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Sunday, January 22, 2006

HaRav Yisrael Zeev Gustman Zt"l

Rav Yisrael Zeev Gustman Zt"l became a dayan in the beis din of Rav Chaim Ozer Zt"l when he was only 21 years old - an unheard of honor in the city of Vilna which was filed with the greatest scholars and elders of Europe. After surviving the Holocaust (the story of this deserves its own post), he moved the USA and in the 70s made Aliya to Eretz Yisrael.

I would like to relate two stories regarding how this giant of Torah related to the situation in Israel today:

Rav Hadari, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat HaKotel, relates that 30 years ago, there used to be a annual parade in honor of Yerushalaim in the beginning of Nissan. During the parade, Rav Hadari ran into Rav Gustman and his wife observing the parade from the sidelines. After the parade, Rav Hadari offered Rav Gustman and his wife a ride home. During the ride Rav Hadari asked Rav Gustman why he came to see the parade (which was not known for a high degree of modest behavior and dress). Rav Gustman answered: "One who lost children in the Holocaust, goes to see Jewish kids in the streets of Yerushalaim".

A student of Rav Gustman related the following story to Rav Eliezer Melamed. One time Rav Gustman needed a ride to a section of Yerushalaim and the student offered him a ride. During the ride, they passed by Ben-Yehuda street. The student felt uncomfortable due to all the women dressed in less than modest attire and contemplated whether or not to comment on the situation. While the student was considering whether or not to say anything, Rav Gustman, looking at the building on the street, commented: "Look at Yerushalaim in its building (ירושלים בבניינה), How much we have merited ..."

Such is life through the eyes of an Adam Gadol.