On Tuesday evening, November 24, Rabbi Moshe Bamberger, Mashgiach Ruchani at the Lander College for Men and the Beis Medrash L’Talmud, spoke on behalf of Chazaq and Torah Anytime about his inspiring new sefer, titled Great Jewish Journeys – To the Past, published by ArtScroll. Rabbi Bamberger is the author of many other inspiring s’farim.
In this uplifting talk, Rabbi Bamberger shared some of his writing process and the motivation for writing his sefer, as well as some of the fascinating information in the sefer. His first sefer was inspired by a suggestion from one of his talmidim. Rabbi Bamberger was teaching a weekly musar shiur in which he brought a letter from one of the g’dolei Yisrael each week for the students to read and analyze. One of his talmidim suggested that these letters should be published in a book, and that was the beginning of an exciting journey for Rabbi Bamberger. He met with Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz zt”l, Founder of ArtScroll, who was very enthusiastic about the idea, and the first sefer was published with 120 letters with translations and portraits of the g’dolim. Rabbi Bamberger wanted it to be a beautiful object that was a kiddush Hashem and, baruch Hashem, it became a best-selling sefer. This sefer was followed by the following: Great Jewish Speeches, Great Jewish Wisdom, Great Jewish Photographs, Great Jewish Classics, and Great Jewish Treasures. Preceding the Great Jewish series, Rabbi Bamberger wrote other s’farim, including Sheva Berachos and Hallel: Song of Praise and Thanksgiving.
Wow! Our community is honored to have such a prolific kodesh author right in our midst in Queens. I’m personally planning to purchase all of the above.
His newest sefer was inspired by something someone suggested to him. This person said: There are so many living artifacts in the world in yeshivos that are still standing, and the k’varim of tzadikim. These were left out of the previous sefer.
Rabbi Bamberger realized that this could be the next frontier. So, working with Gedaliah Zlotowitz, son of Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz, Rabbi Bamberger embarked on the work for this new sefer, Great Jewish Journeys – To the Past. “Traveling all over the world, we find fascinating Torah landmarks.” He shared that his sefer offers the experience of traveling around the world from the comfort of your own home. It is truly remarkable that, after so many centuries, these landmarks still exist. He began by naming the Kosel, which is the central part of our heart. There are great shuls in Prague and he mentioned a famous shul of the Maharal that is so beautiful and iconic. It’s called the Altneuschul, and he listed possible reasons for this unusual name. Then there is Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin, founded by Rav Meir Shapiro zt”l. It has a beautiful library and a model of the Beis HaMikdash. He named other famous yeshivos like Telshe, Mir, and Ponevezh. The original structures from Europe are still there. It is also truly amazing that the Volozhin Yeshivah building is still here after so many years.
Rabbi Bamberger then spoke about the k’varim of the tzadikim. “We know the importance we place on burying tzadikim.” He spoke about the M’aras HaMachpeilah as an example. “Jews always have davened to Hashem in the merit of the righteous who are buried, so their merits should stand us in good stead.” He pointed out how Kaleiv davened at the M’aras HaMachpeilah, asking Hashem for help to protect him from the words of the other spies.
The sefer has sections on Israel, Egypt, Morocco, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and the United States, showing information about k’varim of g’dolim in these places. The introduction to each section lists homes, shuls and yeshivos, and k’varim. He included a photo and information about each tzadik’s gravestone, other information about the tzadik, and his epithet. Rabbi Bamberger points out how we can learn so much from these epithets, too. “I tried to create a feeling like you are standing by their grave and taking in the important life and death lessons of each of these great people.” Shlomo HaMelech wrote in Mishlei that when a person visits a beis aveil, he should place on his heart that life doesn’t last forever. “I tried to convey the timeless messages of these g’dolim.”
Rabbi Bamberger taught that we are living through difficult times now, and we need to take lessons about life and death and try to galvanize ourselves to change. He quoted Rav Noach Weinberg, Founder of Aish HaTorah: “Only when a person knows what he is willing to die for, can he start to live.”
Rabbi Bamberger’s new book is available on the ArtScroll website and in Jewish book stores.
Our community wishes him mazal tov on this tremendous accomplishment. This shiur can be viewed on www.TorahAnytime.com.
By Susie Garber