by Rabbi Gershon Avtzon
Klal Yisroel mourns today the loss of a Jewish giant, Rabbi Dr. Avraham Twerski A”H. He was a living legend in our times as a Chassidic Jew, a descendent of many Tzaddikim, who was also a world-renowned psychiatrist who saved the lives of thousands of people caught up in addictions and other issues. He was respected by Yidden – and lehavdil the non-jews – of all levels of observance.
I sit tonight and remember a deeply penetrating speech that I heard from Rabbi Yosef Heller Shlit”a, the Rosh Kollel in Crown Heights. I don’t remember the exact date, but when I was learning in Kollel, Rabbi Twerski was invited to crown Heights to speak about the internet addiction. It seems that many of the kollel Yungeleit, and people of the community, asked Rabbi Heller his opinion about attending the lecture. He decided to answer the question in a public address to the Yungeleit.
This is what he said (I am paraphrasing): “I am very happy that people are going to listen to Rabbi Dr. Avraham Twerski. He is a bansha”k – ben shel Kedoshim – and a Talmid Chacham. It saddens me that to most people in Crown Heights, what makes this special person credible is the fact that he is Dr. Twerski, not Rabbi Twerski. That is a shame, because to a frum Yid, we should be looking to our Rabbanim and Mashpiim i.e. Torah for our advice and guidance.”
As this special neshama reaches Beis din shel Maala, to the tune of Hoshea es Amecha that he composed, it will be first and foremost Rabbi Avraham Twerski A”H that they will welcome. He was a frum Chassidishe Yid first and a Dr. second. This is how we should all approach life as well. Yehei Zichro Baruch.