By Rabbi Gershon Avtzon, Rosh Yeshiva of the Lubavitch Yeshiva of Cincinnati
I am sitting by the computer lost in thoughts as I wait for the Levaya of the Zayde Harav Shalom Menachem Mendel Simpson A”H. He passed away, like the great Tzaddikim, yesterday, on his 90th birthday.
Much will be written about his tireless work as a personal secretary of the Rebbe from the beginning of the Nesius, as well the Rav of the Ocean View Jewish center in Brighton Beach. Whatever will be written, will not be enough to describe such a special, dedicated and humble Chassid of our Rebbe.
There is one nekuda that I would like to share: The Rebbe writes (Sichas Vayishlach 5752 in the footnotes) that the number 90 is the completion of the number 9. What does the number 9 represent? Emes – Truth.
There is a famous story, that when the Rebbe was asked as a child as to why the Torah starts with a Beis and not an Alef, he replied: Torah is emes. If you start the Alef-Beis from the letter Alef – and do sets of three – you will always end up with the number 6 [Alef-beis-gimmel = 6 Daled/Hey/Vav equals 15. 1+5=6 etc]. The number 6 spells Sheker [Shin – 3(00) Kuf is 1(00) and Reish is 2(00)]. If you start the same process from Beis (Beis/gimmel/Daled etc), you will always end up with 9. Nine is the number of Emes (Alef-1 mem-4(0) Taf-4(00).
Rabbi Simpson, is his complete 90 years, exemplified Emes is everything he did. He did not do things for popularity and respect, rather the only thing before his eyes was “What does the Rebbe want from me?” He treated the big Mashpia and the simple Russian Jew is brighton with the same respect.
He was very open about his Emunah in the imminent revelation of the Rebbe, even at great personal cost. He was a man that the Rebbe called a “Baal Sod – and man that can keep a secret” and he took thousands of personal stories and interaction with the Rebbe with him to Olam Ha’emes.
While we all have the Igros Kodesh, and all the letters of the Rebbe to our personal simchas, thanks to his great dedication to the Rebbe, it is his example of Emes that he leaves for all of us to emulate.
We know that we will see him very soon typing the Rebbe’s letters.