British Ambassador Visits Ponevezh

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pBritish Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould visited Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak on Sunday afternoon 12 Elul 5773. The visiting diplomat met with Rosh Yeshiva HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein Shlita and HaGaon HaRav Baruch Dov Povarsky Shlita. According to a Kikar report, they discussed the conflict and negotiations between Israel and the PA (Palestinian Authority). Rabbi Mordechai Hertz acted as the interpreter during their meeting.

Rav Edelstein explained the Jewish People’s right to the land is based on limud Torah and observance of mitzvos, which also protects the inhabitants of the land. When asked a political question, Rav Edelstein told the ambassador for a response he must speak with HaGaon HaRav Aaron Yehuda Leib Shteinman Shlita.

After leaving Rav Edelstein the ambassador and his aides visited with Rav Baruch Dov Povarsky along with his son-in-law HaGaon Rav Chaim Peretz Berman. Ambassador Gould explained this was not his first visit to Ponevezh but this time he would like to learn more about the yeshiva.

Rav Povarsky began to explain the merits of the chareidi education system, with an emphasis on politeness, manners and the midos taught to students. Rav Povarsky added that one need only observe the students and their respect for their teachers and neighbors alike to understand just how high these values are regarded in the community.

The ambassador stated the Government of England respects and admires the conservative lifestyle of the chareidim along with their devotion as the People of the Book. The ambassador then asked for a Torah view to the reality that millions of people surrounding Israel would like to see the Jewish nation wiped off the map.

Rav Povarsky stated “We believe that the Torah alone protects us and just like there is a government, there is a government in the Heaven and the real battle is not here on earth, but in the Shomayim. Our strength is not from tanks or fighter planes, but our contribution towards our meriting success is the direct result of Torah study and mitzvah observance. That is why when you hear calls that we are not sharing in the burden, we know that we are carrying the entire burden on our backs.”

The ambassador was impressed by the modest lifestyle of Gedolim, using Rav Povarsky’s home as an example. “With us, our leaders live in the finest homes but in your community, the leaders live extremely modestly” the ambassador stated.

“In our eyes, money is not the goal but a means” explained the rav. We believe that nothing can be equated with the value of learning Torah.” The rav went on to explain that therefore, if one sees an avreich is not at home with his family, both he and his family are happy since he is immersed in study of Torah.

The ambassador changed the topic and began to address security issues including the PA and the anarchy in Egypt. The rav added the chareidim genuinely want peace but while Israel yearns for peace, we cannot know if the Arabs have changed their position and who can guarantee this is the case. The rav used Egypt as an example.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

7 COMMENTS

  1. #3 It’s not nonsense. It’s Chazal. The Gemara in Pesachim states that an Am Haaretz hate Torah scholars more than goyim hate Jews. The current government of Israel with the British Ambassador confirms this Gemara.

  2. And he is probably clever enough to realize the strategic implications of Israeli alienating its hareidi population since hareidim with their focus on autonomy may be more open to peace than the hilonim who insist the peace include zionist control of Eretz Yisrael and marginalization of all others (meaning the Arabs and the Hareidim).

  3. #4…. The MISHNEH however says, that Torah scholars, talmidei chachamim, are marbeh shalom Baolam— increase peace and sholom in this world. Hence, any ‘scholar” , no matter what he knows, is NO scholar if he agitates, brings strife or makes machlokes in this world.
    So first let’s establish who the scholars are and see if the other sides hates this particular group.Then we’ll talk.