Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Tiyul Around Yerushalayim – With My Second Grader Son.

(or, You’ll never guess what I found at HaRav Avraham Shapira’s home)

Once again, my kids’ school requested the presence of my M16 and MDA emergency equipment for a class trip (it saves them money by having a qualified parent come along than paying a company to send medics). Plus, my son was very excited that his dad would accompany his second grade class trip.

Our first stop was the famous yeshiva of Merkaz HaRav, where we were going to meet the former Chief Rabbi of Israel, HaRav Avraham Shapira. Since my son’s school is learning about all the Chief Rabbis, the school thought it would be very “hands-on educational” if the kids could actually meet a current or previous Chief Rabbi, in person.

Since HaRav Shapira wasn’t at the yeshiva, we walked to his home down the block and 60 kids crammed into his apartment in Kiryat Moshe to meet him.

Rav Shapira is 93 years old - yet he's extremely animated and lucid to the point that he and the kids communicated exceptionally well.

The second graders asked all sorts of interesting questions:

When is Mashiach going to come?

Why are their 7 boys in my family, and no girls?

If a family is very poor, and a bit of milk falls into a pot of chicken, does the whole pot have to be thrown out?

Why is the “Ezrat Nashim” (women’s section) of the Beit HaMikdash called the “Ezrat Nashim” if men are also allowed in (but not in a regular shul).

Did you ever meet Rav Kook? What was he like?

Can you give us a bracha?

While they were having this very lively discussion, I snooped around a bit, checking out the seemingly endless sefarim pouring out around the walls.

There were lots and lots of book from Rav Kook. No surprises there.

Hmmm, didn’t find “The Making of a Godol”…and I was disappointed there weren’t any Slifkin books (well, none visable). The closest I found to a Slifkin book was “Tosafot Chachmei Angliya”.

And then…I spotted the one sefer I didn’t expect to see -

The Artscroll Shottenstein Hebrew Gemrara Edition for Masechet Pesachim


I don’t feel so bad for using an Artscroll gemara anymore -- if I could find one in Rav Shapira’s house! (And this will probably makes Artscroll’s day, since I didn’t find any Steinzaltz editions there either)

I took a picture of my son with HaRav Shapira…and we continued on to the next part of the tiyul: The Hass Promenade overlooking the Old City of Yerushalayim, followed by “the City of David” – the old city of Jerusalem built by King David (today it's outside the walls of the Old City, and is also known as “Silwan” – a mixed neighborhood of Arabs and Jews). Finished off the tiyul with mincha at the Kotel.

There are plenty of sites around the internet with the history of this neighborhood -- if you want more info, please let me know.. We had a great time, and thank God, I didn’t need to use any of the MDA equipment…or my M16.

I’m exhausted so I’m off to bed.

Seminonymously yours,


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


chardal said...

Nu, what what were the answers to the kid's questions?

Scraps said...

Wow, that sounds like some tiyul! Wish I got to go...

Anonymous said...

does he read english?

you sure that the gemara doesn't belong to someone else, or someone left it there or sumpin'?

Erica said...

Wow ... Wow ... Wow! That's like the American equivalent of getting to meet George Washington or Daniel Webster (the State of Israel's not all that ancient so I reckon these things are possible) ... but still, WOW!

Anonymous said...

where can i read about the silwan area never been there always curious

Reuven Chaim Klein said...

the Hebrew Artscrolls are more of a Kovetz Meforshim than they are a translation and elucidation.

I'm Haaretz, Ph.D. said...

very nice... especially the children's questions.

"Why are their 7 boys in my family, and no girls?" and "When is moshiach going to come?" -- if that's not pure emunah then what is.

Batya said...

YOu have a spam comment on top, so worth deleting. It happens to the best of us.

Nice trip, and great experience for the kids.

I'm fed up with Artscroll for various--should blog about it--reasons.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rolling hills of green said...

How beautiful. The answers are as great as the questions.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Here are some of HaRav Shapira's answers: (more to come later - running to a meeting now)

When is Mashiach going to come?
Mashiach can come at any time, today tomorrow or the next day. But its up to you (children) to bring Mashiach here faster, through your tefillot and your good deeds.

Why are their 7 boys in my family, and no girls?

HaRav Shapia broadly smiled to this question...need to remember what he answered.

Did you ever meet Rav Kook? What was he like?

HaRav Shapira turned very thoughtful at this question...he answered that yes, he had met Rav Kook, and knew him. Rav Kook was a "דמות שכולו קדושה" -- a person whose entire essence was holiness. Just by looking at Rav Kook you saw holiness.

Can you give us a bracha?>

Yes, I can give you a bracha, that we should all be zocheh (merit) the coming of Mashiach speedily in our days. And a bracha for each and everyone one of you for health and success -- yet I need your brachot just as much as you need mine. So I will give you brachot, please children, also have me in mind when you daven as well.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Rolling Hills (I just redid the answers a bit -- better formatting). I'll put up some more of the naswers later.


Jameel @ The Muqata said...

TM: Yes - it was a great day (though rather exhausting).

PS: You gonna do the MEME I tagged you wish? ;-)

Sarah Likes Green said...

what a great tiyul. and the questions were great! as are the answers so far :)

Anonymous said...

You could have come to visit us on the way to Silwan from the Hass would have seen LOTS of Artscroll Hebrew Gemaras :)

Maybe you did come our way - the very steep road to Gei Ben Hinom from Abu Tor is about 150 meters away from us...

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

AbuTorZoo: Nyah, these were second graders - and we had to walk/climb alot in Ir David, so we took the bus...

Next time, we'll plan in advance to meet up :)

Ben Bayit said...

over 15 years ago when I was in Yeshiva in Israel for the year, I got stoned drunk on Purim and insisted to my friend that we go to see Rav Shapira. Went to the Yeshiva and he wasn't there. Went to the apartment and rang and knocked. No answer. I guess he likes sober 2nd graders better than drunk Yeshiva bochurs. Kol HaKavod for bringing the kids there!!

YMedad said...

Next time, you'll come to the Begin Center? And you don't have to identify yourself.

Anonymous said...

I was talking to R' Nachman Kahane once, and I told him I'm a big fan of his seforim, Mei Menuchot, because they make tosafot much more understandable.

He said, "I wrote those for people who have no background in Gemara. You're a yeshiva bachur! You shouldn't need my books!"

bec said...

i think i'll have to attend elementary school, just based on that trip!

socialworker/frustrated mom said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
... Is the Window to Our Soul said...

What about the milk in the chicken?

Litvshe said...

That's interesting. I was learning in Ateret Kohanim, across the road from R' Nachman's shul (Young Israel of the Moslem Quarter) while he was working on Mei Menuchos for Ayzehu Mekoman. We were learning it at that time and he gave me a copy of the galleys, knowing I was an Avrech. Maybe it was because it was Zvachim, which is kinda non-standard.

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Sounds like an awesome trip.

Anonymous said...

Re: Mei Menuchot of Rav Nachman Kahane:

I haven't seen new volumes recently. Is he still writing and publishing these wonderful sefarim and if so where can the new volumes they be acquired.


Lion of Zion said...

"“the City of David”"

probably the best tiyyul i ever did. the guide was a master of the mesorah and the archeology and he knew how to combine the two. unfortunately it was getting close to shabbat and i could not take a dip.

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