At an NCSY Shabbaton a few weeks after Mo passed away, the goal of 1,000 hours to be learned in his memory proved laughable as close to 25,000 hours were committed. A role model without equal.
One of the most difficult challenges I have ever faced was the balancing act. I try to walk the fine line of living as a Jew, a ben Torah, while simultaneously accepting that living in America is not like living in a shtetl, and somehow making it all work. It’s a challenge, and one I suspect I will not overcome for a long while yet. Mo, on the other hand, did it, did it right, and did it seemingly without effort. When it comes to people as well, I have yet to accept everyone completely, as they are, and still love them. Mo, again, walked that line of being accessible, and in touch, with everyone.
The last speaker at the seudas yarzheit was Rav Fischel Shechter, a well-known face within the walls of Ohr Yitzchok, the yeshiva Mo called home. Rav Shechter pointed out that there are two times we have a mitzvah to put up a chuppah: at a wedding and at a Hachnasas Sefer Torah. These two mitzvos are the first and last mitzvos in the Torah: p’ru u’r’vu and writing a sefer Torah. It’s up to us; it’s our responsibility, to make a chuppah over the rest of the mitzvos.
Chazal teach that each and every one of us is a letter in the Torah. By doing mitzvos and living our lives as good Jews, we light up our letter and it shines. Rav Shechter quoted the Derech Hashem that says, sometimes the reason a neshama comes back to this world isn’t to brighten his own letter, but to brighten others’.
That’s Mo. His entire life was about chesed and helping others in any way he could. It may have been about Judaism, sometimes it was just schoolwork, firsthand I experienced his hand in shidduchim, and in life, Mo was there.
Amongst the many reasons, undoubtedly, that Mo was here was to shine light into others’ lives. He succeeded, more than even he could have ever possibly believed while he was with us. Now it’s up to us to perpetuate everything he was, in ourselves. He jumpstarted many of us, now we have to take what he taught us and let it grow, so one day we can join with him and Moshiach, bimheira biyameinu amen.Avi Janowski
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