When I asked Rabbi Noach Weinberg, my Rosh Yeshiva, in 1992 about setting up a branch of Aish in the UK, he told me not to do it. He didn’t think Aish would be successful there. But I went anyway because of two key principles I had learned from him. Firstly, that being his student meant listening seriously and respectfully, but ultimately making my own decision. And secondly, that with enough reliance on God and the right amount of effort, anything is possible.
Es Haelokim hishalech Noach, Noach walked with God. Bitachon was not one compartment of the Rosh Yeshiva’s life; it was the air that he breathed. Every frum Jew knows that olam hazeh is a grand illusion, a manifestation of ratzon Hashem. The Rosh Yeshiva didn’t just know this, he experienced it and lived it on a daily basis.
He didn’t sit down on a chair; he sat down on Hashem’s ratzon in the shape of a chair. He didn’t eat food; he put something in his mouth and swallowed it because Hashem was telling him something by wanting him to do so. And he was always looking in the direction of that lesson.
Has it really been 4 years since the passing of my beloved Rebbe? My guide, my mentor, my role model……. my hero.
Hardly a day passes that I don’t crave his wise advice; his kind and caring input into my life. The knee jerk reaction of reaching for the phone is long gone, but the desire and the yearning for contact remain. Where can I go with my difficult questions? Where is the voice of sanity in a generation so confused and distracted? When I’m feeling lost, who can shine a light and point me in the direction of my own wisdom again?