The Rosh Yeshiva – Hold Tight My Friends – Hold Tight And Dear

By Aaron Joseph. I learned in the Mir, Yerushalyim. I’m sure you did too or at least know someone who did. Everybody knew the Rosh Yeshiva. Even my sisters who studied in Eretz met the Rosh Yeshiva. Every Ben-Torah knew him, and then some.

Knew the Rosh Yeshiva is a correct term. For whenever the Rosh Yeshiva met you, he gave you, Talmid or not, that beautiful, warm smile that penetrated the heart- and you sensed then and there that the smile was real- and you realized at the time that perhaps it may have cost the Rosh Yeshiva a bit extra energy- but the Rosh Yeshiva felt you were worth it- and was sincerely pleased to meet you and offer you that smile. The Rosh Yeshiva was authentic and so were you- כמים הפנים לפנים כן לב האדם לאדם.

And there was the time he made for you. Talmid or not. The gentle words of Chizuk, the small Chaburos, the Erev Shabbos Shiurim, the Shmoozim, the visits and Asifas- and the ever sweet, sweet words of Torah that he conveyed at every moment, and the Musar- so softly so earnestly- who would not listen- and only because he so truly loved and cared for each of us- and Klal Yisroel- as one unit.

Yes, we all knew the Rosh Yeshiva, world wide, and as many different people that is, so is the personal perceptions each individual has of him. I’m not one to promote my personal recollections, as in all probability it pales in comparison to yours.

Hold your own memories and perceptions tight and dear. For a giant like the Rosh Yeshiva, what he was- and will forever more represent to you- and what you gleaned from just being in his presence, there will never be another.

Yet I believe that there is one common denominator that we all share at this time that binds us into what makes us an Am Echod. Everybody feels as if they lost a most precious beloved one. As if we lost an immediate family member. The heart of the collective Ben-Torah was torn wide open last night. A part of you and me has been torn away.

I know not how to deal with the scope of this horrific, terrible tragedy. No professional will ever convey the proper thought. There is no advice I can offer. Perhaps our Gedolai Hadar will tell us. Although from the reports of the L’vaya it sounds as if even the greatest were profoundly affected by our great loss.

Hold tight to your memories- to your perceptions. Perhaps develop them into living memories of how you knew the Rosh Yeshiva, by emulating in some way that which you recollect about him. Perhaps in that way he won’t seem forever gone, as he will be living on in you and me. Perhaps in so doing you will feel better as time moves on knowing that you are representing to the world some small way of the Rosh Yeshiva. I don’t know if it can work, but I’ll surely try this at the very least.

Hold tight my dear friends to that which was, as the world you and I knew on Monday morning is no longer and will never be again. We must firmly grasp of it whatever we can so as to convey the Rosh Yeshiva to future generations- so that the Rosh Yeshiva, our Rosh Yeshiva, the world’s Rosh Yeshiva, can yet endure and continue to enlighten future Doros- enabling them to meet with and learn from what the Rosh Yeshiva represents- through us, his collective Talmidim- each and every Ben-Torah. המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים

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  1. I think that only the Rosh Yeshivah ZT”L could call all the talmidim a mishpacha and it didn’t sound,feel or seem the least bit contrived. I remember when he came back to the Yeshiva after an always grueling fundraising trip and the oilam broke out singing Ki Orach Yamim. When he spoke, the Rosh Yeshiva only had the strength to say how happy he was to be back with the famiy,the Yeshiva.
    I will forever have the beautiful caring smile of the Rosh Yeshiva in my memory, and the knowledge that wherever I may be in the world, I am part of a family that extends into the thousands and tens of thousands. A family that was united by the love of the Rosh Yeshiva.

  2. He was the only Rosh HaYeshiva (or Rebbe for that mater) I ever met who vocally expressed his intense love for his talmidim. I will cherish the moments that I spent with him, and will never forget the hundreds of times I heard him say to the students in the Yeshiva “Ich Chab Dir Leeb”, I love all of you! I wish I could tell him back at this moment how much all his talmidim loved HIM and cherished what he gave to all of us.

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