In memory of Rabbi Yisroel Noah ben Yitzchak Matisyahu Weinberg z’tzl, who left this world yesterday in Jerusalem.
Imagine Santa dressed like a rabbi.
He’s happy, funny, and sharp as a tack.
He says to you, “What would you rather be, rich or happy?”
The question is too easy, you suspect a trap. But you decide to play his game. “Happy,” you say.
“Fine. So what if I told you, come spend three months with me in my yeshiva and I’ll teach you how to be happy. Are you interested?”
“Uh...” now you feel the trap. Spending three months in yeshiva was definitely not on your agenda for this summer – or any summer. It would be a major deviation from your plans.
“I see you’re hesitating. What if I offered you 20,000 dollars. Then would it be worth three months of your time?”
Suddenly three months doesn’t sound so long.
“Gotcha!” the rabbi exclaims, pointing at you with a big smile and chuckle.
You wince. He got you.
“That’s what everyone says. Everyone says they want to be happy. But they don’t think about what they’re saying. They’re just saying the words that they know they’re supposed to say. But if they really felt that being happy was more important than being rich, they would spend at least as much time finding out how to be happy as they spend trying to get rich.”
Rabbi Noah Weinberg took everyone to task: from the most secular to the most orthodox, if they weren’t living a thoughtful, purposeful life, he challenged them to think and to analyze, and to live with wisdom not by rote.
He was larger than life, in same historic category of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe and others who directly or indirectly impacted hundreds of thousands of lives.
Here’s one of his students, Rebecca Shore: