Love of the Land

For the week ending 29 June 2019 / 26 Sivan 5779

Rav Kahaneman: Building Up Eretz Yisrael

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library

One of the greatest builders of Torah education in Eretz Yisrael in the previous generation was HaRav Yosef Kahaneman, commonly known as the Rav of Ponovez. Arriving in the Holy Land after losing most of his family and community in the Holocaust, he not only founded the great yeshiva in Bnei Brak which bears the name of the community which he led back in Lithuania but also institutions to care for homeless children who had survived the war.

He was not only a brilliant Torah scholar and orator but also an

extremely effective fundraiser. One particular donor was enamored of this great man’s personality but did not particularly care for the religious nature of his institutions. "I am prepared to give you the money you need to build another school, he told the Rav, "but only if none of its students wear a kipah on his head!"

Not missing a beat, the Rav agreed to this condition and received the gift. What did he do? He built a school for girls in which not one student kept her head covered.

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