One more point: Brenner writes that the parade “celebrates Israel, not Orthodox Judaism.” He is correct, but Orthodox groups have the right to determine whether or not to march. I believe that it would be a magnificent Kiddush Hashem for Orthodox groups to take an unflinching stance regarding their participation in the parade, uncomfortable as that stance may be.
Far Rockaway, NY
Memories Of Rav Dovid
I wish to compliment Rabbi Dovid Cohen for his article on Rav Dovid Lifshitz, zt”l (“My Rebbe’s Rebbe,” op-ed. June 14) and add some important points.
I was a student of Rav Dovid from the early- to mid-1970s. Rav Dovid was a tremendous ba’al masbir whose knowledge of any topic in Shas was phenomenal.
Rav Dovid was very devoted to his students. I was in class with second generation-students and he recalled everything about their families. His derech in learning was to closely read the Ramban, Rashba and Ritva first and analyze each word.
Then it was on to the Rambam and the latter Achronim, concluding with the comments of his own rebbe, the gaon Rav Shimon Skhop, rosh yeshiva of Telshe and then Grodno.
Rav Dovid commented when we studied the commentary of Rav Elchanan Wasserman that Rav Elchanan was a talmid of Rav Shimon when the latter was a young rosh yeshiva in Telshe and he, Rav Dovid, was a talmid of Rav Shimon when he was an older rosh yeshiva in Grodno.
Rav Dovid brought us into the Lithuanian Torah world that existed prior to the Holocaust. He made it alive. He also told us that he was connected to the Jewish world through his students who became rabbis, Jewish educators, lawyers, physicians, etc., and remained close to him.
I close with an anecdote. When I assumed my rabbinical position I asked Rav Dovid for advice. He said, “There is no mitzvah to start a machlokes with people, even with Conservative rabbis, but we must remain strong to our shitah.”
I did not understand the profound wisdom in those words. For the first couple of years I tried to get into the kitchen of the Jewish convalescent home in my town but was unable to. Then a new director came and told me I could enter and check it out. I called my Conservative colleague and asked him when was a good time for us to go to the kitchen. Initially he refused, but I persisted. Finally, we spent a morning in the kitchen.
When we walked out to the parking lot he said, “You treated me with such derech eretz by inviting me to come with you. From now on you are in charge and I support you implicitly in every decision regarding kashrus you make.” He said much the same thing at all the meetings of the Jewish organizations. The members were so impressed with the respect I accorded him.
Now, Baruch Hashem, I understood the profound wisdom of Rav Dovid. He dressed like a European rav but he understood America. He was a great marbitz Torah and manhig Yisrael. His legacy should always direct us.
Rabbi Barry David Hartman
New Bedford, MA
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