IN MEMORY OF
RABBI MANDELCORN ZT"L

By RABBI SHLOMO PRICE

The Yahrzeit of Rabbi Mandelcorn zt"l (Menahel of Neveh Zion) is coming up soon on 20 Tammuz - Friday July 25.

It would be very befitting if each of us learned something l'ilui nishmaso, in his memory. I posted the following letter in the issue of Neveh newsletter published right after his petirah. I feel that there are many things to learn from it. May it be a merit for his neshomo.

Dear Talmidim,

I usually tell you a sicha called "DO IT FOR MOM & DAD", but due to the untimely passing of our beloved menahal, zt"l, I would like to tell you a sicha called: "Do it for Rabbi Mandelcorn Sicha".

The gemora (Berachos 28b) relates the following story

When Rav Yochanan ben Zakai was dying, his talmidim came to visit him. As he saw them, he began to cry. The talmidim exclaimed "Candle of Israel, Right pillar, Strong hammer, why are you crying"? he responded, "If they were bringing me to a King of flesh and blood, for judgment,... I would cry (because I don't know the outcome ), How much more so should I cry when I'm being taken to Hashem for judgment". Furthermore, there are two roads before me Gan Eden and Gehenoim and I don't know on which road they will lead me."
The Lev Eliyahu (Rav Eliyahu Lopian) asks, while Rav Yochanan Ben Zakai was still alive, he had the opportunity to do Teshuvah. Why did he then say "I don't know on which road they will lead me?

He also mentions the question asked by the "Alter of Kelm" (Rav Simcha Zisel Ziv), why did he begin crying just as the talmidim walked in? Shouldn't he have made the same calculation earlier?

The Alter explains that Rav Yochanan Ben Zakai knew that he had fulfilled the Torah as far as he was concerned. But when he saw the talmidim he realized that maybe he didn't fulfill his obligation of chinuch to his talmidim. Perhaps he didn't rebuke them enough or in the right way... and that's why he was afraid and began to cry.

This shows us how the actions of the talmidim are accountable and reflect on the Rebbi. With all the good deeds that Rabban Yochanan ben Zackai had performed, he feared that he would go to Gehenoim because he didn't pass on enough to his talmidim!

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In a gentile cemetery in Monsey, N.Y. run by the "Lion's Club" there was a big American flag with a sign proclaiming "These men have not died in vain, for at the rising and setting of the sun we shall remember them."

This ceremony, of flag raising and lowering, was a very poetic but meaningless commemoration, because it really did not help those that died.

However, we Jews understand that the Mitzvot and Torah we do for the deceased help them tremendously, as it says in Pirkey Avos (Chapter 6) "...at the time of a person's passing, silver, gold, precious stones, and pearls do not escort him, rather Torah and good deeds alone." When he dies he can no longer do mitzvos, but we can help him by doing mitzvos in his memory.

This is what is meant by Chazal when they say (Berachos 18a), "Even when the Tzadik dies, he's considered alive." The purpose of this world is to do Torah and Mitzvos as a preparation to go higher in the next world (Olam Haboh). This is stated clearly in Pirkey Avos (Chapter 4) "Rabbi Yakov said, this world is like a hallway before the next world. Prepare yourself in (Torah and Mitzvos) in the hallway, so you can enter the Banquet Hall." When a Tzadik departs from this world he is survived by his children and talmidim who are doing Torah and Mitzvos as a result of his teachings. The Tzadik therefore also merits from these mitzvos. In this sense the Tzadik is still "alive" since he's still collecting Torah and Mitzvos.

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Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz, zt"l cites a beautiful medrash to illustrate the obligation of showing appreciation. In Shmos (2:15-19), Moshe was sitting by the well and observed the daughters of Yisro being harassed by the local sheperds. Moshe intervened on their behalf, by saving them and giving water to their sheep. Upon returning home, the daughters of Yisro exclaim" An Egyptian has saved us". Presumably this refers to Moshe, whom they thought to be an Egyptian. However, the Medrash Rabah (ibid.) explains their statement with the following parable:

"A man, bitten by a lizard, ran to dip into the water as a remedy. When he came there he saw a child drowning and saved him. The child thanked him, exclaiming that he surely would have died without him. The man replied that it wasn't I that saved you but the lizard because through him, I came here."
So too, when the daughters of Yisro thanked Moshe he said that they should thank the "Mitzri" whom I killed. It is because of him that I had to come here.

This shows us that the extent of showing appreciation applies even to one who was an indirect and unintentional cause of our benefit. How much more so is it to one who is direct and intentional?

Consequently, there are no words that can describe our obligation to keep Rabbi Mandelcorn, zt"l "alive" by supporting the Yeshivah, both morally, namely participating in Yeshivah functions - Dinners - Shabbatonim etc. and financially as much as possible.

We can also support him by learning Mishnayos, giving tzedaka and doing other Mitzvos. Sometimes even doing something extra (learning a little more, not going somewhere or not doing something that we we shouldn't do), just for him.

In football, we know the old battle cry "Win one for the Gipper" (a legendary football hero who died), as if winning the game will actually help him out. In our case we know that everything we do in his memory, will really help him out.

Especially now during the "Nine Days", when all of Klall Yisroel mourn for the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, we can all understand the words of Chazal,

"May the Omnipresent console you among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem"
May Hashem give the strength and wisdom to the Rebbetzen and the entire Mandelcorn family to be able to endure this great nissayon, and may we all live to see the "kiyum" of those beautiful words of Isaiah,
"May He swallow up death forever and may Hashem the God wipe away tears from every face..." (Isaiah 25-8)
In the words of Rabbi Mandelcorn, zt"l, ( which he said in reference to "counting the Omer " but they apply to all the days of our life) "Don't just count the days, but make the days count".

We should all be zocheh to the coming of Moshiach and building of the Beis Hamikdosh bimheira byameinu, amen.

Sincerely,
Shlomo Price

List of Rabbi Price's sichot
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