The Child who Knew the Whole Torah

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In the 1950’s the melamed of a young child discovered that the child knew the whole Torah. When the melamed started quoting a posuk, a Mishnah, or even rishonim, the child was able to continue saying the piece.

Many versions of the story have circulated throughout the years; here’s how R’ Yitzchok Landau, the assistant of the Belzer Ruv Z”L, who’s yartzeit is today, recounts the story. R’ Yitzchok is probably the only person alive today who was so close to the protagonists of the story.

The story happened in the winter of 1954 when R’ Yitzchok was the assistant of the Rebbe. A child of a Belzer Chossid, R’ Yisroel Moshe Mandel, learned in the Satmar Chaider in Yerushalayim in the class of the melamed R’ Yisroel Polotchek. The child was a regular child like the boys of his age. In the winter of 1954, when the child was 4 years old, the melamed realized something extraordinary, something he never saw in his life.

The melamed taught two ages of children in the same class. With the younger age he taught keri’ah and with the older he taught mishnayos. The 4-year-old was part of the younger group, that was just finishing to learn how to read. One day the 4-year-old heard the older group davening mincha and he joined them and knew the whole davening. The melamed saw and couldn’t believe his eyes. At first, he thought the father of the child is teaching him way above his level. Upon inquiry, the father said that this was not the case. The melamed then tried other passages in the Torah, chumash, mishnayos, and gemara. To his astonishment, the child was able to continue saying the words by heart. The child didn’t understand what he was saying but knew the words by heart. On the other hand, when the melamed tested him on non-Torah literature, the child didn’t know a thing.

Very soon this fascinating phenomenon spread like wild fire. People from all over came to see the child and try to test him. Many Gedolim tested him including Rav Pinches Epshtein, the Ra’avad of the Eidah Chareidis and Rav Aharon Kotler who was at that time in Israel. They asked him from many places in the Torah and the child knew it all. The Steipler Gaon writes about it in his Sefer, Chayei Olam, to be mechazek Emunah.

It came to a situation that wherever the child went people wanted to approach him. Many newspapers at the time wrote about it. People saw it as a sign from Hashem after the Holocaust; even secular Jews came to see.

The father was very concerned about the well-being of the child and went into the Belzer Ruv Z”L and related his concern about the situation.

The Ruv Z”L told the father to come to him in Tel Aviv at a time when there are no people around. They set a time for the morning of 22 of Adar, a day after the yartzeit of Rebbe Reb Elimeilich of Lizensk. A day before, on the yartzeit, the Ruv Z”L conducted a Tish and the Ruv gave a piece of shirayim to one of the assistants who was a relative of the child, telling him to give it to the child when he arrives the next day.

The father and son arrived at the pre-arranged time. The Ruv Z”L called the child and brought him in front of him. The Ruv Z”L asked R’ Yitzchok Landau to bring a gemara berachos. The Ruv Z”L opened it to the second Mishnah of the first perek on Daf 9B and said to the child he should start saying. The child started saying the Mishnah by heart with a flow. The Ruv Z”L sat and listened to him. Suddenly the Ruv Z”L stopped him and said “שוין, גענוג” (done, enough). The Ruv Z”L gave a berachah to the child and gave him a coin for shemirah. Then the Ruv Z”L instructed the father to watch the child and not let anyone test him. After a short while, this phenomenon ceased, and the child became a regular child like all boys his age.

In the words of R’ Yitzchok:

Many versions and legends spread regarding this extraordinary story and many started questioning the veracity of the story. I was in the room of the Ruv Z”L when it happened and I saw it with my own eyes.

The story was taken from the Sefer Bakodesh Penimah, written by R’ Yitzchok Landau. With your contribution here to the Belz Institutions, we’ll send you the sefer as a gift, see link for details.

The Ruv Z”L said, “Whoever gives for the Yeshiva, is as if they have given to me personally”. Support the Yeshiva today on the yartzeit, with the amount of your choosing, and we will send a Kvittel with your personal prayers to the Tzion of the Ruv Z”L.