lo ra`av lolechem...ki im lishmoa es divrei hashem
Mentor Missions New York Shabbaton:
“LO RA’AV LOLECHEM...KI IM
LISHMOA ES DIVREI HASHEM”
“We mustn’t let feelings of shame bring us down. Rather,
they must be a motivator to make us better.” This was the message Rav Binyomin Eisenberger relayed in his Sunday morning
novi shiur at his beis medrash in Boro Park. What was most
unique about the shiur this past week was that aside from the
regular group of two hundred ba’alei batim, Rav Eisenberger
was also addressing college students from across North America. These students had ﬂown in to New York for the Ohr Somayach International Mentor Missions Shabbaton in order to draw
inspiration from the community.
Halfway through the shiur, Rav Eisenberger thanked the
esteemed guests for joining and started to sing, “hinei yomim
boim.” The entire room had joined in song and the students got
up and started dancing. One by one, they ﬁled passed the rov,
who gave them each a brochah. When they reached the words of
the niggun, “lo ra’ov lolechem…ki im lishmoa es divrei Hashem,” brothers were davening for the day when the thirst for the
dvar Hashem will bring everyone back to Torah, but they were
also celebrating the scene of seventy Yiddishe neshomos who
were imbibing the dvar Hashem in front of their eyes.
This special weekend began Thursday night with an opening dinner at the home of Reb Zvi Weinreb. Remarkably, the
snow storm that caused hundreds of ﬂight cancellations in the
Tri-State area resulted in only ﬁve no shows out of the seventyfour students that registered for the Shabbaton. Senator Simcha
Felder welcomed everyone to New York and was followed by
Mr. Harry Rothenberg who delivered an inspirational talk.
Friday morning, the students were jointly hosted by the Harbor Group and Outerstuff Ltd. in midtown Manhattan, where
they heard from Reb Saul Lubetski and Reb Andrew Penson.
Being exposed to ba’alei batim who talked about their experiences in the corporate business world and how Yiddishkeit re-
mains at the forefront on their priority list was a concept that
many of the students had never before comprehended. This
made a great impression on them. Many students continued to
huddle around the speakers after the speeches were over, seeking advice and inspiration.
At the 9/11 Memorial, Eli Rowe regaled the group with stories of chesed that organizations and individuals did for others
during the 9/11 attacks as well as the amazing kindness and care
that Yidden act with on a day to day basis.
After a spirited Friday night Kabbolas Shabbos, Rav Avrohom Schorr spoke about the power of Purim Koton and Shabbos. The students then went to eat at their hosts. The Schubert
and Tabak families hosted concurrent Oneg Shabbosos. Sruli
Schubert spoke about the machtzis hashekel representing the
fact that Yidden need each other and each Jew is part of a collective unit. Rav Dovid Gottlieb explained that Klal Yisroel was
told “ki sisa es rosh.” Counting the “head” of each Yid symbolizes the inclusiveness of the unique abilities that make up every
On Shabbos morning, the mentor-student learning session
was preceded by a kiddush where Reb Yosef Tabak spoke about
how Purim Koton, an ibber yuhr and the lunar calendar all
convey the message that the ruchniyusdike and gashmiyusdike
worlds come together and one must learn how to properly elevate the gashmiyus into ruchniyus.
Seudah Shlishis was hosted by Agudas Yisroel Beis Binyomin. Rav Moshe Tuvia Lieff delivered a powerful droshah about
Shabbos. When Rav Lieff lived in Minneapolis, his wife had a
playgroup. Each Friday, the children in the playgroup would act
out a Shabbos seudah where one of the children would portray
the mother of the household and one would portray the father.
“How will our children recite Kiddush? Will our children
recite Kiddush? Will our children and grandchildren keep Shabbos?!” These were the heartfelt words that Rav Lieff thundered
to the teary eyed assemblage as he conveyed the importance for
everyone to keep Shabbos as it is the connection between Klal
Yisroel and Hashem.
A most unique Avos Ubonim program took place Motzoei
Shabbos. Rav Yitzchok Breitowitz introduced the sugya of Rodef which was followed by mentor-student learning. Afterwards,
the rosh yeshiva of Ohr Somayach, Rav Nota Schiller, addressed
those at the melave malkah. Yehuda Green entertained the mentors and students late into the night.
After Rav Eisenberger’s shiur on Sunday morning, they
went to the Living Torah Museum where Rav Yisroel Belsky
delivered an introduction to the tour as well as warm words of
Reb Ralph Herzka hosted a lavish farewell lunch. Through
humor, wisdom and wit, he drove home the point that one needs
to have integrity, follow his ambitions and accomplish the right
things in life. Some of the students got up at the lunch and emotionally expressed how much they gained spiritually from the
Many students stated that they have become motivated by
this Shabbaton to continue their spiritual ascent. In an email
received the morning after the Shabbaton, one student wrote,
“I am more appreciative than words can express….I had an incredible weekend and having been in a bit of a Jewish and nonJewish lull lately this really provided me with a nice spark to
continue to be productive and not stagnate.”
May we be zocheh to continue seeing the “ra’ov” and
“tzoma” for dvar Hashem as we usher in the days when we will
all gather together in the ultimate dance, “Od yishoma b’orei
Yehuda…kol soson v’kol simcha.”
1 - Rav Yisroel Belsky addressing the group at the Living Torah Museum. 2 - R’ Ralph Herzka speaking at the farewell lunch. 3 - R’ Andrew
Penson speaking with students. 4 - R’ Avrohom Abba Sandberg with Sam and Devin Egber at the Avos Ubonim program.
Ezer Mizion: A Hand In The Dark
The Big Blip
Life used to be normal. The usual with ﬁve young kids.
At least one laundry load a night. Homework. Squabbles.
Tantrums. Shopping on Wednesdays. Cleaning on Thursdays.
Small blips like when the washing machine broke down and
ﬂooded the basement and the mechanic was out of town or
when the six-year-old experimented with tightrope walking
along the rim of a ﬁve-foot fence with expected results.
Then there came the big blip. Cancer.
They said I would be okay. My mind understood but my
emotions were in turmoil. I cried most of the day. Even when
I was home, I was not there for my children.
Wednesday wasn’t shopping day any longer. It was radiation day. Routine? There was none. Sometimes the neighbors
provided meals. Sometimes I put together something simple.
And sometimes I wasn’t even home when the kids arrived
home from school. Laundry was haphazard. The eight-yearold was embarrassed when she came to school wearing mis-
February 21, 2014 | 21 Adar I 5774
I hadn’t asked for the cancer, but now that it had arrived,
I wanted to use it to grow spiritually. I wanted to consider it
a gift, but the wrapping around it seemed to be stuck. And I
wanted my children to feel secure. I couldn’t. I couldn’t do
any of those things. I needed help.
My oldest has special needs. There are four others who
may not have special needs, but they certainly do need their
mommy, especially the two pre-schoolers.
The hardest part was the surgery. I would be away from
home for a long period. Who’s going to do the…the…the everything? Housework. Homework. Meals for my husband at
I’m the independent type. I like to be on the giving end.
But I swallowed my pride and made the call. Ezer Mizion, of
course, was the place to contact. So I had heard. I couldn’t believe the response I got. The lady was so caring. We were on a
ﬁrst name basis immediately and she spoke like a friend even
though she was very professional in what she had to offer.
She apologized (!) that it wasn’t more, but “all” she offered
was meals delivered to my home, meals for my husband at
the hospital, babysitting, mini-vacations to re-charge batteries, transportation for treatments, retreats, advice as to where
I can get household help and how to actualize entitlements
that I did not even know existed from government ofﬁces and
health insurance …
I arranged for meals for the kids for when I’ll be in the
hospital and discussed Shabbos concerns. I feel so much better about going into the hospital now. I’ll be signing up for
other things as well. She made me feel so comfortable. Like
I’m part of the family. She understands how I’m feeling and
is in touch with me frequently just to “hold my hand.” I wish
she could see my face each time an email with the words
“from Ezer Mizion” slides into my inbox. I feel so cared for.
But even though we’ve never met, I think she knows.
I feel I can handle it all now. With Ezer Mizion by my
side, I can conquer the world.
For further info, call 718. 853.8400 or visit www.ezermizion.org.