At 2:40 this morning I awoke to the message from my family in Yerushalayim that the great Tzaddik and Rosh Yeshiva Maran HaGaon HaRav Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman Zt”l. had left this world at the age of 104.
I had the privilege of being in his house a number of times and speaking to him.
His house was the epitome of simplicity with a refrigerator from the 1950s and walls which were obviously never repainted in decades.
He lived a life of modesty yet, on issues of substance he was not reticent about stating his opinions.
He was pragmatic yet, pious; down to Earth, while simultaneously being utterly ethereal.
A physically frail and slender man; be bore the weight of world Jewry on his lean yet, broad shoulders.
He loved all Jews; yet, would never compromise the honor of Hashem.
He was indeed the physical manifestation of what a Jew should aspire to be.
At 10:00 this morning, I was informed that my family in Yerushalayim had completed the Mitzvah of lighting the Chanukah lights just yards away from where my family performed the same Mitzvah over 200 years ago.
The passing of Rav Shteinman Zt”l is a temporary darkening of the spiritual light in this world.
The lighting of the Chanukah candles which took place just minutes after the conclusion of his funeral was meaningful in that it represented the rekindling of that exact spiritual light which he infused in this world during his over 100 years of active service to Hashem and His people.
His light was distinguished, yet, how fitting it was that it was immediately rekindled by hundreds of thousands of Jews all over Eretz Yisroel and the world.
The flaming Chanukah lights are a fitting tribute to the simple man who impacted on our world in such an “un-simple” way.