THE GIFT THAT WILL KEEP ON GIVING
Harav Y. Reuven Rubin Shlita
There are unique souls that are gifted to each generation so as to become sources of illumination for the multitudes of Jews who seek hope and understanding. To our generation just such a neshoma gave so much strength that trying to describe his impact could never be conjured up with mere words. HaRav Doctor Abraham J Twerski Ztl was just such a rare neshoma. I can’t begin to describe what he meant to me personally, and although I never had the zechus meeting him personally, he was my guide and inspiration in many ways.
Last week I was talking to a Yiddisha youngster who asked me where she could find a book that would give her chizuk and answers to some of the challenges she is facing. I had but one author in mind, but couldn’t decide which one of the many books he authored to recommend. Rabbi Twerski was what is called a polymath, a mind that captured huge amounts of knowledge that he deftly integrated into a wider understanding of Hashem and His Will. Nothing escaped his interest, and everything was part of the kaleidoscope of Hashem’s essence that he articulated to those of our unique generation. His expertise in helping addicts spread further than just the medical understanding of what that word means. This unique neshoma, scion of generations of our greatest Tzaddikim, took what seems to be common problems and showed us the underlying gift of Hashem’s love. Personally I turned to his vast literary output to learn how to understand ways of teaching Torah to the multitude of holy Yidden who had never been exposed to a Torah education. His “Living Each Week’ which is an English sefer on the weekly Parshios, is a master class in exploring sensitive lessons from the weekly Torah reading. I have read it till the covers are torn, and found inspiration for Droshas more times than I want to admit to. He just got it, in his sweet elegant way, he opened the Torah for the many born into a generation seeped in darkness and ignorance of the spirit.
This Rabbi, this healing Doctor became the key for many in finding their way towards the sweet waters of the Torah. All this done with calm dignity, and down to earth frankness. His was a distinctive gift that drew Yidden from all quarters closer to Hashem.
I am certain there will be many words written about this unique soul, and those close to him will tell of episodes of greatness that his humility would never allow others to speak of. I write my thanks from a distance. I knew him from his words and Shiurim, found understanding to so many difficulties from his mastery of compassionate understanding. I feel it incumbent to share my humble thanks to this master because that’s what we should all do when such a Tzadik leaves us. Klall Yisroel has lost several great leaders in the recent past. On the day that Rav Twerski was niftar two of our Gedolei Hador passed away as well. Each of these Tzaddikim were blessed in reaching out to this golus bringing light and wisdom. For me, American born, Chasidic raised in the post churban yeshivos, Rabbi Twerski was a beacon and fount of wisdom that spoke to my unique experience. In the quarter century I served as a Rav to an English Community far from the Hiemisha center, it was his insight and ability to articulate Hashem’s Rotzon that gave me an example I could show the many seeking youth that were trying to gain a foothold on the ladder of Torah life.
So I share my thanks now, and thank the Eibishter for bringing us such a special leader. It seems of late that all too often I have to write about the loss of those who were the visionaries of my generation. This Golus has dealt us a horrible challenge that seems aimed at our elderly generation. This morning when I sat down to write my weekly Journal, I had several false starts, and I couldn’t put my finger on what was stopping the flow of my thoughts. I then spied Rabbi Twerski’s sefer on Chumash on my desk and found my eyes welling up with tears. I couldn’t write about anything else, and only hope my words are adequate. Rabbi Twerski gave so much of his wisdom and caring to so many, I feel certain now that He is at the root of all healing he will serve as an eloquent beseecher for all of us left behind.