Yossi Gleiberman Remembers Yossie Yurowitz, A’H

This Shabbos we are privileged to read two parshiyos to complete Sefer Shemos by reading Parshos Vayakel and Pekudai together. However, as we read through these two parshyos, we must ask ourselves why the Torah listed and repeated everything we already learned several weeks ago in Pashos Terumah and Tetzaveh?Parshas Terumah speaks about the command to build the mishkan and the kailim such as the shulchan, menorah and the aron. The 122 pesukim of Vayakel seem to repeat all the details of that construction. Tetzaveh describes all the commandments and details to make the bigdai kehuna, and then the 92 pesukim of Parshas Pekudai describe once again how all these garments were made. Why was it necessary for the Torah to repeat all these details? We know as a general rule, that the Torah is very exact with each word and each letter written in it. Nothing is unnecessary or redundant. So what is there to be learned out of the seemingly repetitive parshyos of Vayakel and Pekudai?

Rav Pam writes that there is a monumental lesson here that justifies the dozens of extra pesukim. There is a basic difference between Terumah/Tetzaveh and Vayakel/Pekudai.  In the former, the word ve’osisa is used to introduce the requirements to build the mishkan, the kalim, and the begadim.  In the latter two parshiyos, the word vayas is used to describe the fact that Moshe did make the mishkan, the kailim, and the begadim. This is the novelty here – that the planning became a reality – that the va’osisa became a vayas.

For over twenty-five years, I was privileged to know Yossie Yurowitz a’h from so many different vantage points. Yossie was my neighbor. Yossie was my friend. Yossi worked with me. Yossi drove to work together with me. Yossi and I learned together for nearly twenty years. Yossie and I traveled together. Yossi and I davened together. Yossie and I discussed, strategized, argued, planned, debated, conspired and confided together.

If I had to come up with the single, most fitting word that I can use to describe Yossie would be that he was the ultimate “vayas” person. This week is Yossie Yurowitz’ parsha – vayas, vayas, and vayas again.

Many projects begin with a bold and magnificent plan, but when the project is finally completed – years late, with huge cost overruns and with so many changes that when the finished project bears very little resemblance to the one originally presented, one wonders what happened? Did the ve’osisa become a vayas?

I first met Yossie when he (and I) were in our mid-twenties. I immediately was drawn to Yossie’s ability to get things done. Yossie joined our company shortly after, and I felt fortunate that I had the ultimate right (and left) hand man. Together we would come up with ideas. Yossie would execute them. We would draw up a strategy. Yossie would implement it. We learned each day together, and we would come up with ways how to grow our shiur. Yossie would make it happen. I would suggest a Siyum or enthusiasm builder. Yossie took it from there. I would throw out the name of an unknown Amora, an unusual place, or a unique item. Yossie would immediately send me emails and messages with details, minutiae, and intricacies that he has researched and explored about this particular subject.

Many people are inspired to improve themselves during the month of Elul and the Yomim Noraim. They resolve in their hearts to improve their davening, to spend more time learning, avoiding lashon hara, giving more tzedakah, and so on. The resolutions are many and sincerely motivated. Yet, by the time Chanukah arrives, most people are back to where they stood before Elul – the resolutions long since forgotten and the inspiration dissipated. What happened? The ve’osisa did not become a vayas.

Yossie did for his family. Yossie did for his friends. Yossie did for his neighbors. Yossie did for his colleagues at work. Yossie did for his kehilla. Yossie did for his community. Yossi did for Klal Yisroel. Yossie did in order to elevate himself. Yossie always found ways to turn his ve’osisa’s into a vayas. While others talked about what they would do, Yossie Yurowitz let his doing do his talking.

Every few month we are fortunate to complete another Maeschta as we work our way through the Daf Yomi cycle. For the first few days of each new meceschta, we are always privileged to have many new individuals enthusiastically joining our Shiur. Every new attendee has the same thoughts to join and dedicate his morning towards limud hatorah and join the cheverah to be kovaya ittim l’Torah. Yet, as the long mesechta progresses into intricate and complicated topics, the attendance level begins to shrink. What became of the resolutions that the new attendees has just a few weeks before? The ve’osisa was impressive, but what happened to the vayas?

Yossie was the one was whom I could call or text when I was awoke predawn. Yossie was the one who was awake – already doing. I admired his focus, his goals that he would set for himself and his strong opinions (even though we disagreed about some of them). What can we do now for his memory, and his neshama? The answer is that we must do more and then do even more, to fill the “doing” void that his passing has left us with.

This is what Moshe underlines in Parshas Vayakehl & Pekudai. The great plans to build a mishkan, the kailim, and the bigdai kehuna DID come to fruition – ka’asher tzivah hashem es Moshe – exactly the way Hashem commanded Moshe. In this instance, the ve’osisa did indeed become a vayas.

The only nechama or comfort that we can move on with is with the knowledge that Yossie certainly must be up there in shomayim looking down here and doing his thing. He is probably assessing and evaluating, exploring and analyzing, planning and figuring how to become the best and most efficient meilitz yosher for his family and his friends.

And the Yossie we knew – will get it done.

Tehai nishmoso baruch!

Yossi Gleiberman

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