When R’ Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook, zt”l, was the chief rabbi of Yaffo, an immigrant couple from Bialystok came before him. The woman complained terribly about her husband’s behavior and demanded a divorce. After meeting with them for a while, the chief rabbi saw there was no chance of making peace between them and agreed that divorce was the only solution. However, the cruel husband refused to free the woman from the torture she suffered at his hands and would not agree to divorce her. No manner of persuasion was effective. This went on for over two years.

It is America’s most famous relic, a nearly sacred token. Around the world it is regarded as a universal symbol of freedom. For more than a century, the Liberty Bell has captured Americans’ affections and become a stand-in for the nation’s values of independence, freedom, unalienable rights, and equality. The Liberty Bell started out simply as a bell commissioned to hang in the steeple of the Pennsylvania State House. In 1751, Isaac Norris, the Speaker of the Assembly, proposed that a bell be installed. Norris was a wealthy and scholarly Quaker who knew the words of the Bible, and he asked that the bell be cast with the words “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the Land to all the inhabitants thereof,” from a pasuk in Parshas Behar dealing with the laws of sh’mitah and yovel. This proclamation of amnesty for all slaves was intended as a commemoration of liberties that were insured 50 years earlier, not as a prophecy of liberty to be gained 25 years later.

Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski, shlita, is the founder and medical director emeritus of Gateway Rehabilitation Center, a drug and alcohol treatment system in western Pennsylvania, cited nationally as one of the 12 best drug and alcohol treatment centers by Forbes magazine. He has authored 60 books on various topics ranging from chasidic thought, Jewish practice, chemical dependency, addiction, and other topics such as stress, self-esteem, and spirituality. In addition, he has traveled the world as a spokesperson for recovery on behalf of the millions who have achieved it and with goals that inspire, encourage, and challenge those still finding their way.

A number of years ago, Rabbi Ezriel Tauber, shlita, gave a lecture on the Holocaust in New York City to a secular audience. At the end of his talk, a young lady walked over and told him that she came from an assimilated family in Austria. She explained that her father had been religious before the war, but as the sole survivor of his family, he became so bitter against G-d that he went back to Vienna to raise an assimilated family. The woman had been fascinated to hear a positive interpretation of the Holocaust and eventually she became a complete ba’alas teshuvah. Her father was devastated. “I ran away from all that. Are you crazy to go back?” But she did go back and even made aliyah, settling in Jerusalem.

When speaking about his childhood and growing up in the holy city of Jerusalem, the famed Maggid, R’ Sholom Schwadron, zt”l, would always insist that he was a wild child. “I owe a great deal of thanks to my Rebbe, R’ Leib Chasman, zt”l, for he removed half of my wildness.” And when he was asked about the other half? R’ Sholom just smiled.

R’ Avraham Abish Lissa, zt”l, one of the outstanding scholars of his generation, was the chief rabbi of Frankfurt-au-Main until his passing on 11 Tishrei 5529 (1768). Aside from the many hours he spent occupied with rabbinical duties and scholarship, he was greatly involved with deeds of kindness, especially helping to provide food and clothing for the poor. It was his custom to make the rounds of the wealthy citizens of the city, as well as successful merchants who came to Frankfurt to conduct business, to solicit charity that he later distributed to the poor, to widows, and to orphans. One day, as he made his rounds, he stopped in one of the local inns and approached a visiting merchant who was in Frankfurt on business.