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Section:  Avodah   Category: Ahavas Yisroel
Martin Grossman O"H - Special Zchusim, Special Lessons
When I heard in passing that a Jewish inmate was scheduled to be executed in Florida, it did not really grab my attention.  Then my wife mentioned that some prominent Gedolim had taken up the case and asked the tzibbur to petition the governor on his behalf.  It surprised me, but despite my doubts about Jews making lots of noise on behalf of a self admitted murderer, I took the call seriously and started to write.  Although it was hard to think of anything to write at first, as I wrote it became increasing easier until by time I was done I was passionate for the cause.

This reminded me of a famous lesson taught by Rav Eliyahu Dessler in Michtav MeiEliyahu.  Love is about loving ourselves.  The reason why we love others is that we have invested our energies in them so that they become an extension of ourselves.  Then loving them becomes easy.  The more you give to the people around you, the more you love them.  So there I was after fifteen minutes of writing, totally changed in my view of Martin Grossman who now suddenly had a special place in my heart.  But why was Martin Grossman so fortunate to have evoked this burst of passion when there are many other Jews waiting for us on death row?

I have an uncle buried on Har HaMenuchos who died without children.  Every year on his yahrtzeit, my neighbor, who teaches in a Yeshiva for weak bochurim, brings a Minyan with us to his Kever to say Tehilim and Kaddish.  The dream of each one of these bochurim is to be accepted into a normal mainstream Yeshiva.  When we arrive at the Kever my neighbor gives a whole speech about what a special tzaddik this man was, and how if the boys daven they will surely get into Yeshiva.

I always try to hold my chuckle as he goes on and on in a most sincere manner.  This year I finally said to him, "Reb Chaim, did you know my uncle, because I did and I have no idea who you are talking about.  Don't you think you are getting carried away?"  His answer was serious and straight forward, and he said to me, "If this man has the zchus that every year bochurim pour their hearts out at his kever on his yahrtzeit, he must have done something good.  And by the way, I don't know if it is their tefilos or his intervention, but most of them get in to Yeshivos at a higher percentage than the rest of the boys in our Yeshiva."

The gemara in Shabbos (32a) tells us, "Migalgilin Zchus Al Yidei Zakkai".  If a zchus is coming to the world, it is done with a righteous person as the intermediary.  I don't know much about Martin Grossman other than small bits reported by the media, but the one thing he managed to do in his final days was to unite Klal Yisroel in an all to infrequent showcase of achdus and Ahavas Yisroel.  Many people leave machlokes and hate behind in their wake.  Martin left Ahavas Yisroel.  How many of us would love to leave the world in such grand fashion.

Why was he different than any of the other Jews sitting on Florida's death row?  Only Hashem knows.  The one thing we do know for sure was that Martin Grossman did something right to merit the desperately need zchus of Achdus and Ahavas Yisroel that he brought to Klal Yisroel.  Migalgilin Zchus Al Yidei Zakkai.

Besides for the one time show of Ahavas Yisroel, the lesson and the legacy of Martin Grossman is far more powerful.  It is a lesson on how easy it is to create a feeling of true Ahavas Yisroel.  All you need to do is, "do it".  With a little smile, a nice word, a tiny favor to the person who for whatever reason you don't take an interest in or you don't like, poof! just like that you can develop feelings for him.  If you don't believe me ask any of the people who lifted a pen, a telephone receiver, or the cover of their laptop for a Jew convicted of murder on death row.  Let's try to focus on our Ahavas Yisroel.  Do a small act L'Iluy Nishmas Michoel Yechiel ben Avrohom O"H because through him we learned the way.
RELATED ARTICLES:Ahavas Yisroel  Martin Grossman  Michtav MeiEliyahu  Migalgilin Zchus Al Yidei Zakkai  Rav Eliyahu Dessler

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Visitor Comments: 1

YH, 2010-02-22 10:46:36
I found an article online from the year 2000 which says that there were 10 Jews on death row throughout the country.

I found another article which says that in 2004 the total number of death row inmates through the country was 3314.

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