The years between 1948 and 1951 witnessed a huge migration of Jews to the shores of the Land of Israel. This influx began at a time when Israel was in the throes of its greatest struggle for survival, the War of Independence, and continued throughout a period troubled by both security concerns and economic hardship. In the mid-1950s, a second wave arrived in Israel. The immigrants of the country’s first decade radically altered the demographic landscape of Israeli society and religious education, for the children of these immigrants was imperative. Many of the g’dolim took up the challenge creating networks of yeshivos, but funding was always difficult, and the Israeli government often thwarted them in the hopes of incorporating these religious children into modern Israeli society, throwing off the yoke of Torah u’mitzvos.

The population of the city of Chadeirah increased dramatically in 1948 as immigrants flocked to this northern city, near the port of Haifa. Most of the newcomers were from Europe, but 40 Yemenite families settled there, too. The renowned maggid, Rav Yankel Galinsky zt”l, worked tirelessly to found Yeshivas Chadeirah, and devoted his life to it, traveling worldwide to solicit funds for the yeshivah. On one occasion, he arrived at the home of a wealthy American Jew who had a lot of money but not a lot of regard for yeshivos and Torah education. Rav Yankel figured that with his gift of always finding the right thing to say, if anyone was going to get money out of this man, why can’t it be him?

The rich man was gracious enough to let him in his house, and Rav Yankel lost no time in describing the students and how they were growing in their studies and midos tovos. He specifically mentioned how he managed to rescue dozens of children who were on the verge of turning away from observance and now, with the extra “nefashos” in his school, he required money for more benches, books, and supplies – not to mention food.

Leaning forward, the American looked at Rav Yankel and said, “I am a businessman, and I spend my time looking for successful ventures and opportunities. When I see them, I go for it. In your case, I’m afraid, the ‘religious war’ you are waging is a lost cause and you will not be successful, so why should I lose my money with you?”

The diminutive maggid became animated and he jumped up. “You are right! We do not have the power to stop the flood of irreligiosity that is overtaking our cities. But we are building ships – arks like the biblical Noach did – to protect ourselves against the impending storm. If the great Noach himself would come to your house and ask you to donate to the worthy cause of building an ark to save mankind, would you not donate?”

The rich man smiled and replied, “Rabbi, I learned in yeshivah, too, and I remember that Noach’s ark was built with a layer of foul-smelling pitch, inside and out, to protect against the scalding hot water. But even this would not have withstood the flood, if not for the fact that the L-rd caused a miracle and made the water surrounding the ark cool. This alone allowed it to survive. So, it took a miracle for Noach to be saved. Can you tell me that your little yeshivah will also experience this miracle? Do you think that the ‘flood waters’ will not overrun your yeshivah and your students – and wipe you out from within?” The man sat back smugly, thinking he clinched the argument.

But Rav Yankel was not impressed. In a serious tone, he practically shook as he spoke. “Listen here. Noach had no idea what the Mabul was going to be like. All he knew was that he would do whatever it takes to build a sturdy ark and survive the flood – and the rest is up to Hashem! Indeed, Hashem watched over him and secured him, his family, and the animals in his ark because he was meant to survive.” Rav Yankel pointed at the rich man and concluded, “We are doing everything in our power to teach Jewish children the proper values of Torah and midos tovos, and Hashem will do the rest. Baruch Hashem, we are already seeing the fruits of our labor. So, decide right here, right now: Do you want to help us build our ark, or will you abandon those children to the street and allow them to be washed away by the onslaught of the flood?”

These words hit their mark, and the rich man was impressed. He took out his checkbook and became a supporter.

Rabbi Dovid Hoffman is the author of the popular “Torah Tavlin” book series, filled with stories, wit and hundreds of divrei Torah, including the brand new “Torah Tavlin Yamim Noraim” in stores everywhere. You’ll love this popular series. Also look for his book, “Heroes of Spirit,” containing one hundred fascinating stories on the Holocaust. They are fantastic gifts, available in all Judaica bookstores and online at To receive Rabbi Hoffman’s weekly “Torah Tavlin” sheet on the parsha, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.