Last week klal Yisrael lost a Torah giant. He was a chief editor of the Artscroll Schottenstein shas, Posek and Rabbinic dayan for worldwide Halachic cases. He was the Rav of the Beis Tfila Yona Avraham shul in Ramat Beit Shemesh Alef. His honesty and integrity, not allowing politics to interfere with his leadership was exemplary.
And it is this “say it the way it is” attitude that he greeted Chabad and I.
In August of 2017 I was in RBS and asked him if I could speak for his congregation. He said sure. It was after Shabbos Mincha. He introduced me by telling his congregants, “I was waiting for this day; I had three Torah teachers; one was Rabbi Abba Berman zatzal…the third was Rabbi Yoel Kahan of Chabad. I was waiting all these years for a Lubavitcher Chasid to ask me to speak in my shul. And when Rabbi Dalfin, a student of my rebbi, Reb Yoel approached me, I jumped at the opportunity.”
My eyes almost popped out!
He explained that in the early 1970s he attended Reb Yoel’s Tanya shiur in Monsey from 10-12 midnight! He was hooked. And although a Litvak, he saw Tanya’s importance in the greater Torah scholarship. After Shabbos he said he wanted me to teach a weekly Tanya shiur in his shul. I happily agreed and for a year until my return to NY, we had up to 10 bnei Torah Baalei Battim attending the weekly Tanya class.
If that wasn’t enough, he nudged me throughout the year asking for course outlines so he can advertise it in his shul bulletin.
He was the first guest speaker in our Kollel Beit Shemesh and gave a most interesting lecture combining Halacha with Chasidus.
My last correspondence with him was this past Tishrei. We exchanged yom tov greetings.
May his masim tovim and honesty of uniting the Chabad and Litvak worlds be a merit for klal Yisroel, his family and the RBS community.
Rabbi Chaim Dalfin
Rosh Kolel Ramat Beit Shemesh