| Magazine Feature |

Higher Purpose on the Lower East Side

Rav Dovid Feinstein was a nation’s address for clarity, courage, and compassion


Photos: Mattis Goldberg and AEGedolimphotos.com

Really, he’s the one who told us how to write this article.

Years ago, in conversation with this magazine, Rav Dovid Feinstein reflected on his father’s legacy.

“The world,” he remarked, “will gain nothing by knowing how many times my father finished Shas, or that he was fluent in all of Torah shebe’al peh, like Rabi Akiva Eiger or the Chasam Sofer. When people speak of my father, they speak of his compassion, how he had time for children, for brokenhearted individuals. The bigger a person is, the more chesed he must do, and that’s how we know who the true talmidei chachamim are.”

And then he allowed himself a brief moment of personal rumination.

“People say that Rav Chaim Kanievsky finishes Bavli and Yerushalmi every year. I can’t compete with him — it’s out of my league. But if you tell me that even though time is so valuable for Rav Chaim, he still gives of himself to others… now that’s something I can do as well.”

Three years ago, I was sitting in the apartment on FDR Drive with the Rosh Yeshivah and Rebbetzin, interviewing them for the book on ArtScroll/Mesorah founder Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz.

I had heard about a difficult time in the history of the publishing company, when the coffers were empty. Both Rabbi Zlotowitz and ybdlcht”a Rabbi Nosson Scherman had personally mortgaged their homes to keep the company afloat, but the money had run out.

Rav Dovid took his life’s savings and loaned it to his talmid, Rabbi Zlotowitz, allowing ArtScroll/Mesorah to survive the challenging period and eventually thrive.

I wanted to include that story in the book, but Rav Dovid wasn’t sure there was a toeles, any great gain, in it.

I negotiated, saying that it’s a story about the lengths a rebbi can go to give chizuk to a talmid — the ultimate vote of confidence.

We went back and forth. His rebbetzin was softly shaking her head, as if marveling at her husband’s generosity and kindness.

Rav Dovid finally agreed. He told me that I could share the story, but with no drama, and without writing how much money was involved.

With no drama.

That was the mantra of this man, of this family, of this yeshivah, and everything it has spawned.

Walk in to the beis medrash of Mesivta Tiferes Jerusalem, and you’ll understand what no drama means. It’s the wooden tables and old seforim with worn black tape, bound and rebound, the memorial plaques that dot the wall like decorative tiles.

There is a hallway with an ancient soda machine and pay phone and then, to your right, an office. Not large, because here it’s all about function. It’s where administration and paperwork happen: The kollel is handled at the desk, and in the drawer, there is a pile of quarters. There are also basketballs in the corner.

It’s the office of the Rosh Yeshivah, Rav Dovid Feinstein ztz”l, of whom his father, Rav Moshe — Rabban shel Yisrael — said, “Mein zuhn kehn gantz Shas  — My son knows the entirety of Shas,” whom Rav Elayshiv called “the posek of America,” whom rabbanim and doctors and business people approached with their sh’eilos, and whom ordinary people suddenly confronted by life-and-death questions knew to call. He was the man with the oversized plain black suit jacket and oversized smile and oversized heart, vast enough to include the lonely and broken and forlorn.

Because for Rav Dovid, the Torah and the chesed weren’t two functions but one whole.

The Torah is referred to as Toras chesed, which means, according to the Rosh Yeshivah, that “When Yidden get up after learning a sugya, they should be more compassionate, kinder, with more room in their heart for others, and if that doesn’t happen, then they didn’t really learn it, and they should sit down and learn it again.”

Keep It Clear

Rav Moshe Feinstein, who had served as rav in the Russian town of Luban for 16 years until the Stalinist regime began persecuting rabbanim, immigrated with his family to America in January 1937, settling on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Seven-year old Dovid was the only boy at the time — he had two older sisters, an older brother who’d passed away in Europe, and his brother Rav Reuven was born in the US — and he was sent to cheder for the first time in his life. Talmud Torah and Mesivta Tiferes Jerusalem, on East Broadway, was one of the older yeshivos in the city, and it’s where he started to learn Torah.

He would never leave, walking the very same route, to the very same beis medrash, for the rest of his life.

And even as the Torah community in New York would move, shifting to Brooklyn, to Lakewood, to communities across the continent, kollelim and yeshivos flourishing all over, he would remain right there, as the once-burgeoning community thinned out, and instead of shuls, there were museums and brass plaques reminding passersby of the neighborhood’s rich immigrant history.

But Rav Dovid didn’t move because he had no reason to move. He was busy learning.

He was learning from his father, who became the rosh yeshivah of Tiferes Yerushalayim. The teshuvos that flowed forth from the table at the front of the beis medrash would become a path, then a solid road upon which American Jewry would walk.

The Igros Moshe gave clarity and direction, seamlessly integrating the traditional sugyos of Shulchan Aruch with the realities of this strange new land, but while Rav Moshe wrote, his son was working backward. Rav Dovid would take the teshuvos written by his father, learn the sugya in its entirety, and list the relevant questions. Then, he would relearn the teshuvah and see how his father, with just a few words, had addressed every detail.

In time, Rav Dovid himself would inherit the mantle of posek hador. “Kenst fregen mein Dovid’l, ehr kehn altz,” Rav Moshe would say. “Ask my Dovid’l, he knows it all.” And he too would rule in the same clear, lucid, deceptively simple fashion, appearing to pasken directly from the Gemara.

In his mind, the Gemara’s conclusion was filtered through the Rishonim and commentaries and poskim over the generations, and what the questioner got was clarity. Once, seeking some “action,” a young talmid chacham posed a sh’eilah, and when Rav Dovid answered, he asked “Why?”

Rav Dovid turned to look at him and said, “Because that’s the halachah.”

That clarity, together with an unassuming simplicity that came with no expectations, were his trademarks.

When Rav Dovid married Rebbetzin Malka, daughter of Reb Chaim Dov Greenberg, the shochet of Bridgeport, Connecticut, he continued learning in yeshivah and then became a rebbi there, but funds were tight — so his father, the rosh yeshivah, made a deal with him.

He would receive a salary, but the meals at yeshivah were not included in the agreement.

Rav Dovid accepted the position and started to take his breakfast at a nearby diner. Decades later, even as a rosh yeshivah himself and a recognized gadol, the custom continued. Until the day in 2013 when Shalom Chai Pizza finally closed down, the Rosh Yeshivah ate there every morning, joined by his usual entourage — the talmidim, the gabbaim, and the friends.

On Fridays and Sundays, though, he would continue his custom of going across the nearby bridge into Williamsburg, eating at a bagel store in the chassidic neighborhood.

Where It All Began

In his early years, his seat was behind a pillar in MTJ, from where he served not only his father, but the yeshivah itself. He was gabbai, and often baal korei as well. It was his responsibility to fill the soda machine and collect the change, and even when he was older and others did the physical work, he still took care of the finances. The kollel remained his personal responsibility until his last day, since he reasoned that since it was new (it’s about 50 years old) and not part of the original yeshivah, the funds given to MTJ aren’t meant for the kollel. He raised all the funds for the kollel and dealt with all the administrative duties alone.

It wasn’t unusual for the Rosh Yeshivah to be in his office dealing with complex sh’eilos or serious meetings — he was a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudath Israel and the Va’ad Roshei Yeshivos of Torah Umesorah — and at the same time helping a boy from the elementary school who popped in to say he’d lost a quarter in the soda machine, or his soda can had gotten stuck.

The yeshivah’s basketballs were kept there as well, and as they came before recess to get the ball, the boys received brachos to “enjoy the game” and “play well.”

Their questions too, were welcomed — questions on Chumash, on basic halachah, on hashkafah — the door was always wide open.

To them and to those beyond.

A respected askan recalls watching the guest list on a random day: Rav Feivel Cohen and Rav Hillel David came to discuss a psak. They were followed by Rebbe Zalman Leib of Satmar and then Rav Hershel Schachter.

Rav Dovid was the posek acharon, the last man in America whose name could end any argument. At a meeting of rabbanim and askanim, some gentle discussion ensued after Rav Dovid shared his opinion, as is the way of Torah. “The Rosh Yeshivah paskens with ruach hakodesh,” said Rav Elya Brudny definitively. “He already has the whole story. Why should we deliberate once he’s spoken?”

Richtig, correct, agreed Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky.

(Near the end of Rav Moshe’s life, an intricate sh’eilah was presented to him and he answered. But the questioner was worried that perhaps Rav Moshe, ill and weak, hadn’t grasped the question. “If the Rosh Yeshivah understood the question, then you certainly must listen to him,” Rav Dovid told them at the time, “and if he didn’t, he still has the siyata d’Shmaya to pasken correctly.)

But even so, Rav Dovid never pushed his opinion on others. When a talmid complained that people were relying on an eiruv even though it was counter to Rav Moshe’s psak, Rav Dovid waved it off. “What’s the problem? They’re relying on their rabbanim,” he said.

Once, bestselling author and mechanech Rabbi Shimon Finkelman took his class to visit MTJ and meet the Rosh Yeshivah. Rav Dovid was coming out of shiur when the boys entered, and he greeted them warmly. “Welcome to the Lower East Side,” he said, “this is where it all began.”

He likely meant that Yiddishkeit in America began to take shape in the bustling streets around yeshivah, but Rabbi Finkelman understood a deeper meaning. This — in this building, these halls, this beis medrash — is where Rav Moshe and his children began to impact and inspire the world with their vast Torah knowledge, their middos tovos, and their extraordinary humility and pashtus.

When Rav Moshe was niftar, the Torah world was lost — but the East Siders knew, and they looked hopefully toward the man half-obscured by the pillar in the beis medrash.

At the levayah, Rav Dovid didn’t speak. At the close of shivah, he delivered a three minute devar halachah, sharing a chiddush from his father. At the shloshim, he delivered a real address — speaking about the special merit his father had in being married to a bas Kohein, for Rebbetzin Shima was the daughter of a Kohein.

It seemed a strange way to pay tribute to the niftar, and on the subway back to Brooklyn, the throngs of bnei Torah who’d come to be inspired by Rav Moshe’s legacy, who’d wanted stories and chizuk, mumbled their disappointment.

But those who knew Rav Dovid understood. Rav Dovid, whose every word was measured, saw an opportunity: His mother was there at the shloshim, and it was a chance to gladden her broken heart, to mention her lineage and what she had given her husband.

A Time for Silence

This silence — the heilege shtikah of Rav Dovid — wasn’t something developed in adulthood.

His bar mitzvah fell in the week of parshas Korach, and at the age of 13, he made a kabbalah. He believed, and spoke about this often, that the parshah and haftarah of a bar mitzvah boy carry a personal message for the young man, and he himself took those words to heart: Korach is a parshah of machlokes, of discord sown by slanderers, and he accepted upon himself not to speak idly.

The extraordinary control over every word extended beyond forbidden speech.

Rav Dovid — privy to sensitive information and personal details — was a secret-keeper.

Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz would retell a story about his rebbi, explaining what it meant to really be a baal sod, deserving of and guarding trust. Rabbi Zlotowitz was once on the phone with Rav Dovid when the Rosh Yeshivah put him on hold to take a phone call. Rabbi Zlotowitz waited for seven minutes until the Rosh Yeshivah came back on the line, not saying a word about the call he’d taken — but clearly something important.

At the Shabbos table that week, Rabbi Zlotowitz’s son-in-law mentioned that he and his wife had called Rav Dovid with a serious sh’eilah, and he’d given them several minutes on the phone. As he shared the question with Reb Meir, something clicked. “Was it on Tuesday morning, about eleven thirty?” asked Reb Meir. Yes, confirmed the son-in-law.

Reb Meir realized that he’d been on hold during that call, and the next time he spoke to the Rosh Yeshivah, he laughed about how the pieces had come together.

Rav Dovid heard, but didn’t react. He didn’t laugh. He didn’t comment. He said nothing at all.

“And I learned from that,” Rabbi Zlotowitz said, “that keeping a secret means that you don’t let it go. Even after others discover it, and it’s not a secret, you still hold on. It’s not for sharing.”

Rav Dovid was a prolific writer, authoring several seforim — although his teshuvos remain unpublished — and when I had the zechus to sit with him, he told me that he owed this to Rabbi Zlotowitz.

He didn’t see himself as a big mechadesh, but he once shared a vort with his friend and talmid, Meir Zlotowitz. The pasuk in Koheles says, “VehaElokim yevakesh es hanirdaf — G-d seeks the pursued.” It’s understood to mean that Hashem will search out one who is a victim and protect him, but Rav Dovid suggested that often, people see an argument between two parties, and they decide who is the rodef, the aggressor, and who is the nirdaf, the victim. The court of public opinion might decide, but in truth, said Rav Dovid, no one can know who the tormenter is and who the injured party is — there is only One who can see that. The pasuk is telling us that only Hashem can search out the nirdaf.

He told this pshat to Reb Meir.

“And then, a few months later, he showed it to me in the ArtScroll/Mesorah Koheles, and I was part of the family. Suddenly, I was also a mechadesh!” He laughed as he said this to me, his eyes dancing, a who-would-believe-it-expression on his face.

I was once at an ArtScroll/Mesorah Shabbos retreat, seated not far from Rav Dovid and his rebbetzin. The speaker, Rabbi Yechiel Spero, shared an inspiring story about Rav Moshe.

Rebbetzin Malka leaned over to her husband and said, “He’s talking about Papa,” and he beamed at her.

Rav Dovid would attend weddings, even of those he didn’t know, if they asked him to — and it didn’t make a difference whether or not he was asked to be mesader kiddushin or receive a kibbud. He was reachable on the yeshivah pay phone and on the phone at the Shalom Chai pizza store during breakfast hour.

When a talmid wrote a sefer and presented it to the Rosh Yeshivah, Rav Dovid asked him for an inscription. Yet when his talmid, Rav Refoel Ehrenpreis, traveled to Eretz Yisrael, Rav Dovid sent a sefer for Rav Chaim Kanievsky but did not inscribe it. Why not? asked the talmid.

The prince of pashtus looked at him in surprise. “I should write to Rav Chaim Kanievsky? Me?”

How We Do Things

Rav Dovid and Rebbetzin Malka were their own special chapter.

At conventions and simchahs, he could be seen helping her off with her coat and leading her toward her seat. He would come back with two bowls of ices and sit with her, the two of them looking like the most radiant couple in the room.

At a Torah Umesorah dinner, Rav Yaakov Bender of Darchei Torah watched this couple for several minutes, then approached and asked a favor. “I deliver vaadim in shalom bayis to our kollel,” he said, “and instead of speaking next time, I want to show them a picture of you, together. That’s the shmuess.”

The Feinsteins smiled for the camera, and the Darchei Torah rosh yeshivah shared that image — the nobility and elegance and pure joy — with his own talmidim.

 

That glow extended to the whole family. Months before his petirah, he called over his youngest granddaughter. “Shima,” he said, “come here, look.”

He held up a worn bookmark which she had made years back in preschool as a young child, which read: I cannot yet daven for myself, so please daven for me.

“I still keep it close,” he told her.

Rav Dovid didn’t show much emotion. He and the Rebbetzin had suffered loss — the passing of a married son, Moshe Shmuel Chaim a”h, and the petirah of a granddaughter — but he’d stood strong as a soldier, carrying others but showing no signs of his own pain .

Yet when he davened, the emotion was visible — it could be a regular weekday Minchah, but the passion and intensity illuminated his face. The slips of paper came out, the names and needs and pleas, and time stood still.

Rav Dovid had a hideout, a place where he was free of distraction: In the back of his favorite store, Jack Goldman’s Otzar Haseforim, between the floor-to-ceiling shelves bursting with seforim. Kashrus expert, kehillah rav and author Rabbi Avrohom Marmorstein recalls coming in back when he was a young rav and being told, “That’s Rav Dovid, he comes here when he can’t be disturbed.”

At times, Rav Dovid would be poring over seforim, oblivious to the world, but other times, he would be saying Tehillim.

When the Otzar Haseforim Shas was printed, it included several hundred corrections inserted by hand. Mr. Goldman confided in Rabbi Marmorstein that all those corrections were given to him by Rav Dovid.

“So why not advertise that fact?” asked Rabbi Marmorstein.

“Because Rav Dovid said, ‘That’s not the way we do things,’ ” Mr. Goldman answered.

That’s because Rav Dovid was always the giver, the people whom he encountered the recipients.

He gave advice and warm smiles and money to tzedakah.

He gave candies to children in shul — and how he loved when the mispallelim at MTJ brought children. He enjoyed the noise they made and the commotion they created. On Rosh Hashanah, before tekios, the Rosh Yeshivah himself — wrapped in his tallis and kittel, his face aglow as he prepared to serve as makri — would go to the small courtyard and call in all the children by himself. “Kinderlach, come hear the sheifer.”

He was leaving a kiddush one Shabbos and a talmid prepared to walk him. This talmid’s young daughter was holding a plate of nosh, but since there is no eiruv in the neighborhood, he told her to toss it in to the garbage. They had to go. The Rosh Yeshivah was leaving.

Wait, said Rav Dovid, the girl wanted to finish the cake and candy. It was a big treat for her.

The father assured the Rosh Yeshivah that he would give her nosh at home.

She wants this nosh, said the Rosh Yeshivah.

And so the girl sat there, eating happily, as the Rosh Yeshivah — whose every moment was precious and accounted for — looked on with paternal joy.

Blessing on Your Head

But most of all, what he gave was the gift of Torah, even in his later years, when it was difficult, and he wanted to stop the daily shiur. He couldn’t let it go, he said, though he was worn out, because “the boys want to hear, and I can’t leave them.”

Some of the “boys” had gray beards and were grandfathers, but they still thirsted for his Torah.

Along with two daily shiurim, he learned Mishnayos after davening — two Mishnayos with the Bartenura. This drew its own crowd, old-timers wearing fur hats and thick coats in the summer, the chassidim from over the bridge who’d discovered him in recent years, several people who worked in the neighborhood and lived elsewhere, genuine talmidei chachamim, and one memorable gentleman who told me he was a retired surgeon who’d chosen to work as a security guard and lived “here and there,” but wouldn’t miss the shiur.

And as the crowds and demands on his time grew, a concerned grandson asked how to handle the requests. “Zeide, you like to have time to learn, but everyone is asking me how to reach you.”

“Your job,” the Rosh Yeshivah said, “is to help. If it’s too much for me, I can say no, but that’s not your role. You do chesed.”

About two decades ago, a teenager named Meir Berkovits showed up in MTJ. It was summer, and quiet, and the Rosh Yeshivah asked, “You wanna learn?”

So they learned, every day, for close to 20 years. All of Tanach. All of Shishah Sidrei Mishnah. Then they started Gemara, but Rav Dovid said, “I can’t promise that we’ll get to make a siyum on all of this, together.”

They completed ten masechtos though — and they continued learning, even after Rav Dovid was sick. He pushed himself, sometimes learning just a line or two — but they didn’t stop until the very end.

In recent years, there were the brachah-seekers as well.

The secret was out and Rav Dovid went along with it. It had never been about him, but if this was what he could do, then he was there.

Like a chassidic rebbe, he dispensed brachos and assurances, sometimes naming a precise date, a phenomenon I witnessed. Last summer, he told someone that they would be making a wedding before Purim, his tone never changing, no drama or emotion added to the brachah. ArtScroll’s Rabbi Gedaliah Zlotowitz, who was there at the time, grabbed the arm of the recipient of the brachah and said, “Mazel tov. Take that to the bank. It’s done.”

When distraught expecting parents came to Rav Dovid after doctors looked at the ultrasounds with grim expressions and read them off a frightening list — the child might have this, potentially that, with a chance of the third thing as well — Rav Dovid told the parents not to take any more ultrasounds, and all would be well.

When the parents brought their healthy child to him for a brachah, he just smiled.

A close talmid had three girls, and when he and his wife found out she was expecting again, he went to the Rosh Yeshivah for a brachah. “I would give you a brachah for a boy, but it’s too late,” Rav Dovid smiled. At the kiddush for the baby girl, Rav Dovid spoke. “Next time, im yirtzeh Hashem, we will have a seudah midweek, a bris,” he said.

When a talmid commented, however, on the fact that the Rosh Yeshivah had become a poel yeshuos, a worker of wonders, Rav Dovid gave his dry, quiet laugh. “That’s because no one says over the stories that don’t work out,” he quipped.

Inverted Answers

Rav Dovid had an unusual clarity of vision which sometimes surprised those who came to him for advice or halachic arbitration. One instance involved a young chassidisher businessman who had received a certain business in lieu of payment from a struggling debtor. It was a laboratory to where pharmaceutical companies sent their products for periodic approvals, to make sure they were up to standard. The new owner decided he would close it on Shabbos, as he did his other businesses, but after someone suggested he discuss it with a posek, he headed to the East Side and went to find the Rosh Yeshivah.

The man with the short gray beard, in a simple suit, listened to the sh’eilah and shared the basics of the heter to keep the business open.

Rav Dovid explained his reasoning to the surprised visitor. “The laboratory checks if pharmaceutical products are up to standard, and that’s a form of pikuach nefesh, making sure that the medications people take can really help them. By closing on Shabbos, you delay this process by a day and that can affect human life. And who,” said the Rosh Yeshivah, “should care about the value of human life if not Am Yisrael?”

But later on, this businessman was astonished to hear from Rav Dovid’s talmidim that the heter used to keep a business open on Shabbos was one Rav Dovid almost never gave. Generally, he avoided it, but here he suggested it, because it was all clear in front of his eyes. He knew what, and he knew when.

One time, a bochur davened from the amud in yeshivah and he mixed up the brachos in chazaras hashatz. He grew more flustered as people started to correct him, but the Rosh Yeshivah waved him on, telling him to continue. After davening, someone approached with a Mishnah Berurah, showing Rav Dovid the halachah that the chazzan should go back and correct himself.

“I know the Mishnah Berurah,” Rav Dovid said, “but to humiliate someone in public? Malbin pnei chaveiro b’rabbim?”

Someone asked Rav Dovid if it he was allowed to ask a friend to shop on the Internet for him.

“It depends if your friend has a filter on his computer or not,” Rav Dovid said, but what he said next seemed strange. “If he has a filter, you cannot ask him, but if he doesn’t, then you may.”

The questioner was confused, expecting the opposite answer. Was the Rosh Yeshivah making a mistake?

Then Rav Dovid explained: “If someone has a filter, that means that kedushah is important to him, and he doesn’t want to be online, he’s there only by necessity, so what right do you have to ask him to be on the Internet for your convenience? But if he doesn’t, then he doesn’t really care, so why shouldn’t he do a chesed for you?”

Rav Dovid had a chumra not to eat chometz for a few days after Pesach, uncomfortable with the way the bakeries conducted their sales of chometz. One year, Isru Chag was on Friday, so in order to make sure Rav Dovid had challos for Shabbos, a talmid got to work purchasing the various ingredients from permitted sources so that challah could be baked for Shabbos.

“Wait, which of the local bakeries were open Yom Tov?” Rav Dovid asked.

The talmid replied that two of the local bakeries had been open for Pesach, selling kosher l’Pesach products, and the third bakery had been closed a whole Yom Tov.

“Rivkah didn’t have parnassah for eight days,” the Rosh Yeshivah said, referring to the owner of the bakery which had been closed, “so we should buy from her.”

The challos for that Shabbos came from the hardworking woman, the chumra placed on the side that year.

Homecoming

Several months ago, the Rosh Yeshivah was hospitalized and placed on a ventilator. It didn’t look good. But then the situation improved, and he was allowed to come home, and his family sprang into action. Meir Berkovits, the Rosh Yeshivah’s longtime chavrusa from Meir’s teenage years, arranged for the apartment to be set up accordingly, with equipment and a staff. About 15 minutes after the Rosh Yeshivah arrived home, Meir Berkovits’s phone rang.

It was the Rosh Yeshivah. He wanted to say thank you.

He had almost not made it. He was finally back home. He was weak and speaking was difficult. But he wanted to say thank you.

HaKadosh Baruch Hu gave him a Rosh Hashanah and a Yom Kippur. He was surrounded by his beloved family and closest talmidim. He heard about Simchas Torah in yeshivah — a highlight since the days of Rav Moshe — and he smiled with pleasure at the reports.

He gave brachos and more brachos. He answered sh’eilos. He was here!

And then he wasn’t.

At a time of such uncertainty, we lost the man of certainty.

At a time of such of confusion, we lost the man of clarity.

At a time of such panic, we lost the man of calm.

He was a man of quiet contentment and humility and the radiance of Torah, and we — every one of us, whether we knew it or not — was blessed to have him here. “Deracheha darchei noam — the Torah’s ways are ways of pleasantness,” he often said, “so if it’s not noam, then it’s not Torah.”

He was so filled with neimus and so filled with Torah.

Thank you, heileger Rav Dovid, thank you for the tefillos and brachos and showing us, somehow, hidden as you were, that the cloak of Torah royalty is still here.

And Rav Dovid, please hear us once more, just as you patiently, good-naturedly, tolerantly heard us here and answered our questions.

One last favor: There, where you are, back at your father’s side, might you lift up a slip of paper one more time, one that says “Klal Yisrael” on it, and ask the Creator to bring us home too?

(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 835)

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