Kol Nidrei Night With The Brisker Rov & the People of Brisk Wait to Start Kol Nidrei


brisker-rovOne year, after Kol Nidrei, the Brisker Rov, Rav Yitzchok Zev Soloveitchick, whose yahrtzeit is today, took his son-in-law, Rav Yechiel Michel Feinstein, to go for a walk. Perturbed, Rav Yechiel Michel asked the Brisker Rov as delicately as possible if this was the time they should be taking a stroll.

The Brisker Rov answered, “I am surprised at you. If this is not the time to take a walk, then we should never go any day of the year either! This walk, however, is not for pleasure; it is for my health, as instructed by my doctor. Therefore, there is no difference between Yom Kippur and any other day (as told by Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapira – Uvdos V’Hanhagos L’Bais Brisk).

The People Of Brisk Wait For The Rov To Start Kol Nidrei

One Yom Kippur, as the people of Brisk waited to start the holy tefillah of Kol Nidrei, the Rov, Rav Binyomin Diskin, the father of Reb Yehoshua Leib Diskin, was still not in shul. This was very strange considering Rav Binyomin’s timeliness and his deep consideration for not causing tircha detziburah.

The gabbai was quickly dispatched to the Rov’s house to see what was causing the delay. Upon entering the house, the gabbai was astonished to find Rav Binyomin sitting over a Mishnayos learning with his young son.

Moreinu V’Rabbeinu“, said the gabbai, “the whole tzibbur is waiting for the Rov to start Kol Nidrei and he is sitting and learning Mishnayos with his little child?!”

Rav Binyomin burst our crying and said, “I made a cheshbon hanefesh for Yom HaDin and realized that I need many zechusim to be acquitted in my din. I searched for a great mitzva powerful enough to tip the scales all by itself and I could not find a better mitzva than sitting and learning with my young child.”

{Revach.net/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. There is a similar extremely famous story with (I do not know if it was) Rav Yitzchak Elchonon Spector, ZT’L, or Rav Yisroel Salanter, ZT’L, as follows.

    The people in the shul were waiting for the Rav to arrive so that they could begin Kol Nidrei, but he did not come. (It could be that they did send someone to the Rav’s home, but, as we will see, the Rav was not there.) They waited and waited and waited, but still, the Rav did not come. Finally, realizing that the time was now quite late, even though the Rav was not there, they began Kol Nidrei and continued on through the entire long Yom Kippur evening service.

    A little while after the service was over, the Rav finally entered the shul! The people who were present were probably quite shocked at seeing this. However, they could not run over to him to ask him what had happened, for he was obviously quite busy as he walked up to his place and himself started saying the evening service. After probably another good hour or so, the Rav completed his prayer recitations and was available to talk.

    He thus told the people who were still there what had happened. He related that, at the appropriate time, he had left his house and went on his way to the shul. However, at one point as he was walking, he realized that he was hearing a sharp crying sound. So he followed the sound and saw that it was coming from a certain house. When he came up to the house and went inside, he saw that there was a small baby who was crying profusely. Evidently, the parents had went off to the shul for the Kol Nidrei/Yom Kippur services and had left their infant child all alone in the house!

    The tiny child obviously needed to be given food and other assistances, but as no one was there, he or she was helpless and was thus crying. So the Rav took the baby, fed him or her, gave him or her whatever else he or she needed, and stayed with him or her all the way up until the parents returned home. We can well imagine the parent’s shock when they entered their house and saw the great Rav sitting there, taking care of their child! We can well further assume that the parents did not need any stronger rebuke for the neglet of their child, than what they realized when they entered their house and saw the great Rav sitting there, taking care of their child.


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