What Did HaRav Zilberstein Respond To The Mexican Yeshivah Bochurim?

HaRav Zilberstein. (Photo: Kol B'Ramah)

Yeshivah bochurim in Mexico wrote a letter to HaGaon HaRav Yitzchak Zilberstein expressing their fears about returning to their yeshivos in Eretz Yisrael due to the war.

Read HaRav Zilberstein’s answer below:

“Regarding what you asked that since a war is raging in Eretz Hakodesh, and you’re having doubts about whether to return to your yeshivos that you left before Sukkos:

“In the year 1933, when Hitler yimach shemo rose to power, they asked the Chofetz Chaim if he would chas v’chalilah succeed in his plans to rid the world of the Jews. The Chofetz Chaim responded that it’s meforush in the Neviim ובהר ציון תהיה פליטה והיה קודש (עובדיה א, יז). And so it was that Hitler’s downfall began when he got close to Eretz Yisrael.”

“We are now in the era of ‘עקבתא דמשיחא,'” HaRav Zilberstein continued. “And the nations of the world are rising up and increasing their hatred, r’l against the entire Jewish nation scattered throughout the world, and as can be seen, no place in the world is safe and calm and only HaKadosh Baruch Hu in His great mercy saves us from their hands.”

“And since you are coming to learn and be diligent in the Torah HaKedoshah (and to try to refrain from דיבורים בטלים, especially during seder), the Torah protects and saves and especially in Eretz Yisrael, where just being here is a mitzvah and a great protection. Therefore you have nothing to fear and it’s surely guaranteed that you won’t be harmed at all.”

“And especially if you take on learning two hilchos Shabbos every day – then the zechus of Shabbos will also protect you, like the words of the Ibn Ezra – ‘כי אשמרה שבת א-ל ישמרנ.’ Through learning the halachos, you are mekadeish the Shabbos and you’re zocheh to a שמירה עליונה.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. Without naming names we know as WWII was starting some Rosh Yeshiva’s told their talmidim to stay where they were & their Torah learning will protect them. The Talmidim that listened almost all were killed while those that didn’t listen & left, many survived.

  2. Rav Zilberstein mentioned Hilchos Shabbos.
    Perhaps we can add and I hope that I am being Zocheh to the truth with the following advice:
    Many people including myself, we know that there is an Eiruv that goes from here to there and of course we investigate exactly where does the Eiruv begin and where does it end. Let us assume that Rabbi Klein (as an example) gives the Hechsher on a specific Eiruv.
    Hilchos Eiruvin is extremely complicated. Imagine you hear that Rabbi Klein (as an example) gives a Hechsher on the Eiruv in a certain development or a certain area, does that mean that all is okay. Do you really trust Rabbi Klein? If Rabbi Klein wanted to borrow from you $50,000 for one month, are you ready to
    give him a loan?

  3. To Kuvult:
    Please do not compare Germany to Eretz Yisroel———-
    There is a very big difference between learning Torah in Germany and learning Torah in Eretz Yisroel.
    The combination of learning Torah in Eretz Yisroel together with 2 million Frum Yidden in Eretz Yisroel all learning Torah is a mind boggling protection. In Germany how many people were learning Torah and how many people were busy with Zionism, reform movement, conservative jewry, Haskallah and all the hundreds of groups that were fighting the Yeshivos.
    I think learning Torah, maybe you had 1,000 maybe 1,200 in the entire Germany. Poland, I think had about 2,000 learning Torah and about 1,000,000 people fighting the Frum world. I repeat one million Jewish people in Poland were fighting the Frum world and in Germany you had about 800,000 Jewish people fighting our holy Torah.
    Look at the numbers-Mr. Kuvult- How can you compare Germany to Eretz Yisroel????????????????
    Also for the record, The Roshei Yeshiva in Europe never told people stay here and your Torah will protect you.
    That is fake news.
    The Roshei Yeshiva in Europe during 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941 they told their students that if you are able to get someone in USA to sponsor you and take care of you when you arrive, then definitely make the trip. The problem was that certain students were living in Europe with their elderly parents and the big question was should I go to America by myself and leave my parents behind to get tortured by the nazis
    ימח שמם וזכרם

  4. With all due respect, Harav Zilberstein’s response only serves the interests of Yeshivos, which their roshei yeshiva wish to keep their yeshivos open for their own interests. It doesn’t take into account the wishes of these bochurim’s parents who prefer the safety of their children over anything else.

    The words of the Chofetz Chaim have nothing to do with this current situation. Back in Europe the war was only in Europe, and based on the words of the Navi, the Chofetz Chaim said that the war won’t expand to EY, and in fact it did not. Today the war is indeed in EY, and in time of war and gezeros, there is no place someone can say with certainty that it’s safe, and no one can guarantee anyone’s safety, no matter who they are. To make decisions on people’s safety by quoting a pasuk referring to the time of Geula is nothing but pure fantasy, as no one knows the times we’re in.

    I C”V do not intend to minimize the chashivus of EY and of course the learning of the Torah Hakedosha, which both are a great zechus for safety and protection. However, one thing is if someone is local and lives there and has nowhere else to go, can rely on the zechus of Torah and EY to protect him Bez”H, but someone who isn’t living there, like all these “chutsnikim” who actually live in other countries and go to EY to be in certain Yeshivos, who can easily and equally learn in the city and country they live in, there is no valid justification for deliberately placing themselves in a war zone to “learn” and have to rely on zechusim and havtachos for their safely. Chazal in Gemara Baba Kama (60b, 61a) learned from David Hamelech, this case specifically, in which someone is not permitted to endanger his life for the sake of learning, and whoever does, isn’t not worthy to say words of Torah from their name. It’s worthy to look up the gemara with meforshim. So too here, all those “out of town” bachurim, who can technically learn in any yeshiva in their country safely as well, and the actual learning in itself is basically the same too, they have no “reason” to be in EY. Not to mention the fact that learning in EY yeshiva in this current situation is a big disturbance and distraction to learning, with everything that’s going on. Even us the ones here in the US, our learning isn’t the same as before, sadly, due to our addiction with the latest news and updates, certainly a bachur who’s going to a yeshiva is EY will not be immune of this.
    A true and a sincere Masmid who’s looking to learn “beyishuv hadaas” would learn anywhere, Israel isn’t the place now to do so. And as a fact, the majority of these “Chutsnikim” who go to learn in EY, do so as a style and a trend.
    It’s very obvious that the bochurim who are asking these kinds of questions to begin with, lack basic common sense, and certainly lack the skills and ability to make appropriate decisions for themselves, and certainly, lack in clarity as to whom these questions should be asked to, and who should decide.

    Putting out a general statement like this in public, which only serves the yeshivos themselves and the ones who run them, is not only irresponsible, but also disrespectful to the bochurim’s parents, many of whom do not agree with their children going. A decision like this should be left up to the parents, who are the caretakers of their children, to decide for them, and not to a Rav who they have nothing to do with. Because If C”V something happens, or the situation worsens, it would be the responsibility of the parents to bring their children back home.

  5. pilpel harif: Yiftach bedoro kishmuel bedoro. Just like you were afraid to disagree with the Chofetz Chaim, so should you fear disagreeing with today’s leaders, In addition, you even denied the entire premise of asking and following Daas Torah in general. Neshichasan neshichas nachash… Do teshuvah before it’s too late.

  6. joecohn: You completely ignored all my valid points, but chose to reprimand me for daring to disagree with a Rav. I assume you couldn’t find anything else to pin against me but that. If that is my only sin, then I feel somewhat at ease. At least I’m not worse than Shmuel Hanavi (שמואל א. טז,ב) who questioned HaShem when was told to go and anoint Dovid as a king, because he was afraid King Shaul would kill him. ויאמר שמואל איך אלך ושמע שאול והרגני. while he was well aware he had a concrete Havtacha from HASHEM he would not be harmed, he refused to carry a mission from Hashem (with Hashem’s guarantee of protection!), because he wanted to conduct himself bederech hateva, and not rely on guarantees and miracles. Chazal in (פסחים ח ע”ב) learnt from Shmuel that even though we have a concept of שלוחי מצוה אינן ניזוקין, this havtacha doesn’t apply when there is a substantial danger. Rabeinu Bachai in ספר חובות הלבבות שער הבטחון פרק ד concluded from the words of Shmuel that one should always stay away from danger, and conduct himself על פי דרך הטבע, and not rely on הבטחות וניסים, even at the cost of opposing the words of Hashem, and it would not be considered a lack of Bitachon in Hashem for doing so!! Look it up. So, if my only sin is not listening to Rav Zilberstein sending my son to the other side of the world in a country that’s at war, and having to rely on drashos and havtachos, but instead chose to conduct my matters according to derech hateva, and choosing better alternatives, then be it.

    And what you said that I denied the entire premise of asking and following Daas Torah in general, that is false.
    1) Of course I ask and follow and respect Daas Torah, and I have utmost respect for all Benei Torah and all Talmidei Chochomim. However, the Emes is always beloved and dear to me, and always place it before anything and anyone, and always strive to seek it.
    2) My earlier comment was referring to matters of common sense, that someone shouldn’t have to ask about. I was taught in general by my parents, rebbeim and mechanchim to have the skills and ability and the confidence to comprehend and understand the difference between right and wrong and have the tools to use my Sechel to the best of my ability and knowledge. Contrary to what rebbeim teach kids today, how they always have to ask in every little thing, and always have to completely mevatel themselves to their rebbi and so on, thus creating a generation of brainless people that don’t even have the ability to make decisions for themselves when they get older, even in simple and obvious matters. I always wonder how these people say birkas hanoisen lasechvi bina, if they are never able to use their sechel.
    3) Rav Zilberstein isn’t the only Daas Torah, there are many others who share different views as well. Their views might not be public because it doesn’t fit the narrative of the publisher. Everyone is entitled and should follow their own Rav.
    And as I said before, this particular matter should only be consulted and decided by the parents, father and mother of a bochur, based on their choosing or their Rav’s guidance, whether they are okay with sending their son to learn in EY Yeshiva under the current circumstances.