From the desk of Rabbi Leonard (Yehuda) Blank MS, BCC
Director of Programming, Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud Harabbonim
October 7, 2021
Obituary of Rav Moshe D. Tendler ztl, Comments about the featured presentation this past Tuesday, Our relationship with the Ribono shel Olam- Do we just believe or do we know ? Is COVID 19 still around? The importance of hand washing. Personal reflections.
There are many who have heard about Rav Tendler ztl and that he was the son- in law of Rav Moshe Feinstein ztkl, but not familiar with his background nor his halachic opinions. In the last years of Rav Moshe Feinstein’s life, aside from other family members, his grandson Rav Mordechai Tendler took close care and became the person who would schedule meetings or be able to visit Rav Moshe.
Rav Moshe Dovid (Moses D.) Tendler z”l passed away on Shemini Atzeres. He was 95 years old. Rav Tendler was the rov of the Community Synagogue of Monsey, New York and served as a senior rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva University’s Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchok Elchonon and the Rabbi Isaac and Bella Tendler Professor of Jewish Medical Ethics and Professor of Biology at Yeshiva College. He also served as chairman of the Biology Department at Yeshiva University. Born August 7, 1926, Rav Tendler received his B.A. degree from New York University in 1947, and a master’s degree in 1950. He received semicha at Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchok Elchonon in 1949, and earned a Ph.D. in microbiology from Columbia University in 1957. Rav Tendler was a son-in-law of Hagaon Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l, the posek hador. Some of Rav Moshe’s teshuvos in Igros Moshe are addressed to his son-in-law. Rav Tendler’s wife, Shifra, passed away in October 2007. Rav Tendler wrote and lectured widely on medical ethics. He translated various medical oriented responsa of his father-in-law into English. Rav Tendler also wrote extensively on euthanasia, infertility, end-of -life issues, and organ donation. Rabbi Tendler was the posek for the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists and its past president.” Rav Tendler was a long time member of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. His father was a magid shiur at Rabbi Jacob Joseph Yeshiva on the Lower East Side. Rav Tendler’s family lived in the same building as Rav Moshe ztl. Here is a link to the video of his levayeh.
This past Tuesday, we had a presentation/webinar “Technology and halacha the use of mind controlled robotic prosthetic limbs Shabbos, Yom Tov and other areas of halacha” by Rabbi Levi Langer. His presentation and knowledge of halacha, the mechanics of robotic limbs, about certain types of transplants for women and men, commentaries from Rav Moshe Feinstein ztl and other Gedolim was phenomenal. Rabbi Langer is the Rosh Kollel of the Kollel Jewish Learning Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has delivered many shiurim on medical halacha concepts to physicians in the Pittsburgh community and offered presentations at the local hospitals, medical centers, and to the broader medical community. He is a co-author of an American Thoracic Society Policy Statement on Managing Conscientious Objections in Intensive Care Medicine. I highly recommend anyone who was not able to see this presentation to do so. Did you know it is possible to move a car just with a persons brain commands ? You will find his presentation thought provoking, brain stimulating, quite interesting and also what might be coming in the future. Most of all, what shailos are there for someone who needs appropriate prosthetic limbs. Here is the link to Rabbi Langer’s presentation.
This poster is on a wall opposite near where I often daven from Stop the Talking in Shul. Who wouldn’t want to be zoche for parnassah, shiduchim, refuos and yeshuos. I remember speaking once in a shul and there was talking amongst the attendees while I was presenting. I said out loud, rabbosai, we are not davening right now so why is there talking? There was a huge roar of laughter and then absolute quiet. It worked and in good spirits too. Do we believe we are in the presence of H or do we know that for a fact? Proper accord during davening when we should be directing our tefilos, our bakashos to the Ribono shel Olam. The temptation is there. To get in some important points of discussion. Why is that more important when we should be in the position as if we were standing before a king beseeching him for our needs and requests. The King of course is no other than the Aibershta. Before the Yomin Neorim or during times of difficulty, or specific needs from the Ribono Shel Olam, we pray with all of our hearts. Why not more frequently? Do we truly believe in emunah, in betachim, in hope and in being mekadeish H or do we know we are in the presence of H and truly know He is capable of caring for our needs or in time of need. As rabbonim, rebbitzens and chaplains, those who seek our comfort, our reassurance, our guidance, our advice, our relationship with the Ribino shel Olam because they feel we are and should be sincere about those who we care for. Hopefully, we can convey the love we have for Him and share that love with everyone.
COVID 19 and the variants are still around. If anyone should develop the symptoms should get the test to find out if positive or negative and quarantine until a negative report. They really are contagious and can spread to others. I personally know of a person who contracted COVID for the 3rd time and really felt sick. Boruch H he did not have to be hospitalized and is receiving treatment at home. He never received even one vaccination. I was at a meeting this past Tuesday when the main speaker did not come because of COVID- 19. Hand washing with soap and water after personal needs in the bathroom and before handling food either for ones self or preparing meals is very important. Boruch H we have gotten to be more conscientious and a whole lot less cases of any serious illness. Any questions about the vaccinations including for flu should be directed to ones primary care physician or medical specialists.
In previous articles I discussed the importance of being sensitive and understanding of those for what ever reason have remained not married. I also discussed the importance of being caring and helpful for those who are older (not old), one who is divorced, a widow or widower who wants to get married. However, in such cases, takes even more sensitivity and understanding. I attended a recent wedding of an older (no old) couple and the wedding was spectacular, but even more so was this wonderful couple who with the help of H found happiness in each other. There were many chashuva rabbonim and guests and the dancing was leibidik. I have heard other such wonderful stories, where simchas were made. Of course, everything and anything is up to the Ribono shel Olam. However, hope, emunah, betachim, and trust in the Ribono shel Olam is so important.
May we all be zoche to share and hear besuos tovos, to have simchas hachayim, good health, happiness, maysim tovim, to be Mekadeish H, to have achdus in Klal Yisrael, to remember Chaveirim Kol Yisrael, Am Yisrael Chai and a continued kesher with the Ribono shel Olam. May we be zoche Moshiach Tzedkeinu, Bimheira Veyameinu Amein. Thank you. Rabbi Yehuda Blank