Torah Networking through Kollel Ohr Shmuel

“What pictures do you think Moshe Rabbeinu had on his wall as he was growing up in Paroh’s palace? Do you think he had a picture of Reb Boruch Ber? No! He had pictures of wild animals. No doubt he had a picture of a snake, a lion, or more likely a bear without the “Reb Boruch”!

In his inimitable way HoRav Yisroel Appelbaum the Rosh Yeshiva of the Yeshiva in Lutzk shared with the bochurim of Rav Yisroel Goldblatt’s new mesivta how easy it is to underestimate our abilities. Taking the theme from Moshe Rabbeinu’s upbringing and describing his own personal journey before he started learning Gemoro at 17 years old, Rav Appelbaum encouraged and energized the bochurim to realize their own potential.

Last year Torah networking at Lutzk’s Kollel Ohr Shmuel led to the founding of the new Mesivta. The networking continued Chanukah time when the bochurim visited Rav Sorotzkin’s home for divrei chizuk. Last week they came to Lutzk to hear divrei Chizuk from Rav Appelbaum.

Twice a year Miami is the place to be for Healthcare and Real Estate networking but with so many Roshei Yeshiva, Magiddei Shiur and Rabbonim under one roof, every day at Lutzk’s Kollel Ohr Shmuel is the place to be for Torah networking!


Kollel Ohr Shmuel Leads to Start of New Mesivta

Rav Elchonon Berenbaum shares the little-known story

Whatever Kollel Ohr Shmuel helps any of us with, belongs to us all
Rav Elchonon Berenbaum and Talmidim pay a hakoras hatov visit to Rav Zalman Sorotzkin Erev Chanukah

Rav Elchonon Berenbaum shares the little-known story of how Kollel Ohr Shmuel lead to the founding of Rav Yisroel Goldblatt’s new Mesivta.

Bubbele!” roars Rabbi Elchonon Berenbaum, as he engages fondly with one of his Talmidim in Rav Yisroel Goldblatt’s new Mesivta. Reb Elchonon, the second-to-youngest child of the late Mirrer Rosh Yeshiva HRH”G HoRav Shmuel Berenbaum Zt”l, is a one-of-a-kind Rebbe with decades of experience in reaching every Talmid.

How did I become a Rebbe here in our new Mesivta? It was pure hashgocho protis. I got to know Rav Yisroel and became very close to him from Lutzk’s Kollel Ohr Shmuel where we both learn daily at 6:15 AM. So when Rav Yisroel opened this Mesivta specially geared to reaching every Talmid he asked me to join him.”

“How did the new Mesivta start? It’s mamosh not to be believed, but one day, this time last year, right out of the blue, the Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Yisroel Goldblatt, literally just met some bochurim and opened the Mesivta!

He had run into them, outside a take-out place. Rav Yisroel began schmoozing with them energetically and warmly – as he does with everyone that he meets. They were open with him and confided with him that they had dropped out of Mesivta and and when Rav Yisroel Goldblatt sees a need in Klal Yisroel he jumps right in.

Knowing that there wasn’t a moment to lose Rav Yisroel told them that he was opening a new Mesivta for bochurim like themselves, that he was going to open that same day and with pure enthusiasm and energy he persuaded them to be the Mesivta’s first Talmidim. Once we got started the word of how we were reaching every Talmid got out and more bochurim joined. Today we already have Talmidim who have gone on to other Mesivtos and are doing beautifully there.

“What type of bochur do we have here in Mesivta? All of them daven, they all learn – yes, they may lack zitzfleish to a certain extent, so we have longer breaks. What they like here is that everything is very real, there is no facade and they feel very safe here. The proof is that when we have off they stay here anyway – they even have ta’anos on us when we have an off Shabbos! It’s poshut their home.”

“What message do I have for my chaveirim in Kollel Ohr Shmuel? The Rov, Rav Zalman Shlit”a, Reb Feivish, Reb Moishe and the original chavrei hakollel founded Kollel Ohr Shmuel but as Reb Feivish always says we are all, each and every one of us a vital part of Kollel Ohr Shmuel and I want to add whatever Kollel Ohr Shmuel helps any of us with, belongs to us all.

When a bochur is either seriously unhappy in Mesivta or finds himself outside Mesivta that can cause very serious problems. What we are doing here in our new Mesivta thanks to Kollel Ohr Shmuel is mamosh hatzolas nefoshos. It’s doros. It’s nitzchiyus. It’s your zechus! This is your Mesivta! Ashreichem ve’Ashrei Chelkechem and in that zechus all of us in Kollel Ohr Shmuel should be gebentscht lesheim ulesiferes with our own doros and nitzchiyus!”

Reb Moshe Portnoy on Rav Yisroel Goldblatt and Ohr Shmuel
Rav Yosef Roberts on the new Mesivta


A little-known story about my father Zt”l

Bubbele!” roars Rabbi Elchonon Berenbaum, as he engages fondly with one of his Talmidim in Bais Medrash L’Torah’s new Mesivta. Reb Elchonon, the second-to-youngest child of the late Mirrer Rosh Yeshiva HRH”G HoRav Shmuel Berenbaum Zt”l, is a one-of-a-kind Rebbe with decades of experience in reaching every Talmid.

How did I become a Rebbe here in Rav Yisroel Goldblatt’s new Mesivta? It was pure hashgocho protis. I got to know Rav Yisroel and became very close to him from Lutzk’s Kollel Ohr Shmuel where we both learn daily at 6:15 AM. So when Rav Yisroel opened this Mesivta specially geared to reaching every Talmid he asked me to join him.”

“What example did I see from my father Zt”l that guides me in reaching every Talmid in Rav Yisroel Goldblatt’s Mesivta? Well, I had heard many times from Rav Dovid Trenk Zt”l how my father Zt”l used to come to Adelphia and how much my father Zt”l loved the bochurim there and how much as a result they loved him in return. But the truth is that I saw it with my very own eyes. I remember particularly one unforgettable example.

I remember, how, many decades ago someone brought a kid-at-risk to see my father Zt”l. My father connected with this kid in a very big way – and like they say – he loved him to bits – and this bochur became so close to my father Zt”l that not only did he, within a short time, get into learning in a major way – today, many decades later, he’s a successful marbitz Torah and a Talmid muvhak of my father Zt”l.”

“How did the new Mesivta start? It’s mamosh not to be believed, but one day, this time last year, right out of the blue, the Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Yisroel Goldblatt, literally just met some bochurim and opened the Mesivta!

He had run into them, outside a take-out place. Rav Yisroel began schmoozing with them energetically and warmly – as he does with everyone that he meets. They were open with him and confided with him that they had dropped out of Mesivta and and when Rav Yisroel Goldblatt sees a need in Klal Yisroel he jumps right in.

Knowing that there wasn’t a moment to lose Rav Yisroel told them that he was opening a new Mesivta for bochurim like themselves, that he was going to open that same day and with pure enthusiasm and energy he persuaded them to be the Mesivta’s first Talmidim. Once we got started the word of how we were reaching every Talmid got out and more bochurim joined. Today we already have Talmidim who have gone on to other Mesivtos and are doing beautifully there.”

“What’s our Mesivta’s biggest challenge? It’s what Rav Trenk Zt”l told me many times. When a bochur is either seriously unhappy in Mesivta or finds himself outside Mesivta it’s very hard for parents to come to terms with the reality of it. They want to believe it’s just a passing phase and the bochur will get over it on his own. Rav Trenk told me “I told so many parents to send their sons to me – and I could have saved so many more – but unfortunately so many were lost because their parents wouldn’t agree.” Although things have improved since those days, we are still to a significant degree facing that challenge.”

“What type of bochur do we have here in Mesivta? All of them daven, they all learn – yes, they may lack zitzfleish to a certain extent, so we have longer breaks. What they like here is that everything is very real, there is no facade and they feel very safe here. The proof is that when we have off they stay here anyway – they even have ta’anos on us when we have an off Shabbos! It’s poshut their home.”

“What message do I have for those who have given so generously to Bais Medrash L’Torah? When a bochur is either seriously unhappy in Mesivta or finds himself outside Mesivta that can cause very serious problems. What we are doing here in our new Mesivta with your help is mamosh hatzolas nefoshos. It’s doros. It’s nitzchiyus. It’s all in your zechus and we could not have done anything without you! Ashreichem ve’Ashrei Chelkechem and in that zechus you should all be gebentscht lesheim ulesiferes with your own doros and nitzchiyus!”


The Satmar Dayan and Milchamto shel Torah


Neiros Chanukah and Travel?

When should one light the Neiros Chanukkah, in the event that he will be away for the beginning of the night and would like to set out as early as possible?

Rav Yisroel Chaim Jankelewitz, Rosh Kollel of our Semicha Chaburah responds: There are four possible options (1) Light immediately after plag even before shkia (2) one should make sure not to light until shkia and only set out thereafter (3) one should appoint a shliach to light for him at the proper time (4) wait until he returns later in the night

The Mishna Berurah in the beginning of Siman 672 brings a Machlokes Rishonim as to when is the proper time for neiros chanukah. Some are of the opinion that it is at the first shkia, others say it is at the beginning of second shkia and yet others hold that one should light after Tzais Hakochavim.

The mechaber says that some believe that one can light from plag hamincha and on when necessary, given that there is enough oil for it to burn for a half hour after the correct zman. The Poskim say that regardless of which zman one intends to follow, one can always light 15-30 minutes earlier or later.

The zman known as ‘Rav Aron’s zman’ which is approximately 25 minutes after shkia is based on this idea. Since by lighting at that time you can be yotzei all shitos.

Assuming Tzais Hakochavim is 50 minutes after shkia, by lighting at the midpoint between shkia and tzais one in turn has lit within a half hour of either zman.

In our case where someone must leave his home early, he should rather light when he returns than light through a shliach since that would put them in a dilemma over the Bracha, and lighting at plag is very b’dieved.


Petirah of Rav Nochum Gold Zt”l

Six Years ago Rav Nochum, a Talmid of Rav Pam Zt”l, recorded the above video in honor of Bais Medrash L’Torah Rosh Yeshiva, HoRav Yisroel Goldblatt Shlit”a. He was the guest of honor but in typical self-effacing fashion he turned it around saying that as guest of honor it was his job to give honor.

Upon moving to Lakewood Rav Nochum learned in our Bais Medrash and gave shiurim to our yungeleit. Unfortunately after an illness of several years, which he was mekabel with great Emunah and Bitochon, he was niftar.

Chazal tell us that the Torah of a niftar is the ideal form of memory and for the first time the following is a rendition in English by Rav Aryeh Goldstein of a dvar Torah from Rav Nochum’s kuntress Torah Mevu’eres:

וַיֶּאְסֹ֤ר יוֹסֵף֙ מֶרְכַּבְתּ֔וֹ וַיַּ֛עַל לִקְרַֽאת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֥ל אָבִ֖יו גֹּ֑שְׁנָה וַיֵּרָ֣א אֵלָ֗יו וַיִּפֹּל֙ עַל־צַוָּארָ֔יו וַיֵּ֥בְךְּ עַל־ צַוָּארָ֖יו עֽוֹד:

בראשית פרק מו פסוק כט

Rashi explains that while Yosef was crying on his father’s shoulder, no mention is mentioned of Yaakov Avinu, as Yaakov Avinu was reciting krias shema. Why did Yaakov Avinu specifically deem this momentous occasion of reuniting with his beloved, long-lost son as the appropriate occasion to lein krias shema, rather than prior to or after meeting Yosef?

Rav Nochum answers that a component of the chiyuv krias shema is “Vi’ahavta es Hashem Elokecha… U’vichol me’odecha.” Chazal explain that loving Hashem with one’s “me’odecha” refers to accepting Hashem’s decrees with love, which demands that a person recite the bracha of “Boruch Dayan Emes” with simcha just like when a person hears besuros tovos. While Yosef was missing, the posuk tell us that Yaakov Avinu was unable to be comforted on the loss of his son- “Vi’lo yuchal linachmo,” saying “ki eireid el bni aveil shi’ola.” If so, his ability to fulfill the mitzva of “Vi’ahavta es Hashem Elokecha” was lacking shleimus.

However, after discovering that Yosef was alive and mishne li’melech in Mitzrayim, Yaakov Avinu now experienced Hashem’s hatava even within the seemingly dark events of Yosef’s disappearance. Only now, upon meeting his son, when he was witnessing that Yosef remained intact in emunah and ruchniyos, was Yaakov able to perceive the great goodness in Yosef’s being sold to Mitzrayim. Precisely at this moment of great joy, when the atzvus of Yosef’s apparent demise dissipated, was Yaakov Avinu able to recite krias shema with the shleimus in ahavas Hashem that it entails. Therefore, Yaakov Avinu took advantage of this auspicious moment to mekayeim the mitzva of krias shema bishleimus at his very first opportunity in twenty-two years.

A remez to this yesod can be found in the pesukim: The shevatim refer to Yosef as “Vi’haechad einenu,” rather than using the term “achinu,” his name, Yosef, or some other terminology. The reference to Yosef
specifically as the “echad” reflects Yosef’s disappearance as being the catalyst for their father’s lack of fulfillment of the mitzva of krias shema bishleimusa.
Krias Shema, which begins “Shma Yisrael, Hashem
Elokeinu Hashem Echad,” was no longer the same for Yakov Avinu due to the loss of the “echad,” Yosef Hatzaddik (Torah Mivu’eres, Parshas Mikeitz).



Bais Medrash L’Torah goes to Margate

Bais Medrash L’Torah has teamed up with the community in Margate, NJ and started a learning program on Thursday evenings. Three 20 minute shiurim are given on various topics by Rabbi Yosef Trocki, Rabbi Shimon Mandel and Rabbi Yoel Deutch.

Rabbi Yosef Trocki, Rabbi Yoel Deutch and Rabbi Shimon Mandel preparing for their classes at Margate, NJ.