Maranan Verabanan, shlitâ€?a, members Maranan of the Kupat Haâ€™ir organization Sign the Monthly Distribution Checks for Kislev 5767 in Their Homes
Bnei B rak
Members of the Organization: What It Really Means Some people insisted the whole story was nothing but an advertising gimmick. The Gedolei Hador signing checks? It sounded a little far-fetched, even though their signatures were clear enough. The Gedolim had enlisted as members of the Kupat Ha’ir organization? What exactly did that mean? People raised eyebrows, wondering what it was all about. Everyone agreed that Kupat Ha’ir was the only organization to which the Gedolim had shown so great a degree of trust and cooperation, but many people did not understand exactly what it meant in practical terms. From a strictly legal perspective, the meaning is very clear.
on his shoulders. The questions arose and the Gedolei Hador solved them, but the gabba’im could not help thinking: What right do we have to trouble them with “our” problems? The historic signatures that rendered the Gedolim members of Kupat Ha’ir has changed all that. Now the Gedolei Hador make a point of inquiring whether there are any questions; they are eager to participate and share the burden. Now it isn’t “our problems” any more; the Gedolim make decisions for their organization, for a system for which they are responsible! The Gedolei Yisrael sign the large checks issued by Kupat Ha’ir. Each check has its story; each check has its tzaros. The gabba’im, struggling under the emotional, physical, and practical burden that are part and parcel of what they What surprised the volunteers at the do, are unwilling to – are unable to – take responsibility organization. Every problem or question that required a decision was for making decisions. presented to the Gedolei Hador even before their historic The Gedolei Hador continue to answer questions and commitment to sign on as members of Kupat Ha’ir. All solve problems that crop up. On the surface, nothing has hesitations, doubts, and deliberations had a very clear changed. But the burden on our shoulders has grown address. There was never any question that whatever lighter and our peace of mind has been restored. instructions they issued would be followed to the tee. The gabba’im, who used to toss and turn at night knowing But the gabba’im always felt somewhat uneasy about that they were ultimately responsible for decisions that “bothering” the Gedolim every time a question cropped impacted Jewish families, now sleep better at night. They up, though they constantly insisted there was no reason to no longer dread troubling the Gedolim for “every little feel that way at all. It’s an extremely uncomfortable feeling thing.” It is they who understand the true signiﬁcance of to take a Gadol’s time, to place an additional burden this step.
The full story behind the checks He saw the words Final Warning. It was an eviction notice. Unless his mother paid the rent, his family would be put out on the street. Something inside his heart shattered. Were they in danger of losing this house, too? In An eight-year-old boy ran home at the last house they had the end of the school day. He was lived in, such notices had tired and longing for a cooked, hot arrived twice a week. dinner. He hoped his mother would Ima hadn’t been able to greet him with a smile when he came cope with the debts their home. Maybe then the pain in his family had. Electricity heart would ease up somewhat. and phone-service cutoﬀs had been routine. They “Every boy should learn with his had hoped to be able to father,” his melamed had said. After live in this apartment that, though he struggled to keep in peace. He knew that up with the lesson, he felt himself Kupat Ha’ir had paid the being dragged back to the diﬃcult rent in the old apartment Harav Aharon Leib Steinman, Shlit”a time when Abba was sick and – again and again and going through chemotherapy and again. “There’s no end in sight,” he had heard Ima weep radiation. He had been ﬁve-and-a-half years old at into the telephone. “I have to pay every three months the time and he remembered the whole period as a big, dark blob that had somehow ended up inside him. For and I don’t have from where to take the money!” Later, three and a half years, his house had not been a home. she’d told them happily that kind people had arranged His mother had run from one place to another, and for them to move to an Amidar apartment (Amidar at night he’d heard her sobbing quietly. The three-year is an Israeli government-operated housing ﬁrm that period had ended one bitter day with a huge, heavy grants eligible families reduced rental fees). He hadn’t known what that meant, but he liked rolling the word silence. “Amidar” around on his tongue. It would surely be a He hadn’t really had a father since he was three-and- dream house, beautifully furnished… a-half. Abba had been in constant pain and he, a little boy, had had to mature before his time. He couldn’t The apartment was completely bare, but Ima consoled recall Abba lifting him high in the air; couldn’t herself with the fact that it was in a good neighborhood, remember him laughing; couldn’t remember him at unlike their previous apartment, where she had feared all. The only thing he remembered was quiet moaning for her children’s souls. At ﬁrst, they were full of enthusiasm, determined to make the house pretty and and walking on tiptoe. appealing, but then they remembered that it wasn’t He ran home and found an envelope in the mailbox. really theirs, so why bother? Ima had even stopped He waved it at his mother, who blanched and gripped sewing the curtains she had begun. the table for support. His heart plummeted. When Ima got a phone call, he couldn’t control himself. He peeked They had no source of livelihood. They were saddled with dozens of debts, large and small, from the time at the letter.
The Check Signed by Hagaon Harav Aharon Leib Steinman, Shlit”a and Hagaon Harav Michel Yehuda Lefkovitz, Shlit"a
Abba was ill. Ima hadn’t worked for a few years, then, and there had been no money for food or treatments. Kupat Ha’ir had sent food and coupons and paid their rent. And then ﬁnally they had brought them to this apartment… but now an eviction notice had arrived and their security was being threatened again. Where would they go? Would they really be thrown into the street? The child left the kitchen feeling utterly broken. The small, bare house could no longer protect him. His sense of security was completely undermined and his old fears rose to the surface again. His nightmares returned with a vengeance - and his family was at a loss to help him.
But then a wonderful proposal arose: Amidar was putting the apartments up for sale to the tenants at 20% of their real value! For only twenty percent, the apartment could be theirs! Kupat Ha’ir began to look for contributors to help this unfortunate family. Twenty percent of the apartment’s value translated into NIS 75,000. “I’ll match whatever sum Kupat Ha’ir gives the family,” said one donor, whose heart melted at the story of the family’s plight. “If you have one contributor willing to match your assistance, I’ll do the same,” said another, a Yid from abroad with a merciful heart. “If Kupat Ha’ir will give this family NIS 25,000 (approximately $6000), they will have an apartment of their own, the gabbai of Kupat Ha’ir in touch with the family told the Gedolei Hador. NIS 25,000 is nothing to sneeze at; it’s a very large sum of money indeed. But it would buy the family an apartment… an entire apartment for six thousand dollars! An apartment they could call their own; an apartment worth investing eﬀort in; an apartment that would heal the pain in their hearts. An apartment for $6,000!
Kupat Ha’ir continued to think about the family even after they had settled in an Amidar apartment. They knew the situation at home was not good. The living conditions were terrible. The family didn’t have the slightest will to invest in a house they knew could be taken from them at any moment. The difficult period they had been through was still exacting a heavy price. Their spirits were at an all time low. Happiness eluded them. Harav Michel Yehuda Lefkovitz, Shlit"a
The Gedolei Hador analyzed the details of the case. The Check Signed by Hagaon Harav It was the distress of that little boy and his siblings, Shmuel Halevi Wosner and Hagaon coupled with that of his mother, an unfortunate Harav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlit”a widow struggling to cope on her own without so much as a roof over her head that she could call her own – that ultimately inﬂuenced their decision. Mrs. P. was a dynamic, energetic woman until the day she was paralyzed by a serious stroke. All at once, she “We must give our became a handicapped woman in a approval,” the Gedolim wheelchair, dependent on others for said, signing the check. help. Tzaros, people say, aﬀect all the One signature – a world bodily systems. They either toughen of a diﬀerence for a family them up or sap them completely. on the brink of collapse. Mrs. P. was forced to suﬀer exile The apartment was - isolation and separation. Faced purchased and a volunteer with no alternative, she left contractor is renovating her house and went to live in a it. Beautiful furniture separate apartment on her own. was donated by a wealthy The children were scattered among Tel Aviv family who had various institutions; they come for decided to redecorate. Shabbos from time to time. The degree of Mrs. P.’s poverty is truly The family is thrilled shocking. She barely has enough to with the furniture; they eat, never mind the assistance she don’t mind at all that needs so desperately. She’s stuck in it isn’t “the latest style.” her wheelchair, handicapped and They have a house. Years helpless. from now, they’ll be able to sell it, if necessary, to But that isn’t all. Her paralyzed marry oﬀ the orphans. Harav Shmuel Halevi Wosner Shlit"a legs became completely lifeless due A house is an asset whose value is preserved even with the passage of years. They have a house and furniture. The children can bring a friend home without blushing from shame. “The child has been given a new lease on life,” the psychologist treating him said. A new lease on life! This is what we mean when we say that every shekel contributed doubles and trebles in value. NIS 25,000 from Kupat Ha’ir, NIS 25,000 from one contributor, NIS 25,000 from another. All together, the family has a home. Do, you, too, have a share – even just one shekel - in the sum Kupat Ha’ir contributed? If yes, you know that all the good prophesies written in Yeshayahu about those who bring the needy into their homes will be bestowed upon you, too, with Hashem’s help. Because putting the needy into a house of their own is even greater than bringing them into your own home!
to lack of movement. Gangrene set in and the threat of amputation became very real. Dr. S., an expert in the ﬁeld of gangrene, was called in to provide emergency treatment. Kupat Ha’ir arranged Mrs. P. to undergo a series of treatment that the doctor felt might save her legs. The treatments amounted to considerable expense even after the doctor’s reduction for Kupat Ha’ir. But one day Mrs. P. called Kupat Ha’ir weeping profusely. “They want to throw me out of my apartment,” she sobbed. “Please give me the money for the treatments so I can pay my rent. How can I move to a diﬀerent apartment in my condition?” “But if the money goes to pay your rent, you won’t receive the treatment you need,” the secretary exclaimed. “What will be with your legs?” “Being homeless is worse than losing my legs,” the woman said. “Where will my children come? Don’t they “First we have to pay the rent; then we’ll consider our need a place they can call home?” next step,” some of them said. “It’s clear we have to At the next monthly meeting, the situation was pay the rent immediately,” the others concurred. The rent was paid. presented to the Gedolei Hador. When two weeks went by and Mrs. P. hadn’t called, the secretary grew concerned. “What’s with Mrs. P.’s legs?” she asked. No one knew. It turned out that she hadn’t dared ask… she knew her monthly allowance had been used to pay the rent, so she assumed she had no right to ask for the treatments to save her legs as well. By this time, the situation had already deteriorated further. Timely treatment could have saved her legs, but now the chances were slimmer than before. Should the money go for rent or for a last-ditch eﬀort to save the poor woman’s legs? The Gedolei Hador made their decision and signed the checks. With Hashems help, Mrs. P.’s legs will be saved.
The Check Signed by Hagaon Harav Nissim Karelitz, Shlit”a
Harav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlit”a
“So how many brothers and sisters do I have?” asked 4-year-old Motti, counting on his ﬁngers and getting thoroughly confused. “Let’s start again: Avi, Benny, Gila and Shiri are Abba’s children, so they’re my
half-brothers and sisters even though they don’t live years if NIS 18,000 is paid immediately. Eighteen here. Tzviki, Chani and Esty are Ima’s children. and thousand shekels, and he has nothing… Nachum, Ruchama, Nechama and I are both Abba’s But for NIS 18,000 you can buy a home, children, a and Ima’s children. So how much does that make all complex family! And without the money, this family, together?” too, will ﬂounder. A better question might The question was presented to be: how much does it the Gedolei Hador. It was a very cost the head of the complex question with many household to support diﬀerent aspects to be considered. them all? Even if the NIS 18,000 debt were paid, the family would still not be He has to pay child able to manage on its own. The Z. support to his ﬁrst family would still require monthly wife, who made his life support for a while. miserable and took his children. But the Gedolei Hador left no room for doubt: a Jewish family He has to support his takes precedence over everything second wife, who entered else! The lives and peace of mind the marriage with three of the Z. family were of crucial children of her own and importance. $50,000 worth of debts. And he has to support And so another check was signed the four children they by the Gedolei Hador, shlit”a, a had together, who need check that will, with Hashem’s tender loving care just help, bring peace and happiness like any other children to the family. Harav Nissim Karelitz, Shlit”a - and maybe even more, because siblings and half siblings and not-sibling-at-all spending time in the same house is not an easy situation at all. But Mr. Z. does not complain. He’s been working multiple jobs for years, trying with all his might to fulﬁll his duty to everyone dependent upon him. The Gedolei Hador do But it isn’t enough. His debt to the National Insurance not give advice; they Institute has accumulated to monstrous proportions. simply say what should The NII does not take such deadbeats sitting down. They called in the law enforcement and threatened to be done. Hesitating to ask have Mr. Z. arrested. He stays away from his house so they won’t be able to catch up with him. Numerous is a thing of the past. The times the children burst out crying hysterically when Gedolei Hador have made they heard a knock at the door, afraid the policemen had come to take Abba. themselves an inseparable He sold his share of an asset he had purchased after part of Kupat Ha’ir and it many years of work - but the sale did not yield enough to cover his family’s needs. He’s working as much and is on their broad shoulders as hard as he can, investing his entire being in his new that decisions rest. Is it family and young children, who have been through so much already. He longs to help the old scars heal by any wonder, then, that providing them with a warm and loving family, but Kupat Ha’ir enjoys a rarelythe terrible threat hovering over him keeps piercing the protective bubble he’s trying to build and ruins witnessed level of siyata everything. dishmaya? Now, after endless meetings, the NII is prepared to forgo the huge debt that has accumulated over the
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Follow the Leaders The Gedolei Hador, amazingly enough, are already preparing for Purim. Despite their busy schedules, despite the crowds waiting during reception hours, despite the heavy burden on their shoulders – they somehow ﬁnd the time and energy to prepare for Purim. They sat down to prepare their envelopes with money for matanos l’evyonim still in the month of Shevat.
Why the rush? Why can’t they give on the last day, on Purim itself? Even if, let us assume, the Gedolei Hador wanted their matanos l’evyonim to be dispatched to the poor early Purim morning, so that they would be able to use the money still before the day’s seuda, a day or two before the holiday would still be suﬃcient. Besides, as the pictures in this brochure indicate, the Gedolim prepared their envelopes as photographers stood at the ready. True, nowadays people like to document every little thing on ﬁlm, but why do the Gedolim give their consent? Their derech is modesty and simplicity, not prominence and publicity. So why the photographs? The fact is that the Gedolei Hador are not private people. They are aware of the tremendous responsibility they bear, and they conduct their aﬀairs in such a way that that the people who look to them for guidance will be able to see, learn, and follow their example.
This holds true with regard to matanos l’evyonim as well. The Gedolei Hador entrust Kupat Ha’ir with an envelope that bears a special mission: to transfer the matanos l’evyonim inside to worthy paupers on Purim day, in cash. They do so early enough so that Kupat Ha’ir will be able to make arrangements and the huge-scale project due to take place on Purim day will, with Hashem’s help, run smoothly. And they’re prepared to do it even amidst ﬂashing cameras so that the people will see and know! Kupat Ha’ir began preparing for Purim, on one day, huge sums of money must be distributed to more than 1300 families. Care must be taken to distribute the money in such a way that the families will not feel shamed. All the envelopes must be opened and the names of the contributors must be written down and presented to the Gedolei Hador so that they can daven for them. Managing all that in one day seems to be beyond human ability! But the goal being aimed for injects everyone with a surge of strength and with Hashem’s help, the mission will be successful this year, too. We cannot let the needy families down, we cannot shatter their broken hearts. Nor can we disappoint all the people who contact our oﬃces asking us to help them fulﬁll the mitzvah of matanos l’evyonim in the most mehudar way possible. We cannot turn down all those waiting for yeshuos in various areas who want the Gedolei Hador to daven for them on this holy day. The Gedolei Hador know this, and that is why they give us their matanos l’evyonim envelope early. That is why they allow us to photograph, tape, and quote them. What they are really telling us is “You ought to follow our example.” And we do!
The Gedolei Hador Hador appoint
To be their messengers in distributing
On Purim 576
In Cash, Actively On Purim D
ir rs ing
Maran Hagaon Harav Shmuel Halevi Wosner, shlit”a,
forwarded his matanos l’evyonim money to Kupat Ha’ir as early as Chodesh Shevat. In order to be “mosif v’holech,” Harav Wosner veriﬁed the amount he had contributed the previous year. He
Maran Hagaon Harav Aharon Leib Steinman, shlit”a With the opening of the Matanos L’Evyonim Appeal, Harav Steinman, shlit”a, appointed the gabba’ei tzedakah of Kupat Ha’ir to be responsible for his matanos l’evyonim money. Harav Steinman took a sum of money from the table and placed it in an envelope, and in order to fulﬁll his obligation of matanos l’evyonim. He signed the “appointment form” in Kupat Ha’ir’s envelope and blessed all the contributors with success in all their aﬀairs.
then withdrew from his pocket a sum of money, examined the envelope with the “appointing form” for quite some time, ﬁlled the word “four” in the blank asking to how many paupers the money should be distributed and signed his name
The Belzer Rebbe, shlit”a During the visit of the rabbanim of Kupat Ha’ir to the home of the Belzer Rebbe, shlit”a, it was mentioned that ﬁve years ago, the Rebbe had said that the needy of Bnei Brak required 50 million shekels. The tzaddik’s bracha apparently made an impression On High, because now, in 5767, the annul budget stands over ﬁfty million shekels. A smile of pleasure crossed the Rebbe’s face as he placed a generous sum of money into the “appointment envelope” and signed his name on the front, with the blessing that “it should be with much hatzlacha.”
h, ly, m Day
Maran Hagaon Harav Chaim Kanievsky, shlit”a
Maran Hagaon Harav Michel Yehudah Lefkowitz, shlit”a
When the “appointment envelope” was presented to Harav Kanievsky, shlit”a, he commented that in previous years, he summoned the gabba’im on Purim and handed them his matanos l’evyonim money. The Chassam Sofer does indeed state that it is best to give matanos l’evyonim on Purim day. “Still,” Harav Kanievsky concluded, “I will give you my matanos l’evyonim money now and request that you not forget to come on Purim day as well, and with Hashem’s help I will give matanos l’evyonim again.”
On one of the occasions when the gabba’im of Kupat Ha’ir entered Harav Lefkowitz’s home, he asked them with a smile: “Nu, what’s with the matanos l’evyonim fundraiser?” The gabba’im immediately withdrew the “appointment envelope” and handed it to Harav Lefkowitz, who immediately wrote “For two evyonim” and signed his name, adding, “This is the most mehudar place for giving matanos l’evyonim.”
: o t t n e s e b n a c s n o i pstein Shlita t E a ib e n L im a Do h Rabbi C Street
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1795 Ea York 11223 Brooklyn, New tler Shlita o K l ie lk a M i Rabb 521 5th Streety 08701 w Jerse Lakewood, Ne on Shlita m lo a S u h a y Rabbi Matis 637 6th Streety 08701 w Jerse Lakewood, Ne on Shlita s lf o W e h s o Rabbi M eet 1575 43rd S1tr1219 Brooklyn, NY berg Shlita m lu B n o D i Rabb 4 Yale Drive10952 ork Monsey, NewY
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Y A D M I R U P t come in a th s e m a ON n e th ll a r ill pray fo olei Hador shlit"a w the Ged
Please daven on my behalf for:
Nachas from children זרע של קיימא
For children רפואה שלמה
For a refuah sheleima (speedy recovery) זיווג הגון
For zivug hagun (worthy mate) פרנסה
Parnassah (livelihood) with ease
Please ﬁll in your Hebrew name and mother’s Hebrew name
Urgent requests are immediately forwarded to the home of the Gedolei Hador
How do I donate to Kupat Hair? your donation in the enclosed your donation to the Rabbonim in envelope. 3 Send your area (see list on Envelope). 1 Send Call the 24 Hour Tzeddakah Hotline Send your donation to: at Shmuel Berenbaum 4 Rabbi 2Fax: 1795 East 7th Street, (donation by credit card)
please make checks payable to: American Friends of Kupat Ha'ir
24 Hour Tzeddakah hotline For all information or to receive a pushka call 1-800-233-2188
Our oﬃce number in Israel: 3-671-6994 Send your donation to: Montreal: Rabbi Y. C. Wenger Shlita, 2227 Goyer Avenue, Montreal Quebec H3S 1H1 Toronto: Rabbi M. M. Lowy Shlita, 240 Carmichael, Toronto Ontario M5M 2x4 Please make checks payable to: Canadian Friends of Kupat Ha'ir