Soon after it’s publication, I received a copy of Artscroll’s biography, Rav Gifter, by Rabbi Yechiel Spero. As a close friend pointed out to me, it’s an “easy read”. This is true, because Rav Gifter zt’l was a gadol that those from America (like myself) could relate to. Moving from Portsmouth, VA to Balitmore at the age of two, he attended public school until going to NY at age 13 to attend YU’s high school. His life along with the interviews and accounts of Telz (both in Lithuania and Cleveland) are snapshots of both the destruction and rebirth of a great yeshiva.
I’m about half way through this sefer and I find myself thinking about the following prior to every bracha I make:
One student recalls Rav Gifter aksing them what seemed like a very simple question: What is the most important word in the blessing of “shehalok nihyeh b’dvaro– through Whose word everything came to be?”
Each of the young men gave their suggestions. One suggested that Name of Hashem; another thought that it might be Melech (King). But Rav Gifter’s answer remained with this talmid some 65 years later.
“The word Atah [You] is the most important word. It shows us that we have a personal relationship with the Al-mighty.”