Welcome, Guest! - or
Easy to remember!  »  VinNews.com

Bnei Brak, Israel - Yeshiva Student Suffering from Schizophrenia Finishes Shas and Receives Semicha

Published on: February 1, 2009 09:26 AM
By: VIN News by Ezra Reichman
Change text size Text Size  
Bookmark and Share
Rabbi Lau at the microphone, sitting L is Rav Yaakov Asher, mayor of Bnei Brak the yeshiva student sitting on the right behind Rabbi Lau has been phased out of the photo to protect his identity.Rabbi Lau at the microphone, sitting L is Rav Yaakov Asher, mayor of Bnei Brak the yeshiva student sitting on the right behind Rabbi Lau has been phased out of the photo to protect his identity.

Bnei Brak, Israel - No one can say that he can’t study Torah. Hillel obligates the poor, Rav Eliezer bar Charsum obligates the rich, Yosef Hatzadik obligates the good-looking…. and now a bochur in Bnei Brak obligates the mentally ill.

B., a 32-year old bochur from a Bukharian background who has been living in one of Marpeh Lanefesh’s 11 hostels and 8 protected residences, made a siyum on the entire Shas. He persevered the past 7 years ,studying from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in a small Bnei Brak kolel until he was finally able to announce that he had completed the goal he set out for himself. In addition to finishing the Shas, he also passed the Chief Rabbinate exams on issur and heter, and received Semicha for his impressive accomplishments. B. has also been teaching Tanya to a small group of students with slight mental disabilities.

Advertisement:

“Without a doubt, he is extremely talented and has an amazing memory,” says Asaf Atzur, the general director of Marpeh Lanefesh. “He utilized his abilities to achieve his goal, with much sweat and siyata dishmaya. Every success helps a person with his individual struggles. He put his efforts into in-depth learning and this helped his rehabilitation. We decided to make a big event celebrating his accomplishments to show our other patients what they are capable of achieving despite their disorders.”

B. began to suffer from schizophrenia at the age of 17-18. He claimed to hear people talking to him, and other symptoms typical of the illness. Pronounced a difficult case, he was at first hospitalized and treated with heavy drugs. Afterwards, he was discharged to a Marpeh Lanefesh hostel, where the staff spent two years working to stabilize him with medications and psychological treatments. When he was 20, he was finally ready to enter a protected residence with another 6 men.

Rav Shmuel Pollack, the chairman of Marpeh Lanefesh, says, “We did everything we could to help him. He was very ill and several times had to be hospitalized. It took him 5 years to stabilize, but he has been doing well since. He himself decided he wanted to undertake a serious challenge and began learning Shas. Because he is very bright and a masmid, he was able to follow through on his goal. The result is the impressive Siyum Hashas that we celebrated this week.”

A distinguished roster of rabbonim and askanim attended B.‘s Siyum Hashas including former Chief Rabbi Yisroel Lau, Rabbi of west Bnei Brak and member of Rav Nissim Karelitz’s beis din, Rav Shmuel Elazar Stern, Rav Elchonon Cholk of Ezer Mitzion medical association, and many Health Ministry officials including high-ranking executives, psychiatrists and the head of the Tel Aviv District who wanted to see the special event with their own eyes.

Rav Stern said at the occasion, “I was many times in a Siyum Hashas but I’ve never attended a Siyum Hashas like this.”

During the Siyum, Rav Lau told B. that after finishing Shas, one should right away start again at the beginning. To the surprise of everyone present, B. stood up and began to recite by heart the beginning page of Brachos. When tested further, he revealed that he knew a sizable portion of Shas by heart.

Despite B. requiring medication his whole life, Rav Pollak says that Marpeh Lanefesh’s administration believes he is ready for a shidduch seeing the great advances he has made. “We have couples like this who suffer from mental illness but were able to marry and found their own homes. There is potential after they have advanced as B. has.” Rabbi Pollack says that B. is planning to continue learning his whole life, and he fully expects that the public “will hear of him” in 5-6 years. “He invested huge efforts, and can take pride in having what to show for it,” he says.


More of today's headlines

New York City - It's back to driving school for the NYPD, which has just laid out $225,000 for its first squad-car simulator in an effort to reduce the rising rate of... Washington - Banks collecting billions of dollars in federal bailout money sought government permission to bring thousands of foreign workers to the U.S. for high-paying...

 

Total29

Read Comments (29)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Feb 01, 2009 at 08:39 AM meni Says:

Very nice keep up

2

 Feb 01, 2009 at 08:47 AM Tov li Toras Pichah Says:

Wow! In the zechus of his mesiras nefesh l'Torah, may he have a refu'ah sheleimah bekarov, and find "di richtiger zivvug".

3

 Feb 01, 2009 at 09:00 AM Anonymous Says:

amazing story !!!
may he have a refu'ah sheleimah bekarov, and find "di richtiger zivvug".

5

 Feb 01, 2009 at 09:24 AM Anonymous Says:

Its bittersweet

6

 Feb 01, 2009 at 09:23 AM angry yid Says:

how come R'Lau didn't come to my siyum Hashas?

7

 Feb 01, 2009 at 09:47 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
angry yid Says:

how come R'Lau didn't come to my siyum Hashas?

Because of your fine midos obviously

8

 Feb 01, 2009 at 09:36 AM Al tehi Tzaddik harbei Says:

Reply to #6  
angry yid Says:

how come R'Lau didn't come to my siyum Hashas?

Because you're such a talmid chacham and anav, that it is nothing special for you to finish Shas.

9

 Feb 01, 2009 at 09:34 AM Anonymous Says:

MazalTov and lot of Nachas. My personal question how will they know when he isn't well enough to Pasken Shallus? Hopefully he will always remain well and this will give him the strength to do so. great work and it should be a chizuk to the rest of us Amen . Let this be a zechus for the geulah to come closer.

10

 Feb 01, 2009 at 09:30 AM accountant Says:

great. if he is schnizophrenic, he should get enough sameechas for each personalities...at least if they each know

11

 Feb 01, 2009 at 09:30 AM moish Says:

We should all learn from him that nothing stands in the way of a person when he sets a goal! If you really try, you can acheive anything bsyata dishmaya

12

 Feb 01, 2009 at 10:16 AM Anonymous Says:

An amazing story no doubt. I give a lot of credit to Rav Shmuel Pollack of Marpeh Lanefesh who ondoubtedly didn't give up on B. He must have worked hard to get B on track.

Kol Hakavod Rav Pollack

13

 Feb 01, 2009 at 10:27 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
accountant Says:

great. if he is schnizophrenic, he should get enough sameechas for each personalities...at least if they each know

It's a good thing you're an accountant and not anyone in the mental health field. schziphrenia is not multiple personality disorder. It is an excess of a chemical in the brain called "dopamine" which has an effect on the nerve and message receptions in the brain. Multiple personality disorder, which is very difficult to diagnose, is something completely different.
What major accomplishments have you undertaken? Are you jealous?

14

 Feb 01, 2009 at 10:53 AM Joe Says:

Reply to #10  
accountant Says:

great. if he is schnizophrenic, he should get enough sameechas for each personalities...at least if they each know

Your insensitivity is surpassed only by your ignorance.

15

 Feb 01, 2009 at 11:18 AM wow!! Says:

I mammesh love this story. It brings out what mesiras nefesh really is.

16

 Feb 01, 2009 at 11:16 AM yasher koach Says:

Reply to #10  
accountant Says:

great. if he is schnizophrenic, he should get enough sameechas for each personalities...at least if they each know

although i personally find your comment funny, schizophrenia is different from multiple personality disorder.

as for "b," may Gd bless him to keep on this amazing path. he is truly a role model.

17

 Feb 01, 2009 at 11:16 AM ariel Says:

thanks to VINNews for putting up this article that is a SIMchas hotorah thank u!!

very energizing im working on my semicha!

18

 Feb 01, 2009 at 11:01 AM Toclueless Says:

Reply to #10  
accountant Says:

great. if he is schnizophrenic, he should get enough sameechas for each personalities...at least if they each know

really a discusting comment you obviously don't know the pain of this mental illness. Nor do you know the pain of DID. In both catagories many people have achieved great things tht you in your healthy state of mind would never even think of. Lets be careful how we talk about someone else in their illness. It took great courage for this young man to do what he did. Your forgetting that a lot of people in his place either live a desolate slow life or are out in the streets on drugs.. Give credit where it's due just as you would expect credit for your achievemnets thanks for reading and learning from this event. May klall Yisroel be Zoche to complet health in every aspect Amen

19

 Feb 01, 2009 at 10:58 AM Anonymous Says:

#10 Why are you making a joke out of this? Itis a big accomplishment and not a joke.

20

 Feb 01, 2009 at 04:58 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #19  
Anonymous Says:

#10 Why are you making a joke out of this? Itis a big accomplishment and not a joke.

He wanted attention and he got it; what he did not realize is that he got recognized for his ignorance, not his sense of humor.

21

 Feb 01, 2009 at 05:47 PM accountant Says:

Reply to #20  
Anonymous Says:

He wanted attention and he got it; what he did not realize is that he got recognized for his ignorance, not his sense of humor.

thanks numero 19...you are the only guy who got it

22

 Feb 01, 2009 at 07:57 PM Anonymous Says:

Why is mental illness a joke? Do you people laugh at "cripples"? How about cancer patients? Someone who had a stroke?

You are pitifully disgusting. I hope to G-d you never get in an accident or develop a serious illness. On the other hand, you need to have a taste of how mental illness affects so many fine families through no fault of their own.

In my family, there isn't mental illness, but sadly, I have seen other terrible conditions, including my beloved cousin pass away at age 20, 3 weeks after giving birth. You sick creeps need to learn compassion. The best way to do so would be to volunteer for ONE DAY at Bais Ezra, HASC, or some other fine facility.

Grow up.

23

 Feb 01, 2009 at 10:17 PM nurse Says:

Reply to #10  
accountant Says:

great. if he is schnizophrenic, he should get enough sameechas for each personalities...at least if they each know

schizophrenia is NOT multiple personality disorder. Do not confuse the 2.

24

 Feb 01, 2009 at 10:25 PM nurse Says:

schizophrenics are historically smart people (in general).
A schizophrenic that thought he was the emperor of China (honestly) and received secret messages from the FBI or CIA through magazines to save our country was so good in math that he ended up winning a Nobel Piece prize. This was such an amazing accomplishment that his story was made into a movie.
I heard many amazing stories told by schizophrenics themselves. They are a part of the organization NAMI. Its National Alliance for the Mentally ill. Their stories are really inspiring

25

 Feb 01, 2009 at 10:36 PM abnormal pyschologist Says:

Reply to #10  
accountant Says:

great. if he is schnizophrenic, he should get enough sameechas for each personalities...at least if they each know

a person with schizophrenia does not have multiple personalities!!!!!! Maybe you should check what you're saying before you do!!!

26

 Feb 01, 2009 at 10:31 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #22  
Anonymous Says:

Why is mental illness a joke? Do you people laugh at "cripples"? How about cancer patients? Someone who had a stroke?

You are pitifully disgusting. I hope to G-d you never get in an accident or develop a serious illness. On the other hand, you need to have a taste of how mental illness affects so many fine families through no fault of their own.

In my family, there isn't mental illness, but sadly, I have seen other terrible conditions, including my beloved cousin pass away at age 20, 3 weeks after giving birth. You sick creeps need to learn compassion. The best way to do so would be to volunteer for ONE DAY at Bais Ezra, HASC, or some other fine facility.

Grow up.

Thank you for putting it right. Unfortunately many people do laugh and stare at cripples with out any respect for these people. These are some of the middos that need to be worked on in all communities. Thank you for bringing it to everyones attention.

27

 Feb 01, 2009 at 11:22 PM mendelbomb Says:

Remember John Nash the schizophrenic mathematician who was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, but he was definitely not stable through most of his adult life. He could not keep a marriage together, had to be forced into the hospital several times etc etc.

One need not cancel the other out, he made legitimate nobel worthy contributions to his field and was legitimately mentally ill, with all the problems that come along with it.

He is not less crazy because he is genius, or less genius because he is crazy.

28

 Feb 02, 2009 at 12:02 AM Jewish Princess Says:

Reply to #10  
accountant Says:

great. if he is schnizophrenic, he should get enough sameechas for each personalities...at least if they each know

Don't be a nit-wit. What's the sarcasm about. Look about the definition of "schizophrenia." It doesn't mean split personalities. If you understand the challenge involved you wouldn't joke around.

29

 Feb 01, 2009 at 11:57 PM Jewish Princess Says:

Reply to #10  
accountant Says:

great. if he is schnizophrenic, he should get enough sameechas for each personalities...at least if they each know

Don't be a nit-wit. What's the sarcasm about. Look about the definition of "schizophrenia." It doesn't mean split personalities. If yldou understand the challenge involved you wouldn't joke around.

30

 Feb 01, 2009 at 11:32 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #23  
nurse Says:

schizophrenia is NOT multiple personality disorder. Do not confuse the 2.

Thank ou for clarifying that. I was about to write that he could be his own chavrusa, but that would obviously be incorrect. I'll save it for when someone with multiple personalities makes a siyum on shas.
-and remember, just because you are paranoid, does not necessarily mean that they're not out to get you.

31

Sign-in to post a comment

Scroll Up
Advertisements:

Sell your scrap gold and broken jewelry and earn hard cash sell gold today!