Reb Sholi Put the Good of Others Before His Own

“Even during times when the situation in Argentina was not good, when it came to the financial wellbeing of a Bochur, he would invest himself entirely,” Rabbi Asher Farkash writes about his dear friend and collogue Reb Sholi Lapidus.

By Rabbi Asher Farkash – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Dear family and friends,

The heart refuses to accept. Writing this is very hard. There are no words to express my feelings, but I must write a few words to honor this great man – both as a relative, as well as a colleague of many years.

I came to know Reb Sholi Lapidus a little bit as a young Bochur by the Rebbe, even before I married into the Lapidus family, and before I got to know Argentina. A young Bochur who, when you looked at his face, you saw the face of Yiras Shamayim, integrity, and purity. Every available moment he had, he could be seen with a sefer in his hands, learning and delving into his studies.

Years later, we met on Shlichus in Argentina, and we worked alongside each other. His dedication to his role; his earnestness and sincere empathy towards each student; his attentiveness and patience; his desire to help each and every student progress; his patience to explain the words of the Gemara over and over again; his passion while giving a class; the fire he had for Torah, which could be heard in the hallway and the neighboring classrooms; his heartfelt words during farbrengens; his honest and heartfelt messages- given with simplicity and sincerity; the conversations we had in closed meetings; his advocating for every Bochur, and searching for solutions on how to help them; always putting the good of others before his own; all this and more are the images which stand in front of my eyes today, as though alive.

Of the things that have been written about him by his students in the past few days (mostly in Spanish), you can clearly see the appreciation, respect, and sense of gratitude his students have for him, as they owe their physical and spiritual wellbeing to him.

But I must note specifically the physical aspect. His physical and financial help, during a time when the situation in Argentina was not good, to say the least; during a time when there was an actual struggle to get to the end of the month, literally. Yet when it came to the financial wellbeing of a Bochur, whether helping him with transportation to the Yeshiva, or paying tuition, getting him to a wedding, or just spending money, he would invest himself entirely and with a big heart. When needed, he fought like a lion to get whatever was needed to help that Bochur, even though it cost him dearly, in more than one way.

In addition to his greatness – his persistence and diligence – in Torah and in Yiras Shamayim, he stood out in his Ahavas Yisrael and sensitivity to others. Avodas Hamidos was essential to him, and it is what he instilled in his students more than anything else.

I personally remember a closed meeting we had once, and he spoke with me for a long time about a Maamar Chazal in Maseches Brachos “Raban Gamliel said to Rabbi Yehoshua, from the walls of your house, it is understood that you are a coal miner. Rabbi Yehoshua replied to him woe is to the generation that you support, for you don’t know the sorrow of the scholars, from where do they get their livelihood.” He spoke to me about the necessity of every community leader -Rav, Shliach, or Mashpia- to know and take an interest in what goes on in the homes of the people in their community. This conversation is seared in my memory until today.

Much more can be written about Reb Sholi, but I wanted to at least share these few words and send the entire family my sincere condolences. May they merit to continue the legacy of this great man with love and brotherhood. And may Hashem comfort us with the greatest comfort of all – with the complete Geulah. Vehakitzu Veranenu Shochnei afar, Vehu Besoicham.

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