Blanche Noble – Janowski
Rabbi Leibush Noble
Rabbi Yehuda Leib Graubart
Kotzker Rebbe on Parshas Noah
Shabbos Parshas Noah – October 24, 2020:
Friday night I had a disturbing dream. I dreamt that my body floated off my bed and headed straight up to the heavens. I felt completely detached from this world and I was never coming back. I ended up in a line. A person looked me up and down and said my body is not perfect, meaning I had sinned. He then put his hand on my chest to stop me. I stopped in another line and I was next to a construction person wearing tan overalls and wisecracking. I had to strongly shake myself awake. I did not want to be trapped in my dream.
Rabbi Leibush Noble and Rabbi Yehuda Leib Graubart:
I got up at 7:00 AM and went downstairs to study. I needed a Siddur to say Birchas Hatorah and could not find one. I knew that Jerry Noble had given me a Siddur used by his grandfather, Rabbi Leibush Noble, along with a set of Malbim Chumoshim. The below is a picture of Rabbi Yehuda Leibush Noble.
Picture taken in 1946
SCOPE AND CONTENT
Item is a photograph of Beverley Kelman on her first birthday. Pictured in the photograph with Beverley are her father Marvin Lister, mother Ruth Lister, grandfather Rabbi Leibish Noble, and grandmother Bella. Rabbi Noble was the first principal of Eitz Chaim, Toronto’s second-oldest Jewish day school. The photograph was taken at the family home that Ruth and Marvin Lister shared with Ruth’s parents Bella and Rabbi Leibish Noble at 73 Borden St., Toronto.
Rabbi Leibish Noble immigrated to Toronto in 1912. The outbreak of World War I hampered his effort to bring over his wife Bella and two young daughters Gertrude and Mary (Miriam).
I spoke to Beverley about this picture and about life with her grandparents. Uncle Marvin Lister even in 1946 had a hard time with working because he was Shomer Shabbos. He had a hard time finding a permanent job. Marvin was a good guy. Beverely has some great stories from that time period. I encouraged her to write them down and share with the family.
This picture speaks to me about that generation of Jews who were in the Army during World War II. This is the first Jewish next generation born in North America starting out their lives standing with their immigrant parents. Rabbi Leibush Noble and his wife Zelda Baila look youthful who look like they still have many years of active life left in them. At the time of the picture Florence and Rosie were still single. All the Noble sisters were very pretty.
Instead of the Siddur, I picked up my wife’s grandfather’s, Reb Leibush Noble’s Malbum on Chumosh Bereshis. The sefer was published in 1892. He learned the Malbim on a regular basis. He held it in his holy hands, learning from it. My grandfather Reb Sholem Sklar, Bubi Jean’s father, praised his one father Reb Avormon Shmuel Sklar of Krinki that his father knew all the laws of Shabbos, was an expert in טומא וטהרה, and thirdly knew every Mablim by heart. This shows how precious the Malbim was to the Jews of eastern Europe and that the Malbim was Rabbi Leibush Noble’s go to Chumash.
I opened it to Sefer Noah and found the following picture tucked into the first page of Parshas Noah.
This is a picture from the Yiddish paper announcing the death of Rabbi Yehuda Leib Graubart known as “Der Stashover Rebbe”. Please see http://www.billgladstone.ca/j-b-salsberg-and-rabbi-yehuda-leib-graubart/ for more details about Rabbi Yehuda Leib Graubart.
Rabbi Graubart, known as the Mahril Graubart was the Rebbe of our grandfather, Rabbi Yehuda Leibush Noble.
Rabbi Yehuda Leibush Noble wrote on the top of the picture, ה נח ב בחודש חשון תרצח translated into as
“Thursday, of the week that Noah is read, on the second day of the month of Cheshvan, 1937”. At the bottom of the picture he wrote נפטר – passed away.
This year Rabbi Graubart’s Yahrzeit was on Tuesday, October 20, 2020. My guess is that Rabbi Noble did not want to forget the Yahrzeit of his Rebbe.
Why did I stumble on this picture the Shabbos morning? Is there a message? The mere fact that I found something my grandfather wanted to preserve and that I held the Sefer that he learned from is humbling. I could never live up to the righteous and accomplishments of Rabbi Yehuda Leibush Noble in 2 lifetimes. I gave this some thought and the following is what I spoke after davening in our garage minyan.
Blanche Noble – Janowski – my mother-in-law:
Last Tuesday my mother-in-law fell in her apartment and broke her hip. She was operated on Thursday, the 22nd and moved to Baycrest on Friday for rehab.
There is a great verse in Parshas Noah. Verse 9:23 says:
וַיִּקַּח֩ שֵׁ֨ם וָיֶ֜פֶת אֶת־הַשִּׂמְלָ֗ה וַיָּשִׂ֙ימוּ֙ עַל־שְׁכֶ֣ם שְׁנֵיהֶ֔ם וַיֵּֽלְכוּ֙ אֲחֹ֣רַנִּ֔ית וַיְכַסּ֕וּ אֵ֖ת עֶרְוַ֣ת אֲבִיהֶ֑ם וּפְנֵיהֶם֙ אֲחֹ֣רַנִּ֔ית וְעֶרְוַ֥ת אֲבִיהֶ֖ם לֹ֥א רָאֽוּ׃
But Shem and Japheth took a cloth, placed it against both their backs and, walking backward, they covered their father’s nakedness; their faces were turned the other way, so that they did not see their father’s nakedness.
This is a great verse. It talks about the great respect Noah’s two sons had for their father. Rabbi Leibush Noble towards the end of his life had cancer. He lived by his daughter, Blanche Noble-Janowski. Rabbi Leibush Noble was a holy Jew. My mother-in-law took care of his emotional needs, physical needs, and medical needs. She fulfilled the Mitzvah of honoring one’s mother and father as it is written in the Torah. May the memory of her parents reward her for the kindness she did for her parents and she should have a speedy recovery. May she dance at Mendy Bernstein upcoming wedding and her great-grandchildren weddings, including Chani, Tzvi, Eli, Hudi, and Sholoem Morgenstern.
Kotzker on Parshas Noah
The Kotzkerin the Sefer Ohel Torah brings down the following Medresh, Bereshis 30:8:
הָיָה, אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן כָּל מִי שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בּוֹ הָיָה, מִתְּחִלָּתוֹ וְעַד סוֹפוֹ הוּא צַדִּיק. הֲתִיבוּן לֵיהּ (they arked him) וְהָכְתִיב (יחזקאל לג, כד): אֶחָד הָיָה אַבְרָהָם וַיִּירַשׁ אֶת הָאָרֶץ, מֵעַתָּה הוּא תְּחִלָּתוֹ וְהוּא סוֹפוֹ. אֲמַר לְהוֹן אַף הִיא לָא תַבְרָא,
(Even this is not a question) דְּהָא רַבִּי לֵוִי בְּשֵׁם רֵישׁ לָקִישׁ אָמַר בֶּן שָׁלשׁ שָׁנִים הִכִּיר אַבְרָהָם אֶת בּוֹרְאוֹ וכו’,
I think that the answer for Rebi Yochanan is that he is learning like Reb Levi in the name of Resh Lakish that Avrohon recognized Hashem at three years old. When Avrohom first had understanding of the world around him at three years old, he recognized Hashem, Before three he was too young to understand good and evil, life, and the society around him. Therefore we are within our rights to say that Avrohom was a Tzaddik from the beginning of his life, when he had דעת to discern between good and evil, which was when he turned three.
The Medresh continues:
רַבִּי חֲנִינָא וְרַבִּי יוֹחָנָן תַּרְוֵיהוֹן אָמְרִין בֶּן אַרְבָּעִים וּשְׁמוֹנֶה שָׁנָה הִכִּיר אַבְרָהָם אֶת בּוֹרְאוֹ, וּמַה אֲנִי מְקַיֵּם הָיָה, שֶׁהָיָה מְתֻקָּן לְהַדְרִיךְ כָּל הָעוֹלָם כֻּלּוֹ בִּתְשׁוּבָה. (בראשית ג, כב): הֵן הָאָדָם הָיָה, מְתֻקָּן לְמִיתָה, נָחָשׁ (בראשית ג, א): הָיָה, מְתֻקָּן לְפֻרְעָנוּת, קַיִן (בראשית ד, ב): הָיָה, מְתֻקָּן לְגָלוּת, אִיּוֹב (איוב א, א): הָיָה, מְתֻקָּן לְיִסּוּרִין, נֹחַ הָיָה, מְתֻקָּן לַנֵּס, משֶׁה (שמות ג, א): הָיָה, מְתֻקָּן לַגּוֹאֵל, מָרְדְּכַי (אסתר ב, ה): הָיָה, מְתֻקָּן לִגְאֻלָּה. רַבִּי לֵוִי וְרַבָּנָן, רַבִּי לֵוִי אָמַר כָּל מִי שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בּוֹ הָיָה, רָאָה עוֹלָם חָדָשׁ
However according to רַבִּי חֲנִינָא וְרַבִּי יוֹחָנָן you cannot answer as we just did, because they say that Avrohom recognized Hashem at 48. Therefore we cannot say that Avrohom was a Tzadik מִתְּחִלָּתוֹ וְעַד סוֹפוֹ. Therefore they have a different understanding of the word הָיָה to mean מְתֻקָּן – predestined. They also re-interpret the הָיָה of Noah to mean he was predestined to be saved.
The Artscroll said that it seems we have a contradiction in Reb Yochanan. They change the first Reb Yochanan to Reb Yehonason.
Who was Noah’s grandfather, מְתוּשֶׁ֗לַח – Methuselah. Rashi on Verse 7:4 says – “ FOR YET SEVEN DAYS — These are the seven days of mourning for the righteous man Methuselah for whose honour the Holy One, blessed be He, had regard, and therefore postponed punishment. Go and calculate the years of Methuselah and you will find that they came to an end (i. e. he died) in the six hundredth year of Noah’s life (which coincided with the date of the Flood) (Sanhedrin 108b).”
We see that Noah’s grandfather Methuselah was a righteous man. What about his father – Lemach.
Comes along the Netziv in his Sefer Hemach Dover on last week’s Sedra and say beautifully:
ממעשנו ומעצבון ידינו. שהיה קשה על למך הצדיק לראות מעשה בני דורו הרשעים ולא יכול להושיע וראה ברוה״ק שבימי בנו ינוחו מרשעות כאלה. וזהו ממעשינו ועוד באשר נשתנה דרך כל בשר וטבעו כמו שיבואר להלן ו׳ י״ב. וע״כ לא יכלו להשתמש בבהמת הארץ כפי הטבע. וא״כ היו מוכרחים לעמול הרבה בידיהם. וראה ברוה״ק שבימי נח ישוב הטבע למקומה. וזהו משמעות ומעצבון ידינו. ואח״כ פי׳ הכתוב מלשון תנחומין:
Lemech was also a Tzaddik. Look how the Netziv phrases the righteousness of Lemech. “It was difficult for Lemech the righteous one to see the evil actions of his generation and he was not able to save them.” Lemach tried but was unsuccessful. More than that the Torah says the Lemech saw with the Holy Spirit say that in the times of Noah, the world will have relief (comfort) from ממעשנו – our wicked ways. He included himself with his generation, even though he was not at fault, he was a Tzaddik. This is true greatness that he included himself with them because it was his generation and he was their leader, his responsibility. He could not see that the relief would come with wiping out the entire generation.
Now we see that Noah was born to a grandfather who was a Tzaddik and a father who was a Tzaddik. This fits in beautifully with the first Reb Yochanan in the Medresh that Noah was a Tzaddik from the beginning of his life to the end. (Avrohom was the son of an idol worshipper.)
Comes along the Kotzker and says it cannot be that Avrohom sat for 48 years and did nothing. After all Avrohom was able to understand by himself the existence of Hashem, which is tremendous greatness and does not happen overnight.
The Kotzker therefore says that you must say that during those first 48 years of life Avrohom was searching with his mind and delving into the existence of a creator until he reached 48 years old when he recognized his creator.
You could say that the Kotzker is explaining a point that he felt had to be made according to רַבִּי חֲנִינָא וְרַבִּי יוֹחָנָן תַּרְוֵיהוֹן אָמְרִין בֶּן אַרְבָּעִים וּשְׁמוֹנֶה שָׁנָה. That the Kotzker Vort does not impact on the Medresh, the Kotzker is making a side point.
Or I think more probable you could say that the Kotzker is arguing with the Medresh. Whereas the Midrash says that Avrohom was not a Tzaddik for the beginning of his life to the end, the Kotzker is saying that he was a Tzadick מִתְּחִלָּתוֹ וְעַד סוֹפוֹ. Avrohom’s 48 year search is part of his righteousness. The search is Tzidkus. Thus the first Reb Yochanan works even with the second Reb Yochanan that Avrohom became a Tzadik at 48 years old.
The Rest of Shabbos:
Told over the above Torah to Rabbi Ayreh Bassman.
Had the lunch Shabbos meal at Daniel and Chayale Glenner’s house. I got to know their kids.
From Daniel, I went to Rabbi Revah, my Rebbe to tell him the above Torah.
Decided to walk to my daughter’s house. My kids were at her husband’s sister’s son’s bar Mitzvah. At least I got a nice long walk.
On the way there I played and excelled at Jewish Geography. I met:
- Gila Enbinder, her husband and their two kids. She is Mispacha to me. She is from Toronto. Gila’s sister, Dalya, was best friends with my niece, Aleasha, in high school at Bais Yaakov and Ulpana. More importantly Dalya is a sister-in-law to Aleasha. They are married to brothers.
- Met Mrs. Peirson (?) who was born and grew up in Phoenix, AZ. She knows the Rebibo family including Joel Rebibo, my Yeshivas Toras Chaim, Denver, CO classmate. The father, Rabbi Rebibo, was the leading Rov in Phoenix. His son, Joel, is an editor at Hamodia. Joel is Mizrachi and works for Hamodia. Previously he was an editor for the Jerusalem post. Joel Rebibo was someone who you knew in high school was destined for great things. After not seeing him since our high school graduation in 1971, I met him in 2015, when I was visiting my daughter in seminary. We had a great reunion on the veranda of my sister’s place at Wolfson in Jerusalem.
- Met the son of Rabbi Hollander from LA. Rabbi Hollander lived in Chicago and was involved with a Kiruv organization. I knew him then. He moved out to LA and raised his family in LA. I met Rabbi Hollander in LA about 20 years ago. He was Rabbi of the Young Israel of Venice Beach and started Emek, a Yeshiva located in Culver City. They have since moved. My cousin’s kid went there for high school.