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Friday, April 24, 2009

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein defender of the Petek

B"H Today H"Y brought up Rabbi Moshe twice, first an email I recieved about the Russians destroying the shul Rabbi Moshe had davened or officiated - a strong reminder that it is high time for us to bring Rabbainu's tzion to Yirushalayim. Later my father showed me an article from Dr. Isaac Steven Herschkopf (psychiatrist in NYU) about Rabbi Moshe, which I will post especially in honor of R' Shlomo Carlbach [who sung Nanach and the Petek - visit our music site, Reb Shlomo used to consult Rabbi Moshe for special hetairim, like giving a concert erev Tisha BiUv - Reb Moshe told him, if you don't give it they won't even know there is such a thing as a Temple... (also note that recorded music wasn't around till recently, so it is only a recent minhag not to listen to it during sfira, therefore for kiruv purposes it is definetly a good thing to do, and maybe one should be mikarev himself....)].
One summer I was spending a week with my aunt and uncle in upstate Ellenville. Uncle David and Aunt Saba (?! Sara?), surviviors themselves, as the doctor and nurse in charge of the concentration camp infirmary, had managed to save the lives of innuberable inmates....
My aunt mentioned casually that Rav Moshe had an appointment the next day. Would I like to meet him? Would I? It was like asking me would I like to meet God (this guy really has an understanding of the role of the Tzadik).
I couldn't sleep that night. I agonized over what I should wear. Should I approach him? What should I say? Should I mention that his son-in-law was my rebbe? Should I speak to him English, or my redimentary Yiddish?
I was seated in the waiting room, in the best clothing I had with me, an hour before his appointment. It seemed like an ternity, but eventually he arrived, accompanied by an assistant at each side. He didn't notice me.
I was frozen. I had intended to rise deferentially when he entered, but I didn't. I had prepared a few sentences that I had repeatedly memorized, but I sensed that my heart was beating too quickly for me to speak calmly (Rabbainu says that people that don't do hisbodidus will also have dificulty speaking to tzadikim).
My aunt had heard the chime when he entered and came out of the office to greet him: "Rabbi Feinstein, did you meet my nephew Ikey? Can you believe a shaygitz (unobservant) like me has a yeshiva bochur (student) in the family?"
Rav Moshe finally looked at me. I was mortified. My aunt was addressing him irreverently. She was joking with him. She had called me Ikey, not Yitzchok, or even Isaac.
Then it got even worse. She walked over to him. Surely she knew not to shake his hand. She didn't. She kissed him affectionately on the cheek as she did many of her favorite patients (it could be he was wearing the Nanach kumaya at the time). She then told him my uncle would see him in a minute and returned to the office.
Rav Moshe and his attendants turned and looked at me, I thought accusingly. I wanted to die. In a panic, I walked over to him and started to apologize profusely: "Rabbi Feinstein, I apologize. My aunt, she isn't frum (religious). She doesn't understand..."
He immediately placed his fingers on my lips to stop me from talking. He then softly spoke two sentenced in Yiddish that I will remember to my dying day: "She has numbers on her arms. She is holier than me."
{The Zohar says that there is a special heichal (court) for those that were killed al Kidush Hashem (to Sanctify the Holy Name), which is so high that no one can look into it. The Zohar however also says that the true Tzadikim merit an even higher heichal. May we merit to be in the Heichal of Na Nach Nachmu Nachman Meuman!}
Today you too can be zoche by wearing the Nanach bracelet on your arm!


Great blessings of Na Nach Nachmu Nachman Meuman!

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