Overtaken with financial difficulty, R. Nochum Yitzchok Pinson overlooked his children’s chinuch and they slowly became influenced by modernity. When it hit him, he enrolled his sons – ages 10 and 12 – at a branch of Tomchei Temimim 500 km away from home, where they became outstanding chassidim.
R. Nochum Yitzchok Pinson was born in 5645 in Pahar, and was a talmid of Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim in Lubavitch. He lived in Starodub and Charkov, and was moser nefesh for Yiddishkeit and the chinuch of his children under Communist rule. He was arrested by the Communists in 5699, and passed away in a gulag in 5702.
Not blessed with success in business, R. Nochum Yitzchok struggled to put food on his table. Forced to work long hours and make frequent trips, his children’s chinuch was being overlooked.
In his town, there was no chassidishe cheder, and his children were educated in the spirit of the times. Torah study was supplemented with Russian language and secular studies, until the Torah became secondary. As people said then, “They anyway won’t become rabbonim, so however much Torah they learn is fine…”
Though R. Nochum Yitzchok was greatly pained by their depraved chinuch, and more than once he interrupted their secular studies, he couldn’t stop it. The prevailing culture was strong, and his relatives accused him of depriving his children of a living. He consoled himself that when his parnassa stabilizes he’ll devote himself to his children’s chinuch, but that time was not coming. During his business trips his children were left entirely without supervision, and they made bad friends.
Upon returning from one long trip, the severity of the situation hit him. He cried to himself, thinking, “What kind of life is it if my sons won’t be faithful temimim?” But what could he do? He had no money, and the closest yeshiva was in Kremenchuk – 500 km away! He sold his gold watch and some other items, and he told his wife that he will be taking their ten and twelve-year-old sons to yeshiva.
When the news reached his wife’s family, they barged into his home and berated him, “Have you lost your mind? Where are you sending these young boys? Now, when the government is shutting down yeshivos, you must give them a general education so that they can be doctors or engineers, and be able to support you!”
But R. Nochum Yitzchok was adamant, and his wife also realized the urgency. With a heavy heart, she packed up food and clothing, and bid them a tearful goodbye.
After three whole days of traveling, they arrived in Kremenchuk. There they found the yeshiva staff panic-stricken, and none of the forty students were there. Having received advance notice of an inspection, the staff sent the students away, and finding nothing, the police left them alone. R. Nochum Yitzchok was at a loss of what to do next, but the resolve to give his children a chassidishe chinuch did not allow him to give up so fast. He remained in Kremenchuk for two weeks, and after they had reestablished the yeshiva in a new location he deposited the boys with the rosh yeshiva.
Entering the yeshiva, a new world opened up before the boys: tens of bochurim and boys devoted to Torah and avodas Hashem. The enthusiasm of the bochurim won them over, and in a short time, they became outstanding temimim and influenced their younger brothers and sister. The family became a shining example of Torah, avoda, and tzedaka, and R. Nochum Yitzchok’s wish for ehrliche children materialized even better than he had imagined.
For sources, visit TheWeeklyFarbrengen.com
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