Kupat Ha'ir – The Tzedakah of the Gedolei Hador Kupat Ha'ir is the largest volunteer based charity fund supported by Jews worldwide. Kupat Ha'ir is the lifeline for thousands of needy. With offices in Israel, the U.S., Canada and throughout Europe.
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I Contributed and Merited Salvation – Stories of Salvation

What Does One Do When There׳s No Tziyun?

This story can be heard firsthand after 20:00 at 050-4111458 after 20:00

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How did the Rosh Yeshivah get to the beis knesses in Tverya? Of all the places in the world, what brought him precisely there on precisely that night?

He has a talmid, an alumnus of Darkei Tuvya, who married and settled in a remote settlement up north. The talmid had a baby boy and the happy father had dearly wanted the Rosh Yeshivah to serve as sandak at the bris.

The Rosh Yeshivah had made it clear that he generally did not accept such requests lest they affect his daily learning schedule. What was more, the day of the bris was the day of the entrance exams at yeshivos gedolos and he couldn’t be out on such a day.

But his student had begged and pleaded so that the Rosh Yeshivah had finally agreed to come to the bris on one condition: that he bris be held immediately after tefillas vasikin. That way, he could return to his city immediately, without wasting any extra time.

The new father had agreed immediately and the bris was scheduled for very early in the morning. The Rosh Yeshivah had decided to travel up north the night before the bris and spend the night in Tverya. He’d entered the Ohr Torah synagogue to learn a little bit… and there he had met Tzvika.

A Kupat Ha’ir brochure lying on the floor. Three hundred shekels to tzedakah. Trust in the Creator of the World. A baby born precisely eight days earlier. A Rosh Yeshivah honored with sandaka’us who decides to enter an old beis knesses in Tverya…

And a bachur studying at Darkei Tuvya, the place he felt was right for him, against all odds. He returned to the right path and is climbing it steadily. The light of Torah illuminates his face and he is so very happy.

Tzvika was a good bachur. Very good, even.

His first two years at yeshivah ketanah were filled with serious, intensive learning. The third year, shiur gimmel, began well, too.

He was a “good boy” who gave his parents nachas and joy. They received him eagerly whenever he had a free Shabbos. They beamed with pride at their talmid chacham and sent him back to yeshivah with lots of hopes and prayers, certain that he would continue to make progress in his studies.

But then he began gaining familiarity with Eretz Yisrael. We have a small, beautiful country with dozens – perhaps hundreds – of trails to explore from north to south. They captivate. They pull. They tempt. In shiur gimmel, supervision of the bachurim is slightly less strict, less close. A bachur may leave yeshivah now and then to air out and enjoy himself a bit.

Tzvika had friends who made sure to tell him all this. “Come spend one day with us,” they said. “You’ll have a good time. Besides, we’re going to stop at the mekomos kedoshim as well,” they added soothingly.

Tzvika listened to them. He closed his Gemara and joined the trip. Two weeks later, he joined again. He felt the cold splash of the Banias on his skin, climbed cliffs, saw the Judean Desert and marveled at the Herodium.

As the various sights of Eretz Yisrael grew more and more familiar to him, the pathways of Gemara grew vaguer and blurrier. There is no room in one heart for both Torah and joy trips. Tzvika’s new friends made him dizzy with delight as they described where they intended to go during bein hazemanim in Nisan. Then they’d really be able to prepare properly and enjoy to the hilt.

Tzvika’s mind was preoccupied with planning routes and itineraries. There was no room left for Gemara. Of course, he sat and learned while in yeshivah, but it was little more than lip service. He did to because he had to. He had to be able to tell his father something on Shabbos; he had to pass his tests.

The summer zeman began. The staff tried to stop Tzvika’s deterioration. “Catch yourself before you fall, Tzvika,” his ra”m told him.

“You used to be a top student,” the mashgiach said. “You can still make your way back. Sit down and start learning seriously. You know how to learn, after all, and you enjoy it!”

But he didn’t catch himself. He didn’t make his way back to being a top student. He wanted to, but it was so hard to break away from his new social circle, from the new concepts they had taught him.

When the time came to enroll in yeshivah, Tzvika wanted to apply to a top yeshivah where he felt he could forget about the past few months and begin shteiging anew. His soul yearned to rejoin the serious learners, the real masmidim. He wanted it, too. But it was hard.

Maybe if he’d get into a top yeshivah, he’d be able to extricate himself from the rut he’d fallen into and succeed once again.

“Yeshivas Darkei Tuvya?” Tzvika’s ra”m didn’t want to hurt his student’s feelings, but he tried gently to make him rethink his plans. “Considering your progress over the past year… uh… I’m not so sure it will work,” he said uncomfortably. They’re very picky at Darkei Tuvya.”

Time passed. Tvika didn’t know what to do. He wanted to attend Darkei Tuvya. He was a good bachur and he knew that the real him was suited to study there. Had the entrance exams been held at the end of shiur beis, he would have gotten in easily. His ra”m had told him as much. It was just this past year, the year of shiur gimmel, that was ruining his chances for the future. Not a single yeshivah had contacted him to come in and be tested. Apparently, they had all heard that this was a bachur who didn’t take his learning seriously.

The entrance exams for yeshivah gedolah would be taking place the following day.

But Tzvika’s friends…

They were taking a trip up north. It was a fantastic trip, they assured him. “You can’t miss it,” they urged him. And he had no intention of missing t.

What about the entrance exams? Well, what of them? He hadn’t been contacted by any yeshivah in any case, certainly not Darkei Tuvya, which was where he really wanted to learn.

Tzvika went with his friends. His conscience pricked him terribly. He wanted to get in to Darkei Tuvya! That was the yeshivah that was compatible with his aspirations, with his father’s dreams and his mother’s prayers. That was the yeshivah that was compatible with his abilities as they had been expressed until the past year.

But Darkei Tuvya had not even summoned him to be tested. He had zero chance of being accepted there or at any other good yeshivah. No one had summoned him; no one was interested in accepting him.

In the evening, after a day of hiking, they arrived in Tverya. They passed Beis Knesses Ohr Torah and went inside. It was quiet inside. There were sifrei kodesh, benches and a couple of brochures scattered about.

One of them was from Kupat Ha’ir.

Tzvika skimmed through the stories in the brochure. “From the Cemetery –Back to Life,” read one title.

I was a good bachur, the story began, but I just didn’t take my learning seriously.

Tzvika sat up straighter and read the rest of the story with rapt attention. Shuki, the narrator, was a good bachur who just didn’t take his learning seriously. He wasn’t accepted to the yeshivah of his choice, a yeshivah where he felt he could turn over a new leaf…

Tzvika was fascinated by the story; it was his story, too.

Shuki’s father had contributed NIS 1800 to Kupat Ha’ir. Eighteen hundred shekels – a considerable sum for someone who was not a man of means. He had traveled with his son to the tziyun of the Tchebiner Rav, zt”l, whose yeshivah Shuki wanted dearly to attend.


They were praying at the Rav’s grave when they met a Yid from abroad. The Yid inquired what they were davening for and they told him that Shuki dearly wanted to be accepted into the Tchebiner yeshivah. The Yid was convinced that Shuki was sincere in his conviction to buckle down to learning if only he got into the yeshivah of his choice. On the spot, he told Shuki to call the yeshivah again the following day and set up a date for a second farher. “Study the sugya very thoroughly and hashem will help,” he said.

Shuki studied, Hashem helped and the test went well. He was accepted into the yeshivah.

I did very well at the yeshivah, baruch Hashem, Shuki related in the story in the brochure. I buckled down and soon began to enjoy studying Gemara as never before. Learning became my entire life. My father would watch me when I came home on free Shabosos, his eyes filled with tears. My mother spoiled me with all sorts of treats. There was no happier bachur in the world than me.

In an amazing show of hashgachah pratis, Shuki later learned that the kindhearted Yid, the famed philanthropist R’ Benzion Dunner of London, zt”l, had asked a renowned Admor to speak well of Shuki to the yeshivah staff. It was only a few years later, when R’ Benzion passed away and his photograph appeared in the chareidi media that Shuki finally learned the identity of the man who had helped him.

Tzvika read the story in the brochure and felt his heart fill with longing. How he longed for a miracle like that! He, too, wanted to be miraculously accepted into the yeshivah of his choice, to get back into learning, to taste the sweet taste of serious Torah study once again. He wanted his father to be pleased, his mother to be happy. He, too, wanted to meet a “Bentzy Dunner” of some sort who would put in a good word for him at Darkei Tuvya.

Eighteen hundred shekels was beyond Tzvika’s means, but he promised three hundred shekels to Kupat Ha’ir if and when he was accepted into the yeshivah of his choice.

What now? In the story, after contributing to Kupat Ha’ir, Shuki had gone to pray at the tziyun of the Tchebiner Rav. Where could he go? Darkei Tuvya was a relatively new yeshivah; none of its founders had passed away, thank G-d. There was no tziyun to go cry at, no grave to daven at.

Tzvika decided that his hishtadlus would be to sit down and learn. Here and now, in Beis Knesses Ohr Torah in Tverya. He withdrew a Gemara from the shelf. Judging by its dusty cover, it hadn’t been used in years. He sat down at a table and began learning, learning, learning. He looked for, and found, a Rashb”a. He’d never seen such an old edition of the sefer. He opened a volume of R’ Akiva Eiger with yellowed pages and learned like he hadn’t learned in a long, long time.

His friends went on without him, leaving him behind to sit and learn. At twelve-thirty p.m., an elderly, respectable-looking Yid in the beis knesses approached him and struck up a conversation. They spoke a little bit in learning and then the Yid asked Tzvika what he was doing in a nearly empty beis knesses in Tverya at such a late hour.

Tzvika told the man everything. There was something about the strange situation in which he found himself – the dim beis knesses, the late hour, being all alone up north – that caused him to open up his heart completely. He described how he used to be a good bachur – an excellent one, even – who had been a true masmid for two years, only to begin slipping over the past year. He related that he longed to be accepted into Darkei Tuvya and turn over a new leaf. He knew e could do it and he promised to make the most of the opportunity if only it would be granted to him.

The following morning, he received a phone call. Yeshivas Darkei Tuvya wanted him to come down to be tested. He went to the yeshivah, his heart pounding. He was tested and then accepted for a trial period.

The Rosh Yeshivah knew him personally: he had studied with him up north, in the old beis knesses in Tverya.

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