Changing the World
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Changing the World

Changing the World

The incredible power of one person.

by Rabbi Yochonon Donn

HaModia – February 12, 2009

For the tens of thousands of people who were directly influenced by him, and the hundreds of thousands more who cherished the work of the man who gave new meaning to the word "indefatigable," the petirah last Thursday morning of Harav Yisrael Noah Weinberg, zt"l, founder of Aish HaTorah, was a shattering turning point in the annals of Yiddishkeit on the American scene.

Reb Noah's organization, which has influenced more people in the United States to be chozer biteshuvah from its perch in Eretz Yisrael than any other, started 35 years ago with a small student body of five. It evolved over time into a 27-nation outfit that has influenced over a million Jews in some way. His refrain, "You've got to change the world," ignited a spark for thousands of people and spurred them to embrace a completely new lifestyle years before the term "baal teshuvah" was known – much less respected.

The Essence of the Man

"The loss is devastating because Reb Noah always went against the tide," said one person who worked closely with him on Aish HaTorah projects. "We thought that if anyone could beat the difficult machalah it would be him. The [only] nechamah is... that he saw the peiros of his work in the last year of his life."

Rabbi Chaim Sampson, founder of Project Inspire, which was itself inspired by Reb Noah's talks, was referring to the success of his project, which is geared toward the Orthodox world. Its goal is to make every Jew an emissary for Torah Judaism.

"Four million Jews are not being reached by the kiruv organizations," Reb Noah had said. "We have to get the half a million frum Jews to reach out to them."

Rabbi Yerachmiel Milstein, a lecturer for Discovery and someone who worked closely with Reb Noah for many years, said that Reb Noah brought Klal Yisrael's lost members to the fore. "He was the conscience of the forgotten members of Klal Yisrael," he said.

Rabbi Milstein said he had grown up in a prominent Novarodoker family, was close with the Klausenburger Rebbe, zt"l, and Harav Chaim Shmulevitz, zt"1, and yet was greatly impressed with the personal tzidkus of Reb Noah.

"Ich hob gedreit in gute erter – I had been surrounded by tzaddikim and world-renowned Roshei Yeshivah," Rabbi Milstein said. "And I am telling you that [Reb Noah] was a mezuchach - pure."

Rabbi Milstein said that when he received the news last Thursday morning of Reb Noah's passing, he felt the same feeling as when his father was niftar.

Each Must Do What He Can

Reb Noah's primary concern was that assimilation and intermarriage would slowly choke the Jewish world, and his core belief was that Hashem would not allow that to happen. He firmly held that we must do what we can, and Hashem will bless those efforts with success.

Rabbi Matt Tropp, a worker at Project Inspire, told Hamodia that Reb Noah was the one responsible for carving out for baalei teshuvah a respected place within the Jewish community.

Reb Noah, he said, convinced Jews "that [baalei teshuvah] were genuine, that they could become talmidei chachamim, that they could be normal [Jews]. Now people look up to baalei teshuvah."

'I Am Just Settling Them Down'

Rabbi Sampson told Hamodia that he recalled how a cousin of Reb Noah's once asked Reb Noah how he succeeded in bringing so many Jews back to Torah.

"I once heard that a certain great tzaddik asked that his accomplishment - that he influenced someone to be chozer biteshuvah - be etched onto his gravestone," said the cousin. "But you have influenced tens of thousands of people to be chozer biteshuvah! How did you do it?"

Reb Noah answered that he too had not known the answer until he once saw a crane at a building site. "I saw a pallet of bricks on a crane being lowered to the ground," said Reb Noah. "There were workmen standing below who grabbed the pallet as it was lowered, moving it around as they were helping it settle down.

"Do you think that the workers are strong enough to hold an entire pallet of bricks?" Reb Noah continued. "They are merely settling the bricks down after the crane does the hard work."

Reb Noah explained that Hashem had already promised that the Jewish people would come back - "I am just settling them down."

The Alm-ghty Loves You!

Reb Noah instilled into his talmidim the idea that nothing was impossible if you really wanted it.

"If I offered you $250,000, could you finish Shas this year?" he once asked Rabbi Boruch Rabinowitz. "What do you mean we can't bring back the Jewish people, fix the State of Israel, and fight radical Islam?"

At the same time that Reb Noah accomplished so much for the klal, he always had time for his family. He was especially close with his sister, Chavah Pincus, and when she became an almanah at a young age, he used to visit her often. "The Almighty loves you!" he told her often.

When her grandson got married, the family made a video for the sheva brachos. Since Reb Noah was in the United States at the time, they asked him to say something on the tape.

"What will I say?" he asked. "I'll just say that ,I love you."

That was his constant message – to his family and to his talmidim: "The Alm-ghty loves you!"

Beginnings

Reb Noah Weinberg was born in New York City's Lower East Side in 1931 into a family of chassidic royalty. His father, Harav Yitzchak Mattisyahu Weinberg, zt"l, was a grandson of the Yesod HaAvodah, zt"l, the first Slonimer Rebbe, and older brother of Harav Avraham Weinberg, zt"1, the Birkas Avraham of Slonim. Reb Noah's family originated from the Slonimer stronghold in Teveria, but immigrated to the United States before Reb Noah was born. Reb Noah was the youngest of seven children that his father had from his three marriages.

One prominent Rosh Yeshivah who knew the Weinberg family from that period described them to Hamodia as a dynamic group who could accomplish whatever they set their minds to.

"The Weinbergs are forceful people," said the Rosh Yeshivah, who asked not to be named. "They're motivated; they pursue their inyanim and make them become [reality]."

The Novominsker Rebbe, Harav Yaakov Perlow, shlita, remembered Reb Noah's father and family from that period.

"His father was a Slonimer chassid [and] he was a derhoibener Yid," the Rebbe told Hamodia. "The Weinbergs were defined by their parents," said a niece of Reb Noah. "They revered their father – he was a ben Torah and a businessman."

Reb Noah himself said once that "my father was a brilliant man."

When Reb Noah was a young child, he did not want to sit and learn the way his more studious older brother, Harav Yaakov - future Rosh Yeshivah of Ner Israel in Baltimore – did. So his father would give him a dollar for every mishnah he learned - a vast sum in those days.

Many years later, as Reb Noah was discussing with his sister Helene this large payment, she asked him in surprise, "You only got one dollar? I got five dollars for every mishnah in Pirkei Avos that I memorized!"

To solve the mystery they called their brother Reb Yaakov in Baltimore and sked if he had gotten one dollar or five dollars from their father.

"A dollar?" Reb Yaakov asked in surprise. "I only got ten cents per mishnah!"

Reb Noah studied in Yeshivah Mesivta Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin until his mid-high school years, when Harav Yitzchak Hutner, zt"l, was Rosh Yeshivah. Rav Hutner took a liking to him and he was in vited to join an exclusive chaburah of talmidim there, which included Harav Aharon Schechter, shlita, present Rosh Yeshivah of that notable institution.

When Reb Noah was 16, his father was niftar and he went to the yeshivah where. his brother, Reb Yaakov, learned – Yeshivah Ner Israel in Baltimore. There he received semichah. He learned there for several years, but life's challenges forced him to tread another path.

A Path Emerges

With his mother living in Manhattan's Lower East Side without a means of support, Reb Noah became a traveling salesman. He would travel by train across the length of the United States, from Philadelphia to Texas, selling goods and meeting Jews in the most unexpected places. As he spoke to them, he was astounded at their lack of knowledge of Yiddishkeit. When he then spoke to yeshivah bachurim in New York, he was once again struck by their ignorance.

Reb Noah's brother, Reb Yaakov, encouraged him to utilize his talents for kiruv; he recognized that if anyone could bring back Klal Yisrael's lost members, it was the relentless Reb Noah.

From his earliest years, Reb Noah worried about the millions of Jews falling away from Yiddishkeit through lack of pride in their religion or through simple ignorance. When he was 23 – in 1953 – he sailed to Eretz Yisrael for a planned discussion with the Chazon Ish on how to respond to the threat of assimilation. It was to have been his first entrance into the kiruv arena. As soon as he arrived on the shores of Eretz Yisrael, he received the news that the Chazon Ish had recently been niftar; his trip seemed to have been in vain.

Instead, Reb Noah went to learn in the Mirrer Yeshivah for two years, where he developed a close relationship with Harav Leizer Yudel Finkel, zt"l.

While in the Mir, Reb Noah became known as a tremendous masmid with a brilliant mind. He would learn constantly, without a break - with the exception of a nap from 12 a.m. until 1 a.m., 6 a.m. until 7 a.m. and another hour in the afternoon.

Rabbi Yerachmiel Milstein, director of Aish HaTorah's Project Discovery, told Hamodia that he once asked Reb Noah how best to explain to baalei teshuvah the mesorah that the Vilna Gaon only slept two hours a day.

Reb Noah answered that it was not a hard thing to do – if you enjoyed it.

"I had a good experience when I was in the Mir," he said. "When you have simchas haTorah, when you have pleasure from learning, then anybody can do it."

A Torah Giant - But Quietly

Rabbi Milstein said that while people were aware of Reb Noah's awesome efforts for Klal Yisrael with his kiruv programs, his personal accomplishments in Torah and chessed were often overlooked.

Rabbi Milstein recalled how Reb Noah spent time in his office whenever he was in the United States. He said that Reb Noah once asked for a pen and paper. He wrote for about 10 minutes, and as he left the room, threw the paper into the garbage.

Rabbi Milstein later retrieved the paper from the garbage and was surprised to find a meaningless stream of letters on it. He put it in his pocket and later asked Rabbi Eric Coopersmith - whom he described as one of Reb Noah's closest talmidim - what the scribbling was all about.

"Rabbi Coopersmith looked at the paper and then broke into a broad grin," said Rabbi Milstein. "He explained that the Rosh Yeshivah had been reviewing maseches Bava Basra (the longest masechta in Shas), with each letter corresponding to a different sugya there. In 10 minutes he had chazered the entire Bava Basra!"

Rabbi Milstein added that when Reb Noah spoke publicly, he purposely did not quote a gemara word for word. He did not want people to realize that he knew so much.

"Reb Noah had a methodology for every limmud," he said. "His yedias haTorah was phenomenal."

As an example, he said that Reb Noah knew the entire Chomas Hadas by heart. He lived with the sefer the Chofetz Chaim wrote regarding the necessity for kiruv, said Rabbi Milstein.

Branching Out

When he returned from Eretz Yisrael, Reb Noah married Denah Goldman, who would be his wife for over half a century, sharing his disappointments, thriving on his successes, and eventually starting her own kiruv organization for women, EYAHT. That, together with Jewel, is Aish HaTorah's kiruv branch for women.

Reb Noah started five different organizations and three yeshivos – all of which failed to take off. Each time he saw that his latest venture wasn't turning out the way he wished it to, he didn't hesitate to shutter its doors and go back to the sefarim he loved.

"Sheva yipol tzaddik vekam," Reb Noah used to repeat. A tzaddik falls seven times but rises for an eighth battle. Reb Noah's own eight failures were lessons in life for him not to give up.

It was his ninth enterprise that succeeded and changed the world.

Beginnings of the Baal Teshuvah Movement

In 1970, in Yerushalayim, Reb Noah started the first yeshivah aimed at baalei teshuvah. Together with Harav Mendel Weinbach, shlita, and Harav Nota Schiller, shlita, he opened Yeshivas Shema Yisrael, which was geared toward introducing Torah study to baalei teshuvah.

But it wasn't enough for him. While hundreds of talmidim could be influenced by the yeshivah, millions more were not reached at all.

So Reb Noah left Shema Yisrael – which later changed its name to Ohr Somayach and has gone on to stunning successes in the kiruv arena – and started Aish HaTorah in 1974, in a small apartment in Yerushalayim's Old City. Its goal was nothing less than to "wake up the Jewish world to the threat of intermarriage and assimilation," in his words. "To tell them that the house is on fire."

Rabbi Sholom Tendler, a Rosh Kollel in Seattle, Washington, and a nephew of Reb Noah, met his uncle on a bus on July 20, 1969, the day Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the moon.

"Whatever happens in gashmius has its equivalent in ruchnius," Rabbi Tendler remembers Reb Noah telling him. "Where is our man on the moon?"

Reb Noah then went into more detail: "NASA had the technology to land a man on the moon for decades already. What they now did was just take 100 different people and pool their knowledge to get their man onto the moon. If we could get ten Jews together, if we would have achdus, we could do the same thing in ruchniyus."

The Power of the Individual

Rabbi Yaakov Salomon, a Discovery Project lecturer and co-author of Reb Noah's bestselling book, What the Angel Taught You, told Hamodia that he once heard Reb Noah speak at a Yeshivah. Torah Ore dinner about the power of the individual.

"Sarah Schenirer cried over girls going off the derech and then got up and started the Bais Yaakov movement," Reb Noah exhorted the crowd. "Find something you will cry over and then go do something about it."

Reb Noah related the story of a nursing-home owner who, as a religious Jew, refused to serve nonkosher food to the Jewish residents. A 95-year-old nonreligious Jewish resident found out that she was being served different food than her friend and demanded that the owner give her nonkosher food. When the owner refused, she threatened to sue him. Afraid that the government would get involved, the owner spoke with her repeatedly until she ultimately became religious.

Reb Noah was amazed at the man's ability to influence a nonagenarian to become religious, so he sought the man out and asked him point-blank what his secret was.

"It is simple," said the man truthfully. "My business was on the line."

Reb Noah used this metaphor to convince people that it was in their hands to do kiruv, if they felt that their business - their personal stake - was on the line.

Reb Noah attended a demonstration 14 years ago on Bar-Ilan Street in Yerushalayim to have the street closed on Shabbos, but later told a nephew that he would have preferred using a different method.

"What are they screaming at, these people?" he asked rhetorically. "Knock on their doors, talk to them, tell them, 'I'll take your kids to yeshivah, come to my house for Shabbos."' The nephew pointed out that Lev L'Achim indeed started that method of kiruv years later.

Reb Noah and Rav Shach

Reb Noah had an extraordinarily close relationship with Harav Elazar Menachem Shach, zt"l, which often brought him to Rav Shack's door.

Rav Shach would call him whenever he had a question regarding a kiruv matter. "You are the mumcheh in kiruv," Rav Shach said.

When Reb Noah's youngest son, Yehudah, was born, Rav Shach came to the bris. At the seudah, Rav Shach asked the assembled which one of them was a baal teshuvah. To his surprise, nearly everyone raised his hand.

"You're a baal teshuvah?" asked Rav Shach wonderingly of one person dressed in the typical dress of a yeshivah bachur. "And you too? And you?"

Rav Shach then got up and said, "If one man could kill 6 million, then one man can save 6 million."

From My Enemy I Shall Learn

That endorsement of Reb Noah also served as his primary way of thinking. At a trip to Poland that he organized for a group of Aish HaTorah Rabbis in the summer of 2006, Reb Noah repeated that vort from Rav Shach and made it the theme of the trip: Me'oivai techakmeini - from my enemy I shall learn.

Rabbi Yaakov Salomon, who was on that trip, said that some 60 people were there. "Learn from the Nazis!" Reb Noah thundered at the assembled Rabbis. "They had a plan, a mission... They were ready to change if something didn't work, and they were ultimately [nearly] successful," he said.

Rabbi Salomon said that, as strange as it seemed, Reb Noah learned from the enemy how to fight Jewish assimilation.

Over the past 35 years, Reb Noah built up an organization with a $55 million annual budget and 27 branches on five continents, which runs the largest website about Judaism – which is visited by over a million people each year.

Reaching Out to America

In 1979, Reb Noah crossed the oceans and started an Aish HaTorah branch in St. Louis, the first of its kind in North America and a prototype for what today graces every major Jewish center.

Reb Noah would come to the United States often, but usually only for two or three weeks at a time. That time was taken up with meetings and fundraising.

Rabbi Matt Tropp told Hamodia that Reb Noah's schedule was worked out before his trip. "He had a piece of paper in his pocket with his entire U.S. schedule on it - down to the last half-hour," said Rabbi Tropp. But he was willing to shred his schedule paper for another person.

Rabbi Tropp recalled Reb Noah's way of working, which endeared him to people. He once met someone who worked in Aish HaTorah's computer department. He said that he had not originally been affiliated with Aish, but when he met Reb Noah once he told him about his sister, who needed a heart transplant.

Reb Noah called his sister that very night and spoke to her for 45 minutes, giving her the will to live. "That convinced me that Reb Noah is a truly great person," said Rabbi Tropp.

'Our Torah Is Beautiful'

Rabbi Boruch Rabinowitz, today of Passaic, N.J., was described by many people as one of Reb Noah's earliest talmidim and his talmid muvhak. He first met Reb Noah in August of 1977.

"He told me to stay. 'Stick around and I'll teach you wisdom. Our Torah is beautiful,"' said Rabbi Rabinowitz. "I said to him, 'But, Rabbi, I don't want to be Orthodox and I want to still enjoy my life.'

He said, 'Don't worry. If you like it too much here, we'll kick you out. And about enjoying life, we'll teach you how to really enjoy life'."

Rabbi Rabinowitz decided to leave his psychology practice and go to Yerushalayim, if only to be able to tell his friends that he had visited a yeshivah in the Old City of Yerushalayim.

"Since I was a psychologist, Reb Noah asked me, 'Do you want to counsel people or do you want to change the world?' I guess the rest is history."

Rabbi Rabinowitz said that Reb Noah would wake the boys up and tell them that they did not need to daven, "you gotta just sit there and say the words."

'Discovery' - And Other Innovations

In 1985, Reb Noah launched the Discovery Seminar Program. With over 100,000 participants in the last 10 years alone, the purpose of Discovery was to convince unaffiliated Jews of the truth of the Torah through reason and science. While Reb Noah personally did not approve of its methods and proofs, according to Rabbi Milstein, he said "it works," so he supported it.

Reb Noah did not care whose idea something was; what mattered to him was that it worked.

Rabbi Milstein shared a similar story with Hamodia. He was driving in New York when a man stopped him for a lift. Rabbi Milstein gave him a ride, although he knew that he was one of Reb Noah's fiercest critics in the Jewish community.

The man told him an amazing story. He had thought of an idea for kiruv and mentioned it to Reb Noah, who immediately wrote out a $5,000 check for him.

The next time Rabbi Milstein saw Reb Noah, he asked him about that donation.

Reb Noah replied simply that what his detractor had said "sounded like a good idea," so he gave him the money.

At a speech some years ago, Reb Noah was heckled by people opposed to his kiruv methods. He stopped talking and asked them what they wanted. He then defended his kiruv tactics to them as if he really did owe them an explanation.

Later Rabbi Milstein asked him why he felt he had to answer them.

Reb Noah seemed astonished at the question's premise. "They are Yidden," he said. "How could you just brush them away?"

Rabbi Milstein was stunned by Reb Noah's simplicity. On the trip Poland three years ago, he ask to introduce Reb Noah at the site of the old Yeshivah Chachmei Lublin.

Rabbi Milstein spoke about how Harav Meir Shapiro, zt"l, founder of the yeshivah, said at its inauguration that he had read that people were complaining – he was creating a brain drain in the yeshivah world by attracting the best talmidim. Another criticism was that his institution, which emphasized proper respect for a yeshivah bachur, was giving them too much gashmius – which contradicted the mishnaic dictum of "pas bamelach - [eat only] bread dipped in salt."

"It could be you are right," Reb Meir Shapiro addressed his critics. "But after 120 years, I will tell Hashem that I tried to do something about haskalah. On the other hand, what did you do about it?"

"That is the Rosh Yeshivah," concluded Rabbi Milstein. "Although you could disagree with his tactics, he tried doing something about assimilation."

Reaching Out to Everybody

Reb Noah never said no to an opportunity to influence someone, as the following story humorously shows.

Reb Noah was once on a symposium at an Aish HaTorah dinner that was moderated by a nationally syndicated interviewer who was himself a Jew from New York.

At the symposium, which was attended by Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski and Reb Noah, the latter called out to the interviewer to leave his show and come learn in Aish HaTorah.

The moderator replied, "I am not getting within 10 feet of the Rabbi; he's not going to stop until I know the whole Chumash!"

Reb Noah told of a youth who came to his office who said that he doesn't have to learn about Hashem.

"Me and G-d are like this," he said, putting his forefinger and middle finger together in the universal sign of closeness. "I don't need to go to yeshivah to learn about Him."

The youth explained that he was once riding his bike on a winding mountain road when a truck suddenly came at him from around a bend. It was driving so fast that there was nothing for him to do to avoid being killed instantly – except to swerve off the road and down a steep drop, and that was the choice he made. He went off the side of a cliff and fell between two rocks, landing without so much as a scratch.

Reb Noah listened and then responded, without missing a beat, "And who do you think sent you off the cliff?"

The boy was dumbfounded.

Reb Noah explained, "Did your father ever want to speak to you?" he asked him. The boy nodded affirmatively.

"What does he do? He taps you on the shoulder to get your attention. Well, Hashem is your Father, and He is tapping you on the shoulder to get your attention."

The stunned boy followed Reb Noah to a yeshivah.

Reb Noah believed that the reason so many unafiliated Jews were not connecting with their heritage was' for lack of pride in it. He felt that the State of. Israel. was a good way to ignite that sense of belonging, so he started a bevy of Israel-related organizations - all aimed at strengthening Jewish pride in Yuidishkeit and in Eretz Yisrael.

Since Reb Noah believed that an Israel. experience was the best way to impart the beauty of Judaism, in 1985, he organized the Jerusalem Fellowships, a three-week tour-and-study program that has brought 10,000 college students to Israel. Birthright Israel copied its success a decade later.

Standing Up to 'The Big Lie'

Reb Noah was one of the forces behind the founding of HonestReporting, an organization dedicated to countering media bias against Israel.

A week before Reb Noah was niftar, as he was suffering the last ravages of the illness that took his life, Rabbi Rabinowitz visited him in his house. He told him about a cardinal who had denied the veracity of the Holocaust and was recently reinstated into the church.

Reb Noah immediately leaped into action. "This is outrageous. We have to get 25,000 people to see this and to protest. If we sit by, then we are finished!"

He also launched the Hasbara Fellowships, which brings university students to Israel for two weeks of activism training. For these organizations, Reb Noah was honored four years ago with the "Treasured of Jerusalem" Award.

Project Inspire - A Dream Realized

For many years, Reb Noah pushed the idea of harnessing members of the Jewish community to reach out and share their religious ardor with unaffiliated Jews. In the past few years this idea has caught on, giving rise to Project Inspire, and the bringing of the issue of assimilation to the forefront of communal discussion.

Rabbi Chaim Sampson was exposed to Yiddishkeit at age 17 by Reb Noah.

"I am a talmid of the Rosh Yeshivah," he said, "and I became f mm through the Rosh Yeshivah. He was my rebbe."

After years of hearing,Reb Noah's talks about the need for every Jew to become an ambassador for Torah, Rabbi Sampson, who was previously educational director of Aish HaTorah in London and New York, decided four years ago to do something about it. He established Project Inspire, which has since motivated over 4,000 Orthodox Jews to become involved in kiruv efforts - including through its impressive documentary, "Inspired"

"I only understood the need to do it because of the Rosh Yeshivah, Rabbi Sampson told Hamodia. "His mussar shmuessen were so powerful, with such depth of clarity and thought.

"He made us believe that we can make a difference," he added.

Reb Noah got a lot of chizuk from Project Inspire. It reinvigorated him in the last few years of his life, and convinced him that he was succeeding in his battle against assimilation. Years ago he had told Rabbi Yaakov Salomon that without getting the entire Orthodox Jewish world involved, nothing could be done.

"Yaakov," he said, "we are failures. We will never be successful until we get everyone involved."

Without Project Inspire, he said, "we will win battles and lose the war."

Rabbi Salomon said whenever he spoke to Reb Noah these last two years, the latter always asked about Project Inspire. He considered it a means of "waking the sleeping giant," referring to the Jewish community.

"I don't think that you have somebody else about whom so many people can say that he had a direct influence in saving their life," he said.

He said that Reb Noah had a charisma about him that caused people to want to join him. "Reb Noah Weinberg created chassidim. That kind of charisma just made people want to be with him all the time."

"I have met a lot of dreamers in my life," he added, "and I have met a lot of doers in my life. Most of the dreamers don't do and most of the doers are not real visionaries. He was both. He was simultaneously down-to-earth and way above. He never got too big for any person."

The Disease Is Diagnosed

In August of 2007, Reb Noah was diagnosed with lung cancer. Even as he embarked on a journey across the ocean to save his life, he still came to teach at Aish HaTorah as often as possible.

A grandnephew who lives in Lakewood, N. J., recalls how he had recently gone with his mother and brothers to send off Reb Noah to Eretz Yisrael after Sloan Kettering in Manhattan, the hospital famed for its innovative cancer treatments, had given him a poor prognosis.

Reb Noah told his grandnephew the midrash that Nadav and Avihu were punished for expressing the hope that Moshe and Aharon would die so that they could take over the leadership of Klal Yisrael.

Their sin, said Reb Noah, was waiting for Moshe and Aharon to pass on before taking the reins of leadership. Why did they have to wait until old age to do something?

"Grab the reins!" Reb Noah told his nephew animatedly. "Take over now! Do something! When we were younger – me and your grandmother – we had dreams; today you're just sitting around! We had dreams we were going to change the world; where are your dreams?"

Several weeks ago, Reb Noah called a nephew of his and told him that he was very sick. "You could do this," he said over the telephone, referring to his nephew's ability to daven for him. "The Alm-ghty loves you; just get me out of this."

Last Thursday morning 11 Shevat/Feb. 5, his family discovered that Reb Noah had passed away overnight in his sleep. The levayah was held at Beis Medrash Ahavas Torah in Kiryat Sanz where he lived.

His son, Harav Hillel Weinberg, a former Mashgiach in Yeshivas Slabodka, is to take over for Reb Noah, an Aish HaTorah official confirmed to Hamodia.

Reb Noah is survived by his wife, Rebbetzin Denah, and his 12 children. May he be a meilitz yosher for them and for all of Klal Yisrael.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.

Courtesy of HaModia

Published: February 21, 2009


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Visitor Comments: 1

(1) Yirmi Tyler, September 13, 2013 3:34 AM

Published Kiruv aids

If they don’t understand Biblical Hebrew, how do we expect them to grasp the teachings of Torah without a great deal of frustration – no matter who the teacher may be? And frustration can undo a lot of good work.

Being a BT for over 20 years now, early on I found myself needing aids and tools to help me catch up and begin to feel more comfortable both in my learning and my davening. Not finding as much written works available for BTs in areas I felt I needed, with time I reached levels where I found myself able to write some of these works that I could have used years earlier. I have now published two of these in English on the Kindle and Nook platforms. Could these two works I mention below be helpful to Aish in its kiruv work? From my perspective I think so.

Rabbi Doniel Staum (Kehillat New Hempstead) has written his haskama for one (but I have not included it in the manuscript). The other, earlier work has been reviewed by Rabbi Avraham Feuer and Rabbi Bentzion Twersky, among others.

I would like to send Aish PDF versions (the formats are not optimized for PDF but are quite readable). They are:

Targum Americana - Genesis/Bereshit

So Many Gates to the City...A Guide for the Modern Perplexed -- A Book About Jewish Belief and Understanding, and Making Some Sense Of It

May the coming year bring Aish continued success. Shana Tova.

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