|Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman, Rabbi Aron Kotler, Rabbi Blau|
....It was first in 1921 that Reb Elchonon returned to Poland, to Baranovitch, where he was asked to head the local yeshiva, Ohel Torah. He was to head the yeshiva till the war years when he, together with hundreds of his students sanctified the Almighty's name. Witnesses have recounted that dreadful day--eleventh day in Tamuz, 5701 when the murderers came in. He was in the midst of learning Tractate Nidoh. Reb Elchonon spoke quietly and calmly, as was his practice. Not even the sound of his voice was changed. On his face, his customary earnestness. His tone betrayed no feeling for self, and he did not attempt to say good-bye to his son, Reb Naftali. He spoke to everyone, to the whole House of Israel.
"In Heaven it appears that they deem us to be righteous because our bodies have been chosen to stone for the Jewish people. Therefore, we must repent now, immediately. There is not much time. We must keep in mind that we will be better offerings if we repent. In this way we will save the lives of our brethren overseas. "Let no thought enter our minds, G-d forbid, which is abominable and which renders an offering unfit. We are now fulfilling the greatest mizvah. With fire she was destroyed and with fire she will be rebuilt. The very fire which consumes our bodies will one day rebuild the Jewish people."
In the summer of 1937 at the third convention of the rabbinical leaders of Agudath Israel held in Mariband, which included hundreds of rabbis, heads of yeshiva religious academies and grand rabbis of Chassidic communities from a number of countries, Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman stood out from among all of them.
Rabbi Shmuel Aharon Pardes of Chicago, the editor of the rabbinical journal Hapardes, who participated at this convention and who was present at meetings of the Council of Torah Sages that were held during the convention, describes Rabbi Wasserman as follows: “Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman, who stood above all the other participants walked with his face towards the ground. His long beard has turned white, and his fear of G-d preceded his scholarly wisdom. He reigns supreme above all the other members of the Council of Torah Sages and the convention itself. He intersperses his speech with simple metaphors hidden with great wisdom that penetrates the hearts of each person according to his level. He is the major disciple of Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan, the author of the halachic work, Mishna Brurah, and every word he utters is spiced with teachings and wise metaphors from his teacher. When Rabbi Wasserman enters the meeting of the Council, everyone stands in respect, and he asked to speak before anyone else.
On Sunday on the evening of 16th of the Hebrew month of Elul [August 23, 1937], the rabbinical leaders met to discuss the issue of a “Jewish State.” The meeting was stormy, and it dealt with the issue of the Three Oaths. A great dispute broke out in the session, and Rabbi Wasserman expressed pungent words that shocked his listeners. The following is what he said:
“Rabbi Wasserman, Rabbi Kotler, Rabbi Rottenberg from Antwerp, rabbis from Czechoslovakia and Hungary were unanimous in rejecting any proposal for a “Jewish State” on either side of the Jordan River, even if it were established as a religious state because such a regime would be a form of heresy in our faith in the belief in the coming of the Messiah, and especially since this little “Jewish” state would be built on heresy and desecration of the Name of G-d.
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