VI. The Important People in Judaism (Who To Meet)

      In the culture of Orthodox Judaism there are heroes.  Their pictures don’t appear on boxes of Cheerios nor are they pulling in mega-million dollar salaries.  They are not captains of industry nor are they political leaders.  Nonetheless, they are extraordinary people, who have reached the highest levels of human achievement.  They are referred to as gedolim (great ones) and they toil in relative obscurity, unknown to most outside the Torah observant world. 

The reader is probably unaware of their existence, and in fact, most of the world would not even believe that they are for real. They are men who have accumulated vast amounts of Torah wisdom and have worked on themselves to internalize these lessons so that their actions and emotions reflect what they have learned.  Their lives are devoted to serving the Almighty and being considerate of their fellow man.  They are the epitome of character, refinement, integrity and honesty and have served as role models for their fellow Jews in each generation.  Stories regarding their actions, observations and holiness are inspirational for any audience. 

   Throughout the centuries, these gedolim have made themselves accessible to the public.  Jews from far away have traveled great distances to see and meet with them. Gedolim alive today are also available to Jews who wish to gain an audience with them.  There are many good reasons to meet with a gadol: to seek out their advice regarding  issues one may be struggling with; to request their blessing for success with a particular endeavor; just to be in their presence and observe their behavior in order to have a concrete image of what a Jew should be trying to emulate.

Meeting with or even just seeing a gadol, can be an inspiring experience; one has the opportunity, to observe first hand the end product of a life dedicated to G-d and His Torah. Seeing, up close, and feeling the G-dliness that rests upon a gadol is a major spiritual experience; one’s belief is inspired and elevated by sensing the G-dly aura surrounding a Gadol.   

Seeing a gadol is not so difficult to do.  First, one must find out who they are.  They are not listed in the yellow pages under “G”, nor are they elected to their position.  Instead, they are acknowledged by a consensus of the observant world to be great people and our leaders.  One need only ask around to find out their names and how to arrange seeing or meeting with them.  Usually, there are designated times when they make themselves available to privately confer with those who come to see them.  Often there is a wait after one arrives, so bring along a friend or something to read; there are many others also wishing to see them.  The wait, however, should be well worth it.


Last updated on: 01/20/2020
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