postponed, Zeitlin left the Zionist movement full of anger and bitterness, and joined another movement headed by a man named Yisrael Zangvil. Its goal was to establish a national home for Jews within their host countries.

After the First World War, following years of search and futility, Hillel Zeitlin returned to his roots and to the faith of his ancestors. From the moment he recognized the truth of Jewish philosophy, he began to publish profound works of Jewish thought - such as ‘Superior Man or Superior G-d’; which presented the Jewish philosophy versus opposing opinions, together with the answers of prominent Jewish thinkers to these counter-claims.

After his return to authentic Judaism, Zeitlin continued to write with great feeling and sadness about the suffering of the world and its impoverished state. He would refer to the damage inflicted on the G-dly image within man. He also wrote of his yearning for completeness and holiness, and his longing for closeness with G-d Who is all good.

Rabbi Hillel Zeitlin wrote many famous works, some in Yiddish and some in Hebrew. Amongst his writings are the renowned ‘Alef-Beis of Judaism’; ‘In the Orchards of Chassidus and Kabbalah’; ‘The Librarian of the Unique’; ‘On the Border between Two Worlds’; and ‘The Curtains of G-d’.

Just as his writings were full of stormy and heroic feelings, so was his death similarly stormy and heroic. Zeitlin was killed at the hands of the accursed Nazis during the Second World War. Before his capture by the Nazis, Zeitlin sent a letter to the Rebbe of Chabad pleading for someone to arrange a visa for him to immigrate to Palestine, since his spirit and body were in danger. The Rebbe turned with this plea to the Chief Rabbi of Palestine, Rav Yitzchak Isaac haLevi Herzog zt’l, who tried to intervene on behalf of Zeitlin. However before his benefactors met with any success, Zeitlin was led from his house to the death camp of Treblinka, wrapped in his Tallis and Tefillin and holding the Sefer Zohar haKodosh in his hands. So walked Rav Hillel to his death, adorned in holiness and clothed in the aura of Jewish glory, as he met his ruthless executioners who shot him to death. May Hashem avenge his blood.

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  1. 1. Amen ve Amen
    elinor 02/12/2009 08:29
    What a great man. May his soul rest in peace and Shalom.