When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
most lives present with forks in the road. aspirations, educational choices, and vocational goals don’t always transpire as initially conceived.
“how did i get here?” made famous in the song “once in a lifetime” rings true when we awaken and look at our surroundings.
for the few, their life hits the ground running on a path and never stops.
rabbi chaim kanievsky, who recently passed, is one of these remarkable individuals. his entire life was dedicated to his passion, the study of torah. to accomplish their feat, a constellation of facts came into play, a brilliant mind, a pedigree, a passion, exposure to great scholars, and a supportive family.
with a clear path, the “prince of torah, ” as he was known, embarked on a lifetime of unrivaled torah study. it may have been greatest sustained torah study of anyone in history. thus, his nickname was well earned.
he would wake at 2am and embark on 20 hours of study. he studied with great scholars. what was unique was that he was “was a private citizen, leading no synagogue or yeshiva, and with no official teaching or rabbinic position. ” aish.com he authored books and took time to answer countless inquiries concerning rabbinic opinion which he did on postcards. perhaps, the volume of correspondence led him to invent the word “boo-ha,” an acronym for “blessings and success.”
he lived in a small apartment with his family which was lined with books. he gave audience to visitors from near to far. they lined up to meet him. many believed that he was the most learned sage in the world. he almost never used a telephone.
his only break from study was devoted to ironically was to use a fork. he dedicated himself to having lunch and dinner with his wife everyday.
in sum, whether it is likely that another scholar will ever achieve this dedication is left for debate. the fact that an estimated 750,000, individuals attended his funeral is a testament to his great achievement and contribution to torah study. he also presents as to what happens on the rare occasion when a special person stays on course.
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