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A Great Rosh Yeshiva

Today was the funeral of Rav Henach Leibowitz Ztz"l, Rosh Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim. There are many things that have been and will be said about this tzaddik but I want to say something from a personal angle.

I owe him a lot. 19 and 20 years ago I learned in a Yeshiva [Ohr Dovid] where my Rabbeim were students of his. That was the beginning of my Yeshiva career and it left an indelible impression on me. More than anything else I learned about the importance of the study of Mussar. Since then I have studied Tanach, Chassidus, Philosophy, etc. all through the lens of Mussar. I always search for the Mussar angle. The question that always accompanies me is, how can what I am learning help make me and those around me better people?

Rav Henach stressed character improvement and his students - my Rabbeim - conveyed that to me and I try to pass this on to the next generation. If I had to sum up the central teaching of Mussar in one sentence it would be with the Chazal that says, "If a Torah Scholar has faulty character then the carcass of an animal is better than he." [him? Never learned grammar... Mussar, yes. Grammar, no. So if I don't know grammar I have an excuse, but if I don't act properly I have none....] Who wants to be worse than a dead animal?! [And if somebody is IGNORANT of Torah and has bad middos to what can HE be compared?]

As the wisest of all men said "Hold fast to Mussar; do not let it go. Guard it for it is your life." [Mishlei 4/13]

Yehi zichro baruch.

PS - One of the Rabbeim I referred to is very ill and suffering. Please daven for him until further notice. R' Chaim Moshe ben Minia.


A Rebbe in OJ said to me on the first day, upon hearing I had attended WITS (a CC yeshiva) for high school:

"While I never was a fan of that style of learning, I have always been very impressed with them [Chofetz Chaim]. I have yet to meet a bachur from there who is not a mensch."

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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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