web analytics
August 31, 2015 / 16 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Chaim Kaminetzky – Zecher Tzaddik Leverachah


Chaim Kaminetzky

Chaim Kaminetzky

I’ve always wondered what factors determine whether one gets a z”l suffix (zichrono leverachah) or a zt”l (zecher tzaddik leverachah) after he’s passed on. I know of no objective standard, or of any official sanctioning board that makes these decisions. In my understanding, the term zt”l is exclusively reserved for luminaries who have benefited their generation with their exemplary deeds and accomplishments.

The term “tzaddik” translates as “righteous,” but in truth it is much more. There are many righteous people among us, but only a very select few are afforded the title of tzaddik. A tzaddik is a person who not only behaves righteously but whose mere presence among us sheds light, setting an example for those in his wake. When a tzaddik departs from us, a void is created that cannot be filled, leaving a generation in mourning.

By this definition, Chaim Kaminetzky, who passed away last week, was surely a tzaddik.

I met Chaim about 24 years ago. At the time I was a graduate student, singing in bands to make some extra money. One afternoon I was singing at a bas mitzvah, and Chaim, who was there to pick up his daughter, approached me and said, “My name is Chaim Kaminetzky. I’m chairing this year’s Ohel dinner, and I’d like for you to perform.”

He took my number and the next day we were sitting at my table in my small apartment in Queens. “I think you have a gift, and I would like to get you out there,” he said.

“Sure,” I replied. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

And get me out there he did. By the end of that year I was performing in prestigious venues across the country and around the world. I kept asking Chaim about our financial arrangement, as surely I owed him his agent’s fees. He put me off time and again until I finally realized he never intended to take anything. Not only that, whenever we traveled together he always reached into his own pocket to pay his way in order not to cut into my fees.

But there was much more. At some point I realized I had to be careful about what I said around Chaim, because if I were to let on about anything I needed or even wanted, he would be at my door with it the next day. At first I was puzzled; I didn’t think such people existed. Was I missing something? Actually, I missed nothing, and there was still more.

He was a master at doing things for people quietly, but once in a while I would catch him. I would say, “Chaim’l [my nickname for him], did you do [so and so] or pay for [such and such]?” When he knew I had him cornered the reply was always the same: “Yeah, … so?”

He would never even accept a “thank you” – but after some time I came to understand that for Chaim the reward was already collected when the deed was accomplished, and thus a “thank you” was simply superfluous.

After a while, I began to understand. For the ordinary person, even a very righteous and kind one, his primary concerns are naturally his own and those of his family. For Chaim, however, the concerns of others were his primary concerns, and he had no peace so long as anyone for whom he cared (and there were many) had some unfulfilled need, large or small.

In truth, I had never met anyone like him before, have never met anyone like him since, and, frankly, have no realistic expectation that I will ever meet someone like him again.

* * * * *

When someone had a complicated problem, Chaim was the address. Once an issue, no matter how seemingly insurmountable, was brought to Chaim’s attention, he would find a way to get it resolved. As long as people around him were hurting, there was no rest for Chaim – literally so, as his wife, Barbara, can attest. Chaim was not a good “rester”; most of his nights were largely sleepless. But Barbara was his pillar of strength and she looked after Chaim while he was busy looking after everyone else. And Chaim never missed an opportunity to shower praise on Barbara and credit her for anything he was privileged to accomplish.

About the Author: Ira Heller is a singer/performer and an attorney practicing law in New York City. He can be contacted at singer721@aol.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Chaim Kaminetzky – Zecher Tzaddik Leverachah”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Survivors in Auschwitz.
Auschwitz Provides Tourists with Outdoor Showers to ‘Cool Down’
Latest Indepth Stories
Broken Telephone

A nuclear Khomenist Tehran will be a threat to Western democracies and to Jerusalem in particular

Major Monster, "Shirley Temper" looking at the cameraman.

The MONSTERS of Nebi Saleh know well the damning, visceral impact of powerful, deceitful imagery.

Proud Members of Jewish Voice for Peace

Jewish Voice for Peace openly supports BDS movement against ALL of Israel & ending the Jewish State.

Israel Football Game in Jerusalem; Alex Swieca, Quarterback

In recent years, there has been a big push to grow and develop American Football here in Israel.

Unlike Judaism & Christianity which honors “truth,” Islam pursues “Taqiyya,” strategic lying

Yashar Lachayal’s mission is to learn what IDF soldiers’ need and get it to them when they need it.

Corbyn leading the Britain’s Labour Party polls, describes Hamas & Hizbullah as England’s “friends.”

The convicted murderer was released from Israeli prison with more than two dozen other sociopaths

JCF is a donor/supporter of The New Israel Fund which supports BDS & wants IDF soldiers prosecuted

The ‘Peace Industry’ promotes its adherents; weak leaders, both military & political, is the result

The conundrum for US Labor Zionists: Lobbying for Iran deal while Israel’s Left lobby’s against it.

What does the Torah want from our small nation described as “they who struggle with God & with men”?

Mr. Nadler’s support for the deal is a naked political gift to a president who has defied logic in his quest to reinvent international affairs according to his ideological inclinations.

In practical terms, the proclamation surely makes a compelling argument:

More Articles from Ira Heller
Jacob W. Heller, z"l

My father took Yeshiva University debating into the national spotlight when he competed in the individual National Collegiate Debate finals.

Chaim Kaminetzky

I’ve always wondered what factors determine whether one gets a z”l suffix (zichrono leverachah) or a zt”l (zecher tzaddik leverachah) after he’s passed on. I know of no objective standard, or of any official sanctioning board that makes these decisions. In my understanding, the term zt”l is exclusively reserved for luminaries who have benefited their generation with their exemplary deeds and accomplishments.

What is it about a diamond that makes it the most valuable gemstone known to man?

The irony doesn’t get any better than this.
Barack Obama is supported by multitudes of Americans so eager to demonstrate their “liberal” benevolence that they gave him their votes on faith, before they had any substantial knowledge of who the man really is. Enter into the picture the images of Obama’s beloved minister of 20 years, Jeremiah Wright, spewing his hateful venom to his delirious mass of followers.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/chaim-kaminetzky-zecher-tzaddik-leverachah/2012/12/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: