June 16, 2024
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June 16, 2024
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Two Great Gedolim. More Than 100 Stories And Pictures. Prepare to Be Inspired.

Reviewing: “Gedolim in Our Time: Stories About Rav Chaim Kanievsky & Rav Gershon Edelstein,” adapted by Libby Lazewnik. Mesorah Publications Ltd. 2022. English. Hardcover. 204 pages. ISBN-13: 978-1422631270.

(Courtesy of Artscroll) The Jewish People are so lucky. Hashem always makes sure we have Torah leaders to guide us. To give us advice and blessings. And, of course, to teach us.

Our gedolim teach us through their sefarim and their shiurim. But they also teach us through their actions. Through the way they behave to others. Through their amazing devotion to Torah, their chesed, and the way they speak and act.

In “Gedolim in Our Time,” we will meet two of the greatest Torah leaders of our generation: The “Sar HaTorahm” Rav Chaim Kanievsky zt”l, and the “Rosh Yeshivah,” Rav Gershon Edelstein shlit”a. Why did Rav Chaim stop working on his sefer to answer a young boy’s question on Torah? How did Rav Gershon stop two angry drivers from fighting? What unusual advice did Rav Chaim give to a man who was losing his hearing? What was the secret of Rav Gershon’s Shabbos visits?

This book contains more than 100 short stories—and more than 100 pictures!—about Rav Chaim and Rav Gershon. Some of the stories will surprise you. Some will amaze you. And they all will inspire you to be the best person you can be.

The following are two stories from this inspiring book.

He Has No Teacher!

John was a young non-Jew who always felt as if he belonged to the Jewish people. He began to interest himself in Yiddishkeit. The more he learned, the more he wanted to become a Jew.

When he was nearing the final stage, John made a decision.

Before he took the big step, it would be a good idea if he saw how Jews learned. He decided to join a Gemara shiur.

Every day, he sat beside the learners and listened. When some time had passed, John went over to the maggid shiur to tell him that he regretted his decision. He was not going to convert and become Jewish after all.

“What happened? Why did you change your mind?” the maggid shiur asked.

“Look,” said John. “For a while now, I’ve been attending the Gemara shiur every day—and I don’t understand a thing! If you say that’s because I’m not smart enough, you can look at my report cards and see that I was an excellent student. I achieved a great deal in school, but when it comes to Gemara, I just don’t get it. People younger than me come here and learn. They ask questions and find answers. They’re on top of the material. While I … nothing!”

The maggid shiur listened to John’s complaint. Then he said, “Let’s go to Rav Chaim Kanievsky. We’ll explain to him your problem and see what he says.”

So the two men went to the Kanievsky home. The maggid shiur told Rav Chaim what John had shared with him. He said that John had planned to convert and become a Jew, but now he’d changed his mind. And then he explained John’s reason.

Rav Chaim smiled. Turning to the maggid shiur, he said, “How do you expect him to learn? He has no teacher!”

The maggid shiur was surprised. “But I teach him every day.”

“True. You teach him,” said Rav Chaim. “But each day, in the Birchos HaTorah, we say, ‘He Who teaches Torah to His people, Yisrael.’

“Hakadosh Baruch Hu is the teacher of the Jewish people … but He is not the teacher of those who are not Jewish. So it’s no wonder John doesn’t understand. The moment he becomes a Jew, he will have a teacher. Hakadosh Baruch Hu will be his teacher, and then he will understand.”

John accepted Rav Chaim’s words. He became a Jew … and everything that Rav Chaim said came true. Once he had converted, he had a teacher. “He Who teaches Torah to His people, Yisrael” had opened up the gates of understanding.

Students Who Are Sons

All his life, Rav Gershon Edelstein has related to his students with warm personal attention, patience, and pleasure. His many talmidim will never forget his kind and friendly demeanor when they came to Ponovezh as young boys, about to join the yeshivah and feeling so lost among the crowd of students.

One year, a boy who was a Kohen came to apply for acceptance to the yeshivah. The Rosh Yeshivah asked his name. When he heard what it was, he said, “Interesting. In the yeshivah we’ve never had a student with that last name who was a Kohen.”

The boy was amazed. Thousands of students had passed through the yeshivah, but because Rav Gershon considered them all his children, he remembered even such a trivial piece of information about them.

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