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Moreinu v'Rabbeinu Maran Rosh Hayeshiva
"Once Yossi ben Yo'ezer, Ish Tz'reida, and Yossi ben Yehudah, Ish Yerushalayim, passed away, the "clusters" ceased to exist… What are the "clusters"? A man who encompasses everything." Sota 47a,b).
If anything could be said about the Rosh Yeshiva, ztzuka"l, it was that he encompassed everything - Kol Hatorah Kulo. We can't even list everything: Shas, Shulchan Aruch, Poskim, Sifrei Mussar, Sifrei Machshava, Yiras Shomayim, Midos Tovos. Today we live in a world of speciallists. When I was growing up you went to the family doctor. He knew pretty much everything and treated everything. In special cases you went to a specialist. Today you go straight to the specialist. Everything has become compartmentalized. So too in Torah. There used to be Gedolim who encompassed everything. Today we live in a world of specialists. A Rosh Yeshiva teaches Gemara. A halacha rebbe teaches halacha. A Mashgiach gives mussar shmuezen. A Ba'al Eitza counsels. There's a special Rav for daily halachos, a different Rav for Hilchos Niddah, a Dayan for Choshen Mishpat, a ba'al tefilla for davening.
The Rosh Yeshiva was the last man of everything! He encompassed all facets of Torah.
A tzaddik is the pillar of the world, he literally holds up the entire world.
Now that he is gone, the world has entered a new era. Who is going to hold it up? It is impossible for us to fill the void. Those who didn't know him have no idea what we have lost.
We are now past the shiva. All I can say is that everyone should try to read up on the Rosh Yeshiva. There is so much being written about him in all the newspapers and magazines. Whatever they write is only a drop in the ocean of his true gadlus. And now all we can do is try to learn from him. It would be appropriate for everyone to take on some avodah of the Rosh Yeshiva. I don't recommend putting on oodles of tzitzis, or wearing tefillin the whole day, or doing a taanis dibur each Shabbos. We're ordinary people and it would not be the same. And anyway, whenever he did anything it was real. That was his gadlus. He was real. When he cried in davening it was real, not put on. When he smiled at you, it was real, not put on. When he listened and gave eitzos, it was real, not put on. His bitachon and yiras shomayim was real, not put on. And when he learned (with absolute hasmoda) it was real, not put on.
But we can do a bit more. We can try to be makpid on tefilla be'tzibur. Makpid on talking gently. Makpid on bein adom l'chaveiro. We can be Kove'a Itim LaTorah - set aside time for learning every day, no matter what (and I mean no matter what.) Set aside time for learning Halacha and Mussar, besides our daf yomi. To build up our Bitachon (his Bitachon was absolute). Everyone can take on a little more than he's used to. That was the Rosh Yeshiva. Always try harder. It's hard? So? That's what we're in this world for.
If we learn even just a little bit from him, and it makes us better, that will be the biggest zechus for his neshamah. And in that way, perhaps we can help the world and prepare ourselves for Moshiach, may he come speedily.
Tangible EmunaA young man who frequently visited the Chazon Ish, zt"l, was surprised one day when the Chazon Ish told him the following: "Sometimes we see a person, religious and meticulous about every detail, suddenly, out of the blue, throwing off the yoke of Yiddishkeit. Everyone imagines that this was a sudden change. In actual fact, his internal decline certainly began much earlier. Even though it did not express itself in actions right away, deep inside his heart his faith weakened long ago. It was merely his surroundings that had enabled him to keep an external facade. Finally his true state became exposed to others." The Chazon Ish finished his statement and did not explain further.
On the trip home to Yerushalayim, this bochur's mind was in turmoil. He kept asking himself, "What did the Chazon Ish mean? What fault had he seen in me that he had to tell me this?" When he arrived in Yerushalayim, he met a friend and told him over the whole story. The friend also was perplexed by the Chazon Ish's words. He said that the bochur must go back to Bnei Brak for an explanation.
So he did. The next day, he returned to the Chazon Ish and asked him to explain what he had meant. The Chazon Ish, obviously expecting this, had a big smile on his face.
"Come. I'll explain. Emuna is something that requires constant strengthening. If one doesn't reinforce the emuna he was raised and educated with, it slowly dissipates and weakens. Who knows what his end will be? Therefore, a person is obligated to constantly build up his emuna. This is the only way he can properly guarantee his Yiddishkeit. How does one strengthen it? Through accustoming himself to a life of tangible emuna.
"I'll give you an example of living with tangible emuna. The gemara (Brachos 5b) tells us that Rav Huna had 400 barrels of wine turn sour on him. He went to the chachamim and they told him to look into his actions. He answered, 'And am I suspect in your eyes?' They answered, 'And is HaKadosh Baruch Hu suspect in your eyes that He would do injustice?' He answered them that he has no idea in what way he sinned. Perhaps they knew. They said to him that he had not given his tenant farmer the scraps of twigs that were coming to him in addition to his regular portion. 'What! Do you think he left over anything for me? He's stolen everything for himself!' 'Could be true. But that doesn't give you the right to steal from him.' Rav Huna accepted upon himself to correct the wrongdoing and the vinegar turned back into wine. Some say that it remained vinegar, but the price of vinegar rose to the same price as wine.
"If such a thing would happen to us," continued the Chazon Ish, "we would search for the natural causes for wine to turn to vinegar, not the way Chazal did. They had tangible emuna. When a mishap befell them, they searched to correct their actions and in their spiritual world, they knew that this was the only way they would succeed to prevent the problem from repeating itself. One who lives tangible emuna is confident in his faith."
How does one get to tangible emuna? "Whatever you need, ask HaKadosh Baruch Hu! If you need a new pair of shoes, go to the corner of the room and say, 'Ribono Shel Olam. Look at these old, worn-out shoes. Please give me the money to buy new shoes.' Do this with everything and in this way you will habituate yourself to recognize and feel how He gives us everything. This is the way to acquire tangible emuna," concluded the Chazon Ish.
Shema Yisrael Torah Network