The Great Rabbi Chaim Druckman – Our Master and Teacher

[Be-Ahavah U-Be-Emunah – Emor 5772 – translated by R. Blumberg]

I am joyous that Ha-Rav Chaim Druckman received the Israel Prize because he is my master and teacher. Obviously he is not just mine, but also the master and teacher of many tens and thousands. When I was a boy I began studying Torah from him and I saw a true Torah scholar, full of fine character traits, fear of G-d, and warmth. And I said to myself, “This is a genuine Torah scholar of Eretz Yisrael. He is pure fire. All should admire him.”

Rav Druckman is a normal Torah scholar. He’s no extremist. Don’t take that description for granted. Rambam writes that the middle road that eschews the extremes is the path of G-d. It is the high road, the path G-d wants us to take, as it says, “Follow His pathways” (Devarim 28:9).

And all this is so because before being a disciple of Moshe – in Torah – Rav Chaim is a disciple of our forefather Avraham – in character refinement.

It is this which makes our master Rav Chaim a true educator, and Rav Tzvi Yehudah Kook, in his day, declared that Rav Druckman was “our country’s true Minister of Education”. He is a magnificent educator, because he sees the good in everyone. He therefore loves everyone and everyone loves him. There isn’t one person in our country who could hate him. All the same, this love of his is not an empty gesture or a trick. Rather, very simply, because Rav Druckman doesn’t have a drop of malice, because he is total kindness, total goodness, total love for every Jew, as well as for every person who joins the Jewish People, he therefore became the head of Israel’s conversion program and has signed on the conversion documents of 50,000 souls who have come under the wings of the Divine presence.

He is the great educator who walks before the camp. Bnei Akiva can lift its eyes to him and say, “This is our master.” The yeshiva high schools can raise their heads and say, “This is our master.” He has a great claim, as well, as far as the “Hesder Yeshivot”, those yeshivot that combine army service with Torah learning.

In his own home, as well, he adopted a child with Down’s Syndrome, as if he didn’t have enough challenges of his own. Yet if someone embodies kindness, he is kindness all the way. His is the kindness of Torah.

And let us not forget his wife, the Rabbanit Sara, the devoted physician, who certainly on the same level as my master and teacher Rav Chaim.

In the political sphere as well, Rav Chaim was guided by our master Rav Tzvi Yehudah Kook, in his holy work of educating the nation. Indeed, a politician is supposed to educate the Nation. That is Rav Chaim: an educator on the individual and national level.

Rav Chaim is a Torah scholar who sanctifies G-d’s name on earth, in accordance with our Sages’ words at the end of Yoma, and Rambam, Hilchot Yesodei Ha-Torah at the end of Chapter 5: “What constitutes the profanation of G-d’s name? It’s when a great Torah scholar, renowned for saintliness, commits acts that lead to people mocking him. And even if those acts are not sins, he has still profaned G-d’s name. An example would be his buying something in a store without paying for it immediately… or his engaging in much commerce… or his failing to address people gently or to receive them graciously, but rather angrily and argumentatively.”

By contrast, “if the Torah scholar scrupulously makes sure to greet all people gently, humbly and graciously, and he suffers insult without insulting in return, if he treats others with respect, even those that treat him lightly, and if he radiates integrity in his business dealings… until everyone praises him and loves him and appreciates his deeds, then he has sanctified G-d’s name. Of him it says, ‘You are My servant, Israel in whom I glory’ (Yeshayahu 49:3).”

Indeed, Rav Druckman is amongst those who suffer insult without insulting in return.

He really does get insulted and hurt a great deal. It is impossible to describe just how much, and it really does hurt him, but he never returns an insult.

Such is the humble person under discussion. He is an open saint, but a secret saint as well. In other words, his personality is so open, it radiates so fully, it has such a great influence, that one could think that what we see is all there is. Yet that is not the case. There is to his modesty much more than what we see. Don’t ask me what. I don’t know. Because Rav Chaim is a humble, modest person, who doesn’t often reveal what’s inside of him.

Yet it’s clear that within his spiritual psyche there are entire universes of magnificent holiness of which we see only the periphery.

Well done, Rav Chaim! Go forth with your strength and have courage. Keep up your great and holy work on behalf of our people and our land, because we need you. Continue faithfully occupying yourself with the needs of the community, and G-d will bestow a blessing on your handiwork, and all that you do shall succeed.