כ”ה סיון תשפ”א לפ”ק
November 13, 2020
ה’ סיון תרפ”ד – כ”ו מרחשוון תש”פ
It is hard to believe that an entire year has passed since the passing of my beloved father, and it is even harder to accept the fact that we can no longer be warmed by his disarming smile, and be inspired by his unflinching optimism or be consoled by his unshakeable faith. I believe that it is now proper and appropriate to concentrate on the legacy which he has left us, his eternal ירושה for his family, his descendants and all of his many friends.
שלמה המלך reminds us טוב שם משמן טוב ויום המוות מיום היוולדו. A good name is more precious than fine oils… the medrash tanchuma asks (Vayakhel 1), why is a good name compared to oil, and not wine or another liquid? Because oil when placed in any other liquid, shook as it may be – always floats to the top!
I think Daddy was mostly known by his reputation. For one thing, you could not avoid his loud, and resounding, davening in shul! But his thundering davening wasn’t only a result of his being born in Detroit, Mich. (undoubtedly a loud and boisterous part of the country), nor was it simply his decibel level that impressed people, rather it was his authentic sincerity, his Kavanah, which came through, his “Shema Yisroel” his “Kadosh Kadosh” which really solidified his authentic piety in the eyes of the community or in the eyes of any visitors to shul that day. Indeed, in his daily interactions with people, he was quite soft spoken.
Another source of his wonderful reputation was that Dad understood that Medicine is an ever changing Art. He realized that he could not rely on the medical knowledge which he received in 1945, in order to treat patients in 1975 or beyond. So I remember him sitting in his office literally יומם ולילה, with his JAMA magazines stacked up high, in order to be up to the minute in his practice, and later he even took optional board exams in order to stay current, in all the latest developments.
It is no wonder that people were amazed that Daddy could diagnose patients on the phone with uncanny accuracy!
Finally, in his religious life Daddy well understood the dictum ולא עם הארץ חסיד.
Someone who is lacking in Jewish education can not lay claim to being a Chasid!
Dad did not grow up with the luxury of attending a Jewish day school, but what little training he received from his father and in Cheder, inspired him to continue to grow in learning for the rest of his life.
He took great pride in the fact that he married into a family of Rabbis and scholars, and each Shabbos, he hungrily devoured the speeches of Rabbi Lamm, and Rabbi Mehler, which they in turn lovingly sent to him upon his request.
Sometime back in the seventies, a new phenomenon fell upon the Jewish world, the Daf Yomi! As soon as a daf shiur was being offered by Dr. Koenigsberg in Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, my father never missed a class. He would wake up and hour earlier than his regular early hour in which he woke up for Minyan- I think about 4:45, and would walk- yes walk! for about 20 min. in order to get make it on time and thereby receive שכר פסיעות (reward for the steps) as well!
Daf Yomi really changed his life and when he could no longer go to shul, then the OU came to the rescue with online daf yomi, and Rabbi Elefent became his new mentor.
Of course behind every great man there stands an even greater woman! Mommie encouraged Daddy every step of the way, and she was so proud of all of his incalculable accomplishments.
When we were children, my father would walk with us each Shabbos morning to shul and declare- “quote the sentence please!” We would all blurt out Vishinantam livanecha …u’velechticha baderech! I didn’t understand what he was doing at the time,- it was just Daddy being Daddy, but actually what he was doing was bestowing upon us a very personal way the Torah which he was leaving us and our descendants for all time.
Thank you Daddy; we miss you so, so, much, and may your name be for an eternal blessing!!