The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 22 July 2006 / 26 Tammuz 5766

A Tisha BAv Rendezvous

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library

The wedding of a child of D. L., a one-time student of the Hebrew-speaking department of Yeshivat Ohr Somayach in Jerusalem, who is today the head of a kollel, brought back memories of the unusual way this Torah scholar found his way to Torah Judaism.

Raised in a very secular kibbutz, he had virtually no knowledge of Jewish tradition. One Tisha B’Av, the 9th day of Av when Jews fast night and day and mourn the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash, he passed a synagogue while visiting Haifa. Out of curiosity he peeked inside the hall from which wailing sounds could be heard. When he saw the congregants sitting on the floor reading Lamentations, he asked one of them what the meaning of all this was. He was invited to sit down and hear an explanation of the day and the laws and customs associated with it.

This experience aroused his curiosity about Torah Judaism, and eventually led him to Ohr Somayach. It was only at a later stage that he took a serious look at the family tree so revered by his parents, and discovered that he was a descendant of the great Chassidic leader known as the Chozeh of Lublin. What came as an even greater surprise was the discovery that the Yahrzeit (day of death) of the Chozeh was on Tisha B’Av, the day that his descendant came to life.

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