Sunday, July 13, 2014

Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman - a Role Model for Greatness

Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman and Avishai Abrahami
With all the bad news coming out of the Middle East pertaining to our brothers and sisters in Israel, I thought I would share an uplifting story about one of the few people in our day who can wear the title of Gadol, Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman. 

Just to be clear, I have disagreed with him on certain policy issues with respect to the Israeli government and was surprised at the rhetoric he used to express his feelings about it. But at the same time I understand the emotion associated with the violation of Torah Hashkafos he believes the government of Israel is guilty of.

That said, I will say now what I said before. He is a man of tremendous integrity who is unafraid to speak his mind on issues of the day – even if it will upset some members of his own community. At age 101, he is consistent in this regard. He doesn’t care if someone calls him a fake Gadol. For R' Shteinman - Emes trumps Kavod by miles. He in fact runs away from Kavod. Which is why Kavod runs after him. And true to the qualities of a Gadol, when it comes to helping a fellow Jew, R’ Shteinman does not sleep until he completes his task.

The following is found on the Facebook page of Avishai Abrahami, a secular Israel Jew. I first saw it on Rabbi Bechoffer’s Facebook page where Ben Waxman posted it. The following are Mr. Abrahami’s words in their entirety.  

Last night, I gave a lecture in Beney Brake to Orthodox Jews entrepreneurs.

After the lecture they took me for a to see the “Jewish Orthodox Geto”, a very interesting tour, in so many ways I felt the same as when I first visited Korea

During this tour, they wanted me to meet “Rabbi Aharon Shtaymen”, apparently, he is the leader of the Lita following, which is the largest following for religious Jews, making him the leader for millions and highly respected by all.

I wanted to share some amazing points about this visit.

We arrived to the area of his house at around 11:00PM, Moshe my guide told his grandkids that I am might be willing to offer jobs to Orthodox Jewish, they said the Rabbi is already in bed

20 Minutes later we get a call that he wants to meet.

At Wix, I lead about 700 people, I am not religious, and don’t believe in classifying religious beliefs.

But when at 11:30PM a 101 years old, spiritual leader of millions of people, gets out of bed, dresses, and asked to meet with me, because I might offer a job to 30 or so of his people – I must say, that is true leadership, I have so much more to learn.

Next, he lives in a tiny two bedroom apartment, in an old regular building, with nothing but basic furniture’s, when I have seen it, the first thing I asked his grandkids was – “how come you don’t paint it? You want me to paint it? Don’t be lazy” they answered “He won’t let us, when we asked him to paint it, he said he is the owner of the house, and he won’t allow it”, I guess he wants to show by example, that material things are meaningless, put things in perspective, he probably get donations for billions of dollars every year, that goes to support the people in his community

Moshe, my guide, ask the Rabbi to bless me because I donated money today, (I did donate the same day, for people in Shederot that had nothing to eat because of the war in Gaza), personally I don’t believe in blessing, so I was a little embarrassed, the Rabbi looked at me and looked at Moshe, with a scolding voice he said “He does not need my blessing, Donating is blessing, he is already blessed”, of course this did not stop the two other guides with me, to ask for blessing

I found this all experience very inspiring, me and Rabbi, might differ on almost any possible belief, but when it comes to leadership he did show me a lot...