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Reflections On The Eighth Yahrzeit Of Rabbi Sholom Klass, zt”l

         The years move forward and your eighth yahrzeit (10 Shevat) will soon be here, my dear father. Eight years without you, my rabbi, my father, my guidepost. Eight years is a long time to go without hearing your wonderful Divrei Torah; without having you at our Shabbos table, or sitting at yours. But the loss is not just ours.
 
         It is really a loss for Klal Yisrael. Many people who used to turn to you for answers to their questions have told us that they have not found anyone whose responses were as clear and erudite, and who accepted every query so willingly. The best that I can do is tell people that many of the hundreds of answers that you gave can be found in your three volumes of Responsa of Modern Judaism.
 
         I sit here at your desk, in your office at The Jewish Press and your Gemaras and your seforim are still on the shelves all around me, just as you left them. Sometimes your grandson Shlomo comes in to borrow one. He works here now, writing and interviewing. How happy you would have been to see it. I can picture the smile that would have lit up your face as he reached for a Gemara. But you wouldn’t have let it go at that. You would have engaged him in a regular shiur before he left the room, sefer in hand.
 
         That was always how it was. You were so happy to see any one of your grandchildren, but the visit had to include words of Torah. And of course you trained them to always give the source. That training serves all of them very well. Whenever Zevie or Dovid gives over a piece of Gemara they are quick to say where it can be found. But it is not only your grandchildren – even Rafi, your great- grandson, always gives the origin, and I smile and thank you in my heart.
 
         In these past eight years, more great-grandchildren have been born and almost every family has a Sholom named for you. Several of your great-grandchildren have married and have children of their own, your great-great-grandchildren. Shandee is a grandmother. Yes, your beloved granddaughter Shandele has grandchildren of her own.
 
         At The Jewish Press we try to carry on your legacy. You worked so hard, and your labor bore fruit. You wanted to spread Torah throughout the land and you did. I still meet people who tell me that they are observant Jews today because of The Jewish Press. You also worked tirelessly on behalf of Eretz Yisrael. Half of your grandchildren live in Israel, and that, too, is in large measure in your zechus.
 
         I watch in growing dismay and horror the unfolding of disturbing events in Israel. I can only imagine what you would be writing today in answer to the dire situation that threatens the very existence of our beloved homeland. You always said that the pen is mightier than the sword and I know that your pen would have been a powerful weapon.
 
         The loves of your life were Torah, your family, the Jewish People and the Land of Israel. You devoted your life to further these values. And today with the help of Hashem, all of your children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren live Torah lives.
 
         You used to say, “Yaakov Avinu lo met -Yaakov our forefather did not die,” but just a few weeks ago we read that he did in fact die. You liked to explain that one who leaves children and grandchildren, who follow in the path of Torah, truly never dies.
 

         In your zechus, may we continue to succeed and may you be a melitz yosher for all of us and for Klal Yisrael.

About the Author: Naomi Klass Mauer is associate publisher of The Jewish Press.


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