Rabbi Yosef Vigler Remembers Yossie Yurowitz, A’H

Message from Rabbi Yosef Vigler, Shlita


For several months this past year, Yossie and I davened in our makeshift Corona “Shul” – the front porches of our homes. We engaged in deep discussion on the sidewalk about the meaning of davening and our relationship with Hashem.

He was opposed to the conventional approach against talking in shul. The reason people talk, he said, is because we don’t relate to davening. And no amount of shushing and telling anyone to keep quiet will ever change that. But if we were to relate to and appreciate what davening meant then we would not need to be ordered to not talk. We would be so engaged that we would not be able to talk in the first place. When we are told that during davening we are in front of the King who is present in the room and that to speak then is a chutzpah and abuse of the moment, we misunderstand that as another thing to worry about. We already have all our issues and now another issue is added that the king is also watching us.

But the deeper meaning is that during davening our neshama deep down inside is on fire. Our goal is to access and reveal that inner fire. This is what it means that the King is present in the room and ready for a relationship. It’s not another thing to worry about. It’s an expression of our souls. The King Inside is ready to be revealed during davening.

Our discussion led into the meaning of the words of tefillah. I looked it up and found some spillovers from our discussion onto texting. In Yossie’s words: Actually r shamshon refoel Hirsch says the word Baruch is used is in shemos “ubeirach es lachmicha” to increase your bread. We are asking Hashem to increase his kedusha in our world. He explained the word “Boruch” as bringing down and increasing the presence of Hashem in our world. Every time you say a bracha you are in fact expanding the Divinhe presence in the world. And when you Daven with this interpretation it becomes meaningful. Because you’re actually doing something. Through your mindfulness you are expanding His presence, first into yourself and then by extension into the world around you and the World At Large.

Yossie shared his thoughts on the shuls having been shut down – he only saw the positive in everything. He refused to see it as punishment: His text: The more I think about it, Hashem took us out of shul so we can relate to what the bnei Yisroel felt like leaving mitzrayim. It took up until shavous to get to Har Sinai and the anticipation and hope that was intertwined with the fear of dying in a desert, ultimately to receive Hashems Torah in full splendor… we were so in awe… who could talk? We were speechless without any campaigns!!

If you just reflect on what it means to be a Jew, and that Hashem chose you, that you are his only child. If you reflect on the zechus you have to perform Torah and mitzvahs, you are filled with simcha. Your entire being exudes the excitement of being alive and representing Hashem. Every Breath of Life you take you feel the Awesomeness of the Divine.

Yossie Embodied that. He lived life with a zest. He refused to accept the status quo. I remember him every year the past few years at the musical Slichos in our shul. He would attend the fabrengen before and then would immerse himself in slichos. This is the way it’s supposed to be, he said. We enter into the Yomim Noraim excited at the zechus we have to serve Hashem.

He lived his life with chessed. Our Place was his passion, just to go there and help kids. One year he had an idea. He took a case of our MitzvahShare Matzah, designed for frum people to give out to non frum acquaintances. He took 50 boxes of shmurah matzah to give to the kids of our place. He wanted them to express their koiach to share Yiddishkeit with others, to see how special they were and encouraged them to give it out to non-religious people. He was just as happy if they kept it for themselves and had Shmurah Matzah for the seder.

He was a man who cared deeply about his family. His kids were his number one priority. His vacations, to the best of my recollection, were almost exclusively family vacations. And I recall vividly the first Shabbos I moved on to the block.Yossie invited me to attend that Friday night Tzviki’s Sholom Zochor. “This is my Kaddish’l” he said proudly.

He was a genuine authentic person, the real deal. He was taken away in the middle of the story. But והחי יתן אל ליבו, the living should take it to heart, to live a life like his, a life worthwhile living. He lives on through all the people he affected and through his family his wife and children.

והקיצו ורננו שוכני עפר – the only real Comfort is through continuing his legacy that we merit to see him back with Techiyas Hamessim, alive נשמה בגוף

Rabbi Yoseph Vigler
Mayan Yisroel
3315 Ave. N
Brooklyn NY 11234

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