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The 9th Tammuz marks the Yahrtzeit of the Tzaddik - the Klausenberger Rebbe - Rabbi Yekusiel Yehuda Halberstam. He survived the Holocaust - though came out having lost his entire family including his wife and 11 children. Should he survive - he said to himself, he promised he would build an entire hospital devoted to saving the lives of people. The Laniado hospital in Netanaya is the hospital that he built - a most remarkable hospital. Those members on its staff must comply with the most basic of all regulations, to treat people with respect and dignity.
Well known is the famous story when money was lacking to build the hospital. He was asked his opinion about which syringe needles to purchase. He asked what the problem was. They told him that one type of needle is much cheaper, but it stings the patient when inserted. The other costs far more, but it hurts less. It wasn't a question for the Rebbe. The latter was to be used at all costs!
There are some beautiful biographies written about the Rebbe. An exceptional person by anyone's standards. Having been through a world of hate - he was filled with nothing less than pure love. Who can even begin to compare to the greatness of such rare individuals?! But it is for us to strive to these levels. To stop the constant hatred and desire for war and death, and instead to focus our lives - every minute and every second of them to building places that help, that bring peace, that bring life. When will we stop with the stupidity of war, the baseless hatred of others and our desires to speak big about peace without being prepared to do anything to back it up?!
Life is real. It's not just about the latest I-gadget, and it's certainly not only about the "I" gadget. We need to read the heart breaking story of this Tzaddik - and then read it again. And then when we're finished it, we need to read it... again... because it seems, we still have a long way to go until we appreciate what life is really all about.
Below are two videos about the Tzaddik. The first is he himself speaking as he describes briefly - the multitude of tragedies he went through in his life. But it's enough for most of us to hear - because we still find it hard to believe that there are so many out there who still do not believe it, who do not even believe that there are many still wishing to continue this destructive behaviour in the lives of others.
The second video is all about the wonderful hospital he built. He never had any money to do it of course. He was by no means wealthy. But he chose to look the other way from those who might think to dissuade another for raising funds to build a building of life. He asked for those funds - and to those who gave, they will be blessed - forever.
Zechuto Yagen Aleinu - May his merit protect us.
May the soul of Rabbi Yekutiel Yehuda ben Tzvi זצ"ל merit to ascend level upon level - and may it merit to stand before the Throne of Glory to plead our case in full, to turn all the judgments of the world into mercy and hasten the final redemption - immediately!