web analytics
July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Rav Eliyahu And Jewish Unity: A Personal Reflection


What could I possibly write to justly summarize the magnitude of my/our dear rabbi, the Rishon LeTzion Rav Mordechai Eliyahu, zt”l? I can’t believe I am actually sitting and writing about him in the past tense.

I met Rav Eliyahu about a month before I joined the IDF. There had been a bombing on one of the buses in Tel Aviv the day before and the entire country was depressed. I had heard a lot about him before meeting him, but the way he spoke about every Jew lost in that terrible bombing joined me to his personality.

Two hours later I walked out of his house a completely different person. I was able to grasp that truly great people actually live among us. It wasn’t his fancy chief Sephardic rabbi garb or the number of people who came to hear his words that impressed me, but rather the aforementioned sensitivity and passion he had for every Jewish soul.

That awe translated itself into an ongoing learning relationship, an ongoing desire to emulate that care and love toward every other Jew in the world that was so evident in Rav Eliyahu. It was his guidance and personal attention that brought my wife, our (then) three boys and me to Vancouver, British Columbia; and it was his continued tutorship that helped us succeed in developing such a strong relationship with the Jewish community at large and teens in particular.

NCSY grew from 15 to 500 teens during our five years in Vancouver and it was Rav Eliyahu’s love of Jews that encouraged us to move halfway around the globe and connect ourselves to a community we had never heard of earlier, simply because it was a Jewish community.

We were on our way to my parents’ anniversary party when we received the terrible news of Rav Eliyahu’s death; for our own safety I probably should have stopped the car but I decided to turn around and drive back home. I sat crying by my computer and started watching video after video of my conversations with the rav. I am not sure why I filmed them, but I’m really glad I did.

More than 100,000 Jews from every segment of life in Israel came to Rav Mordechai’s levaya on five hours’ notice. I don’t know how many people in the world merit to witness such unity at their funeral.

In a conversation between Rav Eliyahu, his sons, a friend of mine and myself just three days before he had his first heart attack two years ago, he said, “We have more Torah today than ever in the history of the Jewish people. We have more chesed in the Jewish world than ever in the history of the Jewish people. We have more kosher food then ever in the history of the Jewish people. The one thing that we are missing is unity and that is what is holding back the Mashiach from coming!”

Rav Eliyahu cut the first snip of hair off all of my five older boys at their upsherin and was the sandek of my sixth son at the OU Israel Center. When watching the videos yesterday I came across the one in which he told me he felt I should take my current position as executive director of OU Israel.

It is almost four years since I took his advice and not a day goes by without my seeing firsthand the positive impact this organization has on Klal Yisrael and how it is, Baruch Hashem, connecting the Jewish people with each other.

I thank Rav Eliyahu for giving me his guidance and I hope to take his legacy, his Torah, his passion, his love and continue spreading them across the Jewish world. In his merit, let us leave all the fights aside and unite as one people.

About the Author:


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 “Rav Eliyahu And Jewish Unity: A Personal Reflection”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
PUG Meeting
Abbas Reshuffles Unity Govt with Hamas, Claims ISIS Is Already in Gaza, ‘No Sense Denying It’
Latest Indepth Stories
Rabbi YY Rubinstein

American leftists have a pathological self-inflicted blindness to the dangers of political Islam

Tobin-073115

Hillary should THANK Trump; By dominating the news he’s overshadowed the implosion of her campaign

Rabbi Yaakov Spivak

Hard to remember when Jewish youth were so hostile to their heritage as they are on campuses today.

Talks between Iran and the P5+1 were likely to be extended beyond Obama's self-imposed deadline.

Names of the enablers of Iran’s Nuclear weapons will be added next to Hitler’s on the list of infamy

By most accounts, the one person with the political muscle to swing enough Democratic votes to override a veto is Sen. Schumer.

The next day, in a speech in New York to the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Kerry substantially upped the ante.

In Israel, the judiciary has established itself as superior to ALL other branches of the government.

The Fifteenth Day of the month of Av became a day of national rejoicing. The moment that had seemed hopeless became the moment of Redemption.

I think the melodies in our religious services have a haunting sound to them that just permeates your guts and gets into your soul. If you have any musical inclination, I think they inspire you to compose.

Cavalier analogies to the Holocaust are unacceptable, but Huckabee’s analogy was very appropriate.

Pollard was a Jewish-head-on-a-pike for all American Jews to see and to learn the explicit lesson.

If the Iran deal passes, Obama’s WH becomes world’s leading financier of terrorism against Americans

{Originally posted to the author’s website, FirstOne Through} Some passionate and eloquent liberals have bemoaned the state of inclusiveness among Jews today. Leon Wieseltier, editor of the New Republic penned an angry piece “J Street’s Rejection Is a Scandal” about the exclusion in 2014 of J Street from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. […]

Magnanimity by Moshe Dayan, allowing Muslim control of the Temple Mount, led to today’s situation.

More Articles from Rabbi Avi Berman

What could I possibly write to justly summarize the magnitude of my/our dear rabbi, the Rishon LeTzion Rav Mordechai Eliyahu, zt”l? I can’t believe I am actually sitting and writing about him in the past tense.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/rav-eliyahu-and-jewish-unity-a-personal-reflection/2010/06/16/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: