Dear Aish Family,
This Shabbos is very special. It is the ninth Yartzeit (anniversary of the passing) of Rav Noach Weinberg of blessed memory. Many of his students and friends will spend this Shabbos reflecting on his teachings. At Aish, we are about to embark on a very special program in his memory.
Starting Monday for four days we will be hosting a Yarchai Kalla learning program in our Yeshiva. Jews from around the world will join our students in Torah study dedicated to remembering the ideals that Rav Noach stood for.
I was in Los Angeles this week and met with many friends of Aish HaTorah. At one of the local restaurants, I bumped into a very successful communal leader. I had worked with him on many projects in the past. He asked me how things were going at Aish and I filled him in on the incredible work we are doing.
He told me that Rav Noach had been largely responsible for his lifelong mission to help the Jewish people. I was astounded because I never knew of any connection between this person and Aish. He proceeded to tell me his story.
When he was a young man he was an observant Jew but not very passionate about his Judaism. On one of his trips to Israel, someone suggested that they stop in to meet Rav Noach Weinberg. He said he was immediately taken by his warmth. What really struck him was the following question.
Rav Noach asked them what they would be willing to die for. He was stumped as no one had ever asked him such a question before. That question was followed by a statement that changed his life. Rav Noach said, “If you don’t know what your willing to die for, how can you know what you are willing to live for”.
This young man made a fateful decision that from that day forward he would live to serve the Almighty. Since then he has gone on to accomplish great things on behalf of his Jewish brothers and sisters.
Being a Jew cannot be a passive action. We must be driven to work hard towards strengthening the Jewish people. That was the legacy of Rav Noach. We must all spend this Shabbos focused on what we are willing to live for. How we are going to serve the Almighty. How we are going to help our fellow Jews. How we can become the leaders that the world needs us to be. This is the legacy of Rav Noach and Aish HaTorah.
Warm regards and good shabbos!