Few people in recent history inspired as much awe and respect as the legendary rabbi of Brisk, Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin. His brilliance was legend. His kindness unrivaled. His steadfastness admired and unmatched. It was said that he could look at a tree and know how many leaves it had. His knowledge of the vast realm of Torah literature was encyclopedic. His power of reasoning was phenomenal. At the same time, his home was the headquarters of kindness. Whenever an individual or family was in need, there would be a knock on his door, and either he or the rebbetzin hurried to help. And more than once, their responses put them into serious personal danger in the notoriously anti-Semitic land of the czars. As Brisker Rav, Rabbi Diskin towered above his peers, but the most glorious chapters of his life were written when he settled in Jerusalem. He never held a position in the Holy City, but the life of its traditional community inevitably came to be involved around him. He did not seek disciples, but they gravitated to him. And as Jerusalem came under spiritual siege, he became its field marshal. During those closing years of the nineteenth century, Jerusalem's economically deprived Jews were fair game for those who offered pots of gold and badly needed recognition in exchange for nothing more than "small changes: and "minor compromises" Into the breach stepped Reb Yehoshuah Leib. His brilliant mind pierced the smoke screens of deceit. His fiery sincerity became the source of strength to those who resisted. This reticent man who fled the spotlight became the defender of the faith, radiating a clarity that defined the parameters of principle and showed the way for many generations of its champions. It won him the adoration of his followers, and the respect of his antagonists. This book tells his story, as a man as a symbol of courage and truth. It is a warm and exciting story. it is the story of the Old Yishuv courageously defending its way of life. A story whose echoes are felt even in our day.
by Menachem Mendel
Translated by Shaindel Weinbach