Monday, January 12, 2009
Who is the Rav Moshe Weinberger of Israel???
I wrote last week about Rav Zvi Leshem and Rav Yair Dreifuss' visit to the United States. They are working on a project to publish the writings of Rav Shimon Gershon Rosenberg, Rav "Shagar." Baruch Hashem, they were able to meet Rav Moshe Weinberger on that occassion.
I, like most Americans, had never heard of Rav Shagar, zt"l, before they "introduced" him to me. It is unfortunate that the world outside of Eretz Yisroel is only learning about him after his petira in 2007. My impression is that the unique thing that he brought to the world is that he has done more than anyone else in this generation to bring the light of Chassidus into the Dati Leumi and "modern orthodox" communities in Israel. As Rav Shagar was quickly losing his short battle with Pancreatic Cancer, he put the thousands of computer files of his detailed notes on every aspect of Torah onto a memory key. He came to Rav Dreifuss with the memory key, and handed it to him with instructions to put those files on his computer and find a way to publish them, since he would not longer have the opportunity to do it in his own lifetime.
Apparantly, most of the Dati Leumi Yeshivos, notwithstanding their study of Rav Kook's seforim, are basically Litvish in nature, and the "modern" communities in Israel suffer many of the same problems spiritually that we have here in America. This revolution of the light of Chassidus within the Dati Leumi communities is a relatively new thing, and hopefully it will continue to grow and re-invigorate those segments of Am Yisroel in Eretz Yisroel.
Rav Moshe Weinberger has a similar raison d'etre in being a Rav in Woodmere, NY, in the Five Towns. For an explanation of his goals in becoming the Rav of Cong. Aish Kodesh in Woodmere, NY, see his article from Jewish Action Magazine from 9 years ago. For much of the American modern orthodox community, Yiddishkeit is basically just a checklist of obligations that we check off so that we don't feel guilty. It is mostly an outside set of behaviors, rather than an effort at forging a relationship with Avinu Shebashamayim, our Father in shamayim. Rav Weinberger's goal is to bring the fire of Chassidus to the frigid hearts of the American Jewish community.
I don't know definitively who the "Rav Moshe Weinberger" of the Jews of Eretz Yisroel would be, but it seems to me that Rav Dreifuss' efforts as the Rav Shagar's friend and co-Rosh Yeshiva at Siach Yitzchak, to fulfil the last wishes of Rav Shagar, and his tremendous mesirus nefesh in that regard would definitely fit in that category. So I wish them much hatzlacha in their efforts.
To make a tax deductible donation to their project make out a check to "PEF Israel Endowment Fund, Inc." and write "Bikurei Nehosha" in the Memo. Send the check to:
PEF Israel Endowment Fund, Inc.
317 Madison Ave., Suite 607
New York, NY 10017
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