THOUGHT FOR PARSHAT BEREISHIT 5779
BY RABBI CHAIM FACHLER
Inexplicably I have had the privilege of spending quality time with 3 very distinct but without doubt giant visionaries.
The Ponevez Rav, our grandfather’s cousin, was a regular visitor to our home in Letchworth. He created the iconic Ponevez Yeshiva.
The Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe was still very active when I started working at Laniado Hospital, which of course he created here in Netanya, alongside an orphanage, an old age home and countless educational institutions around the world.
And for the last five years - until last week that is - I would see Dr Moshe Rothschild numerous times a day in the course of my work at Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Centre, which he created.
Each of these three mere mortals attained unimaginable creative achievements in terms of realising their respective dreams - dreams that few of their close family and friends actually believed would ever come to fruition.
Many years ago their paths often crossed and knowing the mutual respect they held for each other has been in of itself an encouraging lesson.
Reading this week’s Parsha and thinking about HaShem creating the world, and mankind, while it is totally impossible to even attempt to get to grips with the enormity of that task, HaShem certainly created in each and every one of us DNA molecules called “creativity”. Obviously, some individuals developed those genes more than others, and were therefore more driven to think out of the box, and leave their indelible mark on the community.
But these three particular giants shared something else – a totally selfless commitment to the People of Israel. In their own way, they each uncompromisingly embraced their Jewish heritage, and dedicated their lives to helping others, both spiritually and physically. This ego-less dedication to the causes they championed earned them the unreserved respect and admiration of all who met them.
Which is exactly what the Netziv refers to when – in his masterful oft-quoted introduction to the Book of Genesis / Bereishit – he explains that our fore-fathers Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, never compromised their spirituality and always emphasised their love of their fellow man in their every act and deed. Through this they earned the title “Yashar”, meaning straight, honest, almost perfect.
As well as benefiting from the legacies left by the Ponevez Rav, the Sanz-Klausenberg Rebbe, and Dr Rothschild, we have so many lessons to learn from them.