Rebbi at Camp Mogen Av Startled to Find Seforim and Tashmishei Kedusha Under Abandoned Bunkhouse


Rabbi Yaakov Meltzer, an assistant learning rebbi at Camp Mogen Av in the Catskills, runs a specialized program for boys who do better in a 1:1 or small group learning program.  His staff serve as the rabbeim and learning mentors for these boys, and the program has been a big success since its inception 3 years ago.

Recently, during his spare time, Rabbi Meltzer came across a startling discovery.  Underneath an abandoned bunkhouse where scores of old seforim and even tefillin and mezuzos.  He decided that he would take it upon himself to ensure that all of these shaimos items would be properly buried.  When he completed unearthing the shaimos, there were over a hundred bags of items.  How to bury them properly became his next chore.  One possible site was rejected because of the possible environmental ramifications of burying plastic bags.  Finally, a site in a distant area of the campus was selected.

All along, Rabbi Meltzer had been primarily working alone.  However, the task of digging sufficient holes in which to bury so many items ls was quite physically overwhelming.

It was now nearing Rosh Chodesh Av when something bizarre occurred.  A Sefer Torah fell out of an Aron Kodesh in the senior boys’ shul.  Rabbis Chaneles and Stern set off to seek the advice of Rabbi Herschel Welcher, a rov who is in the mountains during the summer.  Rather than fasting for 40 days, Rabbi Welcher advised them to have that the boys give tzedakah (where possible) and emphasize acts of chesed.  Now Rabbi Chaneles saw an opportunity for there to be a tremendous act of chesed that would also bring about achdus.  He spoke to the senior boys’ division about this.  He questioned whether a Sefer Torah fell because there was not sufficient achdus in camp.

The boys responded enthusiastically, and before long, with everyone pitching in, the shaimos were buried in accordance with Halacha.  And as they put aside their shovels and picked up their Kinos, the entire camp had been elevated to a new level of achdus.



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