Sunday, January 2, 2011

Why Not Me? - Rav Gifter ZTL

If you are an avid Jreader, you couldn't help but notice that this week marks Rav Mordechai Gifter's ZTL 10th Yahrtzeit. There were articles in the Yated, Ami, Mishpacha and Hamodiah, to name a few.

Rav Gifter, one of the first American born Gedolim, traversed the ocean in his thirst to find authentic Torah study. He learned in Telz, ultimately marrying into the Rosh Yeshiva's family and becoming Rosh Yeshiva himself in Cleveland.

Rav Gifter was known for his strong views, but many vignettes reveal how much he understood American yeshiva bochurim. When some visitors from Eretz Yisrael protested the ball playing on his sprawling campus, Rav Gifter backed his boys one hundred percent, explaining that America is different. When Rav Schach ZTL was not enthralled with the new Artscroll Gemoroh English translation, it was Rav Gifter who averted his negation of the project.

But the most interesting story in my opionion was the "why not me"? It is said that as a youngster, he had framed photographs of the Gedolim on his wall accompanied by one blank frame with the message inside reading "Why not me"? Rav Gifter did not hang pop icons on his walls, in the false hope that some publicity would rub off on himself - rather he set goals to remind himself that the framed individuals reached high levels of learning because they constantly applied themselves. If I apply myself, he said to himself, I can also reach such heights.

Lehavdil, it can be said that many Jbloggers are driven by the same need to make a difference. Most make a positive difference, and unfortunately some exist primarily to "wikileak" all the bad that exists in the community. In any event, everyone is capable of making a difference. Why not YOU???

1 comment:

  1. Seems to be a discrepancy in whether the photos were on the wall or in an album. Nice post.


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