Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



The Man From Kelm

Rabbi Yaakov Feitman

Dignity. Serenity. In thinking about Rabbi Nachum Zev Dessler, ztz”l, these past few days, the words recur like the chorus of a symphony. You could not help but straighten your tie and adjust your jacket when passing Rabbi Dessler, even for a moment. In his later years, although it was difficult for him, he would don his kapote just to greet a visitor. Rabbi Dessler carried himself with the serenity of one who was constantly at peace with himself, with the world, and most importantly, with his Creator.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

I had the privilege of hearing Rabbi Dessler speak at many bar mitzvahs. A favorite vort of his resonated deeply with his own Kelmer personality. At the end of Parshas Vayeishev, Yosef is in prison with the king’s butler and baker, and notices that they are in a foul mood. He inquires about their condition, they recite their now-famous dreams, Yosef interprets them, and the rest is both history and Torah. Rabbi Dessler took note of what Yosef’s own mental state should have been at the time. He was an abandoned youth, alone and in prison in a frightening and alien land. Yet his antennae were so attuned to two strangers’ sorrow that he sought to assuage their grief.

Rabbi Dessler’s message to several generations of thirteen-year-olds was minted in Kelm and printed in Cleveland, but its wisdom is for the ages: Never ignore the plight of another. No matter how intense your own pain may be, you might be able to help someone else. And then you must.

Rabbi Dessler lived this ideal. Let us try to do the same.

 

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
Using Our Free Will Effectively
Yonoson Rosenblum The image we carry of ourselves is key
Pitcher-Perfect
Eytan Kobre The ripple effects of one Jew’s kiddush Sheim Shamayim
Living the High Life
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger It is exhilarating to matter, to be truly alive
It’s Time for Us to Speak Up
Rabbi Dovid Eliezrie We must speak out proudly for the values of Yiddishkeit
Kiruv Is Not Dead
Rabbi Meir Goldberg Do these sound like uninspired or closed students?
Frosting on the Cake
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman “Let’s not let a missing chocolate cake ruin our siyum!”
A Warm Corner in Flatbush
Yosef Zoimen It was a simple shul with a choshuve leader
Out of Control
Jacob L. Freedman “That’s illegal, Dr. Fine. I can’t have a part in this”
Song of Reckoning in the Skulener Court
Riki Goldstein “It’s awe-inspiring to watch the Rebbe sing this song”
“U’teshuvah, U’tefillah, U’tzedakah”
Riki Goldstein Throughout the Yamim Noraim, three words accompany us
The Rebbe Held His Gaze
Riki Goldstein A moment etched in Reb Dovid Werdyger’s memory forever
The Road Taken
Faigy Peritzman In the end it’s clear who really merits true happiness
Sincere Apology
Sarah Chana Radcliffe A heartfelt and complete apology can turn things around
Power Pack of Mercy
Mrs. Shani Mendlowitz The 13 Attributes of Mercy are “an infinite treasure”
The Appraiser: Part II
D. Himy M.S. CCC-SLP, and Zivia Reischer “Eli needs to see people who struggled to achieve”