One of the largest factories in the Jewish world resides on the border between the Mea She’arim neighborhood and the Beit Israel neighborhood in Jerusalem. This “factory” produces spirituality. The scope and approach are incredible. The production line boasts of approximately tens of thousands of Jewish souls who returned to their roots without any materialistic aid.

The outside observer will find it difficult to identify what is happening inside the huge complex of the yeshiva. The outer yard is empty, but the entrance to the Beit Midrash reveals a mind-boggling spectacle: hundreds of people are sitting in a Beit Midrash that seems too narrow to contain, all absorbed in learning. Every single one of them admire their great rabbi, who led them to their present elevation, Rabbi Reuven Elbaz, Leader of the yeshiva and a member of the Chachmei Torah council.

He is one of the greatest Teshuva leaders in our generation. He is a Dayan, a Halachic ruler, a spiritual compass for many and one of the great leaders of the Sephardic public. Despite his packed schedule, he accepted the RCE’s request to be one of the guests of honor at the upcoming Adar conference in France marking 20 years since the founding of the “The Rabbinical Centre of Europe” and to be one of the keynote speakers. One of the topics will address the issue of the global revolution of young people returning to Judaism and its dependence on the rabbis of the communities.

We met the Rabbi at the end of an exhausting day, after lecturing several speeches across the country

What’s the secret? What things does the rabbi say to them that make such a difference?

“What I always talk about is how we can be better and then how life will be better. This generation is an ‘Instant Generation’. When I was young, if a person wanted to buy ready-made food, he had to go far. Today, every street corner has a kosher restaurant. I tell them that after all the physical needs of man have been fulfilled, what we have left to make life better is to refine our characteristics. That’s the foundation of everything.

His Kiruv activities started 50 years ago. “It’s much easier to work in Kiruv today. Sometimes all you need is a hug, warm up a heart, or host them for a Shabbat in the Yeshiva.

People used to fight and struggle with us. They tried to refute everything we said by asking tough questions. They argued non-stop. You could say we once scratched rocks. Today the generation is weak and shallow and the search is for emotions. Even intelligent people ask questions wanting the answers to give them emotional meaning. If they were once afraid of losing their ideology, today they are afraid of losing their desires, their experiences.

The change is not only in quantity but also in quality. Nowadays, there are Baalei Teshuva that are well versed in depth of the Talmud, commentaries, teachers, Leaders of Religious institutions, Halachic rulers, and Dayanim. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the Yeitzer Hara. It says that the evil inclination exists in humans from the time they are young, and foolishness sticks to the heart of a youngster. In that area there hasn’t been any improvement and keeps us busy 24/7. This is the reason I can’t rest and relax and say, I’ve did my share. The coals turned into a fire that grows bigger and bigger.

Now that the hearts are open, I am worried that the heavens will persecute me for not activating while the generation thirsts to return. Therefore, I cannot cease my efforts. As long as there are Jews searching to return there is no rest.


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