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Celebrating From Afar

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Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg ztz”l. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications and is the author of the books, Fascinating Insights and Incredible Insights. His writings inspire people across the spectrum of Jewish observance to live with the vibrancy and beauty of Torah. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes, and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

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Celebrating From Afar

In 1778, R’ Akiva Eiger (1761–1837), just 17 years old, married. Unfortunately, most of his family including his parents could not attend the wedding. Among those who were unable to attend was his uncle, R’ Wolf Eiger (1756–1795), one of the renowned Jewish leaders at the time. Instead he sent a letter, which was later printed in Shu”t R’ Akiva Eiger.[1] He writes, “All of the leaders of the city are rejoicing together at the celebration made on your behalf.”[2] R’ Akiva Eiger responded to this letter:[3] תודות אלף אל אדוני על הדבר אשר עשה לשמוח ביום שמחתי בפומבי והוא אות נאמן על עזוז אהבתו, אם כי לא ידעתי על מה…, A thousand thanks to my master regarding what he did, to rejoice on the day of my wedding publicly, which is a sure sign to the strength of his love, though I don’t know why [he celebrated like this]…

A similar story took place with R’ Avraham Grodzinski[1] (1883–1944), the mashgiach of the Slabodka yeshiva, when he was visiting Warsaw. He suddenly glanced at his watch and began to sing and dance. He explained, “At this moment one of my students is getting married in Slabodka. Although I am unable to participate personally at his wedding and fulfill the great mitzvah of gladdening the chosson, nevertheless I am rejoicing even from afar, as I feel very happy for him.”


[1] His father, R’ Yitzchak, who was a leader of the Warsaw Jewish community, established and supported a Yeshiva in Warsaw, to which the Chafetz Chaim commented that R’ Yitzchak saved Jewish education in Warsaw. In the house of R’ Yitzchak, tens of poor people on a daily basis partook in meals. In 1899, R’ Avraham Grodzinski enrolled in the Slabodka Yeshiva, under the leadership of the Alter of Slabodka [of whom he became the primary student], after short periods in the yeshivos in Radin and Lomza. Later, he became the Mashgiach Ruchani [spiritual supervisor] of the Slabodka Yeshiva in Lithuania. He was the father-in-law of R’ Chaim Kreisworth and of R’ Shlomo Wolbe, as well as the brother-in-law of R’ Yaakov Kamenetzky. He and four of his children were killed in the Holocaust while his other four survived. His talks of Mussar are in his Sefer Toras Avraham.

[1] Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, 29.

[2] In recent times, there were those who were unable to attend a relative’s or close friend’s wedding, but still wanted to celebrate. So they made what is called a Seudas R’ Akiva Eiger.

[3] Printed in Shu”t R’ Akiva Eiger, Orach Chaim, 30.

Writer of the weekly Fascinating Insights Torah sheet in Englishעברית ,אידיש and français

Author of Four Books including the recently released “Amazing Shabbos Insights”

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