This volume combines the biographies of three great men whose extraordinary lives still affect us today. Spiritual majesty can shine as leadership in the public sphere or as a sweet fragrance permeating private lives. True spiritual greatness lasts for generations.
Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin, father of the modern yeshivah, was a talmid of Rabbi Aryeh Leib Gunzberg, author of Sha'agas Aryeh, a fascinating and colorful Torah genius. The life of the Sha'agas Aryeh demonstrates that a pure, unquenchable desire to learn Torah can carry one to staggering heights, no matter what the obstacles. Toward the end of his life, partially blind, he would recite from memory the entire Talmud with its major commentaries every month!
Before Rabbi Yisrael Lipkin of Salant, the study of mussar was the pastime of the elite. Reb Yisrael Salanter saw the need for mussar, to reinvigorate the Jewish people through serious character improvement. He lit a holy fire in Jewish hearts. The "Mussar Movement" expanded, gaining adherents in one yeshivah after the other. Today, works of mussar inspire tens of thousands of Jews.
Reb Nachum'ke was neither a Rosh Yeshivah nor a famous Rov - but the Chofetz Chaim considered Reb Nachum'ke to be his mentor. And he kept Reb Nachum'ke's photograph with himself. Reb Nachum'ke's humble occupation as the shamash of a beis medrash did not thwart his influence as a wellspring of chesed. Though a profound scholar and Kabbalist, he is remembered generations later not for his words, but for showing the world what it means to be a servant of Hashem.
Thousands of miles away and many generations later, the ripples created by these three tzaddikim, beckon us to follow their examples. These beautifully told biographies - written especially for young people - are a road map for growth.