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These are the offspring of Aharon and Moshe on the day Hashem spoke with Moshe at Mount Sinai. These are the names of the sons of Aharon; the firstborn was Nadav, and Avihu, Elazar, and Isamar (Bemidbar 3:1-3).
Rashi brings the question of the Sages in the Talmud (Sanhedrin 19b) that the passage begins "These are the offspring of Aharon and Moshe" but it mentions only the sons of Aharon. The answer is that they are also called the sons of Moshe because he taught them Torah. This teaches us that whoever teaches Torah to the son of his fellow man is regarded by the Scripture as though he had begotten him.
Last week, the Torah world was saddened by the passing of one of its greatest Rabbis, Harav Hagaon Reb Tuvia Goldstein zt"l. He was one of the major poskim (rulers in Halachah, Jewish Law) of the generation. The Master of the Torah, Hagaon Harav Moshe Feinstein ztvk"l, who, for many years, lived in the apartment immediately above Reb Tuvia, used to show him his famous responsa to look over and approve, before he published them in the Igros Moshe.
I had the privilege of being one of his thousands of students, when I was 14 years old, in the Yeshiva Rabbeinu Ya'akov Yosef in Manhattan, NYC. At that very impressionable age, it was crucial to have a rabbi who was totally dedicated to his talmidim and not only taught them Torah but also cared about their success in learning and service of Hashem. Though he had so many ardent followers, Reb Tuvia truly acted like a father to each and every one of them. R.J.J. did not have a dormitory, and, since I wanted to spend Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Simchas Torah in yeshiva, I used to spend the holidays with Reb Tuvia and his family. It was a special experience and I learned lots of laws and customs by being so close to him.
We also desperately needed rabbis who understood us and could relate to us. The rabbis in RJJ were great men who had withstood all of the trials and tribulations of the Holocaust Era and remained steadfastly loyal to Hashem. They learned His Torah under terrible and terrifying conditions and grew to be big talmidei chachamim (Torah scholars). The generation gap between them and us, American teenagers who were much more interested in having fun than in learning and being serious in the service of Hashem, was awesome. Many of these European rabbis were not able to relate to us at all since they could not understand us.
I remember one rebby of mine who used to say that he learned the word "fun" in America. In Europe, he explained, no one had even heard of that concept. Everyone was too busy trying to stay alive. He gave us an example. "I met a boy who was about to drive his car somewhere. I asked him where he was going and he replied, 'Nowhere special.' I thought he was avoiding the question so I asked him again. He insisted that he was 'just going for a drive,' with no special destination in mind. I asked him why in the world he would spend precious time and money for no specific purpose. He said that he definitely did have a purpose in what he was doing. I asked him what it could possible be. He answered me, 'For fun!'"
Reb Tuvia was special in that although he, too, was light years ahead of us, and belonged to a totally different world from ours, nevertheless, he related to us and, with patience and understanding, uplifted us from our mundane interests and helped us enter the World of Torah.
Reb Tuvia taught us to trust in Hashem and not fight His Hashgachah Peratis (Divine Providence). He would tell us that when his yeshiva was sent to Siberia by the Russians, there were some students who jumped off of the train. Everyone was so jealous of them but they didn't have the guts to jump after them. However, the next day, the Germans entered that territory and killed everyone they found there, including all those who had escaped from the train. "They were all killed," Reb Tuvia would say, "while we, although we suffered much for many years, ultimately lived to build families and serve Hashem in freedom!"
And he taught us to value our time. I remember him telling me many times that he had a Jewish calendar hanging in his apartment which listed the dates per week. "Every Motzaei Shabbos (Saturday Night), after Havdalah (a prayer said over a cup of wine, separating the Holy Sabbath from the profane weekdays)," he told me, "I tear off a page from the calendar and throw it away. It rips apart my heart as I think to myself: A week of your life has left you. It will never return! What did you do during this week? How many mitzvahs did you perform? How many sins did you violate? How much lashon hara (slander) did you speak? See to take proper advantage of the next week and behave properly during its stay."
We, his thousands of students, will never forget him and his dedication to us. His words will guide us forever. May his memory be a blessing to all of Klal Yisroel.
Shema Yisrael Torah Network