From Rav Nosson Englard…..
The Radzyner Rebbe Rav Mordechai Yosef Elazar Leiner – the Tiferes Yosef, was one of the great leaders of his generation. During his time, the numbers of Radzyner Chassidim were in the tens of thousands. We will try to elaborate on one of the many attributes of the Rebbe, to try to learn and to emulate.
The Rebbe placed a great focus and importance on the younger generation. He was from those numbered leaders that understood that the true future of Klal Yisroel lies in the young generation. To this extent, he was very active and instrumental in establishing the Agudas Yisroel – which was the first body to unite the Jewish people into one strong power. He served as its vice president from its inauguration until his passing. The Rebbe was also behind the forming of formal schools for the girls, “Bais Yaakov” – for he saw this as important to the future of Klal Yisroel.
During his time, there was a terrible decree that targeted the chinuch of the young Jewish boys. The Rebbe and his peers organized a delegation to travel to St. Petersberg on behalf of annulling this decree. The Rebbe went so far as to include himself in the five person delegation.
When he was asked why he felt it necessary to travel the distance himself, when for all other purposes he always sufficed with a delegation of representatives, the Rebbe answered: For all other issues I felt it was enough with a delegation. In regard to chinuch habanim, which is the future of our very existence, I deem it necessary to be moser nefesh and travel myself! It is too important a matter to leave it in the hands of representatives, however capable they might be.
The Radzyner Rebbe Rav Avrohom Yissochor Englard once related the following episode: One year there was a large gathering in Radzyn on Rosh Hashanah. Chassidim came from far and near to bask in the presence of my brother-in-law, the Rebbe Rav Shmuel Shlomo (son and successor of the Tiferes Yosef) during the High Holy Days. This year was different not in the amount of people, rather in the age of the attendees. Most of the chassidim were young. The older chassidim remained mostly in their respective cities, towns and villages.
When asked if it bothered him somewhat that the older chassidim remained home and the crowd was mainly a young one, the Rebbe replied: It is they who I seek. The older chassidim may remain home, if they choose so. They are not the ones whom I’m building on. It is the young ones that will be the foundation of the future of Klal Yisroel!
The Rebbe Rav Shmuel Shlomo would often say over what the Rebbe Reb Bunim of Pshischa would say: I came to this world to straighten young trees while they begin to grow, so that they don’t begin to grow in a crooked direction!
The Radzyner Rebbe Rav Avrohom Yissochor continued this legacy of his father-in-law – the Tiferes Yosef, and his brother-in-law – Rav Shmuel Shlomo. He placed a great emphasis on the young and future generations, constantly speaking about the topic in his discourses to Chassidim.
At the Pesach Seder, upon reaching the verse “ואת עמלינו אלו הבנים”, the Rebbe R” Avrohom Yissochor would get extremely excited. He would shout out the verse, over and over, with great Hislahavus and fervor. He would explain that our ultimate toil and hard work in this world revolves around our children. They are the ultimate goal for our achievements. They are what makes everything we do important and worthwhile, for this is our future and the future of the Jewish people.
This concept of the importance of chinuch habanim is extensively brought up in the Torah of Izhbitza-Radzyn. It is mentioned even more in many sayings of our Rebbes that were not written in their seforim, rather they were given over from generation to generation – as Torah She’Baal peh.
It is the idea that the future is what we should focus on mainly, and not on the past, that has a special place in Izhbitza-Radzyn. One has to constantly renew himself with hischadshus, to build a better future for his efforts.
Chassidim would say in the name of the Mei Hashiloach that hischadshus has to be consistent – on a daily basis. The hischadshus from yesterday would be considered today as הרגל – something of habit – that is old and from the past.
The Tiferes Yosef says in the name of the Bais Yaakov that one has to analyze every day if he has traveled more towards the future. The key being that he realizes today that what he did yesterday was not enough. This is the effect of focusing mainly towards the future, and not mulling over the past.
In Izhbitza and Radzyn they would always say that habit is the mother of all sins. “אשרי אדם מפחד תמיד” – praiseworthy is a person who is constantly afraid. In Radzyn they explained this passage: praiseworthy is a person who is afraid of תמיד – of habit!
The Orchos Chaim – Rav Gershon Henoch Leiner – was once asked why in Radzyn they shorten the saying of the Slichos, and yet they still say lengthy Hosha’anos on Succos. The Rebbe replied: Slichos is to atone for the past, Hosha’anos is asking for and building the future. The future is way more important!
May the merit of this Holy Tzaddik be a blessing for us all, and help us follow in his ways, focusing on building the future of ourselves, and the future of Klal Yisroel!