12 Thoughts and sayings of Rav Henoch Leibowitz zt”l

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By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5tjt.com

As we age, we appreciate even more the thoughts and sayings of our Rebbeim who are no longer here.  It has been almost 13 years since Rav Henoch Leibowith zt”l passed away.  It seems like it was just yesterday, when a young Yeshiva student far away from home with no family in New York, was taken into the home of the Rosh Yeshiva and his Rebbitzen to recover after a surgery.  They fed me, he learned with me, prepared shiurim and shmuezzin with me, and left an impression that will never be erased.

The Rosh Yeshiva zt”l carried on the traditions of Slabodka Mussar.  His saintly father, Rav Dovid Leibowitz zt”l, was a leading student of the Alter of Slabodka.  The Rosh Yeshiva’s dedication to Klal Yisroel, his penetrating approach to both mussar and Gemorah learning, his warmth, and his desire to inculcate the values of his Mesorah within his students continue to serve as a source of constant inspiration to them.

Presented here below are 12 of his thoughts and sayings.

  1. It is important to seek inspiration from the example of others – just so that we can awaken ourselves to perform a difficult task with joy.
  2. When trying to impart a lesson, it is much more effective when they figure out the essence of the lesson and its application by themselves.  This is particularly important regarding the application.
  3. Sometimes the motivating force to do the right thing when faced with difficulty is the very absence of anyone else present who is willing to do it.
  4. When surrounded by those of lower morality, there is a grave responsibility to gird oneself in strength of character.
  5. There is often a grave responsibility to think and ponder the gravity of our responsibility.
  6. Never despair. It’s awful power can warp and destroy the power of the mind.
  7. Even the greatest of people are susceptible of giving up hope.
  8. Always make the effort – even when the chances look slim. And if you need a miracle, the effort will make it easier.
  9. Always make the effort to remain calm, cool, and collected – even when you are involved in earth-shaking matters.
  10. Losing it – is a sin.
  11. What is the definition of a “sucker?” Often it is a pejorative term for a “baal chessed” to people who are far removed from the concept of chessed.
  12. Quite often it is improper to join with evil people, even for a worthy goal, because it appears as if you agree with their decisions. The issue is complex and requires consultation with the greatest of Torah leaders.

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