Tuesday, March 31, 2009
זיידי, מיר בענקען זיך נאך דיר
נאך דיין אהבת התורה
נאך דיין הידור במצוות
נאך דיין אמת'ער כיבוד תלמידי חכמים
נאך דיין אמונת צדיקים
נאך דיין התמדה און שקידה
נאך דיין אהבה צו דיינע אייניקלעך
דו פעלסט אונז אויס מער ווי אייביג
My Zeide lost his wife and 4 children in 1944 at the hands of the Nazis yms"h, and started all over again in the DP camps. Upon arriving in America he worked hard, very hard, and even after being robbed blind by a business partner never complained. Today some of those jobs he worked at might not sound so "respectable", especially for a Talmid Chochom, but that wasn't a problem for my Zeide. He may have worked to provide for his family, but his eyes and mind were always in a Sefer. He would arise way before dawn to learn and give Shuirim, and was back at the Gemoroh upon returning home. Upon retiring he spent his time in the Bais Medrish.
Zeide was a Talmid of the VaYaged Yaakov of Pupa, who passed away in 1941, for a short time, and then, for the most part, a Talmid of Reb Zev Gintzler of Solgotarjan and F'Gyarmat, Hungary. A point about RZG's dedication to his Talmidim, and in turn their love for him, is made by the fact that when RZG was offered the Rabbinic post of F'Gyarmat ALL OF HIS TALMIDIM WENT ALONG WITH HIM TO THE NEW TOWN! The Yeshiva was restarted in his new place of residence. Unlike other Yidden his age and of his background whose children/grandchildren chose to "join" Lubavitch, he would tell people he would meet with me that דאס איז מיין אייניקל, ער איז א ליובאוויטשער חסיד, "די ליובאוויטשער רבי איז געוואלדיג גרויס , That, in a way, gave me the Chizuk I needed during those turbulent times. While bedridden the last few weeks of his life, his lips did not cease to murmur words of Torah and Tefilloh, and he passed on B'Misas Neshikoh on Erev Shabbos Kodesh, 6 Nissan 5754.
I wrote most of these words three years ago on his Yohrtzeit, yet they still ring as true as ever now. I thought about him a lot recently, and how his presence is sorely missed. How my own children would've benefited greatly from him and from his old world character. The fact that he had to start all over again basically made an entire generation miss out on learning from him. That is another great tragedy that often gets overlooked when discussing the holocaust; the fact that then you could only enjoy your grandparents when they were elderly. Today you can have a young, vibrant zeide in his 50's teach you and share with you. And bubbe as well, of course. Anyway, I wish I could've made it to the Beis Olam today, and I could have really, it's just that TODAY of all days I FORGOT! The only reason I remembered was because I saw a mention online of the Floral Park cemetery where's buried! I could cry right now.
Please learn a mishna or two לע"נ ר' בנימין דוד ב"ר שמואל ע"ה