I Am Proud of My Rabbi

Rabbi Chayim Soloveichik has added a new dimension to the concept of leading by example.

Rav Soloveichik, community rabbi of “Ohr Shalom” in Ramat Beit Shemesh has recently undergone an operation to donate a kidney to a third party who was unknown to him when he offered the donation.

According to a report in the Jerusalem Post, the story began when Rabbanit Pircha Soloveichik saw a posting on the community email list that someone was seeking a kidney donation, from a donor with blood type O.

“I’m Type O,” the rabbi says. “First thing, I did my research and found out that in this day and age, there would usually be no halachic issue. Most of the poskim [halachic decisors] feel it’s a mitzva; they won’t say you have to.

“Obviously, I looked on the medical sites to see what the risks were,” he continued. “They’re very minimal, which takes away any general issur [prohibition] for most healthy people. I also went [to an authority] for a personal psak [decision]. He wouldn’t say that I have to do it, but he certainly said that it was OK. He didn’t want to encourage it because he didn’t want to pressure me.

“So I responded [to the post]; they saw I was a match and started the process.”

The operation took place a few days before Purim – and until the last moment, very few individuals were aware of the transplant operation.

Rav Soloveichik, who does not generally seek out limelight, decided to go public for two reasons.

Firstly, so that people would daven for him and the organ recipient’s speedy recuperation.

And secondly, to inspire others to similar deeds of giving and selflessness.

Before the surgery, “very few people were aware of what I was doing. Even in my family, only my wife was aware until a day before surgery… I didn’t want to hear everyone’s opinion and I wanted to keep it private. However, after surgery, I felt it was important to talk about it to inspire others. Already, some members of my congregation said I gave them something to think about.”

Many people are in dire need of a new kidney and have difficulty finding a donor, Soloveichik laments.

“No question the surgery involves pain, fear; it’s not for everybody. But people should think about it.”

I am a talmid of Rav Soloveichik since I moved to Ramat Beit Shemesh twelve years ago, and we established Lema’an Achai, the tzedaka and chesed organization, together.

I have long come to admire Rav Soloveichik’s leadership – his learning, sincerity, clear judgment, devotion to Am Yisrael in general and the members of his community and many students in particular, and his constant giving of himself to others.

In this case, literally.

By donating his kidney to a stranger, Rav Soloveichik has given us all an example of how each one of us can give more to helping others.

In addition, by publicizing this humanitarian act, which is appreciated by all, whether religious, non-religious or non-Jewish, Rav Soloveichik has created a Kiddush Hashem, placing a positive spotlight on frum Jews, Rabbis, Bet Shemesh, and sanctifying the name of Hashem Himself.

I am very proud to call myself a talmid of Rav Soloveichik.      


Popular posts from this blog

Minister for Welfare Visits Lema'an Achai Today

Will Motty Borger’s Suicide Make Any Difference?