Sunday, December 07, 2008
[Rabbi and Rebbetzin Holtzberg, may God avenge their deaths]
I was thinking recently about the huge debt of gratitude we owe to the men and women who devote their lives to studying and teaching Torah on a full time, professional basis. These include the scholars who study full time in advanced Talmudic seminaries, the men and women who teach in Jewish religious schools as well as the pulpit rabbinate.
These people preserve the authentic enthusiasm and idealism for Judaism which we should all aspire too. They sacrifice financial security and material comforts for the sake of idealism. In some cases, they even make the ultimate sacrifice. For them Judaism is not a culture, like Irish culture or Italian culture, with a special cuisine, language and celebrations, having sentimental value but nothing more than that. It's also not a race; bear in mind that the concept of race is today considered to be bogus by most scientists. Rather Judaism is simply the will of God as revealed to Moses at Mount Sinai.
I can recall so many cases where I received so much kindness spiritually and physically from rabbis who have helped me throughout the years. When I was a teenager in Bnei Brak, Israel Rabbi Yaakov Kanievesky spent many hours answering my questions about Judaism. A neighbor of his, Rabbi Eliyahu Weintraub generously paid my rent for the first year following my marriage to my first wife in 1981. He also spent many hours personally counseling me free of charge. Rabbi Elazar Shach also gave me personal advice. He also provided financial support, without my requesting it, on one occasion.
The primary benefit of the rabbis and rebbeztins, however, is that they present a goal for everyone else to strive for. Through their pure devotion, they are the role models for us all. Everyone should seek to associate with them and be inspired by them.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 8:44 PM