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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi Aaron Chomsky’

A Dad Like No Other: Remembering Rabbi Aaron Chomsky on his First Yahrzeit

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

“The crown of our head has fallen, woe to us” (Lamentations 5:16).

 

As my family and I commemorate the first yahrzeit of our dear father and zaidy, Rabbi Aaron Chomsky, zt”l, the void in our hearts remains pronounced, while our determination to practice the values he imparted to us remains stronger than ever.

 

Those values seem endless. As a loving and supportive husband to his eishes chayil, our equally loving mother and bubby, Rebbetzin Lillian Chomsky, a”h, and doting role model to his children – Chave, Zephyr, Eli and Iris, and me – and grandson, Benjamin, Dad taught us the true meaning of shalom bayis b’ahava. Like his namesake, the biblical Aharon, Dad loved peace and pursuing peace.

 

Dad’s constant attentiveness to his family’s needs – which began as a dedicated son to my bubby and zaidy, Louis and Kate Chomsky, a”h, and committed brother to his siblings – matched the devotion he displayed to the many congregants, students, and local community residents from all walks of life that he guided and served during his half century of honoring the pulpit rabbinate. Dad’s commitment to the virtues of Yiddishkeit – in its totality – was unflinching during his lifetime of avodas Hashem. This was reflected by the positive influence he had on the lives of so many. Here are some examples:

 

Early in my dad’s career as a pulpit rav, a worshipper asked him if he would name his new grandson during the tefillah’s Torah reading. Explaining that this rite can only be done at the newborn’s bris, Dad politely refused. The perturbed man challenged Dad by offering a large sum of money to implement his wish. Dad calmly stuck by his refusal, teaching his kehillah that psak halacha has no price tag. (Just to be sure, Dad – always thorough – called his rebbe, Rav Yosef Eliyahu Henkin, zt”l, after this incident to confirm the correctness of his decision. In sum, Rav Henkin had one more reason to be proud of his student.)

 

During his last rabbinical stint in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, Dad regularly visited the local Jewish home for seniors. Bringing cheer and meaning to the lives of the elderly, Dad’s influence on the residents was so manifest that after his passing, one female senior pledged to honor Dad’s dedication to Judaism and to her and her fellow residents’ welfare by lighting the Shabbos candles every Friday night – something she did not regularly do before.

 

Dad would have appreciated the fact that others followed his conviction that it’s never too late to start observing mitzvos. This poignant act by someone touched by Dad’s religious earnestness in many ways capped his many successes of bringing several students and worshippers to their religious roots.

 

For my part, I try to reinforce this important Torah trait by continuing to visit the seniors in Dad’s absence. This is my tribute to Dad’s life work.

 

Dad was a firm believer in the importance of peaceful communal coexistence. Throughout his distinguished career, he maintained neighborliness with the local populace. In return, he was respected by those very same populaces. One such sign of that admiration, exhibited moments after Dad’s passing, will always be cherished by my family and me.

 

Upon returning home following Dad’s funeral, I realized that Perth Amboy city flags were flying at half-mast. Inquiring about this oddity, I was told that Mayor Wilda Diaz had ordered this touching act of respect for my father. According to the mayor, Dad’s many endeavors on behalf of the city of Perth Amboy and its citizens earned him this tribute.

 

These recollections are but a few of the many, seemingly endless illustrations of the virtuous ways that Dad lived his life – and taught us how to live ours. As a loving father, caring teacher, and emulative role model, Dad – with Mom once again at his side – will still and always lead us (spiritually, if not physically) in the avodas Hashem he practiced so well.

 

While the crown of our head has fallen, Dad’s many crowning life achievements will be fondly remembered forever.

 

May my dad’s neshamah have an aliyah.

A Mom Like No Other

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

          Mourning for my mother, Leah bas Aryeh Mordechai Chaim, a”h, over the past year was the saddest honor of my life. While the sadness of Mom’s lack of physical presence will linger forever, it is recalling and emulating her unwavering practices of the twin pillars of Judaism – the human practices of Bein Adam La’Makom (man’s relationship with God) and Bein Adam La’chaveiro (interpersonal relationships) – that will honor her memory best.

 

          Ramban stresses the basic ways a Jew must act in order to fulfill his or her religious obligations as it pertains to the aforementioned Judaic principles. He had in mind the character of my mom and others like her, when setting down these timeless values.

 

          Kedushah: Sanctifying God’s Name through one’s holy actions. As an unflinching practitioner of ahavas, emunas,v’yiras Hashem, Mom helped raise the standard of one’s avodas Hashem. Her endless emphasis on furthering the ideals – in thought, study and deed – and observance of Torah was boundless. And Mom always strove in pursuit of these invaluable goals by following King David’s plea to “serve Hashem with gladness, come before Him with joyous song” (Psalms 100:2). She truly enjoyed the obligation of sanctifying God’s Name by doing more than her share to further His mission.

 

          Shabbos: Remembering and keeping yom menuchah u’kedushah (the day of tranquility and holiness). It is written, “Every person must carry the holiness of Shabbos to hallow the other days of the week” (Rebbe Nachman of Breslov). From her unconditional commitment to dually remember (zachor) and keep (shamor) Shabbos, Mom never failed to enjoy extending that day’s holiness to serving Hashem to the rest of the week. She accomplished this as an eved Hashem par excellence – in her roles as a wholeheartedly devoted daughter and sibling, valorous wife to an equally principled husband, endlessly loving mother and grandmother, and devoted rebbetzin, teacher and friend to her constituents and students.

 

          In short, Mom did her share of keeping Hashem’s spiritual flame of Shabbos brightly lit 365/7 by complementing His mandate of kedushas Shabbos and all its virtues with spreading that directive to many of His creations.

 

          Ha’tov v’hayashar: Acting with goodness in upright fashion. Mom took the meritorious path of decency taught her by loving parents, and applied it to every walk of life. She reveled and played a leading role in the successes of her blissful marriage to and life partnership with her mutually adoring husband, our dear dad Rabbi Aaron Chomsky, while standing tall when confronting life’s inevitable adversities. And throughout the roller coaster called life, Mom never ceased imbuing the upright ideals of right over wrong and good above bad in her children and grandson – Alizah, Zephyr, Iris and me, Herschel, and Benjamin.

 

          To Mom it was always about us, not her. It was always our time, not hers. This mesiras nefesh (self-sacrifice) was displayed with heartfelt dignity in the great spirit of tov v’yashar.

 

          The mixed emotions of the indescribable sadness at Mom’s passing and the honor of forever calling her my mom was perhaps on full display when I merited performing shemirah (the watching over the body) between her death and burial. With my endearing verbal expressions of hakaras hatov (appreciation) merging with a stream of tears, no other voice could be heard.

 

          For once, I wish Mom did not let me have the last word.

 

          May Mom’s neshamah have the ultimate aliyah.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/features/a-mom-like-no-other/2009/05/13/

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