The Hand Rav Aharon Lichtenstein zt''l Never Let Go
Joshua G. Kaufman '13
November 23rd, 2015
My father just called me. He was sifting through his voice messages, deleting those which were once-upon-a-time relevant, but now do nothing aside from preventing other memorable ones from coming in, and making their mark. In doing this he came across one that had been left by none other than me; one, of its substance I will never forget.
As he played the message for me, initially hard to make out, the חנוכה of 5774 reestablished itself firmly in my head.
Moreinu HaRav Aharon Lichtenstein zt"l didn't speak to the talmidei haYeshiva many times in his later years, but on this particular night, the night on which the yeshiva's Chanukah party took place he did. HaRav Aharon lit up the entire room, and I felt as if I had been in its center.
Dancing in a circle, as is traditionally done, I found myself holding the hands of haRav Aharon, who without warning, decided he was going to speak to all of us. Everyone froze, and proceeded to gather closely in order to catch every word from his inviting mouth. But, instead of letting my hand go so that I might join the others, he kept my hand tightly embraced by his own. At that moment, as his left hand pleaded with my right to stay, I felt years of Jewish tradition transferring from this unbelievable servant of G-d's warm hand into mine. Whether haRav Aharon knew it or not, in those twenty-plus magical minutes he had thrust unto me a burden I was prepared to accept (my hand was in pain afterwards - for 80 years old he was quite strong ;D). Now that he is gone, and Chanukah 5776 approaches, I want haRav Aharon to know that he is still alive.
Alive to me, and alive to us all. We can light the rest of the world using that which he gave us, and that which - directly and indirectly - through him we've made for ourselves.
Kislev Tov to all.