Rabbi Murray Maslaton, zt”l
Last month’s dedication to Rabbi Murray Maslaton, zt”l, was nice, but way too short. I would like to share a story about Rabbi Murray that offers a glimpse into what he stood for as well as the greatness of this special individual whom we just lost.
One summer, Rabbi Murray asked a young man whom he did not really know so well to drive him to the mountains. On the way, Rabbi Murray informed his new friend about seven boys from Mexico who were in camp. That day was camp visiting day, and these boys had no parents or relatives to visit them, since all their families lived in Mexico. Rabbi Murray said, “Today, I will be their father and mother for camp visiting day.” He indeed acted as their father, mother and family for that day.
Then Rabbi Murray visited three bungalow colonies. During the first stop, Rabbi Murray learned that the Rosh Yeshivah was about to expel an orphan boy from his yeshivah, and he was able to convince the Rosh Yeshivah to keep this boy in his yeshivah.
He then went to the next bungalow colony of another Rosh Yeshivah, and heard that a delinquent student was about to be expelled from his school for the coming year. Rabbi Murray was able to convince the Rosh Yeshivah not to expel the child.
Rabbi Murray then went to the third bungalow colony, where a boy was dropping out of yeshivah. Rabbi Murray went to the Rosh Yeshivah and convinced him that he needed to persuade this boy not to drop out, but rather stay in his yeshivah. Again, he was successful.
When it was time to return home, Rabbi Murray turned to the young man who accompanied him for the day and said, “For the rest of my life I will never forget the hesed that you did for me.”
Imagine – the rabbi was thanking this young man for the hesed that he did for him, while his whole day was spent doing hesed for others!
HachamYitzhak Yosef Visit Inspires
Last month’s cover story, “Community WelcomesSephardic Chief Rabbi HachamYitzhak Yosef,” was truly inspiring. It was beautiful to see how our community in Brooklyn and Deal welcomed the Chief Rabbi with such excitement, warmth and affection. The hacham’s message of how important it is for our community to keep and honor its traditions and morals is something that we as a community do best. The photos in the article of the hacham with people of all ages, from elementary students to our community rabbis and leaders, spoke volumes. It really showed how close knit and unique our community is. The beauty of our community was evident in every picture.
I write this letter in response to the Sito column from the May issue. Sito was asked how to deal with noisy summer neighbors with whom the writer wanted to avoid confrontation. Sheresponded by saying, “Put yourself in your neighbor’s shoes and understand them and where they are coming from,” what our sages would call withholding judgment “ad shetagialimkomo” (“until you’re in his place”) and “ayintovah” (a favorable disposition), concepts we should all be familiar with from Pirkeh Avot and from just being part of the Jewish people. Sito then suggested that if the writer cannot bring herself to accept the neighbors’ noise, she can avoid confrontation by way of town ordinances and the police.
I beg to differ on a few fronts. Firstly, if we were the noisy neighbor, would we rather a neighbor asking us to lower the volume, or opening our door to the police? Secondly, it is true that if we ask a few times with no results and then resort to law enforcement, the neighbors will guess that we called, causing especially bad relations, and so by asking first we lose our final drawing card. However, if we call the police first, the noisy neighbors will be suspicious of all the neighbors, and we will thus be fomenting hard feelings toward the entire block. Thirdly, and most importantly, our Torah has what to say about every step we take – including this. It is really a halakhicissue that should be discussed with a competent halachic authority.
In short, this question might be more fitting for the “Files of the Bet Din” section, as it is a halakhicmatter.
The Community Chest section of the June issue, to my great dismay, failed to mention the YDE High School senior trip. I was very surprised to see the magazine cover the senior trips of other schools, while overlooking YDE’s trip. I am a senior at YDE, and I, like many other students, will always remember our senior trip, during which we formed many everlasting bonds with our rabbis and with each other. We began to appreciate our last moments of being together as a grade, and how grateful we are to YDE for bringing us all together for the best years of our life. I would like to see more coverage of this amazing community institution in future issues of your amazing and interesting magazine.