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October 04, 1985 - Image 65

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-10-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

1-

THE rDEyfRbllt ~ J VIII

Friigro&akat, iddhi . '65"

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I

More books?" he wheezed.
"I've bought Steinsaltz."
"So! He inclined his head, and
his son Menachem sat down
across from him.
"What do you think of our
scholar?" Reb Yosef Moshe
asked him.
"Let's hear what you have
lernen," Menachem said, a slight
edge of cynicism in his voice.
"Nu, which tractate?" his
father added, pointing his son
toward the bookcase.
I sent them to the volume I
had been studying and reviewed
the discussion of the mantle and
the Torah. The text was by now
quite familiar, but at first I
couldn't help feeling a bit anx-
ious as I went over it for them. I
had seen Reb Yosef Moshe listen
to his grandchildren review
their studies for him when they
visited on the Sabbath. Now
that he was watching me in the
same way, I felt like them. But
as I grew more and more pos-
sessed by what I was doing, my
anxiety seemed to melt away.
The time passed quickly, and
the three of us became involved
in a full-blown session of study.
The tea was brought and then
Mrs. Reichler tiptoed into the
bedroom, closing the door be-
hind her. The sound of our reci-
tations and discussion filled the
small room. Throughout I re-
mained the maggid shier, the
one who led the class. It was I
who recited the text and tried to
keep the thread of Talmudic
reasoning from becoming
twisted.
When I had finished, Reb
Yosef Moshe spoke first.
"Do you remember what I told
you about people who are pos-
sessed by their books?"
I nodded.
"I was afraid that you were
much more interested in acquir-
ing a library than in becoming
possessed. And when I saw you
today and you told me that you
had bought more books, I wor-
ried that you were still afflicted
with this acquisitive disease. I
think Menachem was wondering
too."
Menachem said nothing.
"But now that I have heard
you, I am no longer worried."
"Rabbi Hannania ben Yaakov
tells us," he said, laughing,
"That if one is kept awake in
the night by words of Torah, it
is a good sign. Do not worry
that you have become so pos-
sessed. It is a blessing, for the
Torah is a 'tree of life to those
who grasp it.' "
"But not without a mantle," I
added. Rob Yosef Moshe laughed
again, and I did too.
Hearing our laughter, Mrs.
Reichler opened the door and
entered.
"Finished?" she asked.
"A pause," her husband an-
swered.
"There's never a finish as long
as we live and breathe only a
ause."
He was right again. I had em
arked upon a path that had no
end. I had the entire Talmud
and Jewish tradition before me.

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