Rabbi Elchanan Wasserman

Rav Vaserman (2)

    • 100 USD $
    • 120 USD $


Rabbi Elchanan Wasserman

RebElchanan was born in Birz, Lithuania.  He studied in the Telshe Yeshiva under Rabbi Shimon Shkop.  In 1897 he met Rabbi Chaim Brisker and became his disciple. RebElchanan was deeply influenced by both but eventually developed his own approach.

A new era began for RebElchanan when he met the Chofetz Chaim in 1907.  Though he had already served with noted success as Yeshiva head of Amtchislav and was now a mature man of 32, he joined the KodoshimKollel of the Chofetz Chaim.  RebElchanan viewed the Chofetz Chaim as a living Torah and trembled in his presence.  The Chofetz Chaim became RebElchanan’s lifetime role model.  In 1910 he became a Rosh Yeshiva in Brisk until the outbreak of the war in 1914.  In 1921, he became head of the Yeshiva Ohel Torah in Baranovitch, where he remained for the rest of his life.  Because of his great influence the Yeshiva grew and, in spite of its abysmal poverty, attracted many hundreds of disciples.

Besides his role as yeshiva head, RebElchanan was deeply involved in communal matters, and was active in Agudas Israel.  In addition to his lectures and Talmudic writings, he was also a thinker and interpreter of contemporary events and his ideas were published in a book of essays (KovetzMaamorim).  He maintained that just as the Torah provides guidance in strictly halachic matters, it also provides illumination of the era in which we live.

He visited America in 1939 and though, he could have remained and avoided the imminent catastrophe, he never considered it as a possibility. He felt that he must return to his Yeshiva and be with his students.

While on a visit to Kovno the Germans declared war on Russia and RebElchanan was unable to return to the yeshiva. On July 6, 1941 RebElchanan was studying in the house of R. AvrohomGrodzensky, in the company of a group of scholars, when four armed Lithuanians came in shouting and taunting.  It was obvious that the end was near and RebElchanan spoke his last words:

“Heaven apparently considers us righteous people, for it wants us to atone with our bodies for Jewry as a whole.  So we must repent now…if we repent, we will thereby save the remaining Jews, our brothers and sisters, so that they will be able to carry on as the remnant of Jewry”.

The Chazon Ish once testified that RebElchanan totally fulfilled the principle  “I placed G-d before me at all times”.  In a generation renowned for its many great RosheiYeshivot, he was distinguished not only for his great learning but for the impact his personality made on his students

Mikhail ChapiroBorn in 1938 in Belorussia, he was captivated by painting since his early childhood. Thanks to his teachers, Peter Chernyshevsky and Boris Zvenigorodsky, the artists of great experience and talent, this endowment became his predilection, the raison d’être of his life. After 6 years of studies, he graduated from the Mukhina Institute of Arts and Industrial Design. He worked as a stylist for 7 years in the capital of Siberia, city of Novosibirsk.

He moved to Moscow in 1974 and since 1977 till 1987 he regularly exhibited in the Russia’s famous underground avant-garde centre at Malaya Gruzinskaya 28, which in 1981 became the home of his solo exhibition. Only with Perestroyka he was widely recognized in Russia. From 1988 to 1990 his paintings were exhibited at the Muscovite Modern Art Gallery MARS.

He was recognized by the intellectual elite. Great Russian ballerina Maya Plesetskaya, 3-times Olympic Champion in figure ice-skating Irina Rodnina, Nobel Prize Laureates Academicians Sakharov, Frank, Prokhorov – those are just few of the most prominent people who knew Chapiro and whose portraits he did.

In 1990 Mikhail Chapiro immigrated to Canada. He settled in Toronto and immediately joined the city’s artistic life. The “Hittite Gallery” held his solo exhibition in 1992. In 1993, he moved to Montreal, being fascinated by the singular charm of this metropolis and its people. Being highly productive, Chapiro has constantly enriched his collection with fresh subjects. In 1996 he had a solo exhibition at the Elgar community center in Verdun (a Montreal district).

While Chapiro’s themes always remained portraits, landscapes, cityscapes, animals, and flowers, his style has gradually evolved from a merely realistic formalist expression towards an unique painting technique allowing to express at best the softness and subtlety that forms the bottom line of the artist’s philosophy. Mikhail Chapiro is, by his substance, perception of the world, and even training, is a figurative, objective, realistic painter. What characterizes his painting is softness, subtlety, implicitly.

However, in some works from different periods, he had come close- and still does so today- to abstraction: mostly with his nudes and flowers, sometimes in portraiture and landscapes. Abstract painting has always fascinated him: during his Moscovite period in the Eighties, he created series of abstract compositions, which he continued once in Canada, in both Toronto and Montreal.

The rationale behind his work, what triggered him is as it has always been, asking the “What?” question-that is, he needs unequivocally an idea fuelling his creativity.
What he tells with one or another abstract work may be philosophical reflections about life, death, the good, the bad, the passage of our soul from the material world (the life on Earth) into the thin world (the soul’s life in the Cosmos); the return of our soul into material world- a sort of an infinite transfiguration-, and so on. It’s only then that he would care about the composition, texture, color, etc.

Abstract painting is for him the most interesting experiment, one of his art’s facets. Whether his paintings are realistic or abstract, his approach is equally sincere.