"It Is Forbidden To Be Old"
(Picture Courtesy of Haside Breslev Online Photos)
Rabbi Tanchum Burton on Rabbi Michel Dorfman zt"l:
I feel that I really had shimush chachamim with Reb Michel; I walked across Jerusalem many Shabbosim to daven in the netz minyan with him in the yeshiva, and cherished hearing sippurei maasios from his lips. After the last rikud, a small group of us would accompany him to his house. He would draw out the lesson from the maaseh even further during that time, applying it to all sorts of contemporary situations, bringing in his own remarkable life experiences. A person could ask Reb Michel any question during those moments; many times I came with a question on my mind that would miraculously get answered in the course of Reb Michel's musings--even without my having to articulate it.
There are many stories I would like to tell about my own personal encounters with this tzaddik, and I am anxious to get them down on paper.
Reb Michel represented a path that was different than that of the Yerushalmi community that surrounded him geographically--even if he aesthetically managed to blend in there. You really would have appreciated him. He was a poshute yid who worked to support his family, survived the ravages of the Soviet Union, and applied himself with superhuman strength to serve Hashem--and he was matzliach.
He exemplified what the Rebbe said: "it is forbidden to be old", even at his hoary old age. In order to make sure that I was in that kvutzah after davening, I had to make sure all of my belongings were right near me, otherwise in the time it took me to gather them, Reb Michel--and by association the chevre--would have traversed the entire length of the Meah Shearim shuk and been a block away from his apartment on Hoshea Street.