By Rabbi Yair Hoffman –
The Nesivos Shalom, a remarkable work by Rav Shalom Noach Berezovsky zt”l (1911-2000), the Slonimer Rebbe, has taken the world by storm. From seminary students, to advanced Kollel Yungeleit, the Sefer has brought tens of thousands to a higher degree of Dveikus Bashem.
Now, two new works have just come off the press in time for Elul and the new Yeshiva Zman.
For the first time, the Slonimer Rebbe’s shiurim on Shas have become available. The second work entitled, “Nesivos Shalom: Divrei Shalom v’Emes” is a compilation of inspiring Divrei Machshava that the Slonimer Rebbe delivered both to Avreichim and others. We will first discuss the shiurim on Shas and later discuss the new volume of Machshava.
The Slonimer Rebbe had a unique combination of Chassidish philosophy with a lithuanina style of learning. He attended Yeshiva Toras Chesed in Baranovitch, where the Rosh Yeshiva was a grandson of Rav Eliezer Gordon of Telz and the Mashgiach Rav Moshe Midner was a student of Rav Chaim Soloveitchik. Rav Shalom Noach opened up the Slonimer Yeshiva in Yerushalayim in 1941 where he gave shiurim in shas for over five decades.
The three volume work was edited by his former student, Rabbi Elimelech Weinberg. The shiurim are on the standard Yeshiva mesechtos: the first volume covers Nedarim, Gittin and Kiddushin; the second volume Yevamos and Ksuvos; while the third covers Bava Kamma, Bava Metziah and Bava Basra.
In his shiur on the nature and other aspects of one of the four categories of Nezikin – Bor a pit, the Slonimer Rebbe analyzes difficult Rambams, asks incisive questions on the approach of the Chazon Ish and ultimately agrees with the approach Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer zatzal in how he understands the Rambam.
Anyone that will study the work will be struck by the Slonimer Rebbe’s clarity of analysis and precise lucidity in both setting up the problems in the sugya as well as the various approaches toward resolving them.
In another shiur he understands the obligation of paying for damages in the highest valued properties (Idis) as biblical as well and cites proofs to that effect. Each Mesechta is followed by an outline of what is covered in the shiurim of that Mesechta.
The “Divrei Shalom v’Emes” contains two parts: The first contains machshava thoughts delivered from the years 5714-5741; while the second part are discussions that he delivered with avreichim from the years 5741-5750, some of them in the United States.
Below is a translation of a section of a speech he delivered to educators in America (found on page 358 letter #4 in this work).
“.. Now just as any building requires a foundation in order to erect a building, and without that foundation there is no permanency to the edifice – there is also a foundation for a life of spiritual fulfillment and to deriving pleasure in our service of Hashem. That foundation is what our sages have told us in Pirkei Avos: “The world stands on three things: On Torah, on Divine Service, and on Gmilus Chassadim.”
They correspond to the defining characteristics of the three Avos: Avrohom, with his trait of Chessed; Yitzchok with his trait of Avodah which is Korbanos, which a Jew will offer his blood and chailev to Hashem Yisbarach; and Yaakov with his trait of Tiferes – beauty, alluding to Torah as is known.
According to the teachings of our Masters, the Master of Kobrin said: “The Chessed of Hashem all day” – on a day that a Jew does not perfrom an act of kindness with his his brother – that day is not reckoned as a true day in his life. The same thought is cited in the name of the Shla at the end of his commentary on Psachim. The previous Rebbe of Slonim remarked that on a day that a person does not offer to Hashem his natural persona and the abilities of his unique soul that day is also not reckoned as a true day.
The same is true in regard to Torah. A day in which a Jew does not have a set shiur in the study of Torah, is not reckoned as a true day in his life. It is as if he was dead on that particular day.
We see, at least, that if a person performs tehse things each day – this becomes a foundation for a spiritual life – that he not succumb to the stream of every day culture. These trhee things provide the foundation to overcome the trials of life, for these three involve the matter of bonds – the bond with his fellow members of Israel, the bond with the Creator, and the bond with Torah..”
It is no wonder that the Nesivos Shalom has sparked so much ruchniyus in Klal Yisroel!
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