Yad L'Achim chairman Harav Yisrael Lifschitz
Harav Tzefania Drori, Chief Rabbi of
Kiryat Shmona: "People enlisted in
the cause because they were so moved
by Rav Lifschitz's passion and energy,
which were fueled by a great love of
Harav Shmuel Lifschitz, one of the
heads of Yad L'Achim
Residents of Kiryat Shmona, located in Israel's north, near the Lebanon border, had a chance this past Sunday to pay tribute to Hagaon Harav Shalom Dovber Lifschitz, zt"l, the founder of Yad L'Achim and its driving force for more than 60 years.
A memorial event held at Beit Yad L'Achim, the organization's outreach center in the city, was filled with local residents who regularly attend Torah classes there. Rabbi Binyamin Yedid, the veteran director of the center, opened the evening by expressing his heartfelt gratitude at having had the opportunity to engage in such sacred work alongside Rav Lifschitz, zt"l.
Harav Tzefania Drori, Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Shmona, marveled at how Rav Lifschitz had managed to unite people of all ages, coming from all streams of Judaism. "People enlisted in the cause because they were so moved by his passion and energy, which were fueled by a great love of Am Yisrael," he said.
The head of the local Hesder Yeshivah, Harav Yisrael Kirstein, shared personal memories from the home in which Harav Lifschitz, zt"l, was raised and where he drew the determination and confidence to lead the battle for Torah Judaism.
Yad L'Achim chairman Harav Yisrael Lifschitz spoke of the heartfelt concern for every Jew – no matter how removed from Judaism - that emanated from his father's every move. In remarks that were laced with Divrei Torah, he urged those present to redouble their commitment to Torah and to the array of classes and activities being held at the outreach center.
Harav Yisrael Rushetzki, Rav of the Mevo'ot Hermon regional council and a veteran lecturer at the Yad L'Achim branch in Kiryat Shmona, performed a siyum on a tractate of Talmud in memory of Harav Lifschitz, after which he shared the following story.
"One evening, the telephone rang at the home of a young religious man in the area. On the line was Harav Lifschitz. 'There is a woman in a nearby Arab village. You must help her get out. She's in danger.' Harav Lifschitz didn't know the woman and the young man didn't know Harav Lifschitz, but Harav Lifschitz was determined that something had to be done to save her, and his determination was contagious. The next day, the woman was rescued. "And this is just one of thousands of similar incidents."
Harav Shmuel Lifschitz, one of the leaders of Yad L'Achim, emphasized the obligation that every Jew has to take responsibility for his fellow Jew. He said that it was this obligation that drove his father to dedicate his life to working on behalf of the Jewish community, at no personal gain.
Harav Aryeh Frommovitch, one of the heads of the Eida Hachareidis kashruth organizations in the north and a past leader of Yad L'Achim activities in the area, shared moving stories of how he and his colleagues had "descended upon" the city to bring Jews back to Torah. "The fact that there is Torah life today in Kiryat Shmona is due only to the merit of Harav Lifschitz, who was the force behind all that we see today," he said, in a voice choked with emotion.
Harav Pinchas Besser, a lecturer at the outreach center, described what he termed the "special sensors that Harav Lifschitz was blessed with and which enabled him to detect which were the pressing needs and how to deal with them effectively."
The uplifting evening left all the participants determined to increase their commitment to the outreach center, so that Torah could be brought to more and more people in the north.