Section: Stories   Category: Gadlus
Rav Yaakov Edelstein - The Two Words He Wanted to Be Able to Speak

The Gaon and Tzaddik Rav Yaakov Edelstein was one of the most uniques Gedolim of our generation. He was one of the great luminaries of the generation yet he was the Rav of a modern secular Israeli city, Ramat HaSharon. He was one of the great Mekubalim of the Dor, having learned the secrets of Kabbalah from the sacred "shoemaker" of Bnei Brak, yet he was an approachable Litvishe Dayan and Posek.

The last two years of his life were difficult ones where a series of illnesses left him without the capability to speak, and he communicated by writing. At one point he recovered enough that his caregivers felt they can teach him how to speak again.

The therapist asked him to write down the two words that he wanted to start with. Rav Yaakov wrote "Amen" and "Todah". Two words that say it all, Bein Adam LaMakom and Bein Adam Lachaveiro.

The famous Ramban at the end of Parshas Bo says that the underlying reason for every mitzva, and the reason for the entire creation, is for man to acknowledge Hashem as his creator. Amen is a short two syllable word that simply and succinctly accomplishes this mission. With your little Amen you justify your existence and the existence of the entire universe.

The same goes with the word Todah. People crave recognition. By thanking someone you give him recognition that he is worth something and that you need him. Nothing can satisfy him more. You acknowledge his importance in your world and the world at large. It is the essence of Bein Adam LaChaveiro.

It takes a gaon and a tzaddik to come up with something so simple and so brilliant, even as he struggles on his sickbed. Yehi Zichro Baruch!