Rabbi Yehuda (Leonard) Blank MS, BCC
Director of Programming, Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
::::Thursday July 28th,2022, Tammuz 29,5782::::
Aharon Hakohen: He was oihev shalom, v’rodef shalom,
a lover of peace and a pursuer of peace with immense humility.
“What does H require of you but to do justice,
to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your G.”
Faith -Hope- Trust and a Love Story
A special follow up with Alvin and Marla from last weeks article.
A special reprint and video of Rav Dovid Feinstein and Rav Meir Zlotowitz
In my last article, I described the beautiful wedding of two marvelous people Alvin and Marla who with tremendous fortitude, faith and love- love in the Holy One and love for each other decided living a life together is a true blessing of life. Several months ago, I wrote with permission of course how they found love in each other, and nothing was going to discourage them from their dream of eventually marrying each other and not just be great friends. They wanted to go to the next level of caring for each other in a way not possible as two single adults. Even though they were diagnosed with metastatic cancer and would continue with their treatments for as long as necessary. Alvin and I became good friends. We spent a lot of time together the many months prior to his wedding. I was taken by his immense courage, his fortitude, his desire to do everything necessary to observing his Yiddishkeit and with loving care for a faithful friend his Kallah to be. There is much I learned from him. He has and continues to be an inspiration to me. Amongst some of his powerful quotes “Life is a gift from H. We should enjoy His gift for as long as we can.” Enjoyment does not necessarily mean having fun, though there is no reason not to derive pleasure from all that H gives us. How important it is to be strong and steadfast in our beliefs in G and appreciate all that He does for us. We do not fully understand why certain things happen or why G puts us in certain situations, but we must believe He has a reason for everything that He plans for us. We must never take things for granted. Whatever H does for us has to be for the best even though we do not understand.
On a personal note, when I look back when I first met my wife A”H, did I think 27 years later she would be gone from my life? One of the posters we purchased on one of our many trips was the saying “Happiness is being married to your best friend.” Not only are there no regrets, but there is also much to be thankful for. Yet, her faith, hope and most of all trust in H was an inspiration to her entire family and to the multitudes whose lives she impacted with her zest of life, love of H, love for Klal Yisrael and the friendships she acquired of all who knew her. Most of all, her sincere appreciation of all that H did for her, for us and no matter what, she never gave up. What was remarkable was her unselfishness. Can you imagine her desire for each member of the family to continue in life whatever it is meant to be? She was strong in her feelings how each of us was to accomplish, continue to achieve and be successful never to give up. She wanted us including myself to find meaning in life, have as she did simchas hachaim, with kindness, goodness, happiness, achdus, and share in many simchas.
I shared this in one of my previous articles how important it is for spouses to care for each other, to want to do for each other, to be sincere, and kind to each other. Alvin and Marla ‘s decision to marry is because how much they care for each other no matter what might come their way and that bond of love and care cannot be measured. Everyone who knows them are convinced what a remarkable and caring relationship they have. They are truly role models for us all especially how much they appreciate all that H has done and continues to do for them. There is much we can learn from them as I have. At the conclusion of many wedding films there would be in big letters, “this is not the end, but only the beginning.”
Whether it is a couple in their younger years, middle years, or more senior years, it makes no difference- the love and care a couple can and should have for each other should be meaningful at any age. The essence is to want to care for each other, to do for each other, to have that special twinkle that lights up. Is it possible for those in their senior years to have the same zest for love and marriage as a couple in their younger years? Absolutely! Is it possible to have that zest in life with various challenges? Of course! just ask Alvin and Marla. It all depends on making it work. Our love for H never falters, it never diminishes, that light will remain bright and strong for as long as a person has that special love for H and as one should have for their beloved. That is why Alvin and Marla are so spectacular, wanting to make every moment of their lives incredibly special, full of joy, happiness and meaning even when times might be difficult. They just will not give up and they want so much to convey those messages to all of us. Make life’s every moment as precious as can be. Their emunah, their faith, their hope, and their trust in H and in each other is phenomenal. Their outlook in life, dealing with whatever challenges they might have been so remarkable. There is so much we can and should learn from them and the kindness and good feelings they have and convey to others. There is one other wonderful attribute they have; both are very humble and do not think of themselves any special other than following in the ways of kindness. There is so much Chasdei H. May they both have a refuah sheleima and have continued simchas hachaim for many years to come.
In his latest article found in the Yated Ne eman July 22, 2022, Rabbi Yechiel Spero writes “There is a well-known Yalkut Shimoni (Yeshayah 393) that states that the world will last for 6,000 years and then will cease to exist as we know it. Someone once asked Rav Mottel of Slonim,” What will you do if the world continues to exist as we know it?” He answered,” I will wake up in the morning, take my tallis and tefillin, go to the bais medrash and daven, just as I always have. And I will conclude that I misunderstood that particular statement from Chazal. “Just because I misunderstood it, it does not mean that it is not true, and that is the basis of emunah. I must continue to do that which the Al-mighty demands. Without questions. And perhaps without fully understanding. We do not have to know; we must believe.”
Aharon Hakohen was what we would call a role model for Klal Yisrael. From A Vort from Rav Pam by Rabbi Sholom Smith Artscroll Series of Rav Avraham Yaakov Pam ztk” l Parshas Pinchas “With Two Hands” Pages 194-195. H Said to Moshe, take to yourself Yehoshua son of Nun, a man in whom there is spirit, and lean your hand upon him.” (27:18) When we bless someone by placing both hands on his head it shows that it is not done as an obligation or burden, but is done behavior, with love. The person wishes to fully transmit the berachos he is about to impart. This concept is seen in the manner in which Aharon HaKohen fulfilled the mitzva of Bircas Kohanim. In Parshas Shemini (Vayika 9:22) the pasuk says, Vayisaw Aharon es yawdawv el hawawm vayivarcheim, Aharon raised his arms toward the people and blessed them. The word Yawdawv is spelled defectively, as if it were written yawdo, one hand. Yet the word is read as if it were spelled yawdawv, two hands, because when Aharon blessed the people, he did so with beahavaw, with love. It may have been enough with one, as alluded to in the defectively spelled word yawdawv, Nevertheless, in his overwhelming feelings of love for the people, Aharon used both hands, and this has become the required way to perform this mitzva (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 128: 12).
The beracha that the Kohanim recite when performing Bircas Kohanim ends with the word beahavaw, with love. In fact, the Mishna Berurah (128.37) says that a Kohen who is hated by the congregation or has a hatred toward them should not bless them because Bircas Kohanim must be performed with great love for the Jewish people. This can be learned from Aharon himself, who was the very embodiment of peace: he was ohev shalom, v’rodef shalom a lover of peace and a pursuer of peace.
Parshas Pinchas is usually the first Shabbos of the tragic period of the Three Weeks. (In some years it is the Shabbos before the Seventeenth of Tammuz.) It is the time of year that commemorates the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, primarily because of sinas chinawn, unwarranted hatred between Jews. To rectify that sin, a Jew must go out of his way to display boundless love for his fellow Jews, symbolically, expressed by bestowing upon him two handfuls of blessings. Then we can hope for the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash, may it happen speedily and in our days.”
In the Haftoras Balak, Micha 5:6-6:8 From the Kol Dodi on The Haftaros by a Rav Dovid Feinstein edited by Nosson Scherman Mesorah Publications Ltd. Pages 175-177 [You ask,]” With what shall I approach H, humble myself before G on high? Shall I approach Him with burnt offerings, or with calves in their first year? Will H be appeased by thousands of rams with tens of thousands of streams of oil? Shall I give over my firstborn [ to atone for] my transgression, or the fruit of my belly[for] the sin of my soul? He has told you, O man, what is good! What does He require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly, of you, O man, what is good! What does H require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your G?” (Rav Dovid) “Mishpat- chesed- Justice…Kindness. It is not enough for a person to be just and kind. He must also transmit these values to his children and posterity. As H says about Avraham (Bereishis 18:19)” For I have loved him, because he commands his children and his household after him that they keep the way of H, doing charity and justice.” And to walk humbly with your G. In your humility you must recognize that it is H, not you, who provides for you and Who has the ultimate power.” \
A SPECIAL REPRINT AND VIDEO’S OF RAV DOVID AND RAV MEIR.
A special video about the tremendous opportunity from Rav Dovid Feinstein ztk” l to give honor to Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz zt” l from all Klal Yisrael for the immense knowledge thousands upon thousands have gained and all the many mitzvos accomplished because of Artscroll.
I was zoche to have Rav Dovid Feinstein as my Rebbe, my mentor and was zoche to have had Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz as one of my teachers in high school and through the years, had a special relationship with both at Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem. To be in the siviva with Rav Dovid, Rav Meir in the dalad amos of Rav Moshe was special indeed. It all started with invitations and special artwork. Rav Meir would proudly share his work with us his talmidim. Then came Megilas Esther and Artscoll blossomed. Rav Dovid felt as seen in the attached video the tremendous hakaros hatov, the appreciation Klal Yisrael should have and to dedicate even one letter for only $10 in the Sefer Torah lezeizer Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz. Can you imagine millions of Jewish men, women and children through the years using the Artscroll siddurim, machzorim, chumashim, gemaras and so many other seforim and books. The recent Siyum Hashas grew by the thousands due to the Artscroll gemaras used throughout the world.
CLICK HERE FOR THE TWO LINKS TO THE VIDEO AND THE $10 OS.
Thank you for taking the time to read this week’s article.
Sincerely, Rabbi Yehuda Blank