The Ninja Rabbi
By Menachem Ziegelboim
He was an expert in ninjitsu and
was miraculously saved on a highway in Germany before learning Chassidus and
establishing a Chabad empire in Yerushalayim * Rabbi Tamir Kastiel, Chassid of
the Rebbe MH"M, publicizes the news of the Rebbe’s imminent revelation
Perhaps it is his captivating
charm that explains his tremendous success in the Katamon neighborhood of
Yerushalayim. He has been there for only three years now and has thus far built
a Chassidic empire that would bring pride to even longtime shluchim.
Tamir Kastiel was raised in a
traditional family in Ramat HaSharon. At age 13 he began studying the Japanese
martial art called ninjitsu under the tutelage of his expert older brother.
After serving in the army he joined his brother who had opened an institute for
ninjitsu in Germany. He spent a year there and did well in business, and then
returned to Eretz Yisroel.
"Ninjitsu is like
karate," explains Tamir, "except it’s much more deadly. The point is
to increase one’s mastery over the body by improving one’s movements and by
deriving the maximum potential from the body’s strength."
Tamir didn’t spend much time
in Germany. After what happened to him there he felt that he was being told to
leave: "I was driving from Munich to a business exhibition in Stuttgart. It
was a long trip and at some point I woke up in some village on the side of the
road while the car was still moving! Till this day I have no idea how I got
there, and if I fell asleep, how I didn’t end up in an accident."
Shortly thereafter he left for
Eretz Yisroel. His brother had started putting on t’fillin following a
discovery in Japanese scrolls which had been written 700 years before, in which
it said that the principles of ninjitsu had been developed by two families
"from the land of Judah," who had fled Eretz Yisroel 1400 years before
and had arrived in Japan. Following his brother, he began taking an interest in
Judaism and putting on t’fillin.
When he returned to Eretz
Yisroel he went to the Chabad house in Hertzeliya and became a student of Rabbi
Yisroel Halperin. He enjoyed the classes and soon moved on to the yeshiva
in Kfar Chabad, where he married his wife, Noah [see the story of his marriage
in the Miracle Story in this issue, click
here], and continued his studies in the kollel at Raanana.
When you visit the Lubavitch yeshiva
established in Katamon, you encounter a huge sign which says: "Yeshivas
Chabad Katamon Yerushalayim, Under the Leadership of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
Melech HaMoshiach. Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu V’Rabbeinu Melech HaMoshiach L’Olam
I didn’t hide my amazement.
Was it necessary to greet every new student with this perhaps imposing sign?
Tamir smiled and said, "It
was when I was first getting involved in Yiddishkeit. One day I received a flyer
that was being distributed in the hundreds of thousands by Rabbi Yigal Hoshiar.
The flyer called on every Jew to accept the Rebbe’s malchus. I was very
taken by this paper. I said to myself that if people were so certain that the
Rebbe is Moshiach, then it must be true, and that if I didn’t join I would be
"Another thing I realized
later was that when you say the truth simply and sincerely, the words penetrate
the hearts of the listeners and they are accepted. That’s the reason for the
big sign, which simply announces that in this yeshiva there are students
who willingly accept the Rebbe’s leadership."
After the couple married, they
moved to Katamon. This wasn’t an easy period in Tamir’s life. He had left
the Chabad community in Hertzeliya, which had been a hothouse of Yiddishkeit,
Chassidus and Moshiach for him, and had arrived in Katamon, a neighborhood with
no Chabad community and where the subject of Moshiach was kept under wraps.
He wrote to the Rebbe and the
answer he received through the Igros Kodesh is one he’ll never forget.
The letter was to Tzeirei Agudas Chabad of Yerushalayim, and the Rebbe
instructed them how to do hafatzas ha’Yahadus. Tamir saw clear
direction in this answer. The Rebbe even added that he was given the ability to
be mashpia and, therefore, had to use these abilities for hafatzas ha’Yahadus.
Each word in the letter seemed to be written especially for him, and he
displayed his great abilities in a relatively short time.
After working for a year at the
Chabad house in Gilo under the shaliach Rabbi Hirsch Farber, he decided
to open his own Chabad house in Katamon and to begin work. He got the go-ahead
from Merkaz Tzach and got started.
* * *
Katamon borders on Pat,
Armon HaNetziv, Rechavia, and Rasko. Katamon itself is divided into two parts,
Old Katamon and Katamonim, with Old Katamon bordering on the exclusive Rechavia
neighborhood. It too has many well-to-do residents. Katamonim on the other hand
is a lower class neighborhood with many social misfits.
When I arrived in the
afternoon, the neighborhood was completely quiet despite the ten thousand
families there. Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel Street, where the yeshiva is,
is a quiet street with bungalows.
There used to be a nice Chabad
presence in the neighborhood. After Katamon was captured from the Arabs, a
wealthy Jew bought the old Iraqi embassy building and opened a Chabad shul there.
With the passing of time and fewer Chabad families, the building today houses a
number of shtiblech.
The neighborhood has a shul
which is run by Rabbi Avrohom Chaviv, who focuses his activities on French
speaking people, along with his brother Yitzchok. There are a few Chabad
families in the neighborhood. Until two years ago the neighborhood was under the
leadership of the Chassid Rabbi Eliezrov, a’h.
"It all began at the
initiative of Rabbi Shlomo Shmeida who did a lot of work here before I
arrived," explained Tamir. "He worked devotedly and also began a
registration drive for a nursery school.
"The first project I did
in the neighborhood was to continue the preparations for the opening of the
nursery school. Those who know what’s involved in opening a school will
understand that this project in my first year of work here was a big
Despite the great difficulties,
the Chabad house worked on registering the neighborhood children as Tamir looked
for a suitable place for the school. The opening of a school is dependent on two
factors: registering enough students and finding suitable quarters. Without the
requisite number of students the municipality won’t approve a building, and
without a building the parents won’t register their children. Tamir had to
deal with these two problems and it wasn’t simple.
He began searching for a
building the first week. "I walked from street to street looking for a
building. Whenever I passed someone I asked whether they knew of a suitable
building. I finally found a building which had housed a nursery school and I
asked the municipality for it. Their answer was delayed.
"Shortly thereafter I
heard that another building which had housed a nursery school in the nearby
neighborhood of Pat, was available and I asked for that building, too.
Throughout this time I received encouraging answers from the Rebbe through the Igros
"When I arrived at the
office of one of the municipal officers responsible for buildings, he said to me
with a smile, ‘I heard you know ninjitsu and I realize that if I don’t give
you a building you’ll break my desk, right?’ I said ‘right!’ with a big
smile, and that’s how our friendship began, in the course of which he received
several ninjitsu lessons."
Preparations continued with
difficulties. A few days before school was to begin, they learned that the
building that was offered to them was not available. Tamir remained undaunted
and he wrote to the Rebbe. The answer he received was clear, ‘the merit of the
children helps him.’ Tamir realized he still had a chance and he wrote another
letter to the Rebbe saying that since there were two suitable buildings
available, he was asking that the two buildings be used for future Chabad
schools. Once again he received a clear answer, ‘whoever adds, is added to.’
A week before the new school
year when he still didn’t have either building, Ramir received a phone call
from the education department of the city. "How many nursery schools do you
need, one or two?" Tamir remembered the Rebbe’s bracha and
"How many children are
registered?" asked the official.
At the time there were only 25
children registered, a number which would make it hard to obtain even one
"After I got the
buildings, city workers came and stripped them, leaving not even one chair
behind. Time passed and I had to get the place fixed up. At the same time we
made superhuman efforts to obtain suitable nursery school equipment, the proper
teachers, and to register another twenty-five children – all in one
One week later the two Chabad
schools opened in Katamon with fifty children. Tamir got the money he needed
from a loan he received from the Reshet and from gifts he received at his son’s
bris and pidyon ha’ben at that time.
Although Tamir and Shlomo
Shemeida overcame the difficulties involved in opening the schools, each year
there were new problems. I visited them in the final days before school began
this year and preparations were at their height, along with the difficulties.
In addition to the nursery
schools, the education ministry gave numerous benefits to the nursery schools
opened by the Dor Shalom movement. If that wasn’t enough, Shas also opened its
own nursery schools and received tremendous benefits. Workers from the Misnagdic
organization Lev L’Achim visited all the parents who had children in the
Chabad schools and besmirched Chabad and tried to convince them to remove their
children from the schools.
"Despite the quarrels, the
enticements and the difficulties, we had a nice registration and this year too
both schools are full," said a satisfied Tamir. "It’s all thanks to
our yeshiva boys who, along with boys from Tzfas, went from house to
house and convinced the parents to continue sending us their children."
Tamir thinks that the reason
the parents want their children in Chabad schools is because they want authentic
Judaism. "The parents want their children in religious schools. They want a
melamed. They want separate programs for boys and girls, and they want
the best Torah atmosphere."
How do you explain that?
"I imagine that when they
see what’s going on in the street, they fear for their children."
"I recently visited the
home of one of the mothers who told me that her son comes from gan and
asks to make Kiddush on Shabbos, or he brings her a cup of water and asks
her to wash his hands in the morning or before eating. At first the mother didn’t
cooperate, but since she wanted to please him she agreed to help him. Today she
covers her hair."
Besides the schools, the
routine outreach programs in Katamon have expanded. The camps grew as did the
Tzivos Hashem clubs. Mivtza t’fillin is also done on a large scale.
Tamir brought another shaliach to the neighborhood, Doron Oren, who
quickly joined in the work and is broadening the scope of their activities
tremendously. Doron devotedly organizes the many Chabad house activities.
"In the past two years
Doron has made connections with all the neighborhood schools, and has brought
thousands of children to our programs. The Chabad camp in Katamon was the
largest Chabad camp in Yerushalayim this year," says Tamir, proud of the
accomplishments of the fledgling Chabad house.
However Tamir doesn’t rest on
his laurels. He opened a chesed organization for the needy. Before yomim
tovim he distributes food to needy families in Katamon Ches and Tes
and in Pat. Before Pesach over five tons of food was distributed.
A year ago they started a soup
kitchen in which hot meals are distributed daily. Those who need it come for a
hot, nourishing meal. The soup kitchen serves to increase the esteem of the
Tamir also opened a yeshiva,
which we will get to shortly, and all this in only three years! I couldn’t
help but be amazed.
How did you manage to get
yourself started and to expand your activities like this in only three years?
"It’s all the Rebbe’s brachos
which we receive with every step we take." He also credits the shluchim
who work at the Chabad house, and thanks the members of the administration who
are active in everything that goes on at the Chabad house, particularly Rabbi
Yisroel Halperin, and Rabbi Yisroel Brod, the director of branch support of
Tzach through whom the Chabad house’s financial base was established.
* * *
Word of Tamir’s success
reached a woman who lives in Ramat Gan, who attends Rabbi Mutty Gal’s classes.
Her father, who had lived in Katamon, had died, leaving behind a carpentry
workshop which he said should be used as a shul after he died. Hearing
about Chabad’s work in Katamon, his daughter contacted the Chabad house and
donated the place so that a shul could be built there.
Tamir and Shmeida cleaned it up
and turned it into a beautiful shul. (Tamir relates an amusing incident
about the shul. "When we removed the planks of wood from the wall, I
found a kameia, a Kabbalistic charm, associated with the Chida, which the
carpenter had apparently received from a tzaddik. On the kameia was
written the word "Kastiel.")
Before very long, Tamir,
together with the others, decided the time had come to establish a yeshiva
in the neighborhood, one which would acquaint young people with Yiddishkeit.
This decision was made at a farbrengen at the home of R’ Shlomo Kalisch,
a supporter of the yeshiva and a member of the board of the Chabad house
since its inception. Shlomo Kalisch provided the funding and that, plus a
sizable donation from Rabbi Meir Gutnick, put the yeshiva on its feet.
"Just at that time I came across a photocopy of a sicha of the
Rebbe. On the page, the words, "Dear shaliach, when will you open a
Yeshivas Tomchei Tmimim in your area," was written in large letters. This
page, along with the resolution we had made, inspired me to open the yeshiva."
Throughout the time preceding
the opening of the yeshiva, Tamir received clear answers from the Rebbe
about the yeshiva. The first answer he received was to "open a
Yeshivas Achei Tmimim in Rishon L’Tzion." In the letter, the Rebbe wished
him tremendous success.
"The problems we had in opening the yeshiva testified to its
importance and necessity. Here too, the clear answer we received from the Rebbe
in the Igros Kodesh gave us the strength and energy to push ourselves.
The Rebbe’s answer was about a Chabad school in the Minchat neighborhood in
Yerushalayim. The Rebbe instructed them not only not to close the classes in the
school but to expand the numbers, since the neighborhood would develop and host
many new residents. The Minchat area which the Rebbe was referring to in the
letter, is the present day Katamon neighborhood...
On the 2nd of Iyar 5759, the yeshiva
opened with only one student and four or five staff members. Three months later
there were 13 students. Chabad house directors around the country who heard
about the yeshiva sent their mekuravim there.
"We felt a real need to
open a yeshiva which would incorporate a structured program of learning
as well as full room and board," explains Tamir. "I know that Chabad
houses, and people in the field have been begging for this for a long time. Baruch
Hashem, we were able to open such an important institution, something which
further established our work here and which will help when being mekarev
young people at Chabad houses in other cities.
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok
Wilschansky was extremely helpful in setting up the yeshiva. He sent shluchim
to support the yeshiva and he helped both b’gashmiyus and b’ruchniyus,
as did Rabbi Yehoshua Yuzevitch.
The shiurim are
advanced, yet appropriate for beginners. They are given by: Rabbi Avrohom
Chaviv, Rabbi Uri Kanterowitz, Rabbi Shaul Rosenblatt, and Rabbi Moshe Veiner.
The mashgiach is Rabbi Dovid Laufer (who has helped the yeshiva
progress tremendously). Another key player in getting the yeshiva off the
ground is Rabbi Menachem Segal. Rabbi Noam Yisroel Harpaz serves as the rosh
yeshiva and mashpia.
* * *
Rabbi Harpaz is a special
individual who has a fascinating life story. He grew up in Givatayim in a
liberal home where his Jewish observance was extremely minimal. "We just
about had Shabbos candles and a Pesach seider, but nothing else."
At 15 he began taking an
interest in spiritual matters. His desires were positive but the direction he
took was misguided. He studied yoga and meditation, and took on an extreme
vegetarian diet. He went to various cults in order to fill his spiritual hunger.
Givatayim at that time was the central location for these cults.
"It was 5736. My hair was
down to my back and I wore torn jeans and earrings. I looked like a strange
creature in the streets of the city. In Tel Aviv’s central bus station I
passed by Rabbi Avrohom Lisson’s t’fillin stand, and the bachurim standing
there asked me in English if I was Jewish. They didn’t even dream that I was
an Israeli. I said no and walked on.
"As I walked, I was
bothered by my saying no to their question. I was 16-17 years old. I didn’t
know what I really wanted, but I knew that I sought spirituality and was ready
to go all the way for it."
About a year later, Noam’s
brother was bar mitzva. Rabbi Chaim Tzadok of Bnei Brak prepared him by
coming to the house a few times a week. Each time he came he said something nice
"At that time you couldn’t
talk to me about Judaism, but it seems that each time he said something to me,
it made an impression," recalls Rabbi Harpaz today, twenty-five years
The Shabbos of the bar
mitzva, Parshas Ki Seitzei, Rabbi Tzadok came from Bnei Brak to
Givatayim wearing his sirtuk and Chabad tallis. He was drenched in
sweat. When he entered the house he turned to Noam and said, "Noam, come,
we’re going to the beit knesset." Young Noam sat near Rabbi Tzadok
during the davening. "He opened a siddur for me and showed me
how to daven."
"Something happened to me
at that davening. I was really into it, to the point that after the davening
my mother approached me and asked what had happened to me, for all the older
women said Noam was davening like a dati (religious person).
"I was drawn by the t’filla
and I realized that I had to seek out Judaism. A week later I went to Kfar
Chabad in order to learn what it was like to be religious. I stayed with Rabbi
Zalman Gafni, and each day I went to yeshiva and learned with the bachurim.
"My breaking point came
during the Chassidus class, about a week after I had arrived at the yeshiva.
I spoke with Rabbi Yitzchok Elishevitz, who today is the mashpia in
Kiryat Gat. He was a deep bachur who learned assiduously. He was always
withdrawn and never got up from his seat or spoke to anyone while in the middle
of learning. We had a deep philosophical discussion and the bottom line was that
it is impossible to dance at two weddings at once, and the time had come to make
"On the one hand I felt I
was losing everything I had till that point, but I had nothing else to fill the
inner void. I went outside and walked the streets of Kfar Chabad for a few hours
until I went to R’ Zalman’s house. When his wife saw me she realized
something had happened and she served me cookies and a drink.
"In the morning I got up
as a new person. The Modeh Ani that morning was a Chabadnik’s. In one
stormy night a change had taken place within me and in Cheshvan I joined the yeshiva
as any other bachur."
That is the story of Rabbi Noam
Harpaz, today the rosh yeshiva and mashpia of the Chabad yeshiva
in Katamon. He joined the yeshiva a year ago and since then has helped
the yeshiva move forward.
* * *
About twenty students learn at
the yeshiva. They come from all over the country. Some of them were sent
by directors of Chabad houses and some sought Judaism on their own. There are
also a couple bachurim who became interested in Judaism in Thailand and
were sent here to learn.
"The purpose of this yeshiva,"
explains Rabbi Noam Harpaz, "is to offer a second chance to bachurim
who never had the opportunity to learn about Judaism. It helps them fill the
gaps in their knowledge of Judaism and Chassidus."
The program is the same as any
Tomchei Tmimim yeshiva. When I arrived to visit the yeshiva, the zal
was full of bachurim. Rabbi Shaul Rosenblatt was giving a halacha
shiur and they all sat around him.
"Don’t you have a bein
ha’zmanim (intercession)," I asked Rabbi Harpaz.
"We have no bein ha’zmanim,"
he answered firmly.
Although there are boys who
come to the yeshiva with little knowledge of Yiddishkeit, for there are
those who "don’t know the difference between a Chumash and a Kitzur
Shulchan Aruch," they quickly get into the learning. They learn Gemara,
Chassidus, and halacha, and it’s all on a deep and intensive level.
The yeshiva has a kvutza
of bachurim/shluchim who learn Yoreh Dei’a and help the
other students in their studies of nigleh and Chassidus. The day’s
learning begins at 7:30 and ends late at night. The mesechtos learned are
the same as in all other Chabad yeshivos.
In addition to the learning,
the boys participate in the programs and projects that take place in the
neighborhood. They recently went from door to door to register children for the
nursery school, and on Fridays they set up t’fillin stands. They attend
various events and help people write to the Rebbe and receive answers in the Igros
"We recently started a
campaign in which each bachur has to make sure he has ten mushpaim
in the neighborhood to meet with."
* * *
In reference to the giant
Moshiach sign mentioned above, I asked Rabbi Noam Harpaz, the rosh
yeshiva, on behalf of many others who wonder:
If someone comes to the yeshiva
to learn Yiddishkeit, is this the message he ought to receive –
Moshiach? Why not teach him to say "Modeh Ani" or other basic
Rabbi Noam Harpaz:
"First of all, they do learn everything, including a deep understanding of halacha,
Chassidus presented in a methodical way and explained properly, and Gemara too,
like any other yeshiva.
"Secondly, the only
remaining avoda is to prepare others to greet Moshiach. Geula and
Moshiach are the inner core of all of avodas Hashem. So when we have a farbrengen,
shiurim, or talks with the students, it all revolves around Moshiach and Geula."
Does the fact that some people
seem to find it hard to accept this message create any difficulties?
"Concluding that people can’t accept it is an outgrowth of the
inadequacies of the one giving over the message. ‘Ofen ha’miskabel’
is a rule for the mashpia not for the mekabel, because the fact is
the message can be accepted, it’s just that the one giving over the
message has to find the right way of doing so. If you speak words that come from
your heart, they enter the heart. If you speak with emuna and bitachon,
and bolster what you say with the Rebbe’s sichos and maamarei Chazal
and miracle stories and practical directives, it is accepted."
"Answers through the Igros
Kodesh, for example, are a supernatural phenomenon. Rational people might
not accept them. For years now I’ve been giving a Chassidus class in the
office of the treasury in Yerushalayim for the employees there. Officials
approach me and ask me for help in understanding answers in the Igros Kodesh.
I discovered that they go to the Internet site of the Chabad house of Shikun Hei
in Bnei Brak, where you can write to the Rebbe and get an answer through the Igros
Kodesh, and they get amazing answers.
"I can tell you that
dozens of these people have since bought themselves a Chitas, changed mezuzos
and t’fillin, and taken on various mitzvos according to
answers they receive in the Igros Kodesh. When they don’t understand
something, they bring it to me. I guess the Rebbe enters government offices even
through the back door...
"We have to do our work b’ofen
ha’miskabel and the Rebbe knows how to make it accepted in people’s
don’t postpone the bris to save
R’ Tamir Kastiel tells about
how the bachurim help people write to the Rebbe: I was sitting in my
office at the Chabad house one day when I got a phone call from one of the bachurim.
He was visiting a hospital where he met a friend who told him that his wife
needed a Caesarean section operation. The bachur was calling so that we
could write a letter to the Rebbe on her behalf. On the spot we wrote the
letter. The answer we got was written to a pregnant woman. The Rebbe blessed her
that "Hashem complete the days of her pregnancy properly and easily."
About a week later, Ofer Avret,
one of our students, was sitting in the office. He’s a mechanical engineer who
learns part time and works at the Chabad house part time. The phone rang and it
was the husband, who said he had had twins and he wanted the Rebbe to tell him
what to name them. The bachur didn’t know that the Rebbe didn’t get
involved in these matters and he wrote a letter and placed it in the Igros
The answer was to someone who
had had twins, but one of the twins was small and the bris had to be
postponed. In order to save money, the father decided to wait until both boys
could be circumcised so he could make a joint celebration. The Rebbe, in his
letter, negated this plan, and wrote that he should make the first bris on
time while waiting for the second baby. Then as far as the name, the Rebbe said
that this was up to the parents for it is a "small prophecy," and he
didn’t want to mix in.
The man on the phone was
stunned by the Rebbe’s answer for he too had decided to postpone making the
first baby’s bris until the second baby was ready!
ONE OF MANY MIRACLES
R’ Tamir Kastiel relates,
"Two and a half years ago we opened a day camp together with the local
community center. One day I saw the director of the center looking upset. I
asked what had happened, but he didn’t want to talk. I realized it was a
personal problem and I suggested that he write to the Rebbe and ask for his bracha.
He did as I suggested and opened the Igros Kodesh to a letter in which
the Rebbe blessed a woman with zara chaya v’kayama (healthy children)
and that the birth be an easy one. On the same page there was another letter in
which the Rebbe blesses someone on the birth of a son.
I didn’t probe him to explain
the answers, but I could see that he was moved. He finally decided to tell me
his problem. His wife was in an advanced stage of pregnancy and the doctors had
told her that the baby was not okay and that she had to abort. The doctors
frightened them and they didn’t know what to do. Now that he had gotten the
Rebbe’s bracha, he saw that the Rebbe related directly to the issue
that was bothering him. I also encouraged him and said not to rush to listen to
the doctors, and I told him the various segulos the Rebbe gave a woman in
A few months later he called me
from the delivery room and told me his wife had given birth to a son. Since that
time he has been one of our biggest helpers in our educational work, both
through the center and in the community at large. This past Tishrei, he and some
others traveled with me to 770.
The Rebbe’s helping hand in
The yeshiva was in the
news recently, though the reason wasn’t exactly a positive one. Nevertheless,
R’ Tamir Kastiel sees the Rebbe’s helping hand in this, too.
"Lately, all the Igros
I get have to do with advertising the yeshiva or increasing the number of
students. Whatever we ask, it makes no difference what the subject is, the
answers always have to do with the talmidim."
So what did the newspapers and
radio have to say about the yeshiva? One of the boys who learned at the yeshiva
was in an accident a few years ago. Just a few months ago he received a large
sum of money in compensation. When he saw how R’ Tamir was struggling
financially, he offered a loan. When the time was up, the loan was repaid and
shortly thereafter he offered a nice donation.
The boy’s family was furious,
for they wanted his money. Why on earth did he give it to a yeshiva?!
They announced that he wasn’t normal and that the yeshiva
administration had fooled him out of tens of thousands of shekel ostensibly on
behalf of the yeshiva, but which they actually pocketed.
"He was an outstanding
student," says R’ Tamir, and Rabbi Harpaz nodded in agreement. "He
was studious and kept the sedarim. He ran mesibos Shabbos for
forty children and gave a weekly class in the local old-age home. He was very
responsible and made steady progress. He learned here for a year and we never
thought him to be insane."
The police got involved and the
situation turned ugly and scandalous. Policemen visited the boys’ dormitory
building in the middle of the night without a search warrant. They looked for
the bachur but didn’t find him. The boy’s brother attacked one of the
Rabbi Kastiel and Rabbi Harpaz
received a summons to a police investigation a month ago. They grilled Rabbi
Harpaz for four hours and Rabbi Kastiel for seven hours straight, without
allowing them to eat or drink. The interrogation was deliberately intimidating
with the police using threats, scare tactics, curses, lies, and defamation of
their names and character.
During the investigation, the
police publicized the case to all the papers, radio, and television, for the
purpose of pressuring the roshei yeshiva and besmirching their name.
Meanwhile, they were forbidden to talk because after all, they were in the
middle of an investigation.
"We were defamed without
being able to respond," complains Rabbi Kastiel. "We couldn’t say
anything to the journalists who came to the yeshiva, except for telling
them about the yeshiva, its purpose and goals.
"Suddenly I realized that
after I had received many answers from the Rebbe about advertising the yeshiva
which I didn’t do, events were orchestrated from Above so that the yeshiva
got plenty of publicity – even if it was not to our liking."