אחי ורעי האהובים, בני הקהילה הקדושה
On the one hand, attempting to step in to assume even a fraction of our Rav’s role — even temporarily, and even only in part — is unspeakably daunting. On the other hand, I am not really venturing into something new. I am warmly ensconced in a place that I know and love, and among people that I know and love, with years behind us of growing together and learning from each other. I sincerely hope that the coming period, while challenging, will be an opportunity to discover more of the quality of this beautiful kehillah, to get to know more of you, to become acquainted with your children — the beautiful dor that is sprouting up among us — and to deepen the relationships that already exist.
Hashem is imposing upon the kehillah to go into the Yamim Nora’im without the fatherly guidance of the Rav. Apparently, Hashem is challenging us to find it within ourselves to join together, and to draw on the ruach of driven and enthusiastic avodas Hashem, that the Rav has instilled in the shul. This, enhanced by the unique kochos and qualities of each individual.
But the truth is that it is essential that we realize that Hashem’s call to the kehillah carries much greater and deeper significance. The Rav’s state is not about the Rav as an individual. It is a tzarah for the shul. And it reached a head exactly on the threshold of the Yamim Nora’im. Rambam (Hilchos Taaniyos 1) tells us that when a tzarah comes upon a tzibbur, they are obligated to interpret it as a call for teshuvah and tefillah. Precisely on the days of teshuvah and tefillah, Hashem is singling out our kehillah with a direct, personalized call for teshuvah and tefillah. Does this mean that there is a flaw in the kehillah as a kehillah? Not necessarily. This is a kehillah of bnei aliyah and mevakshei Hashem that has demonstrated, and constantly demonstrates, ability and willingness to grow and progress. It is quite plausible that Hashem is saying, “There’s more growth, greatness, closeness with Me, that this kehillah is capable of.” And He — the Master Mechanech, as the Alter of Kelm expressed it — is urging us to bring out that potential that we might not even be aware of, but which He knows is there. Apparently, He is confident that we are capable of hearing His call. May we be zocheh to achieve that added growth and closeness, and to see Hashem award our efforts by accepting our tefillos, granting the Rav a refuah sheleimah בישועת הכלל והפרט.
I will greatly appreciate anyone who puts in one tefillah for me that I be given the siyata d’Shmaya to optimally do my share in navigating together a Yamim Nora’im that will bring us that much closer to Hashem; and to serve this shelichus in a way that will be pleasing to Hashem and His children, for the time that Hashem sees fit, until I can hand back to the Rav shlit”a the precious pikadon that Hashem entrusted him with.
In addition, I am deeply grateful to the bnei hachaburah who spared no effort to facilitate this transition in the best way possible, in every respect, with great dedication.
ישלם ה’ פעלם, ותהי משכורתם שלמה מאת ה’ אלקי ישראל, איש על שמו הטוב.
ויהי נועם ה’ אלקינו עלינו, ומעשה ידינו כוננה עלינו, ומעשה ידינו כוננהו