An Impossible Wish

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    As Yom Kippur approaches, I make arrangements, as I do every year to go back to my old yeshiva. It is a far cry from the once common practice of people taking off the whole month of elul to attend yeshiva, but for me it is at least something that I can do that takes me back to that atmosphere which is imbued with ruchnious. No blackberries, stock tickers, poll results, etc… What a perfect place to be able to try to become closer to Hash-m during this important time.

    One thing each year always hits me very hard. I observe the bochurim, ages 13-21, totally immersed in their ruchnious, and a primary focus of their davening is that they continue to grow in their ruchnious. Which bochur isn’t mispallel for a good chavrusa? Better hasmoda? Better havannah? Obviously it gives me a sense of longing to go back to that period of innocence and closeness to Hash-m. As someone who is responsible for the finances of my family, bitochen has taking on a new meaning for me, but all the same I am jealous (in a good way) of the bochurim’s levels of torah and yiras shomayim.

    For someone to be longing for the innocence of youth is typical. Here’s what makes me a little sad about the whole thing: I’m only 26 years old, and yet when I look at the yeshiva, it feels like a different (much better) world in another galaxy- one which I can barely relate to. It frightens me how quickly I’ve lost that level, and how far removed I feel from what was just a short time ago my normal life. I thought that maybe when I would be middle aged I would talk about my days in yeshiva as if it were ancient history. However, time is not that kind, and here I am just a few short years from yeshiva, and it feels like a past lifetime.

    My point is a simple and familiar one. Take advantage of the ruchnious opportunities in life, they might be harder to come by later on. Please, if you are reading this, and you have a son in yeshiva, tell them how quickly (and unexpectedly) that wonderful time may came to an end. I did not squander my time yeshiva, but had I known how severe the disconnect would be, I would have given it so much more effort. It pains me greatly to have had a wonderful opportunity and not taken full advantage.

    Hash-m, I wish I could have another chance in yeshiva, I wish I could have that time back!

    An impossible wish indeed.


    Well today you have already reached into your 40s in age. But what you are blessed and fortunate to realize while your still young is something that 90 percent of the world is not lucky like you to realize and that is the FACT OF “HOW LIFE GOES BY IN AN INSTANT” quicker than you can ever imagine. We go from holiday to the next holiday and even count the days of sefira and before you know it you can’t believe that we are already blowing the Shofar again and a full year has gone by and is gone forever.

    Hashem doesn’t just say that this yid will live until 108 and this yid until 102 or 97 etc….. Every day and hour of a persons life is a decree from above that the person should live another day “Uvacharta Vachaim” you should choose life and value every minute of it and don’t take any of it for granted……

    May we all stop taking life for granted and appreciate every day and hour of our life we are given to live by Hashem and use our time to serve Hashem and the Torah

    Reb Eliezer

    I thank Hashem Yisborach that my father had the foresight to realize that their will be no yiddishkeit in my birthplace of Sopron, Hungary. I was 9 years old when leaving due to the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and arriving after being in Austria for 2 1/2 years to the US of America.


    RebE, is it a 65th anniversary of your arrival? Are you celebrating day of departure from Hungary or day of Arrival?

    and I presume you meant “leaving due to Soviet occupation”, not revolution itself?

    Reb Eliezer

    My arrival was July 9, 1959. The day of departure was February 12, 1957. My father a’h got involved helping people to escape. Yaakov Miller’s family and Michoel Schnitzler’s family went through him. Being at the border of Austria, he thought that he can leave anytime. In the beginning when someone was caught escaping, would be sent back and they were able to try again. At the turn of 1957, the laws became strict with jail time. In February when my father wanted to take a big family, was told that it is too dangerous I rather take you. My father comes home at night and said, pack up we are leaving, We took one suitcase and got on the last wagon of the train to be able to get out in the back without being noticed and be able to hide in the bushes. After walking a while 2 Hungarian soldiers took over. At the border, search lights required us to crawl in order not be seen. The soldiers left and we were pointed to a direction and we walked in plow field which separated Hungary and Austria called nomans land. Everything was scary, a dog barking a tree whistling from the wind. After a while we arrived to an Austrian custom house. We stayed over in a motel and luckily we encountered a bus driver who took us to Vienna. The Joint placed us in a hotel called The Continental Hotel for refugees where we were for 3 months. From there we were relocated to a displacement camp in Upper Austria called Asten close to Linz. We stayed in wooden barracks. We had a cheder, secular schooling and an Ashkenaz and Sefard (chasiddish) minyonim. After 2 years the Hias flew us to New York. We lived in Crown Heights until my marriage in 1972. I took a bus to Williamsburg to the Wiener yeshiva. In 1963 I left it and went to Chasan Sofer on the East Side which moved to Boro Park.

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