Responding to Loss with Leadership: The Nesivos Shalom on the Holocaust

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14 Responses

  1. mordy rakover says:

    Fascinating? Ms. Weinberg has captivated the steel of the Nesivos Shalom that was always wrapped in silk. His ability to raise people up to the rarified spiritual atmosphere that he functioned in was certainly the result of an edified soul that combined Kol Hashem B’Koach and Kol Hashem B’Hadar.

    As someone who obviously is deeply rooted in Slonim yet not parochial she is uniquely suited to bridge outsiders into that world.

    I hope Ms. Weinberg will continue to share with her readers more of the human greatness of that great and holy person so that others can be inspired to transcend their own limitations

  2. A. Halberstam says:

    I’m very touched and moved by the beautiful article in cross currents. You conveyed through your beautiful writing the spirit of the Rebbe’s poetic voice amid the angst. Using the words of the Rebbe and adding your own poetic clarity you painted an extraordinary picture of such a uniquely great leader. Kudos

  3. Claire Sunham says:

    I am most eager to learn more about the holy Nesivos Shalom. This small but powerful glimpse into the writings of this Tzaddik has whetted my interest to study more about his life and teachings. I thank this erudite author (Tzipora Weinberg) for such a wonderful rendering of this great man in such tragic and turbulent times. Hatzlocha Rabba in your important endeavors, in your teaching and writing!

    C. Sunham, Augusta Maine


  4. Gabrielle Weber says:

    What a beautiful commemoration to one of the greatest pillars of our Jewish people. How incredible it is to have a glimpse into the thoughts and feelings of  a Tzadik enduring such grief during this tragic time. What strength and hope this peice instills in the current and future generations to do what’s right and not be thwarted by those around us with less pious intentions. Thank you Tzipora Weinberg, for taking the time to write this eloquent article infused with beautiful respect and honor. May we all embody the principles espoused here.

  5. Ely Berriche says:

    What an inspiring message. Very apropos and written  beautifully. Thank you for sharing and may we be zoche to see the rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdash soon.

  6. R.Rothman says:

    A truly wonderful testament to the Nesivos Shalom. A poignantly written account of the Rebbe’s thoughts and calculations during one of the darkest periods in Jewish history.  T.Weinberg has eloquently conveyed the Rebbe’s raison d’etre, that led to the rebirth of the chassidus of  Slonim

  7. yossi weis says:

    Ms. Weinberg thank you for this wonderful article. I just want to clarify two points.
    1. did the Nesivos sholem maintain a relationship with chabad? What about their rebbe?  I heard that he was close to Rav  shach ?
    2. Where his shiurim that he gave as rosh yeshiva printed?

  8. yossi weis says:

    Ms. Weinberg thank you for this wonderful article. I just want to clarify two points.
    1. did the Nesivos sholem maintain a relationship with chabad? What about their rebbe?  I heard that he was close to Rav  shach ?
    2. Where his shiurim that he gave as rosh yeshiva printed?

    • Tzipora Weinberg says:

      The Nesivos Shalom did maintain a connection with colleagues at Chabad, specifically Rav Chaim Shaul Bruk, Mashgiach at the yeshiva at that time and a renowned  mashpia in Lubavitch, Israel. I know of no personal relationship between the Lubavitcher Rebbe and the Nesivos Shalom, but there is a letter written by the Lubavitcher Rebbe about the Slonimer Rebbe, addressed to the Chosid R’ Tuvia Blau.  It seems that R’ Tuvia had written to the Rebbe regarding the single-handed rebirth of Slonim in Israel (Hishtadluto Shel Ish Echad); the Rebbe wrote that R’ Tuvia should spread the message highlighting the potential of each individual through the example of Slonim.

      The Nesivos Shalom was indeed close with Rav Shach, and worked with him extensively on many communal causes including Chinuch Atzmai, Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah and Vaad Hayeshivos.  That did not, however, preclude his relationship with other gedolim per se. The Nesivos Shalom did not take a side throughout the fractious climate of 1989, refraining from any political involvement whatsoever.
      The shiurim about which you inquire were not available outside of Slonim until very recently. The Slonimer yeshiva, Beth Avraham, published one volume under the name Nesivos Shalom on two Mesichtas (ksuvos and nedarim) around three years ago, and a talmid privately published the others (nashim and nezikin) shortly thereafter.

  9. achiezer shelach says:

    beautiful article I really enjoyed it. a fascinating window into the mind of one of the great leaders of the previous generation. his powerful mesiras nefesh for klal yisroel is truly a testament to his deep ahavas hashem and ahavas yisroel. Ms. Weinberg  did an exceptional job highlighting the combined sense of awe and responsibility this great tzadik had toward his precious mesorah and how it guided him in is life’s work, truly inspiring.

  10. Zahava R. says:

    Thank you for this eloquent and inspiring article! I really enjoying reading it and I gained a deeper understanding of the greatness and strength of the Slonimer Rebbe. I am looking forward to reading more of Mrs. Weinberg’s articles!

  11. Wow! Very informative!

  12. avi gefen says:

    To Yossi Weiss, I will attempt to answer your question as brief as I can. Slonim although small in number always considered themselves the heirs to the ideological (Chassidic) opponents of the Bal Hatanya. As such they took a stance against the emphasis in Chabad of using the mind to study mystical concepts of godliness. In fact the Nesivos Sholom wrote a pamphlet called ‘arba shittos’- ‘the four methods’, where he tries to demonstrate the superiority of the Slonim method over other methods, one of the methods he contrast Slonim too is Chabad.  (In the pamphlet he very superficially describes Chabad as believing that intellectual pursuit is the main path to God, demonstrating a lack of deep understanding in the Chabad method).
    Ironically Slonim argument on Chabad was twofold, one was against its learning deep theological concepts of godliness that argument still stands today. But another argument was against its organized and systematic way of writing and teaching Chassidic theology; Slonim believed that Chassidus shouldn’t be written at all, and definitely not in an organized and lengthy fashion. Obviously the Nesivos Shalom with the very writing of this sefer made a complete reversal of that core principle of Slonim, he excused it by pointing to the break  of tradition that happened by the holocaust.
     But if that was the reason  it would be enough to write down short statements and insight after all wasn’t it a core principle of Slonim to not study or even teach lengthy theological discourses but   rather to repeat over and over again meditative short statements?
    The more logical answer that academics agree on was that the Nesivos Shalom was impressed and influenced by his years in Chabad regarding the importance of writing and teaching organized structured discourse of Chassidus.
    Although he had an ideological disagreement with Chabad he never the less had a deep personal respect towards it and many of its Chassidim. He developed a deep friendship with Reb Shaul Brook a masphia of Chabad as well as with Reb Sholomo Chaim Kesselman. In volume eighteen of Heichal Habesht they print a letter of his to the aforementioned Reb Chaim Shaul in there he reminisces of their deep friendship, he writes of his gratefulness for the ‘merit’ of being one of founders of Tomchei Temimim in Israel, and interestingly he thanks Reb Chaim Shaul for his encouragement and advice regarding the opening the slonim yeshiva. (Somewhat putting into question the contemporary Slonimer rebbe’s assertions that the Nesvos Shalom did not seek counsel regarding the opening of Slonim yeshiva)
     In addition to his ideological opposition to the above historical elements of Chabad, the Nesivos Sholom had a specific disagreement with the last Lubavitcher Rebbe, and contemporary Chabad, regarding their involvement in kiruv.  The Nesivos Sholom opposed Chassidim becoming involved with the wider world for fear that it would contaminate them.  In general Slonim like the puritans and medieval Christianity put the value of social good deed on a much lower plane than the value of being in a personal spiritual state of meditation, so the value of putting aside selfish spiritual aspirations for the sake of others was very foreign to him. (Slonim Chassidus puts a lot of emphasis on the men never looking at a women, so kiruv would be practically impossible for them, this is another reason Slonim looks down on contemporary Chabad)
    However the Nesivos Shalom ideological opposition to above elements of Chabad were never personal, and he had a deep respect to the late Lubavitcher fact once when his Chassidim sang a new tune for a song that described the souls deep love for God, he asked who composed this tune, when they answered that it was the Lubavitcher Rebbe, he reportedly smiled and said only someone who truly feels a love for God like him could compose a tune like this one. In addition when his son the contemporary Slonimer Rebbe then the Rosh Yeshiva of Slonim visited New York he made a point of visiting and having an audiences with the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
    In regards to your question of the Nesivis Sholom relationship to Rav Shach: Slonim’s relationship with Litvacs in general  is complicated on the one hand they always lived amongst them, Litvacs considered them to some extant one of their own, and Slonim prided themselves in being a Litvshe Chassidus with  an emphasis of learning Gemarah  Iyun, (a value that Chabad to the surprise of many always shared as well),  also at least in their minds they had strong connections to the Litvshe Gedolim of their day. On the other hand the inner Slonim has many strong antagonistic even hostile statements regarding Litvacs and what they considered their lack of genuine belief. Regardless, Rav shach reportedly deeply respected the Nesivos Sholom and apparently the Nesivos Sholom shared the same sentiment back, that didn’t mean he adopted his stance towards Chabad, he respected both Rav Shach and the Lubavitcher Rebbe and didn’t see it as a contradiction.
    His shiurim in Iyun are printed in pamphlets in the Slonim yeshiva, Slonim published for the wider public his shiurim on Ksubus and nedorim, and one can find them in any book store in Israel.
    Mrs. Weinberg: thank you for a beautiful job, I was surprised however that you did make mention of the important detail that the Slonimer Rebbe wanted to make Vov Chesvan the yartzhit of the ‘Yonger Rebbe’ a holocaust remembrance day.

  13. Baruch Goldfarb says:

    was very disappointed to read mrs weinbergs article which although was elequent and well writen also followed a disturbing trend among the modern biographers. I’m refering to the need to to “pad the resume” so to speak to ascribe non exsistent exploits and experiences to already great men as if to make them truly great.  To the point: rabbi beresovsky was not a holocaust survivor! he might have known survivors, he may have even lost family but the experience that was unique to the survior was not his. As such his reaction to the Holocaust can not be viewed in the prisim of the survior. his grand acts while great do not come close to the quiet courage the true survors displayed in the simple act of rebuilding their personal lives. Conflating the two is akin to a kind of holocaust denial as it denies what is unique to the survivors of this tragedy. This was no mere pogrom, no mere war, no mere galus those who “went through” remaind broken beyond recognition, they were never the same and they never recoved they just went on with a strength that is unfathomable. As a child of true surviors i can still hear my parents screams in the night i can still see them jump every time a car backfired i can still see the tears that would well up for no reason at all and in spite of it all the determination to continue the chain of tradition to build an uncompromisingly fiercly religious torah home. This article does a disservice to history it is like someone living in the ny tri state area claiming to be a survivor of 9/11, he might have seen the towers fall but he did so from the comfort of his own home

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