Wednesday, May 9, 2012

“Just One Thing is Missing: The Soul”

THE REBBE OF PIACEZNA, R’ Klonymous Kalman Shapiro, z”ya, was approaching his fortieth birthday:

“My heart pounds from my impending fortieth birthday, my entire body shakes from my oncoming declining years. Still, I will try to muster all my strength to commit myself and my life to G-d. Perhaps, perhaps, something will remain. But to what shall I commit myself? To learn more? I think that as far as possible, I don’t waste any time. To abstain from physical pleasures? If my own desires are not fooling me, thank G-d, I am not so attached to them. So what am I missing? Simply to be a Jew. I see myself as a self-portrait that shows all colors and features real to life. Just one thing is missing: the soul.” (Tzav V’ziruz, To Heal the Soul, page 45)

I have often reflected upon these searing words penned by the Aish Kodesh a decade before his holy body was consumed by the inferno of the Holocaust. The post-Holocaust generation has come of age. We have prospered financially and religiously. The self-portrait of our Torah community “shows all colors and features real to life.” Soon, the Siyum HaShas will take place before an anticipated audience of 90,000 people.