April 21, 2024
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In Memory of Rabbi Chaim Druckman, zt”l

He taught the generation he shepherded that light would emerge from tribulation just as dawn follows the deep darkness of night.

Rabbi Chaim Druckman, of blessed memory, always strove to see the good in all things, in all people, and in all events. Even at the most trouble-filled moments when disasters and wars confronted the Nation of Israel, he taught his students and the generation he shepherded that light would emerge from the tribulation just as dawn follows the deepest darkness of night – such was the pathway of the Redemption of Israel, he taught, quoting the Jerusalem Talmud, “kimah kimah” slowly slowly, a little at a time.

I heard him repeat this theme several times, in classes I attended when he visited Jerusalem and during a Pesach Seder which he led in Kiryat Arba, his face beaming with great joy. We were privileged, he said, to be participants in the modern-day Redemption of Israel when Hashem was regathering the exiles from the four corners of the globe, in clear fulfillment of prophecy, and repopulating the barren hillsides with new vibrant Torah communities throughout Judea and Samaria, the Biblical heartland of the country.

He himself had been one of the pioneers who presented at the famous Pesach Seder in Hevron which led the way for the resettlement of the City of the Patriarchs after the Six Day War.

At every shiur he taught, and he taught over 300,000 during his lifetime of teaching, he arrived at the class carrying a stack of large tomes which he would carefully quote from, even though he knew the sources by heart. No xeroxed sheets for him – he read straight from the sources and we listened.

Once, in answer to a question I asked about the unity of Am Yisrael during the holiday of Sukkot, he replied:

“Am Yisrael must be a united nation, and they can be a united nation, even if there are harsh differences of opinion. Like a family unit, Am Yisrael is one family. I am acquainted with families in which brothers hold [by] different beliefs and lifestyles, yet the unity and love in the family is preserved. This is the way it should be with Am Yisrael as well.

“Every segment of the nation wants what is best for the nation, according to their understanding. For example, in my opinion most of the Jews who belong to what’s called the Reform Movement want to remain a part of the Jewish Nation. They too want to get closer to Hashem, albeit in a tragically mistaken way. We don’t agree with them, but they are still our brothers.

“The far more serious problem is the minority who make an agenda out of their beliefs and purposefully fight to impose their philosophies upon others. In the State of Israel, Baruch Hashem, the Reform Movement has almost no impact. Granted, in other places, in America, for example, the situation is a disaster. But even with these terrible misguided souls, they are still our brothers. The solution is not to kick them out of the house and close the door behind them. We must keep the door open and talk whenever we can, sit together as one, and explain to them the truth of the Torah, over and over again, with great patience, just like Hashem has been patient with us for thousands of years, no matter how many times we rebelled, no matter how far away we strayed. B’ezrat Hashem, all of us shall return.”

While his love for the Jewish People was boundless, he would react like a lion protecting his cubs if the integrity of the Land of Israel was threatened or when people attacked the tenets of Torat Eretz Yisrael and Religious Zionism.

Once when a group of rabbis from America attacked him for his stance on a sensitive issue, using belittling language and threatening to cancel donations to Bnei Akiva and his yeshiva, he told me: “Normally, I don’t respond to criticism, nor do I talk about people, but these individuals have crossed all borders with their condemnations and threats. I have only one thing to say – my advice is that the rabbis of America should occupy themselves with their own matters and search for a way to prevent the terrible assimilation that is decimating the Jews of America, instead of busying themselves with matters in the Land of Israel. Surveys report that up to 70 % of America’s Jews have no connection to Judaism and are intermarrying out of the faith. Let the rabbis of America worry about that.”

May his memory be for a blessing.


Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Jewish Culture and Creativity. Before making Aliyah to Israel in 1984, he was a successful Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbis A. Y. Kook and T. Y. Kook. His other books include: “The Kuzari For Young Readers” and “Tuvia in the Promised Land”. His books are available on Amazon. Recently, he directed the movie, “Stories of Rebbe Nachman.”

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