Rabbi Yehuda (Leonard) Blank MS, BCC
Vice President of Professional Development and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
Thursday, September 15,2022, 19 Elul, 5782
Happiness Caring for Others
H gave us the ability to see and understand.
Appreciating what we have.
Special interview by the Boro Park 24 on their website highlighting the Bar Mitzva of my dear grandson Moishe from the perspective of his devoted parents. Also included were the wonderful chasadim of the Tantzers who made the simcha so special.
When the family returned home after the simcha, my son asked Moishe if he would like to have the dancing and music again- he responded with a beautiful smile !
With tremendous appreciation to the Ribono shel Olam, Moishe parents enthusiastically gave permission for the Boro Park 24 interview and for my articles to be printed. They want to give chizuk to others about how to find goodness, kindness, the gift of understanding and the cup over flowing, not just full in all situations. Also, how a husband and wife can bring shalom and simchas hachaim with a bayis ne eman b’Yisrael into their home with two special needs children. May their daughter Chaya Rivka bas Alter Tziva and Moishe ben Alter Tzivia have a refuah sheleima. Their other two children are given tremendous warmth and encouragement, and though they are young, are like their parents with sweetness and care for each other and their siblings. In my mechutin Rav Yisrael Kleinman’s Devar Torah which I included in my article last week about the greatness of Mi Keamecha Yisrael and how various organizations, professionals and other’s bring care to Moishe and Chaya Rivka. If you found my article last week meaningful, you will find this weeks with the interview from Boro Park 24 and videos tremendously inspiring.
You will also read below how much one can find appreciation in life as Helen Keller did, finding happiness in giving and doing for others, and the power of understanding.
From Pashas Ki Savo Chumash Devarim The Stone Edition, Artscroll Series Mesorah Publications Ltd.
“Vesamachtah- You shall be glad. The celebration should include activities that make people joyous, such as shared song, for whenever people come together to celebrate a happy event, it is natural for them to sing (HaKsav V’HaKabbalah). This is just like the Tantzers who bring song, dance, happiness and tremendous simcha to others.
From Kol Dodi On the Torah by Rav Dovid Feinstein zt”l Artscroll Series Mesorah Publishing Ltd. Parshas Ki Savoh Page 285 “ And H did not give you a heart to know and eyes to see and ears to hear until today (29:3)” “ Moshe is consoling the Jews: “ Until now, H did not give you the ability to see and understand His great kindness to you. It is not your fault that you did not appreciate them because in the past you were not capable of it. Now, however, that He has given you these powers, you will be held responsible for your actions.” And now that they were capable of doing so, Moshe was able to charge them with the responsibilities he speaks of in Parshas Nitzavim.”
From Motivated by the Maggid by Rabbi Paysach J. Krohn Artscroll Series Mesorah Publishing Ltd Pages 84-85 “The Seeing See Little” “ Helen Keller, the woman who became blind, deaf, and mute before that age of 2, developed into a noted writer, speaker and activist, She passed away in 1967, at the age of 87. In her essay, “Three Days to See,” Helen Keller wrote, “ I have often thought it would be a blessing if each human being were stricken blind and deaf for a few days at some time during his early adult life. Darkness would make him more appreciative of sight; silence would teach him the joys of sound.”
She once asked a friend, who had just returned from a long walk in the woods, what she had observed there, and the friend replied, “Nothing in particular.” Miss Keller became convinces that the seeing see little. “I who cannot see find hundreds of things to interest me though mere touch.”
If she had sight for just three days, Helen Keller wrote, she would like to see the special people in her life, the furnishings of her home, her books, the woods, the sunrise, museums, businesses.
When you say “Pokeiach Ivrim”, Who gives sight to the blind,” shut your eyes and try to imagine life if chas v’ shalom you couldn’t see. Open your eyes and say thank you. Look around you. Look at your grandchildren. Who can see a grandchild and not be happy they were zoche to that? Look at flowers. If you are near tulips, show your children how they open in the morning and close at night. Look at bridges; I find them inspirational.”
If any of my readers has or knows of a family with a special needs child or children and would benefit from phenomenal chizuk and how to advocate for their child(ren) from Aryeh and Tzivia Blank, contact Aryeh via his email address email@example.com.
One last comment from me, don’t fret about wishing a parent to have nachas from a special needs child. There is always’ something to be proud of. Not only that, but giving a bracha with sincerity is itself tremendous chizuk. It is not for us to try to understand why a person of any age has a specific challenge, but that person is just as special in the eyes of H and the love, care is appreciated in ways we may not ever know how and why. Our love must be always’ be sincere. Goodness and kindness should always come from your heart. Thank you. Sincerely, Rabbi Yehuda Blank
The following is the interview from Boro Park 24 followed by the link to some of the remarkable video’s with the Tantzers including two world renown Chasidic singers Beri Weber and Yossie Lebowitz. Beri Weber is holding Mosihe’s hand in one of the videos. Of course there was also dancing and singing with all the other mishpacha and guests.
Beri Weber, Yossi Lebowitz, and 25 Tantzers Celebrate
with Boro Park Bar Mitzvah Boy
By Yehudit Garmaise
What touched Mrs. Tzivia Blank the most about the bar mitzvah celebration Tantzers helped to make for her son Moishe, who has a rare diagnosis, was how the guest interacted with the bar mitzvah boy.
“Yes, this is a child who breathes on a ventilator and sits in a wheelchair, but he is a person, and this was his simcha, and all the guests looked at Moishe, who knows what is going on, as a person with dignity,” said Mrs. Blank with gratitude. “That was the most beautiful part because they were not celebrating with him like he doesn’t know what is going on.
“Moishe is not able to walk or talk, but he communicates with his eyes, smiles, and his facial expressions. No one looked at him like he is not ‘there,’ and all that.
“Our guests all wanted to be there, and they know that Moishe comprehends everything.
“That was the most beautiful part of it. The love in the air was tremendous.”
When Tzivia and Aryeh Blank were first planning a bar mitzvah celebration for Moishe, they thought they would make a small party with family, friends, and some music.
Little did they know that they would end up making a simcha at which 200 guests, including 25 Tantzers’ volunteers, would be dancing for an hour and a half straight with their son, as none other than Beri Weber and Yossi Lebowitz sang their hearts out at Sisu v’Simchu Hall on 18th Avenue on Monday night.
The Blanks’ good friend Reb Sholi Rosenblum, who partners with the Tantzer’s founder Zelig Freidman, said he wanted to help make Moshe’s simcha extra special.
Rosenblum’s brother, Alexander Zisha Rosenblum originally founded Tantzers with Freidman.
After Alexander Zisha, however, was seriously injured in a terrible car accident, Sholi stepped in and partnered with Friedman to carry out the Tantzers’ holy work.
As additional zchusim for the speedy and complete recovery of his brother, who remains in a coma after the crash that occurred while he was traveling home after dancing with the Tantzers at an event in Monsey, Sholi also founded additional chessed initiatives like Tenchiuch and Lehasigneg.
Referring to Rosenblum as “Reb Sholi,” and calling him a tzaddik, Mr. Blank recounted how the Tantzers added immeasurable joy to the simcha of his son’s bar mitzvah party last Monday.
Without the ability to speak, Moishe could not make brachos on the Torah layning, so instead, Mr. Blank positioned his son at the aron kodesh, so that he could do poseicha.
Instead of handshakes for each zayde, uncle, and cousin who received aliyos, Moishe smiled his “yasher koach” to communicate with each relative who was honored.
After davening, many Boro Park community members helped out by bringing herring, hot kugel, and many other treats to make a beautiful kiddush attended by up to 70 friends.
Dozens of volunteer singers over the years, such as Matt Levin, however, have come over to the Blanks’ home to sing for Moishe, whose eyes light up and who smiles when he hears Yiddishe music.
In fact, Moishe’s favorite toy is a karaoke machine that comes complete with flashing lights and a disco ball, which inspired Friedman to replicate that experience at the simcha.
“Friedman brought three different major disco lights, blinking lights, and everything was, ‘Wow!’” Mr. Blank recalled, noting that Sruli Glassman also brought many fun balloons.
While Freidman said that he cannot recall ever seeing such a high level of simcha and inspiration at an event, the person who most appreciated the Tantzers’ efforts was Moishe.
“When he is stimulated, he really flourishes,” said Mrs. Blank, who shared her husband’s sentiment that her son serves as a chizzuk to others, rather than be a source of rachamanis.
Among the guests who were thrilled to celebrate with Moishe were his many friends from Camp Migdal and elsewhere, and 20 seminary girls who, over the years, have volunteered b’simcha to help the Blank family and befriend Moishe.
“Everyone wanted to share in the simcha,” said Mrs. Blank, who explained that she and her husband see their son as a normal boy.
“Just like somebody might need glasses, Moishe has different physical problems than everybody else,” said Mrs. Blank, who said she, her husband, and all of their guests are still “on a high” from Moishe’s bar mitzvah.
Although the bar mitzvah was amazing, the Blanks wanted to reiterate that they never will give up on their children.
They even take comfort that Moshe’s diagnosis is rare because the lack of research on the condition gives them more hope for the future.
“We want to encourage anyone facing challenges to stay hopeful, and we also want to m’chazzik anyone who wants to can get involved in chesed of any kind.
“Anyone can do anything that he or she wants to do.”
CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEOS