A devout rabbi with a legacy of education and outreach, Leib Tropper founded Kol Yaakov Yeshiva and Torah Center in Monsey, New York. Although he has retired from congregational service, Leib Tropper continues to promote the Hebrew faith and religious and ethnic tolerance through activism and teaching.
The story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis reinforces the folly of man in trying to rival the glory and power of G*d. In this well-known tale, the people of the world merged their resources and their talents to build a tower that would reach to Heaven. In doing so, they believed they would demonstrate their equality to the Lord while also enabling them to stay together and build a greater society that could rule the earth; G*d punished them by destroying the tower and scattering them into 70 different tribes that would exist in separate parts of the world with different languages, making it difficult for them to understand each other.
The lessons in the Tower of Babel story include the foolhardiness of the sin of pride, which drives a wedge between G*d and His people. As a result of the arrogance exhibited by the people, the Lord sent them into far-flung regions that not only disconnected them from each other but also from Him. While the egotism of the people resulted in a severe punishment, however, many people recognize a second lesson in the story of the Tower of Babel. The unity shown by the people in developing a strategy for the tower and building it proves that unity affords tremendous promise for humankind. Without the taint of pride and with less selfish motives, this kind of accord offers the potential for a return to understanding between disparate peoples.
With more than 40 years on the pulpit and in service as a rabbi, Leib Tropper established the Kol Yaakov Yeshiva and Torah Center in Monsey, New York. In addition, through his articles and lectures Leib Tropper encourages secular Jews to embrace a life devoted to faith and the observance of Hebrew traditions.
The book of Leviticus instructs readers, “You Shall be Holy, for I the Lord am Holy.” Although many Jews believe that this statement refers primarily to those of the Hebrew faith, G*d expects all men and women to endeavor to lead holy lives. Rather than distancing Jews from others, this directive extends to all of humanity; moreover, it requires those who seek to obey His word to strive to perform acts that benefit as many people as possible, instead of merely seeking responses to their own needs.
The very nature of man ensures that our immediate wishes tend to reflect our own comforts and enjoyments. G*d, however, exists in realms that human beings can never effectively comprehend. As such, his holiness encompasses actions, thoughts, and ideals that men and women probably will not understand. Divine holiness and human holiness differ radically, but people who want to live a holy life nevertheless enjoy the opportunity to strive for this objective through compassionate, ethical, tolerant, and generous actions and thoughts toward others. The bounty of the world indicates that G*d’s nature entails giving, so giving is the goal to which humans should aspire. The Dalai Lama once commented that the lessons learned by Tibetans during periods of oppression by the Chinese served as a great test of faith because the Chinese actions necessitated compassion and patience by the Tibetans. This wise statement offers significant promise for people of all faiths, because giving of oneself enables a religious person or an ethical person the chance to become holy.
With more than 40 years of experience as a congregational rabbi, Leib Tropper provides guidance to organizations that seek peace among different nations and peoples. Leib Tropper teaches classes in Jewish philosophy and law in New York City.
The Torah teaches that the world endures on justice, truth, and peace. These concepts seem simple enough in theory but they sometimes prove difficult to attain in everyday life. Truth sometimes makes people feel uncomfortable because it causes them to realize that their deeply held beliefs may require re-evaluation. To achieve justice and peace, however, people need to examine the issues to ensure they understand the truth behind them. Without the fog created by belief systems that may be hundreds of years old and based on shoddy or ambiguous facts, people gain the opportunity to establish new ideas and theories that enable them to move forward on a path that benefits their personal growth and that of the world community.
Nonetheless, the truth truly sets people free. Throughout history, people often tried to warn the general public about events that led to catastrophes and tragedies. Many people in Germany and outside of Germany warned of the civil rights violations against Jews that eventually led to the worst atrocities of the Holocaust. A greater number of people ignored or hid from the truth, allowing these horrific activities to continue and escalate. While no one knows whether earlier intervention would have circumvented the problem, it seems very probable that exposing the Nazi government’s actions to public scrutiny would have caused officials to rethink their behavior rather than risk negative publicity.
Founded over a century ago in lower Manhattan and operating in Staten Island since 1976, the Rabbi Jacob Joseph School is an elementary school. The facility administers a boys’ campus, a girls’ campus, and a preschool campus, providing a Torah-based environment in which children can learn and grow. The school has accommodated a great number of rabbis and their families, including Rabbi Leib Tropper and his father, Rabbi Yehuda Tropper.
Students are educated in the Jewish orthodox faith and imparted with the ethical standards of the Torah. They are exposed to a modern curriculum, and the small class size enables the school to provide attention to each student’s personal abilities and requirements. Boys and girls are educated in separate yet equally prestigious environments, and the school is the only one of its kind on Staten Island to provide this distinction.
Since the school’s opening in 1900, thousands of alumni like Rabbi Leib Tropper have gone on to great career successes. For more information, visit www.ymht.org.
Orthodox rabbi Leib Tropper has accumulated four rabbinic ordinations. His first ordination was from Hagaon Harav Sroyohu Deblitzky shlita, and he has also received ordinations from Harav Betzalel Zolty and Maran Harav Elazar Menachem Man Shach zt”l with the highest regard. After receiving his ordinations, Leib Tropper worked at Ohr Sameach, an organization with locations in Yonkers and in Monsey, New York, that leads the world in performing Jewish outreach.
Based in Jerusalem, Ohr Sameach strives to instill Jewish pride in university students through education. For more than three decades, Ohr Sameach has taught members of the Diaspora to own their heritage by helping them build and maintain their Jewish identity. Students from around the world are able to learn in their own language at Ohr Sameach, and at their own pace.
Ohr Sameach reaches out to the brightest college students and recent graduates in secular studies and offers them the opportunity to expand their knowledge of Jewish studies. The school staffs Jewish scholars from top universities in the United States, and offers studies in the Talmud in intensive, small group settings.