There are many scholars whose achievements have earned them the admiration of their colleagues and there students. There are, happily, people whose essential humanity and warmth earn them the coveted sobriquet, mensch. There are, however, very few who are both superb scholars and academicians, and also menschen.
One of those unique individuals is Professor Avraham Grossman, and last night his friends, colleagues and students gathered at Merkaz Shazar to honor him on the occasion of the publication of a Festschrift in his honor. Anyone, who has any contact with medieval Jewish History knows just how massive and substantive an impact Professor Grossman has had on the field. His curriculum vitae speaks for itself.
What I want to emphasize is that Avraham Grossman is one of the finest people whom I have ever met. He is gracious, and treats every person as a צלם א-לקים. He shares his knowledge willingly, and is sincerely dedicated to the pursuit of truth. There is, for him, no contradiction between the two. Despite being involved in very vigorous academic debates, Grossman never loses his noble demeanor, and never stoops to the kind of polemic that is endemic to academia. He's a walking Qiddush HaShem.
Personally, I have had the privilege of knowing, interacting with and learning from Professor Grossman almost as long as I've lived in Israel. Like the many, many others who packed the auditorium last night, I came to pay tribute not only to an extraordinary scholar, but to an even more extraordinary mensch.