We live in a word where we are told if someone can throw a ball a
certain way or if they look a certain way, they are heroes and should be
emulated. I think it is important to distinguish between being talented/good looking and
being a hero. Not everyone that was born with G-d given talent should be called
a hero simply because of their achievements.
My hero is not someone who has a flashy title. He did not make a
lot of money in his lifetime. He was not the guy who threw a buzzer beater from
the three point line to win the NBA Championship. He is not the hockey player
from Brantford, Ontario who began ice skating at the age of two and went on to
be known in the world of hockey as The Great One. (Although, I have to admit
that I think Wayne Gretzky is pretty cool.)
My hero is not the guy who wins the hot dog eating contest
on Coney Island in Brooklyn every year and still weighs about 130 pounds.
So who you may ask is my hero?
My hero was a man who believed that when
Rabbi Akiva said “Love Your Friend as yourself is a Great Rule in the Torah
", and is not just empty rhetoric.
My hero was a great Torah scholar who
loved all Jews unconditionally regardless of their affiliation or observance.
My hero was a man who refused to be
dragged into the infighting of various camp within Judaism. On Rosh Hashanah we
would pray in different shuls to show that he above the barriers that we
sometime place among ourselves.
My hero was a man who accompanied his wife
to the doctor because she was not well. When inquired by the doctor as to the
reason their visit, He replied Our
Leg is not feeling well.
My hero was a man who at a young age who
made a vow always to judge people favorably and did so in the most trying circumstance
for the rest of his life.
My hero was a man who greatly empathized
with the pain of others. Upon hearing of the tragic news of a soldier from the
IDF who had passed away, he would rush to the family and comfort the bereaved.
My hero was a man who always worked hard
on restoring harmony between couples that were living in turmoil.
My hero was a man who transcended the
pettiness we find in society and refused to believe that he can't be a force of
good that could change the world for the
My hero was a man who was so humble that
he refused to have any eulogies at his funeral or words of praise on his
My hero was a man who always visited Jewish prisoners during the British mandate and gave them encouragement hope and inspiration. He did this after no rabbi was willing to give up his Shabbos rest to go every single Shabbos and Jewish Holiday to say the prayers and read Torah to them. He would then walk tens of miles around Jerusalem bringing personal regard to their families who were concerned about their welfare.
My hero was a man who at his funeral had
tens of thousands of people coming to pay their final respects and included the
president, prime minister and cabinet ministers of Israel along with distinguished
Chassidic rabbis and venerable deans of the leading yeshivas. They stood next
to many officers of the Israel Defense Forces and former underground fighters
who acknowledged him as their rabbi.
My hero is the man Menachem Begin
described this way: This man appears and you watch his actions carefully and
you are enchanted. You listen to his words and they touch your heart. You look
at his eyes and they are clear and pure. You say in your heart: This man is a
My hero is Rabbi Aryeh Levin who passed
away in 1968. He lived in a small apartment in Jerusalem. He wrote no essays.
He gave no sermons or addresses before an audience of thousands. He never spoke
at mass gatherings or let his voice travel on the airwaves of the radio or
television. Yet his influence spread far and wide with people coming to seek
warmth and encouragement.
Rabbi Aryeh Levin was an outstanding
individual because always sought to bring out the best in people.
He is my hero. Who is your hero ?
Please share your thoughts.