Mendy Strauss & Family Remember Yossie Yurowitz A’H

As is well known, Yossi A”H was deeply involved with many mosdos and other tzedekah and kiruv organizations, including Our Place, Chevra Kadisha, Chasdei Lev etc…. However, the one thing that always struck me as unique and special about Yossi A”H was how, on a personal level, he consistently put other people before himself.  Since his petira, I have heard of his acts of chesed and kindness from literally dozens of people, many of whom we never knew.

In addition to being his brother in law, I also sat next to Yossi A”H in shul for nearly 20 years. During the week, I was constantly amazed to watch him get excited about certain aspects of davening and write notes in his Siddur and each and every day say   extra kapitlach of tehillim after davening for his family and wide range of friends.  On Shabbos, I can’t recall a single week in which that Yossi didn’t lean over and whisper a dvar torah he had heard or read to me, usually in the Ohr Hachaim.

One dvar torah I remember him telling me each year for the past 20 years was on Parshas Yisro.  The Torah states as follows:

לֹ֥א תַחְמֹ֖ד בֵּ֣ית רֵעֶ֑ך לֹֽא־תַחְמֹ֞ד אֵ֣שֶׁת רֵעֶ֗ךָ וְעַבְדּ֤וֹ וַֽאֲמָתוֹ֙ וְשׁוֹר֣וֹ וַֽחֲמֹר֔וֹ וְכֹ֖ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר לְרֵעֶֽךָ:

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, his manservant, his maidservant, his ox, his donkey, or whatever belongs to your neighbor.”

An obvious question is why the Pasuk ends with the phrase וְכֹ֖ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר לְרֵעֶֽךָ: “whatever belongs to your neighbor” when it has already specifically listed all of the neighbor’s possessions in the beginning?

The fundamental lesson of the Pasuk, Yossi A”H used to tell me, is that if someone desires their friend’s house, job and family, then he must also take everything else that belongs to the friend, including all his problems; you need to take it all as a single package deal.

We shouldn’t look solely at other people’s successes and be jealous, rather we need to look at the full story. And, with that insight, we should similarly look at our own full story and appreciate everything that we have in life.

This approach personified my brother in law Yossi A”H.  Everything that he did, he did for others. He regularly put the needs of others before his own and never got jealous of the beautiful houses or successful jobs of others.  He simply lived this vort that when you look at the entire package, you will quickly appreciate all the blessings that Hashem has given you.

As a result of the enormous chesed he did and his beautiful approach to life, Yossi ‘s A”H memory and spirit will live on for generations through all of us that he helped and influenced.

Mendy Strauss and Family

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