A huge, bright candle was extinguished yesterday when Rabbi Yehuda Leib Shteinman, the leader of Torah Jewry, passed away at the age of 104.
An estimated 600,000 people attended the funeral, held on short notice, including our daughter Talia and her friends.
During the summer of 2011, when my son Leiby was just ten, we had the incredible merit of visiting Rabbi Shteinman in his home in B’nei Brak.
It was an unforgettable memory that will be etched in our hearts forever. Pushing our way through a crowd of scholars and visitors coming to seek council from the sage or just a blessing, Leiby and I had a few minutes to stand in the light of this spiritual giant. He blessed my son that he should grow up with a burning love for Torah and for Hashem, and then we were on our way.
This was a man who, despite being the most important Rabbi of the entire generation, lived in the most modest way imaginable. His bedroom doubled as his study where he met visitors. His tiny kitchen, barely big enough for him to sit with his wife, didn’t even have simple modern appliances:
And despite all of this, I have never seen (and probably never will see again) such illumination, and glowing radiance emanating from a mortal being.
On the eve of Chanukah, that brilliant candle was extinguished.
And now, it is up to us to fill that darkness with light. It will be our acts of kindness, our selfless deeds, our moments of conquering our inner adversary, our Torah learning and integrating its wisdom that will replace this light.
Tonight, as Jews around the world kindle their menorahs and remember the miracles of Jewish survival, I encourage you all to ask yourselves a few questions:
1. What am I doing to bring light into the world?
2. What small commitments can I make that will increase that light?
3. How can I make the lives of the people that I know brighter, more illuminated?
4. How can I allow more light, more wisdom and more Godliness into my own soul?
May we all be blessed this Chanukah to deepen our connection to our inner-selves and to the light of the Infinite that shines within us.
Rabbi David and Ali
Posted on: Tuesday, December 12th, 2017
Author: Rabbi David
About: For more and more students in the Chicago area, Rabbi David is like a personal tour guide into the world of Jewish thought. He is passionate about elucidating timeless Jewish texts to the contemporary mind and leading each student on his or her own personal spiritual journey. His inspiring and insightful teaching style, coupled with his sense of humor and warm approach, has attracted hundreds of students since he began teaching on the North Shore 12 years ago. Rabbi David and Ali have five children, and currently reside in West Rogers Park in Chicago.