Monday, April 30, 2012

Notes: Rav Dovid Miller's Hesped of Rav Benny Eisner


In his will he asked no eulogizer to elaborate or exaggerate. He’ll try to not do the first and there’s no need for the second.

Twenty five years ago in a letter to the editor someone wrote of visiting Israel and heading to the airport in a car packed with luggage and family.  They got stuck.  No-one stopped.  Then a full car stopped.  The driver came over and asked if he could help.  The person stuck said get us a tow truck.  The driver asked for the trunk key and took the luggage into his car, told his family to wait in the stuck car.  The writer wanted to know who it was. It was pinned up on the bulletin board in B.M.T. because everyone there knew who that “angel” was. Had the writer pulled down their window a second earlier they would have caught Rav Benny saying his normal greeting, "Shalom, ani Benny." In this case those words were followed by what he usually said next, "Efshar la'azor?"

What he learned he lived; ahavat Hashem, ahavat Yisrael, ahavat Torah, ahavat Eretz Yisrael.

He was a talmid muvhak of Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook.  He was part of a small brigade in ’67 defending Yerushalayim from the south.  They were sitting ducks going up Har Gilo against Jordanian tanks.  The tanks turned around and they liberated Kever Rachel.  He told Rachel she could stop crying…

He would always hug and thank soldiers and tell them what great merit they had.  When the last war broke out, at 60 years old, he called his commanding officer.  He wanted to go and give chizuk. And his ahavat Torah was linked.

He helped establish the HS and elementary school of Mercaz HaRav. He worked with Israeli soldiers, setting up a third option other than regular army or hesder – a one year of intense learning prep for army. He once interviewed someone who said it was too much.  He said the love of Torah is in you, you can do this. He taught with his whole being.

He taught Americans and then gave up his home and moved in to BMT to be the Av Bayit along with his family.  His home was unlocked and open for food, learning, and connection.  He made normal kids into normal Jews, teaching them to not just learn but live Torah.  He was always, for 35 years, giving chizuk to his students.

In the early eighties a woman cried in Rav Benny’s living room.  They set up an organization to get her husband home.  It was Avital Scharansky.  He got out and came soon after his release to Rav Benny’s home and Yeshiva.

He knew that HaKadosh Baruch Hu loved him and all.  He wrote in his will that all he wanted was to unify people in love of G-d in the world.  He viewed all he experienced as part of this.  His illness diagnosis was viewed as an opportunity to be in America to speak and increase G-d’s love in the world.

He passed away a month after Rosh HaShana.  He didn’t have the strength to blow shofar at Gruss this year.  He spoke.  He ended with a twinkle in his eye. And then he took up the Shofar and blew Shofar like never before.  Rav Miller was the makri, they both looked at the same pasuk to focus on for malchuyot (“meloch al kol ha’olam kulu bichvodecha”, zichronot (“zachreinu bezikaron tov lefanechah”), and shofrot (“ve kareiv pezureinu…”) as was their minhag. 

Afterwards he said he was grateful for the unique chance to thank G-d for every breath.  On Yom Kippur he spoke of “Ad shelo notzarti eini kedai” according to Rav Kook, who explains that we are only created to meet our calling and that we shouldn’t miss our calling. 

On Hoshanah Rabbah night word came in that Rav Benny was not well. Rav Miller went to Sha’arei Tzadek and found his bed empty…because he was in the Sukkah giving a shiur.  That was his last shiur.

He wrote Rav Miller words of bracha before he went to YU to teach.  He cited Rav Kook saying that we are obligated to not abandon Jews of exile.  Rather to share the Torah of life, the dew of life, from the land of life, with them.  He signed it with love, friendship, and blessing - Benny. That blessing was his life succinctly summed up.

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