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My Dear Father

My Dear Father

You haven't been here for almost 30 days and it hurts so much.


Dear Abba,

You haven't been here for almost 30 days and I still don't believe it. It feels like just a few hours ago that I visited you with my sweet baby Noam Dov, your last grandchild born in your lifetime. You were so happy to see him. Your face was shining.

You didn't tell me Abba, what was going to happen in the coming hours. You didn't tell me that this is the last kiss that I'm going to give you. We had so many plans, so much to do. I didn't know that these were your last hours with us.

I didn't think that these would be your last words to us. You said "ziskeit" to your grandchild. You told my sister to take care of herself. And you told us to do whatever we can for the Jewish people. You didn't say a word about yourself. You were above worrying about yourself. You only worried about others.

Suddenly you disappeared on me. I didn't have enough time.

There was so much more to say and discuss. I prayed that it should never end. And suddenly you disappeared on me. Suddenly you went away and I'm so lonely and hurt, Abba. I didn't have enough time.

Do you remember when I told you that it was unfair being one of the youngest in the family and how most of my siblings got to spend more years with you? You never allowed us to be jealous of each other, so I hope you forgive me for this one. I'm just really jealous.

When I was born, Abba, you were already the Rosh Yeshiva of Aish HaTorah. You were so busy and you were already so important and famous, but to me you were always my father. The best father in the world! I have no idea how you did it. You were SO BUSY! I remember as a little kid seeing how busy you were. Your trips abroad, your leaving the house to the yeshiva early in the morning and coming back late in the evening.

But I never felt anything missing, just the opposite. I remember the Torah you taught me, the wisdom you imparted to me and of course the love you showered me with. You somehow were always able to remember all the small details -- to call every Friday afternoon while you were overseas to wish me "Good Shabbos," to say a devar Torah, and to remind me that God loves me. And you somehow never forgot to bring back all those things we asked you to buy for us when you went overseas.

I also remember all those times you left in the middle of the night for your fundraising trips. You would always wake us up to say goodbye, to give us a kiss before you left. You have no idea how much strength it gave me, and it still gives me strength. Now as a father myself, I can only stand in awe of your ability to be such a perfect father.

I will not forget when you took me one night a few months before my Bar Mitzvah to the person who makes the tefillin and ordered a pair especially for me. And then a month before my Bar Mitzvah you took me to the Kotel to put them on for the very first time. I can still feel your warm hand putting my tefillin on me. You were so happy.

You were by my side when I needed you and you took a step back when I needed some space.

Throughout my life, through my ups and downs, you were always there for me. You were right by my side when I needed you and you took a step back when I needed some space. You never pressured me, but you always had high goals for me . My successes were also your successes and my happiness made you very happy.

It was amazing to be with you on Shabbos. I can still hear your special voice saying Kiddush and singing the songs that you learned in your father's house. I will miss that very much. I thought that you'd at least rest a little after such a long work week, but you always disappointed me. The Shabbos was too holy for you to sleep through it. You made sure to go to shul early and be one of the first 10 people. And there wasn't a minute on Shabbos that wasn't used by you constructively.

One of the most special moments in my life was in the shul. The kohanim would start their blessing, and you, my great father, the respected Rosh Yeshiva, would simply bend down and place your tallis over the two of us, so that we would receive love together, the blessing of our great Creator, Who loves us so much. You taught me to open my hands and to open my heart to receive the Almighty's blessing and love. Those were the moments that I'll never forget.

Care and Inspiration

I will never forget that day we went to the doctor. He looked at your x-ray and he didn't want to say a word. But you were never afraid of anything and wanted to hear everything. You weren't afraid, Abba. You asked, "My Creator, what am I supposed to do?" What am I supposed to do physically, and even more, what am I supposed to do spiritually? "We are going to do whatever is supposed to be done," you said, despite the fact that the doctors didn't give you a chance. As with everything, you wanted to know the plan, you wanted clarity.

"How can we wake up the Jewish people?" That was your constant focus.

The doctors were in the physical world, and you were focused on the "other" world. You said that when a person is sick, he still has to continue to fight for his people and his Creator. You were so sick, Abba. I begged you to rest, I begged you to relax. But you did the opposite. "Go and get me a meeting with all the great rabbis," you asked me. "I have to speak to them about what we are doing for the Jewish people." You begged them to create a committee to save the Jewish people from imminent danger. It hurt you more that a soldier was being kept in captivity by his enemies. Your own pain was secondary. It hurt you more that our brothers and sisters were being bombed in their houses.

You were willing to accept this disease, but you weren't willing to accept that there was a Jew in the world that didn't know that he had a Father in heaven Who loved him more than anything. "How can we wake up the people and how can we wake up the world?" That was your entire focus until your last day.

Abba, it's been almost 30 days now and it hurts so much!

Abba, rest in peace. You deserve to rest. I promise we will do our utmost to fulfill your vision and we will cling to the Torah you taught us. We love you.

March 2, 2009

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Visitor Comments: 43

(43) Maurice Kaufman, January 11, 2012 3:27 AM

thank you

I have read many of your father's articles and tonight saw a few of his short films. His compassion and genuine love of the Jewish people moved me to tears..I have an elderly father who I love very much and loathe the thought of his ever passing. I feel your pain brother. The pain of this world was made a little less for us all by your father. I donated to charity in his memory tonight. May Hashem bless you and your family. Please continue his work. thank you

(42) Mickey Weems, March 31, 2011 11:46 AM

He taught me nothing about the love of HaShem that he had not experienced for himself.

Rabbi Yehuda Weinberg, I would say that I loved your father very much, but that would imply that my love is a thing of the past. I have tears in my eyes as I once again feel the love that is still very much alive for a man with whom I argued, laughed, and continue to revere, some 20 years after being under his tutelage in the Old CIty. He changed me for the better. This is the first time I have publicly expressed my grief. It is not something I share with strangers. My condolences to you and your family. A little story for you. I went to his office one day, and his face was literally shining. I asked him why, and in the gentlest terms he told me he had just encountered HaShem in a special way. He would speak no further- his face said it all. I would see that expression once more when he was describing to me the ultimate goal of humanity in his analogy of the airplane as the means to achieving a place in the world to come (forgive me if my phrasing is clumsy or inaccurate): we get to see G-d. I only want to state for the record, Noach Weinberg taught nothing to me concerning the love of HaShem that he did not experience for himself. I still do a simple practice he recommended: I examine the miracle of my hands and their intricacy as a means for reminding myself of the basic pleasure of the presence of the Almighty, at every level, even while riding mass transit. Mickey Weems

(41) Peter Wolf, May 20, 2010 7:08 AM

I tasted the honor

I tasted the honor of being with my dear teacher, your father. I was just 20, and was sucked into his office through events like a vacuum. On my arrival, Rav Weinberg ejected the rabbis from the room and sat me down to focus intently...perhaps for 3/4 of an hour. His devotion to a single as yet unknown soul who would because of that contact identify, practice and honor his Judiasm, his people and Eretz Israel was like a laser, straight through my reason and into my heart. I thank you so deeply, my dear Rabbi; and may the powerful effect you had on my soul amplify forward into more of the world through me than I now know... at 53. Rest in peace my dear teacher, and Yehuda and family, how blessed you are. With my profound gratitude, and inspired endless yearning and excitement to know God that began with the influence of the man who fathered you - Peter

(40) Miranda, April 2, 2010 5:02 PM

How privileged you and your brothers/sisters are to have been raised by such a special man and pioneer. May you all continue to fulfill his vision with as much determination and love as he had. Aish has been such an important part of my life and i owe it all to Rav Noach Weinberg z"l

(39) gord bushewsky, January 25, 2010 4:20 PM


After reading this I can't stop crying. You had a wondeful role model; what a beautiful world it would be if we all taught our children about Judaism and spirituality.

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