In Tribute To My Legendary Rebbe On His First Yortzheit: Rabbi Dovid Trenk Z’TL

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‎We first met when I was a wide-eye seven year old boy in Camp Munk. Who could know then that our special bond would last 40 years. I recall being immediately mesmerized by the thunder and exuberance that emanated from this towering giant. Like kindred spirits our worlds collided and my life has never been the same since. Tefilla became exciting, Gemorah adventurous and camp activities were anything but ordinary. Like everyone else who came into his orbit, we never knew exactly what the next moment would bring but we had a front row seat to the greatest Rebbe on earth. And he was ours. Rebbe Trenk would come to influence me and everyone around me in unimaginable ways. More than any other figure I would meet in my youth, Rav Dovid recognized my potential and worked for four decades to mold and encourage it. He never stopped being my Rebbe and I will never stop being his Talmid.

Camp was my everything and when it came time for my parents to choose a high school for me‎ it was natural and reassuring for them to send me to Rav Dovid in the great Adelphia Yeshiva.

The opportunity to fuse the Camp Munk experience with Adelphia gave me and a lucky few something extraordinary and unique. We had Rebbe all year round. We were Rav Dovid’s boys and he fearlessly protected and looked out for us at all times. Music and basketball became the vehicle to personal growth, learning and davening. Rebbe Trenk was a master conductor with his very own orchestra, each instrument exquisitely fine-tuned to the abilities of its player. The majesty of Hashem and his Torah imparted to us in his inimitable Trenk style. And it worked.

Rebbe’s unconditional love of Yidin was legendary. From Camp Munk, to Pirchai to the Mir to Adelphia to Moreshes Yehoshua and everything and everyone in between, Rebbe lived and breathed Ahavas Yisroel. He loved every child, every talmid, every yid, every member of klal yisroel was mishpacha and his everyday real life actions created an outsized sense of achrayis to Klal on us Talmidim. But let me also tell you it wasn’t always a free pass to do as we pleased. Rebbe lived by the famous limud of ‘chanoch l’naar al pi darko.’ Yes every child needs and deserves love, but not love in the same way, not love equally, different love. Personally, Rebbe demanded from me and it wasn’t so easy as I got older. Rebbe knew where I came from, knew my background and did not accept from me what he may have allowed from others. And it bothered me until I got older and realized just how on point and wise he was. The jumping, screaming and out of the box behavior masked a keen understanding and insight into how to bring out the best in each individual child. Rebbe pushed and prodded me with love and sometimes tough love as a child but as the years passed he continued to give me incredible unbridaled chizuk especially when I needed it and him the most. Anytime I called, whether to share a vort or to discuss an issue, Rebbe would conclude our conversation with his trademark, “Chaskel I’m proud of you, keep going, don’t stop!” Indeed, they were his last words to me.

Though our Rebbe is no longer here to hug, jump or cry with us, he will always be here, holding our hands, guiding us through the peaks and valleys of life.

With every passing day, the curtain is pulled back on his outstanding avodas Hashem and sterling midos tovos. His tzidkus and acts of chesed are now being revealed to the world. We, his talmidim, thought we knew him. There was so much more.

An illuminating and remarkable biography of Rav Dovid’s life and legact has just been released by Artscroll/ Mesorah and is sure to be a best seller. It is yet one more way for talmidim old and new to learn from one of America’s most innovative and beloved mechannchim of our time.

‎My Rebbe never failed to say thank you. He thanked our wives and he thanked our parents. After all the sacrifices he and his Y’blct extraordinary Rebbetzin selflessly made, he actually showed gratitude to us his talmidim, for the nachas and joy we brought him. On the occasion of our heilige Rebbe’s first Yor tzeit, I take this public opportunity to again say, thank you Rebbe!

‎May our Rebbe’s cherished memory and monumental legacy be a source of chizuk and continuous brochah for the many talmidim who miss him so desperately.

Yehai Zichro Boruch.

Chaskel Bennett

The author can be reached at [email protected]

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