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Just Me and You

Yisroel Besser

In his more than 50 years as executive director of Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim, Rabbi Avrohom Ginzberg z”l not only kept the yeshivah’s many branches and programs financially afloat but served as an example of what selfless dedication to Torah was really all about. His son, Rav Aryeh Zev Ginzberg, recalls the early years of struggle, as well as the deep bond between Reb Avrohom and his rebbi, the rosh yeshivah Rav Henoch Leibowitz.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

rabbi ginzbergHe was surrounded by prayerful throngs, tourists, tzedakah collectors, and security personnel, when someone tapped him on the shoulder.

“Rabbi Ginzberg?” It was an unfamiliar face.

The young man quickly explained that he recognized the rabbi from the small picture that had accompanied a magazine article. He and his wife were facing a formidable personal challenge and that piece, titled “This Wasn’t the Way It Was Supposed to Be,” was a wellspring of hope to them.

He removed his cell phone and called his wife, while still holding the American rabbi by the arm. “I’m at the Kosel. I met Rabbi Ginzberg,” he said, and then he handed the phone to the rav. The rav wasn’t sure what to say or what not to say, but this he knew: the woman was in pain, and so he wept along with her.

Rav Aryeh Zev Ginzberg knows how to weep. In the pages of this magazine he has shared a very difficult personal nisayon — the illness and subsequent loss of his beloved grandson — and the response from readers was tremendous. Yet what makes him unique, and what made that unknown young man at the Kosel seek him out, is his ability to find and give inspiration even from the vale of tears. There are many who can bless Hashem in gratitude, fewer that can do so in suffering; the rabbi of Cedarhurst’sChofetzChaimTorahCenter has proven himself up to the task.

But today I am visiting Reb Aryeh Zev for a different reason. It is a few months after the passing of his father, Rabbi Avrohom Ginzberg z”l, and I have come to Reb Aryeh Zev’s summer home in the country, which is far from his thriving kehillah and myriad speaking and personal commitments, to hear the tale of Rav Avrohom, a humble, resilient, dedicated soldier of harbatzas Torah. The weather cooperates by obscuring the outside world behind relentlessness gray sheets of pouring rain, allowing us to turn inward and focus on a world that may be long gone but is still fondly remembered.


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