“The road to leadership is being considerate of others”
Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi David Lau spoke to students at OTS’s Neveh Shmuel Yeshiva High School on the yahrzeit of his grandfather’s death at the Treblinka extermination camp
Arutz Sheva Staff | Oct 18, 2021
Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi David Lau, visited Ohr Torah Stone’s Neveh Shmuel Yeshiva High School on Sunday, which was the yahrzeit of his grandfather Rabbi Moshe Chaim Lau, the rabbi of Piotrków of blessed memory, who died at the hands of the Nazis at the Treblinka extermination camp.
During his visit, Rabbi Lau was greeted by OTS President and Rosh HaYeshiva, Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Brander; Neveh Shmuel’s Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Avishai Milner; and some 400 students, who had the privilege of hearing Rabbi Lau’s shiur on this week’s parsha, and answering his questions on the tractates of Brachot and Sanhedrin which they are currently studying.
Rabbi Lau commended the students for their profound knowledge, underscoring the importance of being studious and proficient in the various areas of Torah. “The basis, first and foremost, is the Bet Midrash, and Torah must be a part of us – knowing it, understanding it, and delving deeply into it. That’s the foundation, and the road to proper leadership”, said Rabbi Lau. “However, our Torah is Torat chessed, a Torah of lovingkindness, and Torah without chessed is no Torah at all. Therefore, we must continue to care for and pay attention to individuals and groups. We should see the overall picture of Klal Yisrael, the entire Jewish People, as well as the individual picture of each and every one; that is the proper way”.
Rabbi Lau went on to share the story of his grandfather with those present. “When the Germans told my grandfather to bring everyone to a single gathering place, my grandfather told his community members to hide and arrived at the gathering place on his own. When asked why he was going, he explained that if the Germans saw him, they would not go after the others. And so, he sacrificed himself thinking of everyone else – that’s leadership, that’s a way of being considerate of others. And while my grandfather behaved this way in the Polish Diaspora, in our generation we have the privilege of doing so in our own country, in our own homes, to be considerate of others in life”.
Ohr Torah Stone President and Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Brander, said that “the Kohen Gadol, the High Priest, wore both a Tzitz – a mitre – and a Choshen, a breastplate. The mitre was worn on his forehead to remind him of his responsibility to grapple with the pressing halakhic challenges that emerge in communities of all kinds, and the breastplate was worn on his heart because it symbolized his role as a leader of the community outwardly as well as inwardly. In order to respond to and withstand both local and international challenges, the High Priest needed both. Similarly, in every issue or situation, we must examine reality from both a halakhic perspective – the values and knowledge of Torah – and one that is psychological and sociological, as it also has its roots in halakha.
“Knowing the Chief Rabbi as I do, from afar, and even more so, from our closer acquaintance,” said Rabbi Brander, “I am certain that he truly understands the message conveyed by the Tzitz and Choshen; to take care of everyone, of all of us”.