B'YACHAD! - 18

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B'YACHAD - TOGETHER, the Electronic Alumni Newsletter of Ohr Somayach

Issue #18; Shvat 5759

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  • A Tree, A Spring, And Offspring
  • News about Ohr Somayach
  • Rabbi Gavriel Eliyahu Klatzko Zatzal
  • Simchas & Announcements
  • How to contribute to B'Yachad
  • Ohr Somayach Alumni Dinner
  • Subscription Information
  • Ohr Somayach Home Page

  • A Tree, A Spring And Offspring

    by Mendel Weinbach

    "Shall I bless you with Torah knowledge - you are already a Torah scholar! Shall I bless you with wealth - you are already a man of great resources ! Shall I bless you with children - you already have them !"

    Rav Yitzchak found the solution to his problem by recalling a parable.

    A man wandered in the desert - weary, hungry and thirsty. He came upon a tree with sweet fruits, a pleasant shade and a stream of water flowing beneath it. He ate from its fruits, drank from its water and relaxed in its shade. As he was about to depart a refreshed traveler, he turned to the tree and said:

    "Tree, oh tree, how can I bless you? Shall I bless you that your fruits should be sweet - they are already so! Shall I bless you with a pleasant shade - you already have it! Shall I bless you that a stream of water pass beneath you - one already does! All I can bless you with is that all the trees which are offspring of you shall be like you."

    "Thus," concluded Rav Yitzchak, "I can only bless you in the same manner - that all of your offspring shall be like you."

    On Tu B'Shvat, the Rosh Hashana of the trees, we at Ohr Somayach like to think of ourselves as trees blessed by Hashem to have offspring - our beloved talmidim in Eretz Yisrael and throughout the world - like ourselves, blessed with the same dedication to learning and spreading Torah and to insuring that their offspring will be like them.

    A New Service!

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    Rabbi Gavriel Eliyahu Klatzko Zatzal

    by Rabbi Larry Shain

    Only two and a half years ago, Rabbi Gavriel Eliyahu Klatzko zatzal, or Reb Gavriel as he was known to us, arrived upon the shores of South Africa to be employed by Ohr Somayach of South Africa. Little did we know that the enormous impact he would have would be over such a short time.

    He, his wife Yocheved and his children were initially brought out to join the Ohr Somayach Kollel in Johannesburg. Within a short time, it became very apparent that Reb Gavriel had an enormous talent to empathize with and touch the lives of all who came into contact with him. The deep ahavas Yisrael which characterized his personality is perhaps the single most important trait required for any kiruv worker.

    Reb Gavriel possessed this quality in great measure and it was immediately utilized by the organization to further the outreach work of Ohr Somayach.

    It was a clear demonstration of hashgocho that at this precise time, an opportunity arose for the establishment of a new minyan and kiruv center by Ohr Somayach, specifically designed to meet the needs of students and young professionals of the Johannesburg community. There could not have been a better candidate for the job - and so was born the Sunny Road Center.

    Rabbi Klatzko was the heart of the enormously successful project. The minyan and associated kiruv projects grew by leaps and bounds. Shabbos minyanim were regularly attended by 200 young people; Lag B'Omer, Simchas Torah, Shavuos dinner and much more, were attended by 300 plus. In-house and out-of-town Shabbatonim were a regular occurrence and the Sunny Road Center was the talk of the town.

    Rabbi Klatzko was at the center of all activities. The home that he and Yocheved built was one of enormous chesed and hachnosas orchim. Never a Shabbos nor a Yom Tov meal would go by without many guests surrounding their table. The relationship that they established with every young person was nurtured and treasured by both rebbe and talmid alike.

    Reb Gavriel's personality was such that these young people would open their hearts to him with their most private and intimate issues and he would take them to heart and act upon them with love and concern. A number of shidduchim came about via the Sunny Road project and Gavriel and Yocheved would take full responsibility for the shidduch, and on more than one occasion this was even to the extent of finding the money for hachnosas kallah, for those who, for whatever reason, could not afford a chasuna.

    The outpouring of grief and sorrow at the short levaya in Johannesburg - prior to the flight to Eretz Yisroel on Sunday morning the 8th of November - that was attended by hundreds within one hours notice, was but a small indication of the great love and esteem felt for him by so many of the local Johannesburg community.

    He was beloved by talmidim and colleagues alike and his presence will be sorely missed. As was expressed at a hesped in Johannesburg, just as his four children will ultimately be a source of zechus to his neshamah, so will his hundreds of talmidim. For many of them, he was fully responsible for the mitzvos they keep; in all of them, he is a great factor and inspiration, and always will be, in their share of Torah and mitzvos.

    May his memory be a blessing to us all. Yehi Zichro Baruch

    Rabbi Shain is Director of Ohr Somayach South Africa. This appreciation is written on behalf of the hanholo and staff of Ohr Somayach South Africa.

    Simchas & Announcements

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    General Editor: Rabbi Moshe Newman
    Associate Editor: Victor Hyman
    Production Design: Eli Ballon
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    Ohr Somayach Institutions is an international network of Yeshivot and outreach centers, with branches in North America, Europe, South Africa and South America. The Central Campus in Jerusalem provides a full range of educational services for over 685 full-time students. The Jewish Learning Exchange (JLE) of Ohr Somayach offers summer and winter programs in Israel that attract hundreds of university students from around the world for 3 to 8 weeks of study and touring.
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