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Friday, July 06, 2012

How to Show Kavod for Torah and Hakaras Hatov to a Rebbi

I've been saying a daf yomi shiur for twenty five years.  I believe that the hakaras hatov and kavod hatorah my shiur demonstrates is unique.  I am not a kli kodesh that depends on the kindness of the community for my support.  I am just a baalabos like they are, a baalabos that was fortunate enough to be encouraged by my family and my friends to begin and continue the shiur.  But they don't limit their hakaras hatov to words alone.  On Chanuka, I get a Chanuka gift.  On Purim, I get Shalach Manos.   There is one person in the shiur that buys me beautiful ties from Brooks Brothers.  My bookcase is stocked with beautiful sefarim they bought me- the new Shulchan Aruch and Tur, a Yerushalmi, Rav Kasher's Torah Shleimah, Shaarei Aharon, and many more.  And every year, on July fourth, they make a birthday party for me.  This year, after conspiring with my wife, they bought me a Dell Inspiron Laptop.

I have protested as many times as they have made parties, and would have stopped this many years ago, but my wife and my father in law say that if people want to express hakaras hatov and kavod hatorah, I have no right to interfere.  My wife says says that expressing hakaras hatov is good for the soul, and especially in limud hatorah it enhances the entire experience and what you retain.  Giving it chashivus makes it more chashuv.  And the truth is that saying the shiur for so long is not easy.  There are times when it is very difficult, and there is a yetzer hara to just drop it and do something else.  Knowing that my chevra so sincerely appreciate it, and that they dedicate a large part of their lives to attending the shiur- I see some of them more than their own children see them- make it impossible to consider stopping.

During the shiur, the only pictures that were taken were on an old polaroid instamatic, which doesn't translate well to the net.  But here are some pictures my brother took at my mother's house after the party.

 The words on top are the pesukim from the parsha of Erchin, to remind me that the erech of a fifty nine year old is fifty shekalim, and that of a sixty year old is fifteen.  That on my sixtieth birthday, my erech drops seventy percent.  I would like to point out that the chochma is to see to it that your shavyus is greater than your erech.  The reference to a Cholent Club is that I make a kiddush after the early minyan on Shabbos, and many members of the shiur come to the kiddush.  We talk in learning, discuss current events in the Jewish world, and about whoever happens to not be there.

Here's the moral of the story.  The purpose of this post is twofold.  First, I wish I had a way of declaring my great hakaras hatov to the members of my shiur, who do so much more than necessary to thank me.  Second, if you are a member of a shiur, you have an obligation to find some meaningful way to express your respect and gratitude to the magid shiur.  It doesn't matter if he's richer than you, or just a baalabos, or if you're a bigger talmid chacham than he is.  You have to find a way to show hakaras hatov.  I know one shiur that sent their rebbi for the first time in his life to Eretz Yisrael.  Another shiur bought their rebbi's wife a beautiful and expensive wrist watch.  What you do doesn't matter.  What matters is that it should be an unequivocal, meaningful, and clear declaration of hakaras hatov.  As Ben Sira wrote, בני נצור עיתך והישמר מאווןולא תבוש מתת תודה.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

so so true! keep it up!