The Chofetz Chaim and Reb Elchonon Wasserman - The Captain Doesnít Leave the Ship
Many Gedolim dreamed about moving to Eretz Yisroel. The Chofetz Chaim was one of them (Tshuvos V’Hanhagos 3:281). He had his bags all packed and was ready to go. European Jewry was grief stricken over the thought of losing their leader. Rav Chaim Ozer was notified and asked to persuade the Chofetz Chaim to remain in Europe. When Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky told him that the entire Yeshiva world would be in jeopardy if he left, he unpacked his bags and decided to remain right where was and give up his dream.
The Chofetz Chaim’s Talmid, Rav Elchonon Wasserman Hy”d, took his Rebbe’s Achrayos, responsibility for the Tzibbur a step further (Tshuvos V’Hanhagos 3:281). He was in England shortly before the outbreak of World War II. People begged him not to return to Poland because of the danger of the Nazi threat. He answered that, “A captain does not leave his ship along the way, especially when a storm is coming in”. Rav Elchonon returned to Baranovich and was killed Al Kiddush Hashem together with his talmidim.
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Anonymous, 2008-06-25 07:08:32 I believe Harav Elchonon ZTL HYD,left back to Europe from America, not England. I know a number of people who saw him at that time. The 'olam' begged him to stay given the dangers, but he explained he had an achroyas to his talmidim.Anonymous, 2008-06-25 07:10:50 He must have stopped in UK on the way back and that is the memory Rav Shternbuch is referring to. That is why they are both correct. They begged him to stay in the US and they begged him to stay in UK. We were just quoting Rav Shternbuch.