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The essentials of our Torah: Gedolei Yisrael


Our Torah learning tradition is based upon the teaching of the Torah text with commentary. Without the commentary of our sages, the Torah text, standing alone, would not be understood.

This week’s literary work, “Gedolei Yisroel on the Parashah” (Adir Press, 2016) by Rabbi Moshe Krieger, brings together the weekly Torah portions, with commentary from some of the most famous rabbinical commentators of all time. In a fluent and effective English, Rabbi Krieger gives his readers a comprehensive presentment of the classical religious commentary on the holy text of every chapter.

In his introduction, the publisher of Adir Press, Rabbi Moshe Kormonick, informs us of the following methodology and rationale behind publication of this unique work:

“In addition to the vast amount of Divrei Torah in this sefer, the author includes many stories from the Gedolei Yisroel. As such, the title we chose for this sefer couldn’t be a clearer description of its intent. ‘Gedolei Yisroel on the Parashah’ is a sefer of insights, stories, anecdotes, and lessons from the sages of previous, as well as of today’s generations, based on the weekly Torah portion.

“When the Rambam discusses the various different forms of speech, he praises those whose words extol the virtues of the righteous, and details their behavior and acts of righteousness. In what he refers to as ‘derech eretz,’ learning about such behavior encourages us to improve our actions, and can thus provide an incredible benefit to our lives.”

Rabbi Kormonick points out that Rabbi Krieger is a “talmid chochum of note, and someone who constantly strives to live up to the ideals outlined in this sefer.”

“My prayer is that we have succeeded,” Rabbi Kormonick concludes, “and that all who read it will be inspired by the divrei Torah and stories of the Gedolei Yisroel, thus coming to a greater understanding of the Torah itself through their words and actions.”

In his own introduction, Rabbi Krieger tells us the following:

“Every week, I approach the parashah with a new outlook. What can I say? What haven’t I said yet? I pray to G-d that He grant me an idea, and each time He directs my attention to concepts or sources that I would never have thought of otherwise. … G-d helps me to bring out the relevance of these ideas to our generation, which is then illustrated by at least one story about one of our gedolim. Sometimes locating the appropriate story to bolster the chapter’s message requires extra siyatta d’ Shamaya.

The author’s goals and aims are truly fulfilled.

Rabbi Krieger was born and raised in Brooklyn. He was to become a talmid of Rabbi Reuven Gershonovitz. He attended the Brisker Yeshiva, Yeshiva Gedola and the Telzstone Kollel for eight years. The rabbi had the merit to receive semicha from the Telz rabbanim and completed the Miphal Ha’Shas program where he was fully tested in all of Shas — Gemara and Mishnayos. Over the past 20 years he has taught at Ohr Yerushalayim, Mevaseret Zion, and Keser David. 

At Jerusalem’s distinguished Yeshivas Bircas HaTorah on Rechov Ohr Hahayim, Rabbi Krieger serves as the sho’el u’meishiv, that is, he is the one to whom all the students go to when they have a question on Torah. Watching him interact with each student is an awesome sight.

I conclude this week’s essay with the following observation of Rabbi Krieger by his colleague and my dear and honored friend, Rabbi Asher Baruch Wegbreit:

“Everyone can grow when they have the proper role model. As we know, Gedolei Yisroel are the ultimate role models. Thanks to Rabbi Krieger’s research, we can learn the lessons of the parashah from these great men of wisdom. However he was not satisfied with just providing us with their holy and profound insights alone; he shares true stories of how they themselves lived these lessons. He has heard all of our questions, from the simple to the very complicated; his responses always reflect a respect and appreciation for the student’s thinking.

“It is my hope that once you have read this work you will venture to the Old City of Jerusalem and ask this great rabbi your Torah questions.”

To while I’ll add: You will not be disappointed.


Please contact Rabbi Daniel Irom of Yeshivas Bircas HaTorah and request to be placed on their mailing list to receive Rabbi Krieger’s weekly Torah teachings. His address is:

Recently Rabbi Aharon Marcus, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat Reishis Yerushalayim, authored his latest work entitled, “An Indispensable Collection of Halacha For Life: Halacha 24/7/12,” a 400 page compendium of practical halachic issues for you everyday use, in English, together with extensive footnotes for future reference.

Just in time for the annual weekly readings from Sefer Devarim we have “Redeeming Relevance: In the Book of Deuteronomy” (Urim Publications, 2016) by one of Israel’s more distinguished scholars, Rabbi Francis Nataf. You will find both this work and his weekly online divre Torah to be an enriching spiritual experience.