11 Thoughts and Sayings of Rav Simcha Wasserman zt”l


    By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5tjt.com

    Photograph by Harry Green – Los Angeles, CA – 2020. 

    Rav Simcha Wasserman zt”l (1899-1992) was the son of Rav Elchonon Wasserman zt”l and was told to stay in the United States to improve the level of Chinuch in America.  He established Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon in Los Angeles and helped create a Torah infrastructure on the west coast.

    1. There are times, such as Mitzvah HaBa B’aveirah, where even though a stolen item may be technically permitted – one should still be concerned about our children learning from us – and we should rather distance ourselves as much as possible from even an appearance of theft [see Sukkah 30a]. (Ben Shmonim LaGvurah p.64)
    2. There is no greater zchus for a neshama than to have Torah learning going on in a Yeshiva on his account (heard from Rav Simcha zt”l by author).
    3. There is a mathematical principle called the Law of Noncontradiction where something is proven by demonstrating that the alternative is an absurdity. The same is true regarding Emunah Bashem – we can indirectly prove that anything else is an absurdity. (RSS 113)
    4. Generally speaking, the Chofetz Chaim was entirely unaware of what kalos rosh even was – yet when people made laitzanus of Avodah zara, his mouth would fill with laughter (Hishbati Eschem p. 142).
    5. Hashem created mankind in a manner that one person cannot provide for all his needs by himself. Each person both consumes and produces.  A person is obligated to prepare himself a means of producing.  If we only consume and not produce – we are parasites. (RSS p.79)
    6. The Gemorah in Yuma 19b says, “v’dibarta bam – and not in Dvarim b’tailim.” My father used to say, “Surely there is important information out there that is of tremendous import and benefit to mankind.  Why are they called “Dvarim B’teilim?”  The answer is that just like the current science has entirely dismissed much of what Aristotle had postulated in science – so too will much of the current science also be dismissed.  They are thus considered “Dvarim B’teilim when contrasted to the Torah which is truly Eternal (Rav Shachna Zohn zt”l, Kuntrus Kavod Torah p. 3 who heard it from Rav Simcha zt”l)
    7. When learning Torah, if we are not aware that this is the very same Torah that was given to us at Har Sinai – then we have taken the life out of it. (RSS p.60).
    8. Hashem wanted to ensure that the makos were effective and so He made sure that the yidden were unaffected by the vast majority of the makos. Yet regarding Makas Bchoros millions of Yidden died.  Pharoah was very smart.  Why didn’t makos bechoros lessen the effect of the Makah?  The answer is that Pharoah did not actually see it and thus it did not lessen the effect. (Told to Rav Yitzchok Summers of Anshei Emes of Los Angeles, CA)
    9. Torah provides us with inspiration. Wherever there is learning of Torah, there is inspiration.  There is light.  There is Jewish and Torah continuity (RSS p. 55)
    10. Rav Simcha once met someone in Kiruv on a college campus – wearing a Star Wars shirt and cap.  He told him, “The minhag on a ship is that the captain throws a line to someone drowning.  He does not jump in the water himself.”  (Heard from Rabbi Aryeh Eliezer Striks who was present)
    11. Hashem gave women a very strong sense of intuition or Binah in order that mothers will be able to communicate with their infants and to feel and understand his or her needs. (RSS p. 71)

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    1. I was close to Rabbi Wasserman from the time I was in LA, then we were neighbors in Mattersdorf. He was a truly great man who cared not for his own honor but only to help others.
      One time in LA, he told me, when he walks into the Beis Medresh, the bochrim stand up for him to honor him, but the ones who honor him most, he said, were the ones who were so involved in their learning that they did not see him come in.
      It was a tremendous zechus for me to know a godal like him, who did not put any weight on being a gadol, other than helping out others.


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