Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Eyes that Burned Like Diamonds: The Talner Rebbe זצ"ל

Today is the thirty-seventh yahrzeit of Grand Rabbi M. Z. Twersky זצ"ל, the Talner Rebbe of Boston, father of my teacher, Rabbi Professor Yitzhak (Isadore) Twersky זצ"ל. He passed away on the 41st day of the Omer 5732, יסוד שביסוד as in צדיק יסוד עולם.
The Talner Rebbe was one of those remarkable people who had a real impact on me. The irony is that we never were introduced. We never exchanged a word. I was just one of the hundreds of people, and a kid at that, who came to his shtiebel to dance on the eve of Simhat Torah. Indeed, even if I had wanted to speak to him I would not have been able. By the time I encountered him, he was unable to speak, as the result of a stroke. It was, however, not his words that affected me. It was his eyes.
The Talner's eyes burned like diamonds. As the circle of dancers would pass by him, standing mute at his shtender, he would look at you; and his eyes would see right through you. They were kind eyes, warm eyes, truthful eyes. In his mute dignity, he generated a profound sense of holiness, of godliness. In his presence, I recall feeling that I was in the presence of a real צדיק.
That experience taught me that that there are truly spiritual, truly holy people in the world.
I thank God for the opportunity of encountering such a one.

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