Monday, February 12, 2007

Rabbi Ya'ir Uriel zt"l

I had no idea. I saw the mourning notice on Shabbat after Minchah. Rabbi Ya'ir Uriel had passed away and was buried on Fiday. I was in total shock. The eyes see but the heart doesn't want to believe.

After Shabbat was over I saw Rabbi Dov Begon and he had the following to say to me:

חבל על דאבדין ודלא משתכחין. רב אוריאל היה אחד מל"ו הצדיקים. הוא היה אומן בכך שהוא ידע איך להסתיר את גדלותו

I remember Rav Uriel when I first came to Machon Meir 22 years ago. He gave a short lesson in Jewish Law after the morning prayer. Later I learned that he lived with his wife and children in a caravan in the Tel Romeida (Admot Yishai) area of Hebron. But that was only on the Sabbath and holidays. During the week he slept in the dormitory of Machon Meir with the students. He would divide his time between teaching at the Machon and learning at Mercaz HaRav. Without saying a word he taught two things through this arrangement: The love of learning Torah and the love of the Land of Israel.

Later on I learned that the late Dean of the Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva, HaRav Tzvi Yehuda HaCohen Kook, was very fond of Rav Uriel. He said that Rav Uriel was "a walking 'Path of The Just'". I heard that when Rav Uriel walked into the room, Rav Tzvi Yehuda would stand up in his honor. Because of this Rav Uriel would not enter the room where Rav Tzvi Yehuda was teaching. He would stand outside, near the door and listen to the lesson in order not to cause Rav Tzvi Yehuda to stand up.

I, along with many others, had the honor of learning one-on-one with Rav Uriel. He will be sorely missed.

May his family be comforted with the building of Zion.

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