Ha-Rav Ha-Gaon Shmuel Auerbach ztz"l: Revealed Rebuke is Preferable to Hidden Love

Eulogy given in the Yeshiva]

Ha-Rav Ha-Gaon Shmuel Auerbach ztz"l, the eldest son of Ha-Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ztz"l and Rosh Yeshivat Ma'alot Ha-Torah in Yerushalayim, has ascended on high.
A person should not be judged by his media-promulgated persona, which displays his outer personality devoid of his inner world.  One of the Gerrer Rebbes would explain our Sages’ teaching, "Judge all of the person favorably" (Pirkei Avot 1:6), in this way: At a time when you judge the entire person, when you observe a person from all of his sides - he will be "favorable," and aspects of merit will be revealed before your eyes (Sichot Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah – Bereshit, p. 88).
First and foremost, Ha-Rav Shmuel Auerbach was a great Torah scholar.  In his youth, he learned in the famous Eitz Chaim Yeshiva and also with his father.  He then served as Rosh Yeshiva in Yeshivat Shem Olam of the Amshinov Chasidim, and then as a Ra"m in Yeshivat Kol Torah in Bayit Ve-Gan in Yerushalayim.  In the year 5742, he established Yeshivat Ma'alot Ha-Torah in the Sha'arei Chesed neighborhood of Yerushalayim and served as its Rosh Yeshiva until his passing.  He wrote the book "Darchei Shmuel" on Masechet Ohalot, which included an approbation from Ha-Rav Ha-Gaon Eliezer Man Shach ztz"l.  A student recorded many of his talks in the book "Ohel Rachel".  Rav Auerbach became very close to Rav Shach, and, like him, valued learning Torah constantly over all else, as explained in Nefesh Ha-Chaim (Chapter 4).
Maran Ha-Rav Kook often mentioned that it is not only forbidden to speak Lashon Ha-Ra against any Torah scholar, but it is also forbidden to think it.  We must judge all Torah scholars favorably.  Even if we do not agree with him, we are forbidden to say that he does not bring benefit to Klal-Yisrael.  Shaming Torah scholars is worse than any error they may make and leads to the destruction of the Oral Torah (Ma'amrei Ha-Re'eiyah p. 56).
When the Prime Minister of Israel, Mrs. Golda Meir, traveled to America, the anti-Zionist Satmar Chasidim protested against her and against the State of Israel.  Many were upset by this, and a student asked Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah about it.  He responded: The Satmar Rebbe is a Torah scholar and it is forbidden to speak against him.  Everyone knows we have diametrically opposed positions, but since he is a Torah scholar, we are obligated to protect his honor, even if we disagree with his positions (Mashimi'a Yeshu'a p. 191).  And once someone said to Reb Aryeh Levin that the Satmar Rebbe speaks harshly against the State of Israel.  Reb Aryeh Levin responded: I do not know him personally but I have heard that he has three great qualities: He loves Am Yisrael, he is a great Torah scholar and he does much Chesed (Ish Tzadik Haya pp.61-62).
And the same is true regarding Ha-Rav Shmuel Auerbach: He loved Am Yisrael, he was a great Torah scholar and he did much Chesed, as many people have stated.
Many great Torah scholars, however, have said that Rav Shmuel Auerbach's harsh opposition to the State of Israel and the drafting of Yeshiva students into the army were too extreme and caused great damage to the Torah world.  Who and what are we to place our heads between giant mountains, lest our skulls be crushed? 
We are obligated, however, to point out two things.
1. Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Kook taught us the meaning of the Mishnah in Pirkei Avot (6:6): "One who carries the burden with his fellow" – Torah scholars are required to carry the burden together, even if there are differences of opinion between them, since the shared burden of Torah is greater than that which separates us.  Torah Scholars all have the shared goal of declaring in this world: Hashem is One and His Name is One (classes on Kinyan Ha-Torah).
2. We must understand that Rav Shmuel Auerbach's harsh rebuke was out of love, and at times had the value of protecting the Nation and State of Israel.  His strong words were in the category of "revealed rebuke is preferable to hidden love" (Mishlei 27:5).  And this is what Maran Ha-Rav Kook said to his student Ha-Rav Dr. Moshe Zeidel, who was upset with the Charedi criticism. He responded that the Charedim, who are opposed to Zionism from the depths of the purity of their spirit, aid in removing much of its negative tendency and will thus allow it to reach its royal potential (Igrot Re'eiyah 3:156).
And, indeed, it was Maran Ha-Rav Kook who served as the Cohain at the Pidyon Ha-Ben of Ha-Rav Ha-Gaon Shmuel Auerbach.

May his soul be bound up in the bonds of the living with all of the great Tzadikim and Geonim.

Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #349

Contagious Virus
Q: Is a person who has a contagious virus obligated to remain at home and not go shopping so he doesn't infect others?
A: He should ask a doctor.

Factory in Eretz Yisrael
Q: Is a factory in Eretz Yisrael considered holy?
A: It is not holy but a Mitzvah.  The Mitzvah of settling the Land of Israel.  Obviously, every Mitzvah makes one holy, as the blessing says: Blessed is Hashem… who has made us holy with His Mitzvot".

New Ketubah Following Name Change
Q: If a married person changes his/her name, must one write a new Ketubah?
A: No, since it was correct at the time of its writing.  Furthermore, during our time it is possible to identify to whom it refers.  Shut Shevet Ha-Levi (8:286 #3) and Shut Minchat Yitzchak (7:117).

Mercaz Ha-Rav Break-Away
Q: What is Ha-Rav's opinion about the Mercaz Ha-Rav break-away that began Yeshivat Har Ha-Mor about 20 years ago?
A: My opinion is that one should learn Chumash with Rashi instead of placing your head between great mountains so that your skull doesn't get crushed.

Mentioning Person who Showed You a Source
Q: Quoting a teaching one heard from another person brings the Redemption (Pirkei Avot 6:6.  Megilah 16a).  If someone showed me a source and I quoted it, am I obligated to mention the person's name or do I just mention the source?
A: Just the Source (Ha-Rav David Cohen, Ra"m in our Yeshiva Ateret Yerushalayim, told me that Ha-Rav Shlomo Fisher, Rosh Yeshivat Itri and Av Beit Din in Yerushalayim, told him that if one shows you a source, perhaps you should give him a gift but there is no need to mention his name).

Child Not Speaking Nicely
Q: If a young child is speaking inappropriately what should we do – become angry or ignore it?
A: Neither.  Educate him.

Mistaken Tzedaka
Q: I slept in a public park with a friend and someone put Tzedaka in my shoe.  What should I do?
A: Give it to Tzedaka.  Praiseworthy are you Israel, merciful ones the children of merciful ones.

Temple Mount?!
Q: What is Ha-Rav's opinion regarding ascending on to Har Ha-Bayit?
A: My personal opinion does not matter after the Chief Rabbinate of Israel prohibited going onto the Temple Mount, as indicated on the signs it posted there.  Maran Ha-Rav Kook and Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah also forbade it, as have all Gedolei Yisrael.  And one who desires to ascend to the Temple Mount based on the claim that there is no holiness in those areas, recalls the following famous difficulty: The Gemara in Kiddushin (31a) states that if both one's father and mother ask him to bring them water, his father's request comes first because he and his mother are commanded to honor his father.  The Gemara in Chullin (11b), however, states that the honor to one's mother is a certain obligation while the honor to one's father is based on a doubt, because perhaps the man is not his father.  If so, should his mother's honor take precedence?  Answer: What kind of honor is it to one's mother to honor her based on the claim that the man she claims to be his father is a question of doubt?!  If so, what kind of honor is it to the Temple Mount to ascend upon it by claiming that it is not holy?!  And the only thing to add are the words of Maran Ha-Rav Kook, that one infringement on the holiness of the Temple Mount undoes all of the merit of building millions of Yishuvim in Eretz Yisrael (Igrot Ha-Re'eiyah Volume 2, p. 285).

Taken Before His Time
Q: Is it permissible to say about someone who died young: He was taken before his time?
A: Everything which happened is by Divine providence and everyone is taken at his exact time (Yevamot 50a).  We obviously still mourn over our loss.

Charedim and Soldier
Q: I serve in Tzahal and returned home from the army after a long time.  I passed a protest of Charedim against being drafted into the army.  They pushed me and insulted me, and I am full of anger.

A: 1. This is an extremely rare occurrence.  2. May Hashem have mercy on them.  3. There is great merit for one who is insulted and does not insult (Shabbat 88b).

Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #348

Map of Eretz Yisrael in the Bathroom
Q: Is it permissible to hang a map of Eretz Yisrael in the bathroom?
A: Yes, as long as one does not think about Torah when looking at it.
Q: But Eretz Yisrael is holy?!
A: Correct.  But it is even permissible to have bathrooms in Eretz Yisrael, and it is holier than a map.

Time of Wedding
Q: Is it permissible to delay the time written on the wedding invitation in order to have a longer Kabalat Panim, pictures, etc.?
A: Certainly not.  One is obligated to have the wedding at the time written on the invitation.  One should no begin their marriage with a lie!  (It once happened that Ha-Rav Shmuel Ha-Levi Wosner, the author of Shut Shevet Ha-Levi, traveled from Bnai Brak to Yerushalayim to serve as Sandak at a Brit Milah.  They had agreed on a time for the Brit Milah, and Rav Wosner, as he usually did, was particular to arrive early.  The Mohel, however, did not arrive on time.  After waiting a while, Rav Wosner told the father of the baby: "There is no choice, I am returning to Bnai Brak now.  Please take someone else as the Sandak.  My time is precious, and this is the first day of the Zman and I want to be in the Yeshiva".  The father said that the Mohel is an expert and has many Britot, and called to say that he was delayed but is already on his way.  Rav Wosner replied: "Tell the Mohel that not coming on time involves the transgression of 'Do not lie' and if the time of the Brit Milah is set after discussing it with the Mohel, he must arrange his schedule so that he arrives on time, does not deceive others and does not violate the transgression of lying!"  And he added: "Regardless, I am hurrying back to Bnai Brak."  In the meanwhile, the mother's father, who was a grandson of the Yismach Moshe, approached and showed Rav Wosner the Kiddush cup of the Yismach Moshe.  Rav Wosner's face glowed and he asked how he inherited it, checked the size and asked if his grandfather used it for Kiddush, etc.  The Mohel then arrived and apologized to Rav Wosner, but Rav Wosner said to him: "Time is time!  Time is something very precious to me!", and he served as Sandak.  Rav Rabbanan, pp. 229-230).

Chevra Kadisha in Every Community
Q: Should there be a Chevra Kadisha in every community, or is it enough for there to be one in larger communities?
A: The custom in every generation and every location is for there to be a Chevra Kadisha in every community.  See Neta'ei Gavriel (Avelut Volume 1 42:1).

Changing Name Order
Q: My name is Leah Iris.  A Rav told me to change the order to Iris Leah.  Do I need to do so only on my Teudat Zehut (Israeli I.D. card) or should my father mention it in a Mi She-Berach in Shul when he receives an Aliyah?
A: 1. Ask the Rav who said so.  2. There is absolutely no need to change the order.  There is no difference.

Respecting Politicians
Q: How should we relate to politicians who do both good and bad things?
A: The Rambam writes that if the majority of one's actions are Mitzvot, a person is righteous, if the majority of one's actions are transgressions, he is wicked (Hilchot Teshuvah Chapter 3).  Either way, one obviously receives reward for the Mitzvot and is punished for the transgressions.

Doctor who Does Not Succeed
Q: Our Sages say that Hashem causes good to be brought about through the agency of righteous people and bad to be brought about through the agency of evil people (Shabbat 32a).  If a doctor's patient dies, isn't this a sign that he is evil?
A: No!  He did not perform a transgression, but rather the great Mitzvah of trying to heal another person.  It is not dependent on him if he will succeed.  It is Hashem's decision.  See Ramban, Torat Ha-Adam, Sha'ar Ha-Sakanah.  

Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Saves Questions
Q: Does it bother Ha-Rav that I send him so many questions?
A: No.  But almost all of your questions are found in basic Halachah books like the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch.  There are also pocket versions.  It is better to look there.  Once on Erev Pesach when a myriad of people came to ask questions of Ha-Rav Shmuel Ha-Levi Wosner, author of Shut Shevet Ha-Levi, he said: "If the questioners would learn even the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, 80% of the questions here would not need to be asked" (Rav Rabanan, p. 402).

Child Bothering During Shemoneh Esrei
Q: If a young child is making noise in the middle of the Shemoneh Esrei, and he cannot be calmed down, what should one do?

A: His father should take him outside in the middle of the Shemoneh Esrei (Ha-Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, Aliba De-Hilchata #12, p. 3.  And see the exchange of letters between Rav Aviner and Ha-Rav Avraham Dov Auerbach, Rav of Tiveriah, about this issue in Shut She'eilat Shlomo 1:53 and Shut Hagrad"a p. 26).

New English book from HaRav Shlomo Aviner - 9th Book in Series - Dimensions of Love

Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim
Torah from Zion Project
English Books of
Ha-Rav Shlomo Aviner Shlit"a
Rosh Yeshiva of Ateret Yerushalayim in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem. Rav of Beit El & one of the leading Rabbis of Religious-Zionism today.  One of the most prominent students of Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Ha-Cohain Kook, who followed directly in the footsteps of his father, Rav Kook.  Author of more than 150 Hebrew books filled with love of Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael & Torat Yisrael, tolerance & love to all Jews, guidance for harmony within the Jewish family, dedication to the State of Israel & Tzahal, and facing the most pressing questions of the day.    

Our 9th Book in the Series
Dimensions of Love
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Other books in series currently available:
1. Short and Sweet - Text Message Q&A - Volume 1 [Revised addition]
2. Prophecies for the Generations - Explorations into the Haftarot
3. Rabbenu - Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Ha-Cohain Kook
4. Heroes of the Tanach
5. On the Air with Rav Aviner
6. Commentary on Haggadah
7. Short and Sweet - Text Message Q&A - Volume 2
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Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #347

Who Created Hashem?
Q: My young daughter asked me who created Hashem.  What should I answer?
A: That Hashem has always existed.  Read her "Adon Olam".

Arizal - Asheknazi or Sefardi
A: Was the Arizal Ashkenazi or Sefardi?
A: The Chatam Sofer writes in his Responsa (Orach Chaim #15) that the Arizal was originally Ashkenazi but decided to become Sefardi and to Daven according to the Sefardic custom.  But the Chief Sefardic Rabbi, Ha-Rav Yitzchak Yosef, holds that the Arizal was Ashkenazi ('Beit Maran' Parashah Sheet #85).  From my understanding, the Arizal's father was Ashkenazic and his mother was Sefardic.  He was orphaned and raised by his uncle, who was Sefardic.  If so, he was Sefardic in practice but from Ashkenazic lineage.  He was therefore called "Ashkenazi Rabbi YItzchak", the abbreviation being "AR"I".  Who has the last name "Ashkenazi"?  A Sefardic Jew from Ashkenazi extract.  It seems that there is also a difference of opinion in Tzefat, where he lived 500 years ago, since there is an Arizal Ashkenazic Shul and an Arizal Sefardic Shul…

Danger in Yehudah and Shomron
Q: A great Rabbi said that it is forbidden to live in a certain city in Yehudah and Shomron on account of danger.  How should we relate to this?
A: His words are not understandable.  1. The danger is minimal.  2. One must display self-sacrifice for Eretz Yisrael.

Tefilat Ha-Derech while Standing
Q: Is one obligated to stand for Tefilat Ha-Derech, or may one sit?
A: If possible, it is preferable for one to stand.  Aruch Ha-Shulchan (Orach Chaim 110:11.  And so too the Chazon Ish, brought in Maaseh Ish Volume 2, p. 11). 

Medicine Trial
Q: Is it permissible to participate in a trial for medical research?
A: Yes, on condition that it is approved by the State.  It is a Mitzvah.

Daf Yomi in Sweat Suit
Q: Is it permissible to learn Daf Yomi in a sweat suit, or it is a disgrace to the Torah?
A: It is permissible.  They are respectable articles of clothing.

Sewing Shirt While Wearing It
Q: Is there a problem with sewing a shirt while wearing it?
A: The Kaf Ha-Chaim (Yoreh Deah 116:212) writes that one should refrain from doing so, since it causes forgetfulness, but there is no early source for this.  And it is brought that the Chazon Ish was not particular about it (Ta'ama De-Kera of Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievsky, Hanhagot Ha-Chazon Ish #30).

Chevruta Who Comes Late
Q: I learn in Yeshiva and my Chevruta always comes late.  What should I do?
A: 1. Speak to his heart.  B. If it does not help, learn on your own until he arrives.  3. If it is not possible, talk directly with your Rav in Yeshiva.

"Oz Ve-Hadar" Publishers
Q: I heard that the Publishing House "Oz Ve-Hadar" is Satmar.  Should one refrain from buying from them?
A: There is no problem to buy from them.  The books are not Satmar.  The Gemara is the same Gemara and the same with the other books.

Tefilat Ha-Derech from Another Person
Q: Is it possible to hear Tefilat Ha-Derech from another person or is one obligated to recite it on his own?
A: It is possible to hear it from another, but it is preferable to recite it himself since it is a request for mercy from Hashem (Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievski in the book "Ishei Yisrael Chapter 50 note #1).

Davening with Minyan or Working in Hostel
Q: I work on Shabbat in a hostel for mentally challenged adults, and am unable to get to a Minyan, so I Daven on my own.  Should I leave the work?
A: No.  It is a great Mitzvah, and one who is engaged in one Mitzvah is exempt from another Mitzvah.

Tefillin for a Movie
Q: Is it permissible to put on Tefillin a few times during the day for a movie we are making?

A: If it is done with an awe of holiness.