Wednesday Night Meeting With Rabbi Lazer Brody
In his lecture at the Passaic Torah Institute, Rabbi Lazer Brody related how the Melitzer Rebbe humbles himself before he meets with his Rav, the Vizhnitzer Rebbe. It was with similar feelings that that I anticipated Wednesday night when I was scheduled to meet with Rabbi Brody during his visit to the United States. Before our first meeting a year ago, I did not realize how brightly his neshoma burned. I have never met a person whose emuna was as tangible as Rabbi Brody's. He is an extremely special person and I am convinced that one day people will look back on his life and say that indeed he was a tzaddik.
During our meeting last year, Rabbi Brody successfully helped me rearrange and revitalize my daily learning seder. My neshoma instantly responded to this new seder and I felt like a sick person whose medications were properly readjusted. The new learning seder, coupled with reading his book and using the tefillin that he wrote for me, did wonders for me over the past year.
I was thrilled when I received the e-mail from him last month that inquired about getting together during his visit. At the same time, unexplainably, I also anticipated our meeting with a bit of trepidation.
On Wednesday night after work, I went over to meet with Rabbi Brody in his mother's nearby apartment and quickly realized that all my worries were in vain. Rabbi Brody welcomed me in with a huge smile and a friendly "Shalom Aleichem!".
Although the time I spent with him flew by quickly, every single second was precious. Unlike my last visit, I did not have any particular problem or question to ask him so our conversation crossed over many topics.
Shortly before we finished, I showed him a small section in Degel Machaneh Ephraim (Parshas Pekudei) that I had trouble understanding. We reviewed it and Rabbi Brody explained that in this section, the Degel taught that there were great secrets of the Torah hidden in the description of the Mishkan and its keilim. While a person who relies solely on his intellect would never comprehend these secrets, a person who attaches himself to a Rav who received these teachings from his Rav has the possibility of being able to understand these secrets.
Rabbi Brody explained that the Degel was specifically referring to the paramount importance of having a guide in learning to Torah, since a person who arrogantly believes that he can make his own way will remain lost and never be able to comprehend the Torah’s teachings. It is impossible to properly learn Torah without humility and attachment to a tzaddik.
At the end of our meeting, Rabbi Brody gave me a wonderful brocha and encouraged me to write a letter to the Melitzer Rebbe, a descendent of the Degel, at times when I find that I need guidance or have questions about my learning.
Rabbi Brody helped me put my jacket on and escorted me out to the elevators where he gave me a big hug and another brocha before I left. As I drove home, my mind raced and tried to review all our discussions.
I will always treasure the moments I was able to spend with Rabbi Brody. G-d willing, I will have the opportunity again in the future.