Baruch Hashem, R' Boruch Leff, a mechanech in Baltimore and writer for Yated, Aish.com, and other publications has given me permission to post a series of pieces which quote my rebbe, Rav Moshe Weinberger, from his book Are You Growing?, which is available on Aish's website at a 40% discount here. He asked me to point out that these pieces were not written by Rav Weinberger himself, but represent R' Leff's understanding of things Rav Weinberger said in various shiurim. Enjoy!
We all need rebbeim. We all need to search for and find great rebbeim. There are different kinds of rebbeim. Some rebbeim teach us the Gemara or the Chumash. Yet this does not suffice. We need rebbeim who can teach us something else, just as important.Click here to get Dixie Yid in your e-mail Inbox or here to subscribe in Google Reader.
Rav Yaakov of Ishbitz, son of the Mei HaShiloach and author of Beis Yaakov on Chumash, would give a shiur for a select group of students from 12AM until 4 AM every night of the week except Shabbos. Rav Moshe Weinberger, shlita, tells the story of one of the students who attended these amazing shiurim. Years later, the student described that he remembers how Rav Yaakov was very meticulous about time and every night at exactly 12AM—one could even set his watch— two of RavYaakov’s attendants would escort him into the room, one holding a candle andone holding the big gemara. Rav Yaakov would give the shiur with amazing pilpul and chiddushim. It felt like one was atSinai. At exactly 4 AM, the two shamashim came forward again, one with a new candle to lead him out into the street, and the other to hold the gemara.
This talmid reflected that he loved going tothis shiur, but he now remembers very little of the insights from the shiurim.“I experienced tremendous suffering in my life and I have forgotten most of what I learned. But there is one thing I never forgot, one memory that stayed with me and encouraged me throughout my years and throughout my suffering. The memory of how Rav Yaakov lovingly kissed his gemara when the shiur was over is the fire which keeps me going.”
There’s theteaching of the gemara and there’sthe kissing of the gemara. If we onlyhave a rebbe who is able to teach usthe gemara, we need to find one whocan also teach us how to kiss the gemara.
When we kiss the gemara properly, we show that thelearning is a vehicle to bring us closer to Hashem.