From the desk of Rabbi Leonard (Yehuda) Blank MS, BCC
Director of Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
December 17, 2020 ***
There have been many hespeidim about Rav Dovid Feinstein ztkl that were available via zoom, audio and printed via Jewish media from many well known rabbonim, askonim, talmidim and others who are not Rabbanim. There was a hesped by which I am including as a link by HaRav Avishai David Rosh Hayeshiva of Yeshivat Torat Shraga in Bayit Vegan, Yerushalayim. He is the founding rabbi of Beit Medrash Torahni Leumi in Beit Shemesh. Currently Rabbi of Kehilas Beis Tefillah Yonah Avraham in Ramat Beit Shemesh. He learned by HaRav Yosef Ber Solovetchik ztkl and HaRav Nissan Alpert ztkl. The link to this hesped is from the Marcos and Adina Katz YU Torah Online. Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. An affiliate of Yeshiva University. The title of the hesped given by HaRav David “Divrei Hesped for Hagaon Harav Dovid Feinstein ztkl – A Self Effacing Giant” Rav Nissan Alpert was a talmid muvak of Rav Moshe. I had the zchus of knowing him not only because he and his mishpacha lived on the Lower East Side, but from when he would come to listen to Rav Moshe’s shiurim, continued learning and writing notes in the MTJ beis medrash where I also was a talmid. I remember where he used to sit when not in shiur, just like Rav Dovid in the back of the bais medrash. Perhaps in one of my articles will offer some wonderful things about HaRav Nissan. In addition to various programs I attended, participated, and collaborated with at YU, also had the zchus of attending many of Rav Solevetchiks shiurim. He also gave a well known and well attended shiur on Broadway in Manhattan attended by many Rabbonim, Benei Torah and many others not affiliated with Rabbi Yitzchok Elchanan /YU. From my own neighborhood of the Lower East Side shuls, HaRav Yeshaya Siff, HaRav Aharon Kahan (presently Rav in Flatbush), HaRav Tzvi Romm, HaRav Chaim Packer have been or presently affiliated in their distinguished positions at YU and all have had a meaningful relationship with Rav Dovid ztkl. The link to Rav David’s hesped can be found after my article. You will hear many uplifting stories and halacha as well.
Once again, many family visits and celebrations were curtailed this time on due to COVID 19 and being quarantined. But thanks to Zoom, there have been lots of virtual Chanukah parties and visits. Unfortunately, there are still people without Zoom who have been islolated or not going out of their homes and apartments. I know of a person who has curtailed going to shul out of fear of contracting this virus. There are so many being hopeful they will be able to get the vaccine so their lives can return to some type of normalcy. For many who did contract this virus had a range from no symptoms, mild, symptoms, some had more intense symptoms including being confined to bed for a number of days. There are others who have been hospitalized, but with various treatments were able to be discharged Boruch H. Unfortunately, there are cases of people having to be on life support. Hopefully, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. One thing is sure, anyone who has any symptoms should immediately contact their health care provider and follow his/her instructions. Not everyone needs any special treatments, but those who do, should not detain from seeking the advice from their health car provider.
There are some who feel the virus is over. For many it is over, but for many it is not yet. What is important is for everyone to be mindful and respectful of each person’s opinion. We cannot permit the Yetzer Harah to get the best of us through loshon hara and sinas chinam and especially not with any chilul H. In this week’ s Flatbush Jewish Journal was a full-page notice from FJJ and Flatbush Hatzoloh
“Under the guidance of our Rabbonim and medical professionals, we strongly urge you to adhere to safety precautions due to the recent high increase in covid-19 cases in our community. The increase in cases is documented and the danger is real. There are hospitalizations in the past few weeks than the last few months combined” It continues with a list of precautions that have already been made to
the public through diverse venues.
We all need to have hope. We all need to have continued emunah and we all need to continue wishing mazel tov on the past, present and future simcha announcements with much joy and happiness. With that note, I am happy to mention one of my granddaughters became a kallah this week. Tehila Kaplan
(parents Shimmy and Esther Kaplan – Brooklyn NY) to Tzvi Kaplowitz (parents Yossi and Miriam Kaplowitz – Lakewood NJ). May we all be able to share wonderful news with each other. MAZEL TOV.
One last note, a follow up from my last article. I have received phone calls and met at shul and in the neighborhood wonderful and caring individuals who have asked how I am doing this Chanukah. At
first before Chanukah, I wondered how I will face this chag, emotionally that is the first without my wife Keila Lutza bas Shalom HaKohein A” H. So, I prepared for my children and grandchildren to come to my apartment via zoom after they had already benched menorah licht to give me moral support and joy being together. I set the small table with the menorah etc, as we did in the past. It really was fantastic.
We sang songs, shared chanukah stories and I prepared for myself delicious suppers. Rather than rushing from their homes to me, everyone was relaxed and had a meaningful time. True, it was not the same without my wife, but again knowing she is in Gan Eiden in Hawolom Habaw has been comforting.
Knowing all the grandchildren have been enjoying opening the “menorah cups” from the menorahs they made filled with small gifts I sent them as a treat was nice as it continued the mesorah from their Bubby and what she used to make for them every Chanukah. Inside was also a check and gift certificates for the family to purchase during and after Chanukah. She was remarkable and made sure to enhance the holiday, not be the main part of the holiday of Chanukah. Of course, a special treat was my granddaughter becoming a kallah to a wonderful chasan and a wonderful family. So, Chanukah was not a sad holiday for me. but one that has been very meaningful and uplifting.
May we all be zoche the coming of Moshiach when B E H the menorah will be lit in the Beis Hamikdash.
Thank you. Respectfully and sincerely, Yehuda Blank
Click here for the hesped of Harav Dovid Feinstein given by Harav Avishai David