Friday, March 02, 2012

"...We must keep in mind that we will be better offerings if we repent..."

Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman, Rabbi Aron Kotler, Rabbi Blau

....It was first in 1921 that Reb Elchonon returned to Poland, to Baranovitch, where he was asked to head the local yeshiva, Ohel Torah. He was to head the yeshiva till the war years when he, together with hundreds of his students sanctified the Almighty's name. Witnesses have recounted that dreadful day--eleventh day in Tamuz, 5701 when the murderers came in. He was in the midst of learning Tractate Nidoh. Reb Elchonon spoke quietly and calmly, as was his practice. Not even the sound of his voice was changed. On his face, his customary earnestness. His tone betrayed no feeling for self, and he did not attempt to say good-bye to his son, Reb Naftali. He spoke to everyone, to the whole House of Israel.

"In Heaven it appears that they deem us to be righteous because our bodies have been chosen to stone for the Jewish people. Therefore, we must repent now, immediately. There is not much time. We must keep in mind that we will be better offerings if we repent. In this way we will save the lives of our brethren overseas.  "Let no thought enter our minds, G-d forbid, which is abominable and which renders an offering unfit. We are now fulfilling the greatest mizvah. With fire she was destroyed and with fire she will be rebuilt. The very fire which consumes our bodies will one day rebuild the Jewish people."

In the summer of 1937 at the third convention of the rabbinical leaders of Agudath Israel held in Mariband, which included hundreds of rabbis, heads of yeshiva religious academies and grand rabbis of Chassidic communities from a number of countries, Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman stood out from among all of them.

 Rabbi Shmuel Aharon Pardes of Chicago, the editor of the rabbinical journal Hapardes, who participated at this convention and who was present at meetings of the Council of Torah Sages that were held during the convention, describes Rabbi Wasserman as follows: “Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman, who stood above all the other participants walked with his face towards the ground. His long beard has turned white, and his fear of G-d preceded his scholarly wisdom. He reigns supreme above all the other members of the Council of Torah Sages and the convention itself. He intersperses his speech with simple metaphors hidden with great wisdom that penetrates the hearts of each person according to his level. He is the major disciple of Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan, the author of the halachic work, Mishna Brurah, and every word he utters is spiced with teachings and wise metaphors from his teacher. When Rabbi Wasserman enters the meeting of the Council, everyone stands in respect, and he asked to speak before anyone else.

On Sunday on the evening of 16th of the Hebrew month of Elul [August 23, 1937], the rabbinical leaders met to discuss the issue of a “Jewish State.” The meeting was stormy, and it dealt with the issue of the Three Oaths. A great dispute broke out in the session, and Rabbi Wasserman expressed pungent words that shocked his listeners. The following is what he said:

“We must emphasize and declare the position of our holy Torah in order to banish any confusion of ideas. Inasmuch as there are Jews who are Torah-observant who say that a Jewish State would be the “beginning of the Redemption,” we must inform them of the position of our Torah that this is nothing less than the beginning of a new Exile! What do I mean? After all, Jews have been living in Exile for some two thousand years, so how can this be a “beginning” of a new Exile? My intention is to expose the so-called Jewish Communists. An Exile such as this has never existed until today. None of us can even describe such an exile, an Exile under Jews! Only Jews from Russia have a slight sense of this situation, even though the regime there is not a “Jewish” one. One of the great rabbis of this generation recently told me that the term “beginning of the Redemption” in reference to the Zionist movement makes his hair stand on end!

In Hapardes (Year 11, Issue 7) Rabbi Pardes describes what he saw at the Convention:

“Rabbi Wasserman, Rabbi Kotler, Rabbi Rottenberg from Antwerp, rabbis from Czechoslovakia and Hungary were unanimous in rejecting any proposal for a “Jewish State” on either side of the Jordan River, even if it were established as a religious state because such a regime would be a form of heresy in our faith in the belief in the coming of the Messiah, and especially since this little “Jewish” state would be built on heresy and desecration of the Name of G-d.

Who Has Destroyed More, the Arabs or the Zionists? http://www.jewsagainstzionism.com/rabbi_quotes/WhoHasDestroyedMore.pdf (This essay was written by Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman zt'l after the disturbances in Hebron in 1929 which left some 50-60 yeshiva students dead and is very apropos the most recent events on the West Bank. Ed.)




Sexual abuse victims voice support for Assemblywoman Margaret Markey's Child Victims Act

In Opposition to this bill: The Agudath Israel of America & the Catholic Church!

Bill would extend statute of limitations by five years, until victims turn 28 years old

By Michael O'keefe / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

ALBANY — New York lawmakers will give sexual predators another one-year pass to abuse children if they fail to approve a bill that would extend the state’s statute of limitations in molestation cases, a Brooklyn abuse survivor said.

Bay Ridge filmmaker Chris Gavagan, who is working on a documentary about sexual abuse in sports and the abuse he suffered at the hands of his roller hockey coach, said on Tuesday that legislators’ failure to pass the Child Victims Act is like signing a “pardon for 1,000 child rapists.”

“I was here last year, and the fact that we are here again is a sign of catastrophic failure,” Gavagan said.

Lawmakers, shame on you,” he added.

Gavagan and other sexual abuse victims spoke at a news conference organized by Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, the first of three events to promote her Child Victims Act, which has passed the Assembly four times but has yet to clear the State Senate.

The bill would extend the statute of limitations by five years, until victims turn 28 years old, in civil and criminal cases. The bill would also suspend the civil statute of limitations for a one-year period to give victims a window to file suit against abusers, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred. State Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) his introduced similar legislation in the State Senate.

Markey, a Queens Democrat, said that one in five of the nation’s children suffer from sexual abuse, which she called “America’s dirty little secret.” She said the sex-abuse scandals at Penn State and Syracuse have generated fresh attention on the topic but little reform of antiquated laws.

“Those cases have attracted enormous attention, but there is not much new about the pattern behind the headlines,” Markey said. “Someone in a position of trust and influence over a child has violated that trust to molest or rape them. Respected organizations act like they are more concerned about their reputation than the victims of the crimes, and only many years after abused children become adults are they able to come to terms with what happened to them, and that means it takes place many years after our woefully short statute of limitations expire.”

The speakers at Tuesday’s event were men who say they were sexually abused by coaches when they were youngsters. Bobby Davis, a former Syracuse ball boy who says he was molested by ex-Orange assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine, said the bill will prevent child predators from hiding behind the statute of limitations.

“Because of my personal experience, I feel that the current law does not protect the victim, but instead protects the abuser,” Davis said. “Children need to know we have their back.”

David Hiltbrand, a graduate of Poly Prep who says he was abused by the private Brooklyn school’s former longtime football coach, Phil Foglietta, said the statute of limitations puts an arbitrary deadline on suffering that can last a lifetime......