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Libya, Lithuania, Israel

ספר "השומר אמת" וספר "איש האשכולות"


Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

They are not well known among the general public, and that's unfortunate. Today, the 28th of Sivan, marks the passing of two rabbis whose life stories are worth knowing:

Rabbi Avraham Chaim Adadi was among the greatest of Libya's rabbis 200 years ago. He grew up orphaned from both parents and from an early age was attracted to two things - Torah and the Land of Israel. He studied and taught and was privileged to settle in the Land three times only to be compelled after each aliyah to depart and travel extensively among Jewish communities in the Diaspora. He returned a final time to the Land he so loved, passed away, and was buried in Tzfat. In his will he ordered that people should not exaggerate in paying him their last respects. Instead, those who eulogized him should speak in praise of the Land of Israel and the idea of teshuvah.

Rabbi Yisroel Zev Gustman was thought of as an ilui (prodigy) from a very young age. His son was taken from him and murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust. The rabbi, his wife and daughter managed to escape and were saved. He lived in the forests as a partisan, hid among bushes and trees, and survived by eating mushrooms and other forest vegetation. After arriving in Israel, he established and headed a yeshiva in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Rehavia. His students were amazed to see him watering the flowers around the yeshiva. He explained that he did this as a gesture of thanks to the plants that saved him. Until today, a beautiful garden surrounds the yeshiva.

A few of their descendants, students, and others who honor their memory, will note their passing today. Yet it seems to me that their stories, which began in Libya and Lithuania and ended in Tzfat and Jerusalem, are part of the larger story that all of us share.

In their memory.


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