HaRav Edelstein In Dramatic Message To Jewish Kehilla In Russia: “Only The Torah Will Protect You”

HaRav Moshe Lebel consults with HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein on the situation of the Jewish kehilla in Russia.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement last month of a military draft for the war in Ukraine resulted in a huge wave of Russians fleeing the country.

Putin also announced the annexation of four Ukrainian territories following “referendums” and also again threatened to use nuclear weapons.

The Jewish kehilla in Moscow has understandably been perturbed by the latest developments in Russia. HaRav Moshe Lebel, Rosh Yeshivas Toras Chaim in Moscow, who also serves as the Rabbinic director of the Conference of European Rabbis, recently visited the home of HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein for advice.

HaRav Edelstein told Rav Lebel to convey to the Jews of Russia that his instructions are not to get involved at all in the issues of the Russian-Ukrainian war

HaRav Edelstein explained: “Everything is in the hands of Shamayim. We need to know that nothing is by chance, everything is the result of hashgacha from above – because on Rosh Hashanah it’s written about each individual and each country. And if one has zechuyos, there’s reward and hatzlacha, and if one doesn’t have zechuyos, then it’s chalilah the opposite. And the only eitzah is not via words and actions that can cause damage but with teshuvah and tikun hama’asim, especially during the Yamim Noraim.”

HaRav Edelstein emphasized that the bnei yeshivah in Russia carry a great responsibility. . “The zechus of esek haTorah will save them. They and the Jews of the kehilla will have siyata dishmaya in the zechus of esek haTorah – because the Torah protects and saves. And they should also increase their limmud of mussar.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. This may not necessarily mean that haRav has no position, he just does not think that a public position will be helpful.
    This is similar to the advice Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry received in 1960s from (separately) R Feinstein, R Teitz, Lubavicher Rebbe . and R Soloveichik – not to get involved publicly. The advices were based mostly on the presumption that secret help is preferred and also fear of Soviet secret police (for the first 3 Rabbis). R Soloveichik later reversed his opposition, when he realized that advise he got from Israeli politicians was self-serving, not sure abut others. At the end, the public approach was used and led to more than a million Yidden saved.

  2. “The zechus of esek haTorah will save them. They and the Jews of the kehilla will have siyata dishmaya in the zechus of esek haTorah – because the Torah protects and saves.”

    Is there any practical advice? It seems that Torah doesn’t work that way. It’s not a magic trick. There were plenty of people being oisek batorah before WW2. Nisht geholfn. The Rabbonim said stay here keep at learning. Will be okay. We all know chashuveh lamdanim who suffer tremendously. Oy tatteh. rateveh unz!

    Scary times.

  3. please keyboard rabbis and rebbetzins, I know you are sure you know it all, but may I point out, those who are qualified to argue how things work and don’t work are hardly on the internet belittling (I am sure involuntarily) our holy Rabbis from Europe let alone on erev Yom Kippur. Did it occur perhaps we exist thanks to them and thanks to those who listened? Chatima tova.

  4. I heard it again today from a third reliable source, that the Rabbanim are advising people to leave Russia. They are afraid to make this a public statement because they are afraid of the government in Russia. Privately, they are telling people to leave.

  5. Everyone should look at what the rav said and not just the headline. He talks about tehsuva and learning mussar etc etc. Obviously it is only HKBH who can save us.