Sunday morning, the day of the levayah [for his wife], Rabbi Dessler was found polishing his shoes. Rabbi Dessler explained, “She was always meticulous that my clothes shoudl be spotless before I left the house, and now I’m fulfilling her will.” (based on a page 340)
Tonight marks the 55th Yartzeit of Rav Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler. I could write a lengthly post about Rav Dessler and the impact that Michtav Me’Eliyahu has had and continues to have on this blogger, but I won’t.
Firstly, at this point, I don’t feel that I can do justice to the memory of Rav Dessler. Secondly, as important as the Torah was that was taught by Rav Dessler, the example he set by being a ba’al Mussar might even outflank the galdlus of his writings. He lived in an era when teaching Torah wasn’t just confined to the walls of the yeshiva or classroom. Torah was who he was. There was no issues of guy’vah or kavod when it came to Rav Dessler, only anavah. Maybe it had to do with his chinuch and his family history (he was a great-great-grandson of R Yisrael Salanter)? I tend to think that back then kavod wasn’t what mattered. What mattered was what you had learned and how you applied that learning.
This example is from the wonderful biography of Rav Dessler by R Yononson Rosenblum:
It wasn’t just that that was the way he and his wife were taught in Kelm. It was the way his wife wanted him to be. That the image you project on the outside is only a reflection of the inside. Maybe that is the emes that Rav Dessler taught us to strive for.